Inuyashiki Ep. 4: Nobody wins

I’m afraid I have to apologize to you guys ahead of time, because this won’t be a long post. I just really do not know how to adequately address the level of sexual violence in this week’s episode. If you came here expecting the usual deep dive into the show’s themes and ideas, I’m afraid I have little to offer that isn’t emotionally charged. Sorry. Of course, I finished the episode with a bunch of thoughts swirling through my mind. Why was the portrayal of forced sodomy committed on the man so explicit when Fumino’s multiple assaults were only alluded to? Do we take sexual assault against men less seriously? Or does the episode seek to pre-emptively blunt any potential accusations of misogyny against it by “leveling the playing field,” so to speak. I don’t know. I just don’t have any good answers to offer. Honestly, maybe I don’t want to know the answers.

Strictly speaking, I can’t say that this episode adds much to the overall narrative. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t do anything to advance the main story. Moreover, I doubt we’ll ever encounter Fumino and Satoru again. The scene where the girl picks up a katana and tries to defend herself is ridiculous. It is twice as long as it needed to be… assuming it ever need to be in the first place. As for Ichiro, did he at least undergo any significant character development? I dunno, it’s arguable. He’s still nowhere close to mastering his body. If he hadn’t worn himself out the first time he tried to save those two, Fumino wouldn’t have gotten kidnapped again, drugged up again, and likely assaulted again. But he’s not the villain. No. He’s just an old man trying to do his best. And ultimately, he has to decide what he’s going to do when he does catch up to the bad guys. You can’t always scare them off with kicks and punches. You can’t move them with emotional speeches. But at the same time, is it right to cripple these criminals beyond belief? Yes, I know what they’ve done to Fumino and countless girls like her. But was there no other solution? At this point, who is even pulling the strings anymore? Can we honestly say Ichiro is in full control of his body? Or does someone or something assume control in these moments in order to enact vengeful justice?

There are no winners here. I repeat this to myself as I watch Fumino run into her fiance’s arms with a smile on her face. After what she just experienced? After what the story just put her through in order to put our hearts through the wringer? The credits will roll, and most of us will hope that those two live happily ever after. But can Ichiro also heal minds? Maybe he can cure cancer, but can he erase mental scars? Otherwise, Fumino might be haunted by for a long, long time to come. Some things just can’t be hand-waved away. Anyway, I don’t want to sit here and spout vaguely pretentious lines over and over about the gravity of sexual assault. To put it simply, this was an episode that I found difficult to finish. I felt a pit in my stomach as soon as Satoru proposed to Fumino. You just knew things would go badly for them. So when the girl got kidnapped again, I skipped ahead to the ending. I had to know the outcome before I would continue. I did eventually go back and watch the old man wreak his vengeance, but it did little to quell my discomfort. She’s alive at least. But at what cost? If the episode was trying to make me feel bad, I guess it did its job and it did its job well. But that’s all I’m going to say about it.

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9 Replies to “Inuyashiki Ep. 4: Nobody wins”

  1. I think this episode exists just to present the yakuza guy. If my eyes are good, he’s in the opening, so he is probably going to be a recurring villain, maybe even the main villain for some time. He’s crippled now, but we know there are someone out there who can heal him.

  2. Yeah, this episode just feels gratuitous. You can’t just make horrible stuff better with “all’s well that ends well” moment at the end. It just cheapen and trivialize the entire stuff.

    If the above commenter is right and this episode is just to introduce the yakuza guy, I’ll be pissed. You can’t just do sexual assault just to introduce the bad guy and make the audience hate him. It just make the victim look like prop. Seriously, can’t they just do the usual loan shark and leg-breaking stuff? I can’t help but feel the entire sexual assault stuff is just for shock value and grimdark points like this anime is so mature and shit, people!!! We got sexual assault for fuck’s sake!!! *sigh*

    This episode feels like the first episode of Gangsta. The first episode deals with mature subject like prostitution and organized crime without any hint of maturity and then drop it and shove it into the gutter because the rest of the anime and the manga is all about shonen fights between genetically-augmented drugged super-soldiers.

  3. For me, at this point, Inuyashiki is nothing but a hate watch.

    It’s an empty, mean-spirited, exploitative power fantasy. A sort of unneeded, poorly written riff on Death Note’s themes, except lacking in Death Note’s nuance, wit or purpose.

    For all that so many of us hate on anime’s dreadful little sister fetishes, this show is actually far worse, as it indulges a deep seated misanthropy with pointless, brutal violence. In the early going, I almost thought it was meant to be campy. But campy things have heart, and at the center of this show, there’s nothing but fear and loathing.

  4. I liked it and it felt like a nice self-contained story. We do need a few episodes where the old man gets to be a hero.

    Yeah the punishment can feel a bit gratuitous, but when was the last time you saw anime have the guts to gore a bunch of yakuza? The Japanese mafia is a real force there, not a piece of fiction you can use as a cheap prop. And they did keep it ambiguous about whether he intended to cripple them, but considering they indiscriminately shot upon him he’s justified in killing them. I do think crippling them might have been too much punishment, even if he was in a hurry to save the girl. I also don’t like how he revealed he could fly to the girl, and whenever Superman swoops in to ask “Are you okay?” and then shows off his powers when its not needed, I’ve also thought it was narcissistic power-tripping fantasy. I like the idea of casting an old man as the hero because he might have more maturity and a stronger sense of ethics than a teenager who wants to abuse his powers. I mean you don’t really know if all of those guys evil enough to have paralyzed someone for life, or if they were just killers who were forced into the situation by the tides of life. But old man has the power to judge, and of course no one in the audience wanted to see him pass on that power after an anime waifu got NTR’d.

    Anyway, we get a thrill from dishing out excessive punishment to evil-doers, even going so far as to invent justifications so we can punish them more. (That helps explain why so many cultures have invented fabulously detailed hells.) It’s really easy to draw a connection to the inherit problems with sending people to hell as this anti-religion animation demonstrates. https://youtu.be/CayWIEjF3uo

  5. This was my least favourite part of the manga and it wasn’t all that great watching it here either. I don’t think there was forced sodomy, but oral sex. Not that it makes it better. It seems like the mangaka tends to write evil male macho characters as ones who always force weaker guys into that. I never finished Gantz, but if I remember correctly there was someone in the manga who did the same thing there too.

    I think the main reason for this was just to show how ‘badass’ the old guy is. Not only can he take down petty criminals, but the yakuza too and he does it without killing anyone. He just blinds and paralyzes them.

    1. I used “sodomy” because it includes oral sex in some definitions. Anyways, I hope we can move on from this part of the story. Evil rapists exist out there, but it didn’t need to be so gratuitous.

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