Dorei-ku The Animation Ep. 1: Japan loves its sense of obligation

So if you wear this retainer-like thing, you can enslave others? Well, it’s not that simple. First, you have to convince your potential victim to wear one too. Good luck with that. I mean, why would I ever do that? But of course, Dorei-ku is purely fiction, so its idiotic characters are all jumping at the chance to put themselves at great risk. If you’ve ever heard of this device, why would you take the risk? No slave is worth the danger of becoming one yourself. But even if you’ve never heard of the device, I don’t know where the thing has been or what it can do! I’m not just gonna stick it in my mouth! But I digress. Let’s continue. Once you’ve managed to get your potential victim to wear the device, you then have to beat them in a duel. It can be any sort of duel. You can even downright trick them if you want.

One of the major subplots in this episode involves a woman getting revenge on her rapist. Yes, it’s that kind of show. She first met him on the internet, but he turned out to be a creep in real life. And of course, he’s fat and ugly. Hell, he even wears one of those goddamn fedoras (well, it might be a trillby). To get her revenge, the woman buys two SCMs (they currently cost 6,000,000 yen each, apparently), tracks her rapist down, convinces him to wear one, then beats him at pachinko. Whoever has more pachinko balls at the end of the hour wins. But wait, isn’t pachinko just pure chance?! Well, she never said they had to start from zero. It turns out she’s been playing all day, so her ball count crushes his easily. As a result, the guy accepts his loss and becomes her slave. Unfortunately, she doesn’t make him confess his crime to the police. She just becomes evil instead.

Internally, he doesn’t understand why he’s obeying her, but he obeys her nevertheless: “Huh? Something happened… What happened? My body moved on its own…” First, that’s messed up. Imagine losing control of your body and being aware of it. But of course, that’s what slavery is all about. The loss of autonomy is what makes slavery so heinous. I still have a problem with this, though. It is eventually explained to us that the slave will always obey their master because they feel an overwhelming sense of obligation. But if you feel obligated to obey, you would never have the sort of internal dialogue that we just saw. The feeling of obligation is not like happiness or sadness. I don’t just feel it. I also need internal justification for why I feel a certain obligation… at least that’s what I think. I mean, I could be wrong. I’m not a psychiatrist by any means. I’m just saying…

Think about it another way… he feels obligated to obey her because he lost. Later, we get to see bits and parts of the device’s manual, and it explains that the SCM works by amplifying your sense of obligation. Amplifies. That means it can’t simply give you a sense of obligation. You must already have some sense of obligation lingering within you. The device can only add to what you already have. So why would you feel any sort of obligation at all if someone tricks you? I’d just be like, “Fuck you, you cheated. I feel obligated to kick your ass now.” I can’t feel any sort of obligation if the rules of the game are unfair to begin with. And if the device works as intended by amplifying my sense of obligation, then… well, a fight would break out, right? Yeah, yeah, it’s just fiction. Yeah, yeah, I just gotta suspend my disbelief. I’ve heard it all before.

Anyways, Eia is the heroine of our story. For some reason, she first appears to us naked… in a body of water. She vaguely talks about her sense of identity or lack thereof. To make a long story short, she eventually gets in contact with her best friend’s (what’s up with her eyes?) ex-boyfriend. Yuuga instantly senses her smarts and courage through one quick game, so he decides to put his trust in her. He’s also acquired a pair of SCMs, but he’s not in this to get revenge. No, he wants to put himself at risk. He wants the thrill of putting everything on the line. It doesn’t even sound like Yuuga cares about enslaving others. He just wants to test his limits. That sounds so insanely stupid to me, but I’m particularly risk-averse. I just can’t wrap my mind around making such a bet. You win and you get what? Some endorphins that wear away quickly? Oh boy. On the other hand, if you lose, you get fucked. But somehow, this appeals to Eia so she agrees to be his partner. She’s always wanted to find her real self, and what better way than to test her own limits?

What does being his partner entail? Well, let’s say Yuuga loses. He doesn’t intend to lose, but he can’t deny that it’s also a real possibility. As a result, he needs insurance. He needs someone who will try and free him from slavery. So first, he hands her a fat stack of cash. If he should ever become a slave, maybe Eia can pay off his master. But if that doesn’t work, then the last resort is to have the girl play the game as well. Since she’s so smart and brave, she’d be an excellent duelist. She can certainly free him, right? Well, near the end of the episode, she narrates, “But I would soon come to regret meeting him with all my heart. I wish I could go back.” Oh boy. For now, I feel obligated to follow this anime. But Thursday’s schedule is incredibly packed, so I won’t hesitate to drop it if ends up being too dumb… like Ousama Game or something.

Honestly, I just can’t see this show being any good. I’d like to think that it’s subversively undermining Japanese culture, especially with regards to honor, duty, and obligation. Obligation can be a powerful thing. Obligation is what keeps the crime rates so low in East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea. It even keeps the streets clean! Hell, I wish we had some of that over here. Unfortunately, the chucklefucks around me are content to litter willy-nilly without giving a shit about anything or anyone around them. Nevertheless, too much of a good thing will hurt you too. Like people who feel duty-bound to marry whoever their parents tell them to marry. But I doubt that’s what Dorei-ku is going for. In fact, we’re just going to see a bunch of creepy rape shit, huh?

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3 Replies to “Dorei-ku The Animation Ep. 1: Japan loves its sense of obligation”

  1. I kind of felt like this show might have some sort of message to develop. I could be wrong and it could just be another exercise in misery, but I’m kind of hopeful that there’s some point. And yeah, the device is stupid and there’s no way any sane person would ever put one in, but I’m going to give the show that one – much like I give Steins;Gate the whole time travel via phone microwave – and focus instead on whether it is consistent with the rules it has established in this episode.

  2. Yeah it’s really contradictory everything about this slaving device, also is weird that someone as “fearless” as Yuuga needs an insurance, it kinda takes away the thrill of gambling your life and freedom and that’s apparently all he seeks in all this.

    Still I’ll watch this show, it can’t be worse than Ousama Game… Right?

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