Just killing some time until the shows I really wanna watch start airing.
“But what about Devilman Crybaby!”
I’ll watch that on my spare time, and I probably won’t write about it. Covering entire series at a time is not really my style. I like breaking shows down episode by episode.
Anyway, first up on the docket…
Toji no Miko Ep. 1
Sword-wielding shrine maidens are our only defense against aradama (aratama?), which are… evil creatures, I guess? Where do they come from? What are they made of? These are details that the series deem too unimportant to delve into at the moment. Rather, we see a squadron of shrine maidens face off against a giant and poorly-animated centipede of some sort. They’re in school uniforms, but they don “special equipment” to augment their fighting abilities. Augmented or not, the girls’ itty-bitty weapons can naturally block the centipede’s attacks with ease. I guess the monsters might look big, but they really weigh nothing. There’s no other way to explain how a 90-lbs schoolgirl can withstand those blows. Oh right, magic…
Anyhow, this incredibly short fight against the centipede is all we get regarding the aradama. They are not the main conflict of the series… at least not yet. We see one at the very start of this series simply to justify the shrine maidens’ existence. After all, you need a reason for teenage girls to run around with dangerous weapons. You need a reason for why our national security depends upon a bunch of girls who only just entered puberty. And it’s giant centipedes! Now let’s not talk about those scary monsters again. Instead, let’s watch a pair of middle school girls sight-see, take baths, eat food, ride the train…. zzzzz…
The latter half of the epiosde features an equally super boring sword-fighting tournament between the little girls. Main spunky character Kanami is super talented at the okatana, so she gets to represent her academy at the next annual who-gives-a-damn competition. By her side is Mai, the loyal-but-always-second-place best friend. Along the way, she bumps into Hiyori, the serious, dark-haired maiden who will no doubt butt heads with Kanami for contrived reasons. And so we see the girls duel each other in some fancy tournament. None of the action is anything to speak of. Kanami geeks out at all the different fighting styles being used, but I see nothing remotely interesting to talk about.
As expected, Kanami and Hiyori make it to the grand finals where the great Yukari-sama, apparently the leader of our aradama extermination squad, is in attendance. When the match begins, Hiyori suddenly uses her anime super speed to launch an attack against Yukari. Gasp. What’s going on! Why does this middle school girl want to kill someone so important to our national defense! Yukari easily fends off the attack, however, and Hiyori is now in danger. Without knowing what she’s getting into, spunky main character leaps in and saves the day. The two girls make their escape and the episode finally comes to an end. Uggggggh….
Citrus Ep. 1
Well geez… the OP gets right down to it, huh? We ain’t beating around the bush here (no pun intended). For a majority of anime romances, lovers can barely hold hands, much less kiss each other. Often times, the story will end immediately after the great, big confession. But of course, when it’s a same-sex couple, lovers can’t help but tongue-wrestle right from the get-go. There’s this weird tendency to glorify heterosexual relationships as pure and innocent, so God forbid the main couple ever touch each other like hormone-driven teenagers are wont to do. Or perhaps homosexual relationships are simply exploited for the viewers’ delight — and therefore viewed less seriously — which would explain why a lot of these couples are so often hypersexualized. You might say a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B…. In any case, this is why I’m always hesitant to watch these shows. It just feels, again, exploitative. After all, our heroines also happen to be step-sisters. And if we try and balk at that, defenders come out of the woodwork to proclaim that this is fantasy and how we really shouldn’t take it so seriously. But as soon as our protestations die down, these same defenders go on Twitter to proclaim far and wide how serious they are about same-sex couples being represented in fiction and how they’re true LGBT allies. Uh huh.
Anyways, Yuzu, a self-proclaimed gyaru, is transferring to a new school, and she hopes to make a good impression. Unfortunately, she is quickly chastised for her appearance. Everything about her seemingly violates a school rule. In the process, she bumps into Mei, the student council president who will soon be revealed as her younger step-sister and become her lover. Mei proceeds to lecture Yuzu about propriety, and it’s an interesting way to frame and kick off a story about a socially taboo relationship not only between two girls but also two siblings: “School rules are for our social education, teaching us to obey designated rules.” And obey these rules we shall not! I’d love to take this sentiment to heart, but these shows always spoil any potential goodwill by immediately taking a turn to the non-consensual. Mei suddenly gropes Yuzu in front of the entire school, but nobody even objects because she immediately reveals Yuzu’s phone in her hands. Oh sure, sure, she was just trying to confiscate the device, so it was definitely necessary to play a little grab ass in public.
“Listen up. It’s important to conduct yourself properly on a daily basis. That applies not only at home, but at school as well.”
Later, our heroine endures a sanctimonious lecture from some ridiculous-looking woman in order to get her phone back. As soon as she turns the corner, however…
Oh no, the teacher is a predator! Shocked by what she sees, a distraught Yuzu returns home to learn that her step-father has decided to fuck off and go see the world. One, that’s a convenient way to remove him from this story entirely. Two, oh good another scumbag male character. Her mother seems fine with it, though. She also finally lets Yuzu in on the fact that she’ll now have a sibling who is none other than Mei, because why wouldn’t we wanna de-legitimize this same-sex relationship with incestuous bullshit? As long as we get our rocks off, who cares? The story tries to tug at my heartstrings by getting into Mei’s backstory. Oh, she used to live alone, yadda yadda yadda. But I really can’t feel much for her because I’m already pre-emptively bracing myself for what’s about to happen between these two characters. Y’see, this ain’t my first rodeo, and I know how these stories usually unfold. There’s a reason I rarely blog about these shows, because I rarely get past the first episode. Needless to say…
And Twitter goes wild! After what seems like an eternity, Mei finally relents. As Yuzu stares up at her silhouette, there’s no anger or even an inkling that her personal space has been violated. She simply thinks to herself, “That’s what kisses are like.” Yeah, if you’re in a yuri or yaoi anime, someone’s always getting pinned to the ground or the wall. I hope you enjoy your stay, ’cause I won’t be. No more Citrus for me. I’m sticking to apples, God’s approved fruit.
Damn, I need some food in me. I might return later with more shows under the belt. Something about vulgar schoolgirls? Wait, I thought I just watched that.