Here’s a pair of Friday shows that I probably won’t devote a post to every single week.
Mahou Shoujo Site Ep. 1: Misanthropic nonsense
Boy, Aya has it rough. When she gets to school, she finds her shoes stuffed to the brim with thumbtacks and razors. When she gets to her desk, she finds it covered from top to bottom in some sort of condiment (mustard?). When she gets to leave the school, she instead finds a shoe on her neck. When she finally gets to go home, she is bullied even harder by her older bother Kaname. Where are the adults, you ask? Well, take a look at her teacher. Obviously, he’s too tired to even give a fuck. As for her parents, the dad is some sort of psycho who expects the world of Kaname. As a result, she’s practically invisible to him. The mother is, well, oblivious. So is there any bright spot in Aya’s life? Technically, no. She likes to visit and feed a stray kitten living under a bridge, but you know perfectly why that poor animal is even in this story. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the cat is only in this episode so that it may die.
One night, Aya’s laptop magically comes to life, and a strange, creepy girl decides to grant Aya magical powers. Basically, she gets a toy gun. Unfortunately, the girl finds out the next day that the bullies have killed her cat. Not only that, they try to have an upperclassman rape Aya. With nowhere to run, the girl desperately reaches for her toy gun and pulls the trigger. This somehow teleports two of her attackers right on top of the train tracks, and as a result, they meet the same fate as the poor cat. More importantly, this is where the show’s dangerous misanthropy takes shape. Did you feel anything when those bullies died? Were you horrified like Aya? Probably not. But that’s what the show wants, is it not? Aya isn’t cruelly and relentlessly bullied on all sides because we’re trying to raise awareness for bullying victims. Rather, she’s bullied so that we may hate. The poor cat is murdered so that we may hate.
There’s a very telling moment that occurs shortly after the two bullies’ gruesome deaths. Aya walks through the hallway of her school and overhears a bunch of students talking about the recent tragedy. I dare even say that they’re more than just mere students. Rather, they function as this show’s Greek chorus; they say what the heroine wants to say. In fact, you could even suggest that they say what the show wants us to feel: “Who cares? They were punks anyway. We’re better off without them.” And that’s precisely what makes this opening episode of Mahou Shoujo Site so gross. Look, there are undeniably monsters out there in the real world, and we need to stop them. But this anime isn’t merely about stopping evil. It’s about training you to hate your enemy so much that you can kill them without any remorse. I’m not under any delusion that every single bad person on this planet can be rehabilitated. Of course not. That’s just pure naivete. But Mahou Shoujo Site skips right to the misanthropy without blinking an eye.
Near the end of the episode, the ringleader threatens to cut Aya’s mouth with a box cutter as revenge. She doesn’t have any proof that Aya is responsible for her friends’ deaths, but she doesn’t care. All of a sudden, time freezes for everyone but Aya and a new girl. Tsuyuno enters the restroom and makes it known to the girl that she’s a mahou shoujo as well. If you haven’t already guessed, she can stop time. She then nonchalantly takes the box cutter and slices the ringleader’s throat. Just. Like. That. No emotion, no anything. “There,” she says, “Just another unfortunate accident.” She even chides our heroine for not doing it first. Of course, I can easily imagine that Aya will retain her soft-hearted kindness. She’ll be the one who never quite gets used to the brutality required of her in order to survive in this comically sadistic world. Nevertheless, it’s not just about her. It’s about you and me as well. It’s about what the audience feels. If the show can convince us that it’s okay to murder kids — no matter how ridiculously evil they are portrayed — then that’s a problem.
Gurazeni Ep. 1: Tough break
Gurazeni wants us to focus on the more pragmatic side of baseball, i.e. the money. When the opposing batter fouls out on a bunt, he is immediately sent back to the minors. Bonda thinks that this is a slight against him, but not really. The guy popped up on the first pitch. If you can’t get a bunt down, do you really belong on the roster? Probably not. Anyways, Bonda is obsessed with money. He even knows the opposing players’ salaries. He makes 18 million yen a year, which is supposedly on the lower end of the spectrum. That’s roughly $186,000 in US dollars. According to this article, the average baseball player in Japan pulls in around 33 million yen. But I mean, his salary sounds about right. Bonda’s not a closer. Hell, he’s not even the primary set-up man. He’s just a LOOGY, i.e. a lefty one-out guy.
Anyways… I don’t think this show is very appealing to non-baseball fans. I really like the sports, and I still find it incredibly boring. Is it worth following from week to week? Probably not.
The anime actually toned down the brutality of the crimes against Aya. At least I think they did, I remember it being a lot worse in the manga. I wish I could tell you that it gets better, but it doesn’t. The story tries to be super edgy by making evil characters super evil, but it comes off more as forced and uninteresting.
Mahou Shoujo Site is one of those trashy, super edgy anime, huh? I jokingly checked it to see how trashy and edgy it’s going to be and it doesn’t disappoint in that department. I’m not going to check the second episode because for all its desire to be super edgy and shocking, the same desire also made them super predictable and worse cheap. It needs less edginess and more tongue-in-cheek.
Gurazeni sounds interesting, but I don’t like sports anime and I don’t think this anime is going to delve into the juicy part of the money politics behind the closed door in Japanese baseball, so nope.