Here’s a trio of shows that aired recently. Will I follow any of them from start to finish? Beats me. I guess I’ll see as I go along.
Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. Ep. 1
What a mouthful of a title. No wonder they simplified it to just My Roommate is a Cat. Anyways, the show’s premise is pretty simple. Subaru is a popular novelist who doesn’t get along with people. He’s actually kind of an asshole, and because he purposefully avoids social interactions as much as possible, he predictably has trouble interpreting basic social cues. Y’see, Subaru prefers to live in the world of his own imagination, so he doesn’t like it when people tell him things. Lately, however, he feels as though he needs fresh ideas for his novels. So when he stumbles upon a stray cat, he decides to take it in and have it act as his muse. The guy eventually falls ill because he forgets to eat (an important deadline is coming up), so the cat tries to offer its food to him. Subaru then realizes that the cat cares about him. Alright, you get the picture. By owning a cat, Subaru will open his heart to the world as he slowly realizes that there’s more to life than just books. Having a pet will teach him invaluable life lessons. Oh yeah, both his parents died in an accident. I have no clue why they felt that this was necessary. The guy could still be a self-imposed loner even with his parents still alive, but I guess it’s necessary to wring out as much sympathy as you can from the audience.
On paper, I want to like this show. I mean, I have a cat, so I love cats. Also, the cat here is pretty cute. Again, the guy’s a jerk, but only for now. It’s one of those stories where the flawed protagonist will slowly grow and become a well-rounded person overtime. Fair enough. Unfortunately, there are two main issues holding the anime back. First, the first episode’s just dreadfully boring. It’s one of those slice-of-life deals. Second, the cat has an inner monologue that is all too human. The idea here is that you get to see the same events from two different points-of-view: one from Subaru and one from the cat. Subaru can’t understand why the cat is offering him food, so we later hear the cat’s inner monologue — yes, that’s right — tell us that it had wanted to thank the guy before leaving (don’t worry, it doesn’t). That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t want to anthropomorphize the cat. Cats have personalities of their own. Cats have a psychology of their own. Sure, some of it might be analogous to our own psychology, but what makes them special is that they’re not humans. So don’t give them a human voice. Don’t give them human reasoning and logic. You just end up making the cat boring and generic instead of keeping it a cat. Even worse, I can’t help but be reminded of those stupid movies with the talking babies.
Kemurikusa Ep. 1
Nya nya nya nya nya. That’s what it sounds like to watch this goddamn show. Nya nya nya. Rina, the girl with the most annoying voice, actually has four copies of herself (five originally until one died). Boy, have fun listening to that. As for the story, there isn’t really much to go on right now. Rin lives in and around the ruins of Island One with her sisters. Are they actually sisters or are they a product of some weird science experiment? Shrug. Also, we appear to be in some sort of post-apocalyptic world where fresh water has become extremely scarce. Luckily, our not-so-human girls seem to have the ability to consume metal objects as food. To make matters worse, however, whenever a red fog rolls in, this means that a red bug is nearby. For some reason, the red bugs are after the girls. Thanks to Midori, some sort of magical tree with equally magical leaves, the girls can defend themselves for now.
Everything changes, however, when
the patriarchy a boy by the name of Wakaba shows up. The girls were just drawing water from a nearby source when they somehow managed to drag what appears to be a normal human into their world. Predictably enough, he has no clue what’s happening nor where he is. The girls all think that he’s a bug even though he looks nothing like one. Plus, there’s also the fact that he can talk, but hey, I’m no bug expert. Rin in particular is extremely wary of the guy because he bleeds red, and red means bug! So uh, what color does she bleed? But moving on… since Rin appears to be the oldest and most mature sister, she starts off by acting like a hard ass. She wants to outright exterminate the guy. When an actual red bug attacks, however, Wakaba proves himself useful. First, it appears that he can detect the red bugs by the heat that they give off. Maybe the sisters can’t feel heat. Not only that, he proceeds to jump head first into danger in order to save one of the many Rinas. As a result of his heroic efforts, Rin now feels something for him? Already? C’mon…
Obviously, I want to know what’s going on. What happened to this world, what’s the deal with the sisters, what’s the deal with the bugs, where did Wakaba come from, so on and so forth. But I dunno, outside of Rin, these characters are really goddamn annoying to listen to. I also have a hard time understanding Wakaba’s motives and actions. When the girls move to exterminate him, he’s okay with it. Instead of fighting for his life, the guy starts apologizing for whatever crimes he may have inadvertently committed against them. He then accepts his fate and simply hopes that death doesn’t hurt. That’s not normal, dude. He then follows this up by later saving one of the Rinas. He puts himself at risk just to save someone he doesn’t know because someone else he also doesn’t know was going to be sad. Maybe he’s a really, really, really nice guy. Or maybe he’s an idiot. Hell, why not both?
Meiji Tokyo Renka Ep. 1
These shows are hilariously all the same. First, you pick a seemingly ordinary girl who is actually not so ordinary. She still needs to be special in some way.
So meet Mei, who has the ability to communicate with spirits.
But don’t stop there. Let’s give her a silly quirk! We still want to feel like our heroine is someone whom we can identify with. I know! Let’s give Mei a strange fixation with roast beef! Yes, roast beef! She’s not like other girls! She likes hot, juicy beef more than cake!
Alright, let’s get back to the spirit thing. Because Mei can communicate with spirits, she has no friends. This is key, because the heroines in these stories must always feel out-of-place. They must always feel lonely and ostracized. They must always face some kind of hardship that just makes them want to get away from their boring, humdrum modern life. This will serve as an excuse to whisk away to another reality. Sometimes, these girls may end up in spiritual world full of ogres and whatnot.
In Meiji Tokyo Renka, however, Mei gets sent back to (obviously) the Meiji era. How? It’s easy. Just have a silly magician boi stick you in a box.
Of course, when we say the Meiji era, we don’t actually want the complete Meiji era experience. We don’t care about the ugly side of the late 19th and early 20th century time period. We just want the fancy, romanticized parts. Y’know, the stylish, elegant banquets and lavish dinner parties of the extremely rich and famous!
Finally, now that the setup is complete, we can introduce the boys — the oh-so-hot boys of the Meiji era. And O-M-G, they are so hot, you guys. They are so hot that Mei hilariously turns red every time she sees one:
There are just hot boys everywhere in this time period! Never before in her life has she seen such hot boys. There are no hot guys in the 21st century. I buy it. I totally buy it. But why bother with so many options when we all know the first guy she meets is going to be the top husbando? Top husbando even goes and makes a daring announcement:
What a rapscallion! He had no choice, though. If he hadn’t protected her, she would’ve had to work in a textile factory instead of living her life out as a pampered upper class Japanese woman. Who needs civil rights when you’ve got hot boys and even juicier beef?