Brynhildr in the Darkness Ep. 13 (Finale): Hit that reset button!

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This is it. This is the final Byrnhildr in the Darkness episode. Let us see this anime off properly.

— So first things first, the Hexenjagd fellas have given up hope and are just content to sit there and pray to God. Meanwhile, Neko and Kazumi knock Ryota out with a big, brown stick they’ve managed to find on the ground, I guess. They don’t want the bland harem lead to risk his life here even though he’s been risking his life all series long for his girls. But when the entire world’s at stake, THIS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE, HAREM LEAD. THIS IS WHERE! Plus, we all know Kazumi and Neko are just Dumb and Dumber, so this doesn’t sound like a hot idea any way you look at it.

— So according to Chisato, this stupid Ain Soph Aur thing has the ability to reset all life on this planet, and as a result, whoever came up with this mechanism must be the planet’s true god. I’m sure there’s more to the concept of god than this, but whatever, let’s just grant it for the sake of the argument. Plus, it gets even nuttier: the idiots in the Vingulf organization want to recreate these extraterrestrials so they can, uh, become the planet’s true rulers. Why exactly do we want to be ruled by these assholes? Why do we even want to be ruled at all? Oh well… Chisato makes the idea sound cool for a brief moment: “In other words, rejecting the God we’ve worshipped up to now: killing God.” But think about it practically for a moment. We’re going to recreate an alien race that we don’t understand psychologically, and this alien race has the ability to wipe us out. Why are we doing this? Hurr, because they are the true rulers of the planet! All of these smart scientists gathered around a bunch of alien ruins a hundred years ago and came up with this brilliant plan. Or rather, some shitty writer thinks a bunch of intelligent scientists would gather around a bunch of alien ruins and come with this shitty plan, thereby insulting the intelligence of scientists everywhere. Yeah, I think the latter makes more sense.

— Kotori intends to eject herself to protect all of humanity. That’s nice… just do it, then. No, really, just do it.

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But nope, Kotori keeps talking and talking and talking. Y’see, she has to explain to the bad guys — and therefore, the audience — what she plans to do and what she hopes to accomplish in doing so: “If I melt to death, both the light and the sky and the drasil should disappear.” Naw, the bad guys don’t know that already! That’s why it has to be explained to them! And it’s not like time is of the essence or anything.

— Chisato insults the girl for sacrificing her own life for the sake of humanity. Uh, she’s going to die either way. She may as well pick and choose how her death affects the world. Sounds like you’re the fool…

— Motherfucker, Kotori is still talking: “Is it so strange to do something for someone else?” Who the fuck cares what Chisato thinks?

— Finally, she presses the button to eject herself. See ya, Kotori. You offered nothing to this anime but extra ditziness on top of Neko’s utter stupidity. And oh yeah, how can we forget her large boobs? Without them, whose boobs would the other girls molest instead? Whose?!

— But really, Kotori’s dead so this upcoming battle between the rest of the witches and Valkyria seems kind of… pointless. In the short term, the fate of the world is no longer at stake. We’re just going to fight Valkyria because the anime needs a final boss fight, I guess.

— Oh wait, Kotori can’t go yet until the harem lead offically sees her off. Ryota finally wakes up from his little nap and makes his way to the enemy base. There, he finds Kotori still alive, but barely holding on by a thread.

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Au contraire, Ryota-kun. There is always time to teehee. But good, now that Ryota’s here, we can have a shitty montage about all the fun times they’ve shared. Like stargazing and going to the beach. I JUST WANT TO BE A NORMAL GIRL, AND I GOT TO BE ONE, YAY!

Anime has constantly exoticized the shoujo for decades, using the female gender as nothing more than a tool to make our mundane world seem more exciting. Look at me, I’m the bland shounen who is average in every fucking way. Won’t a magical girl thus fall into my lap and turn my world upside down? It’ll make up for both our lack of distinct personalities. Once it has become so ingrained in our heads, however, that shoujos are automatically magical — that they serve as nothing more than a catalyst for the shounen’s heroic journey — people now suddenly think it’s subversion to turn around and ask, “Gosh, what if magical girls just want to be… themselves and not magical?” Man, here’s an idea: don’t make them magical.

Just imagine if there was a show in which the asshole harem lead kept expecting his female classmates to be witches and shit, but it turns out he’s just a delusional loser who expects girls to complete his boring, mundane life. Girls are not concepts. They have their own fucked up problems. Too bad we’re often too busy assigning them ours to see them as anything more than mahou shoujos, which is, more or less, a concept. Then when a mediocre show about a normal girl comes along — like maybe she’s just an aspiring fashion designer — it is so shocking to everyone that they cream their pants and immediately crown it the best anime of the year. It happens all the time, and god, it is so sad to see.

— Anyway, Kotori is aware that she’s Chisato’s imouto, but she just hid it from him. ‘Cause he’s a lunatic. She nevertheless has one last request, and that is for Ryota to tell her brother not to hurt anyone else. Somehow, I don’t think a lunatic is going to give up his life mission just like that…

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— Out of nowhere, we see a scene in which Kogoro has accomplished a breakthrough in replicating the pills that the witches need. I’m not sure why this scene is placed here in the middle of everything. It adds nothing to the current situation, and as a result, you could just stick it at the end as an aside without interrupting the pacing.

— Next up, Ryota holds Kazumi’s severed body in his arms. So is this going to be a Dead Witches Tour or what? One tearful conversation after the other with my poor, dying mahou shoujos! Boy, they certainly do add that special touch of tragedy to my journey! If… if only they got to be normal girls…

— So in her last moments — after Ryota has departed the scene, of course — Kazumi goes on and on about how she wanted to have his babies, how she’s going to die a virgin, and how she at least got to fall in love. Yay, everything is about her sexuality or the main character! She epitomizes the concept of the average shoujo in any given anime series. She exists within the story only for the sexual organs she possesses, and how she might affect the hero’s life, positively or negatively. We reduce these girls down to a concept, then we have them beg to become normal. It’s almost cruel when you put it that way.

— Now, at the very last minute, we get Valkyria’s backstory. I just don’t care.

— If Valkyria’s not going to kill Neko, Chisato will just have to do it himse-… FLYING SHOUNEN KICK:

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— Oh man, the bland harem lead will never forgive the lunatic bad guy. Whatever will the lunatic bad guy do! Oh right…

— Our hero tells Chisato all about Kotori’s last words, but as predicted, he’s a bad guy so why would he stop now? He could just redo his experiments. Way to think things through, guys.

— Valkyria finally lifts her finger in the bland harem lead’s direction, but even though she can conjure up antimatter and just antimatter from nowhere — conservation of mass be damned —  she’ll just shock our hero instead. As always, everyone else dies instantly, but the main character gets to bide his time with a long, painful death. In reality, the animators merely shake Ryota’s cel really furiously. Quality animation.

— What do you do when the final boss is immeasurably stronger than you?! You literally press the plot button and become magically stronger than her! Even so, the harem lead doth protest: “No, Kuroha. Don’t do it!” Yes, don’t try and save our lives! Don’t try and stop the evil witch and her keeper from possibly endangering other lives as well! ‘Cause you might melt or something, and even though you’re going to die anyway if you don’t do anything because Chisato was going to eject you just moments ago, gosh, you might melt. Wait, isn’t Ryota supposed to be the smart one of the group?

— So Kana shows up just in time. Remember? We learned a long time ago that she wasn’t permanently paralyzed. Apparently, she has to trade in her mobility in order to keep using her crappy foresight ability. Still, mobile or not, I’m amazed she got here in such a short time. Didn’t the good guys have to come here by helicopter? I guess she alternates between being the Flash and a crappy psychic.

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— And now we get Kana’s backstory. Fuck man, it’s too late. I don’t care anymore. Let’s pad this shit with needless flashbacks so we can extend the story and sell more of it. Except, however, this is an adaptation with a set amount of episodes allotted to it, so it just feels like the show is wasting precious time.

— And of course, Kana has to explain to us what she’s done. ‘Cause, y’know, we can’t figure it out for ourselves.

— Even in this desperate moment, Ryota insists, “Don’t do it, Kuroha!” What an asshole. Or an idiot. Or both.

— Finally, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: SSJ Neko. Not only that, her memories have returned. Yay, let’s have this conversation now while the bad guys look on! But hey, we did the same thing last episode, so why wouldn’t we do it again? Shitty stories never change.

— Ryota: “There’s… so much I want to say to you…” Sure, why don’t we hash it out here right now! Therefore, more flashbacks!

— In the end, this is what the final boss fight amounts to:

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No wonder they had to pad this shit out with boring flashbacks, because the actual fight itself is even more boring. We’ve gone from wacky witches shooting lasers out of their mouths to two girls just shooting beams at light at each other. I guess writing the dialogue for all of these tearful exchanges in the final episode sapped the author of his creative juices.

— The Hexenjagd jerks finally show up fashionably late in order to rain bullets onto Valkyria, but then Chisato jumps in front of her. Awwww! He does care! Hey look, Valkyria is now busy having her tearful exchange with Chisato. Boy, it’d be a shame if someone suddenly decided to shoot the distracted girl, huh? But nah, we’re just gonna sit here and watch as she recovers, flies herself into the air, and swears to the destroy the whole world.

— Finally, Valkyria pulls out her antimatter ability out of her bag of tricks, but it’s okay, because Neko can destroy it! Well, y’know, the antimatter should be currently reacting to the regular matter all around it and thus destroy itself, but this is anime, blah blah blah… Alright, so how’s Neko going to save the day?

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— But before we save the day, Neko gives our hero a kiss and confesses that she had always planned to do that as a kid. Uh-huh, tell me more. It’s not like we have pressing matters or anything.

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Wow, what a shocker!

— Neko then flies at Valkyria and then…

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I don’t know… something happened. This flash of light is all we get to see though. Sure enough, a micro black hole shows up later, but we don’t even get a good look at it. Good final boss fight, guys.

— Somehow — just somehow — Neko leaves the aftermath of that giant explosion and floats back to the ground. But then the ground breaks off, echoing that fateful day from their childhood. Ryota has one more chance to correct his previous mistake and save the girl he loves! Everything comes full circle. That’s deep, Lynn Okamoto. Very deep.

— This time, Ryota manages to save Neko, but she’s lost her memories again. We’re starting back at square one. Haha, of course. Real relationships are scary. Let’s just wipe the slate clean and never be in an actual romance. And just like that, the anime is over. On the bright side, we won’t have to see these two idiots rebuild their relationship. On an even brighter side, it seems as though Kazumi is dead for go–…

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Haha, nope. I’m sure Hatsuna saved her or some bullshit explanation like that. That’s why she gets to replace Kotori. After all, Kotori was never in love with the harem lead, so we sure fixed that!

— Final thoughts? F-plus. The plus is for how the anime can be so dumb, sometimes it is almost entertainingly dumb. But make no doubts about it, Brynhildr in the Darkness is an incredibly dumb story full of dumb characters, and I sure am glad I won’t have to watch another second of it.

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25 thoughts on “Brynhildr in the Darkness Ep. 13 (Finale): Hit that reset button!”

  1. Yeah, this show was a train wreck, a big part of the problem was the fact that this was a pandering anime that was trying to be “serious” while having a cliched harem setup. They had to rush this show and take out some important things while having a pseudo anime original ending.

    Btw, in the manga, they explained that kotori didnt tell him she was his sister because she didnt want to give him the satisfaction, and when he found out that his sister was dead for good he pretty much gave up on everything(instead of becoming more evil) and that’s why he sacrificed himself for mako.

    and spoiler(I doubt anyone cares) they didnt go into the detail about the slug like thing in their spine being the witches actual consciousness(that’s why they used the word eject) and they had a little part where ryouta felt guilty for stomping on them all the time..but I digress, this show was still a huge mess.

    1. Hm, I think I prefer change-of-heart Chisato over gives-up-on-life Chisato. They’re both lame either way, but the latter is just so pathetic. MY IMOUTO.

      1. Yeah, it was pretty stupid that the big bad’s ultimate goal was only to bring back his sister. I mean, wanting to take over the world is a bit cliche but even that would be a better reason.

    2. I didn’t like the entire show..but I wouldn’t say it was stupid, I’d say it was probably made to be loved by over sensitive people, if your not emotional this show would be dumb to you. Since I’m just a sensitive person I’d give the show a B-, because there were a lot of moments where I cried, some where a laughed… but all in all they tried to make it so damn dark I couldn’t even see myself ever truely loving it.

  2. Am I to understand that they started compressing to about 50 chapters per episode by the end here? Seems like an insane trainwreck

  3. “Just imagine if there was a show in which the asshole harem lead kept expecting his female classmates to be witches and shit, but it turns out he’s just a delusional loser who expects girls to complete his boring, mundane life. ”

    That’s a great idea for a show. Someone should write it.

  4. Shitty show is shitty. Why are we shown some kind of good ending?

    Have the author forgotten himself, that, even if the witches won’t melt as long as they take the pills, they are going to die either way? Because the green slug will continue to feast on them and hatch into a man eating alien monster?

    Good riddance. Final score 2/10. Not 1/10 because the final episode made me laugh out loud, at least. Apparently, people in this anime can still talk even though their bottom half is gone.

    1. Yeah, I was laughing at how long a ripped in half Kazumi was able to stay alive and keep talking forever when half her body was across the room plus massive blood loss but any form of realism and continuity flew out the window a long time ago

  5. “We reduce these girls down to a concept, then we have them beg to become normal.”

    Great, now I’m imagining some Big-O concept where the characters are becoming self-aware that they are characters, as their eyes slowly try to twitch away from the scripted direction to stare at the viewer, begging to be put down like a wounded puppy. Meanwhile the animator, who of course looks like Tamaki from Deadman Wonderland and furiously masturbating behind his computer, cackles with glee as he forces her to throw herself at the male protagonist whose name is a single syllable different from his own.

    Yup, it’s all coming together, now. I think if I assume this stance on my second viewing it will save me from wanting to shove my arm down a woodchipper.

  6. Out of all the pandering anime genres out there, i hate harem setups the most(highschool settings are second but they usually go hand-in-hand with harems anyway..)

    Harem protagonist (both boys and reverse harem girls) are boring and plain for the sole purpose of self-insertion(mostly for lonely narcissist) while the haremettes have generic archetypes for characters.

    Harems turns characters into objects whose only purpose/goal is to be the object of possession by the protagonist.
    But brynhildr was more extreme by pretty much forcing the girls to be in his harem or else they’ll melt away.

  7. Meh manga is better. Yes, they started compressing insane amounts of chapters per episode and changed quite a lot so it turned out more stupid than it already was.

    Also Kazumi’s death in manga was awesome quick, Valkyria just beheaded her so she couldn’t say a thing. (and Hatsuna got disintegrated)

  8. “Micro black hole”
    HAHAhaha!! I laughed so hard I started coughing!
    Who was it that called this? Was it you, E Minor? I thought I did when they introduced the antimatter power but I might’ve just thought it. Just wow. Too bad we didn’t get to see her fire a micro black hole to counteract the antimatter beam, but the random explosion was kinda funny anyway. I thought she just self-destructed for a second.
    _And of course she lost her memories, mate. She confessed her love! If she came back just fine she’d probably hold his hand and get teen pregnant.

    Well, it wasn’t the kind of mind-blowingly stupid we can appreciate, but at least the ending was more eventful than WIXOSS or whatever other garbage non-endings we’ve sat through. I wonder if the sudden case of flashbackitis was because it was following the manga so closely or if they somehow ran out of budget. Would’ve been perfect if it went all “Naruto VS Pain” on us and had the art style turn to jelly during a climactic fight.

    Also, when are anime writers gonna stop using the “I’ll never forgive you” line? It’s not a bad line but they always use it wrong. What villain ever gave a damn about being forgiven? Why would forgiveness suddenly be a thing for the story? It always lacks actual context aside from “You did something SO bad…”

    Anyway, all’s shit that ends shit.

  9. As for the concept issue you brought up: I see what you mean but everything in these typical anime are just concepts, dude. I find the abuse of the “magical girl (pet girl more like)” as lazy and rather offensive as the “clueless, dimwitted hollow martyr boy”. Why the hell does most every typical anime have a guy who just throws himself idiotically at death for the girl instead of thinking beforehand? “It’s a man’s job” or “because luv” are crap excuses for Emiya chucking himself constantly at horribly fatal attacks in Fate Stay/Night or some harem lead (dumb concept as it is) getting parts of his body blown off for no reason. The boys are the battered shields while the magical girls are their pathetic tools. There’s no appreciation for inner strength in the mainstream, unless it’s the kind that propels the armless hero(ine) into the fire once again ON SHEAR FORCE OF WILL

    But I do see your point as well. It’s as ingrained in anime as the imouto now and giving the “[inhuman] magical girl” a Pinocchio Complex isn’t some kind of commentary or narrative subversion. It’s more often a failed attempt at giving depth.

    I would really like to see a show like you described. It could actually be akin to NHK in that the protagonist grows up thanks to the girls rather than ends up in a harem. None of them get feelings for him, but they do somehow become friends with the trope-obsessed dude and bring him out of his daydreams to accept reality.
    …But of course whatever studio working on that would throw in imouto and sauna scenes and a beach episode and hints at OMG HAND TOUCHING SO LEWD and bleh.
    Could make for a good novel, at least.

    1. Imo, most writers and producers already know how annoying and cliched the harem concept is but they do it anyway because it’s a safe play that’s pretty much guaranteed to sell to the dumb otaku audience.

      This isn’t really a gender problem because the same thing happen the other way around.
      I’ve seen a few “reverse” harems and trust me, they are just as ridiculously bad and delusional as the normal teenage boy harem, if not worst since they usually revolve around an equally boring girl in a harem of 6+ pretty guys. Reverse harems almost make normal harems look subtle in comparison.

      1. Haha! I don’t know about that, but yeah shoujo harem shows and most yaoi works do the same typical nonsense this show did in that regard. It’s just that this show worked hard on dehumanizing the girls even more than usual so you can be teary eyed. Too bad we only cried out of laughter, and only at certain points (gotta love that micro black hole and antimatter ball).

        Also, your opinion on why most writers and producers used these cliches is more than opinion. I think it’s safe to say it’s so factual that it’s become scientific law.

        1. Before I started watching this i heard is was by Lynn and that it was pretty much like a spiritual successor to Ellen lied, which was two good reasons to stay away from it but I ignored the warning signs and watched anyway.

          Lynn, is just a bad writer, when his work isn’t full of nonsensical plot holes and self-insertion wish fulfilment it tries to be dark just for the sake of being dark.

          I never once felt attached to these characters, I even laughed at some of their death scenes that were supposed to be dramatic. When kazumi was cut in half bleeding out and still able to talk for a whole scene I face palmed.

          I agree, It’s funny when a writer who knows as much about science as a 2nd grader stick random science related words together like “i’ll negate her anti-matter with a micro black hole” nonsense

        2. I also found it annoying how dumb the girl were throughout the show.

          The main character(even with his perfect memory) is also an idiot but because he has slightly more common sense than anyone else he looks like a genius in comparison.

          The witches in this series almost reminds me of the lolis from black bullet in the way as in they aren’t characters just plot objects that happen be female

      2. “I’ve seen a few “reverse” harems and trust me, they are just as ridiculously bad and delusional as the normal teenage boy harem, if not worst since they usually revolve around an equally boring girl in a harem of 6+ pretty guys.”
        ^
        So it’s worse because it’s a girl with pretty guys? Nice logic you have there

    2. I find the abuse of the “magical girl (pet girl more like)” as lazy and rather offensive as the “clueless, dimwitted hollow martyr boy”.

      First, just because the girls are concepts doesn’t mean I’m saying that the guys aren’t reduced down to being concepts themselves. Rather, I do not talk about the guys because they are not getting the same treatment even if both genders are reduced down to being concepts. This is like when people compare the skimpy, sexy girls in video games to the buff, manly heroes, arguing that both sexes are being objectified. What people are missing, however, is this one subtle fact: both stereotypes feed into the male power fantasy. It’s no different here. The martyr boy feeds into the Japanese male power fantasy of being the selfless hero willing to die on the battlefield, a value which has been ingrained within the country’s culture for the longest time. You can be offended all you want that these characters serve as nothing more than “battered shields,” but at the end of the day, these shows are catered towards the male population. Most of the targeted audience morally approves of what they see. Meanwhile, how many girls out there want to be useless, airheaded dumbasses like Ryota’s witches? You can argue that the guys are concepts too, but that doesn’t mean they are getting the same treatment as the girls. Drawing false equivalencies does nothing but obscures the fact that these shows are specifically designed to indulge male power fantasies.

  10. “This is like when people compare the skimpy, sexy girls in video games to the buff, manly heroes, arguing that both sexes are being objectified.”
    Haha Yeah. Both sides have points but ultimately it’s pretty silly. There’s valid (though not entirely aggreeable) reasons for both sexes being portrayed as such, as well as cultural and psychological reasons.
    “What people are missing, however, is this one subtle fact: both stereotypes feed into the male power fantasy. It’s no different here.”
    Wait now, I think we missed something. While the idea of dying a hero is indeed a wide spread one and certainly ingrained in Japan’s culture since old time (hello samurai tales), it’s not in itself a power fantasy. A power fantasy doesn’t entail you suffering. A power fantasy, even a male one, would be more like Kirito or Tatsuya. We know them as the “Gary Stu” characters, which is the opposing side to the “Mary Sue” characters, who are female fantasies/power fantasies. I doubt anyone is fantasizing about being…uh…whoever the hell this dude is.

    The concept of the harem anime to begin with is misogynistic, yeah, and I do agree that being at the center of it is a typical male power fantasy. However, What’shisface here isn’t handsome, smart, strong, or really useful at all. He’s not Bond or Kenshiro. His only admirable trait is to be a shield (a dumb one), and because he’s so stupid about it he’s not even really admirable for that. His only purpose is to keep the girls alive by any means be it jumping (without thinking) off a cliff or literally shielding them (without thinking) from a blast. Dudes like him and Emiya aren’t power fantasies.
    _The opposite could even be said of a typical harem show like Nisekoi. THAT is a very obvious male power fantasy since even when Bluehead (forgot his name) committed a wrong, he didn’t even need to make up for it to just right itself. He’s the non-superpower equivalent to Kirito. All the girls love him and he does nothing to earn it but he doesn’t have to, and nothing bad ever really happens to him.

    If What’shisface never got his side blown off or Emiya never got his body just wrecked, then I’d agree. Male power fantasy. But these aren’t characters anyone wants to be in any nation’s culture. They aren’t in enviable positions. No one wants to BE Emiya getting his limbs hacked off or What’shisface getting his ass kicked. In fact, the only people in this entire show with any powers are the women. Same could be said for the first playthrough of Fate Stay/Night where Saber is far more capable and useful than Emiya is on a whole. As bad as the girls have it in both stories, and they have it bad, they can shoot antimatter beams from their hands and create black holes and slash a sword beam that fucking cuts the moon! HAha!

    This is what I meant when I said that the guys are shields and the women were tools. The women are far more useful and stronger, yet their strength is used to protect the man. They are also highly attractive. The man in turn protects the women pathetically, by tossing himself in danger’s way to be battered to shit. They are also humbly attractive, if at all.
    _This isn’t a male power fantasy by typical terms. The men aren’t empowered in any way. They rely entirely on the women for healing, focus, protection and action. It’s more akin to Mary Sue stories, really, wherein the girl is the humbly beautiful, fragile one and has her handsome men protect her (i.e. Twilight). In comparison to male power fantasies, these stories are emasculating.

    You could say that taking the Mary Sue typical female power fantasy, wherein she is treated like a jewel and adhered to like a queen by her dashing men, and swapping the sex of the cast makes it a male power fantasy. But when all traits of actual masculine power are stripped from the protagonist like this how can it be a “male” power fantasy? It just becomes a typical power fantasy, and really in these cases it’s not even that since these shlubs aren’t being treated like jewels and neither do they have girls hanging on their words. They’re just idiots that martyr first and think later.

    Anyway, I understand what you intend to say. The show is very obvious misogynistic, as all harem shows, and it is a type of power fantasy. The girls have no real character when they are the focus of the show and they are rarely given any development aside from
    TITTIES!! :DDD

    But this just isn’t a “male” power fantasy at all. I mean hell, the day isn’t even saved by Shlubby McDullface there. It’s saved by the girl. That’s not a male power fantasy. The show is just hack.

    I think we can both agree this show, like all harem shows, is crap that just doesn’t leave a good after taste in any viewer’s mouth, no matter their sex.
    We’ll always have the micro black hole, though, as Haha!

    Oh by the way, did you know they’re making a Nisekoi game? It’s going to be a VN for the Vita or something.
    How much do you want to bet that every answer will be the asshole option? HAhaha!

    1. I doubt anyone is fantasizing about being…uh…whoever the hell this dude is.

      Every culture has different fantasies and different values, and self-sacrifice is not suffering if it is considered noble. If you don’t think this is catering to men’s fantasies, then I don’t know what to say. If you say this doesn’t empower men to face death head on while girls must cower at the same thing, I don’t know what to say. It has always been a thing in these stories that men can opt to die and die nobly while girls are stuffed into fridges to drive up the tragedy factor. Hell, just look at Black Bullet. Some idiot gets to die like a hero while every single time a girl dies, it’s the saddest thing ever. Death is thus not the same for both sexes. Death is heroic for men, and tragic for women. Male power fantasy for one, emotionally manipulative bullshit for the other. You say these characters aren’t masculine in your eyes, but they are obviously appealing to a masculine crowd. The answer is simple. Their definition of masculinity is just different from how you typically see it.

      But these aren’t characters anyone wants to be in any nation’s culture. They aren’t in enviable positions

      You can’t say no one does. Lots of people want to go out like that. Even if most of us don’t ever want to die in a war, however, we do from time to time fantasize about it — about leaping on top of a grenade and being remembered forever by history. I also don’t literally want to go back to my high school reunion, and beat up all the jocks to a bloody pulp, but you can’t tell me it isn’t a common fantasy for a lot of people. Thus, it’s a male power fantasy. Plus, you’re telling me you’ve never thought up a story where a hero dies a noble death? You probably have. Most of us have. I thus don’t see how a character dying through noble sacrifice is not a power fantasy for viewers who want to be worshiped and remembered a hero. Those same viewers can then talk about how noble and heroic the sacrifice was. I may not want to die, but I can nevertheless point to this fictional example and say, “Yeah! That’s what being a man is all about!” You can sit here and say, “Well, that’s not what I think,” but your evidence is anecdotal. By and large, self-sacrifice is considered a noble, masculine trait and this is what these characters fulfill. You see them as battered shields, but not everyone does. You’re reading this too narrowly.

      The women are far more useful and stronger

      And yet for all that power, the girls are dimwits. It is Ryota’s common sense that holds the entire group together. Again, catering to guys. The girls are special and magical, but without men, they are functionally useless. You’re using the words ‘useful’ and ‘stronger’ too literally here. In terms of their narrative usefulness, Ryota comes out ahead anyway. He’s the goddamn harem lead for Christ’s sakes. He may not be the typical alpha jackass who beats everyone up with one finger, but he literally has a harem of powerful witches at his disposal. If that’s not a male power fantasy, then I don’t know what it is. For all of Neko and Kotori’s powers, it is Ryota who came up with the plan to stop the laser-firing witch. That’s just one example amongst many. You’re just looking at the final battle and concluding that the girls are useful and stronger while Ryota does nothing but throw himself in front of danger, and that’s just not true.

      I mean hell, the day isn’t even saved by Shlubby McDullface there. It’s saved by the girl.

      See, this is another misconception. There is no way in hell Neko would ever get to the point where she could save the day if not for everything Ryota had done for her. You have to consider the entire picture, not who literally does the saving at the very last minute. He’s the true hero of the story, and thus the story caters to him and his power fantasies. Just because he doesn’t save the final day as per your typical Gary Stu wankfest doesn’t the power fantasies are not there. Instead, we have this creepy paternalistic bullshit where the main character holds the dainty girl’s hand and leads her through the story until she is strong enough to walk on her two feet. If that’s not a male power fantasy, then what is it?

  11. This show could have been so much more,but with the plot holes and random entrances of last-minute organizations,so on and so forth,it felt sort of empty. Taking it at face value isn’t bad; however,I enjoy a good manga/anime with a good story. :)

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