Well, it does more than just “suck.” It manages to, in the space of two unimaginative episodes, pigeonhole itself into a tiny little niche occupied by a mere ninety-odd percent of all anime: that of conservative bullshit. Every season, I can find something and point to it and say “wow, anime is shitty.” Often, I can point to more than one show. Winter 2012 was a bit of a wreck. The best show of the season was probably Milky Holmes, and that’s grim already. But if Milky Holmes is a shit-encrusted jewel barely glinting on the surface of a colossal dragon’s turd, and if Amagami SS+ is the only slightly fragrant tip of the turdberg, the Law of Unnecessary Metaphor Extension dictates that somewhere in the heart of this turd is a slimy molten core so vile that its scent kills townsfolk, that its very thought destroys Innocence.
That core, that shit-of-the-shit: Ano Natsu de Matteru.
Some people go through life noting what gives them hope. Some people commemorate what restores their faith in humanity. Or in institutions, countries, television. In anime. Others do the opposite. We call them pessimists, or in layman’s terms, “the worst.” Before I’m accused of being a pessimist for saying that Ano Natsu refreshes all the loathing I carry for anime en general, I should note that I’m not usually bent on digging up the horrible things in life.
Mainly I just like to hate on the things idiots like. If it helps you to think of me as a troll, feel free. I’m mainly penning this in order to have an “eligible post in March” for the stupid Aniblog Tourney. It seems they learned their lesson last time and invited me this year. Popularity contests are the most important thing in the world, so I care a lot about winning.
So I’m here to plant my flag in the 2012 ABT, and I’m doing it with everyone’s favorite little poopwreck Ano Natsu. Don’t know what a poopwreck is? If you’re as mindless as Ano Natsu’s Onegai-Sensei-ripping-off “creative” staff, you’ll need an explanation…
poopwreck, n.: Like a trainwreck, but instead of a train (which goes fast and looks cool) going off a set of tracks, it entails a shit (which doesn’t move and smells like rotten ass) going off target. Whenever you witness it, you know you should commit suicide, because either it’s yours (in which case your ass is probably ineligible for LK cock) or it’s someone else’s (and you’re the creepiest fuck in the world).
So where does Ano Natsu go wrong, you might ask.
What is its crime?
I could say the obvious thing—that it’s downhill from the start, and that it’s unwatchable 2.5 minutes in—but I’m going to go farther. I’ve been largely silent lately (earning myself the title “lapsed”), and I feel I owe my readers, fans, and forlorn lovers a little something special. A real post. With real thoughts. Written in real words. As a bonus, I’ll leave sarcasm behind for the rest of this post. I think I overdid it last post. I got to the point where even I didn’t know whether I liked Thermae Romae or not. So just this once, as a reward both to you and to myself, I’m going to be straight with you.
Majime na Lolikit
Allow me to describe the scene: Kanna (the bitch), Kaitou (the pussy), Ichika (the slut), and Kaitou’s older sister are sitting around a table. The older sister is leaving for a while, and this means that Kaitou and Ichika are going to be living alone for a while. Kanna interrogates Kaitou, largely because she’s the bitch, inquiring into his plans with regard to participating in nightly Ichika buffets.
A master of motherly rhetoric, Kanna says something like this of Kaitou:
“Just because he’s living with a pretty senpai, it’s not like he’ll get up to any funny business or funny business, or funny business, right?” (sic. some fansubbers or something)
She and the older sister glare at Kaitou, repeat that “right” a few times. Ichika is grinning awkwardly, and Kaitou’s spinning into a defensive flurry befitting the pussy. He denies all implied accusations and promises not to violate his foxy guest. Kanna and his older sister say they’re relieved, but are clearly still suspicious.
Let’s examine this moment.
Where is Ichika’s agency?
No, let me know when you find it, I’m interested.
… what was that?
You don’t know where Ichika’s agency went?
Well holy fucking shit you’re right! It’s gone! And who took it away from her? Was it a bad rapist? Was it an evil misogynist? No: it was her “supporters,” the other two women at the table. Along with Ichika’s agency, they’re also robbing Kaitou of his individuality (prejudicially assuming that he’s a violator) and me of my will to watch the show. By putting the abstinence onus on the guy, and not saying a word to the girl, they are totally disempowering her and validating any idea the guy might have that the girl is just sex object—one not to touch, yes, but one nonetheless. One that couldn’t, you know, say “no.”
And one that couldn’t say “yes.”
Listen, I’m all for telling guys that it’s not good to rape people. And maybe Kaitou needs to hear this, though he really doesn’t seem like a rapist to me. But the moment the dialogue around sex excludes either interested party, it becomes a reactionary bullshit fest. The choice is put in Kaitou’s hands. He can choose to have sex with Ichika, though Kanna is counting on him not doing that. He can choose to not have sex with Ichika, and that will make him a good person. She has no choice in the matter. It’s being made for her by Kanna and Kaitou’s sister, and that’s not how sexual choices should be made. It’s her body. It’s her life.
Ano Natsu is by no means original, and that applies in this department as well. We see this kind of conservative crap in tons of anime. There are countless cultural norms and mores that entail guys being warned not to force themselves on girls. These norms turn the girl into a listless slab of meat. “Good luck, Ichika. I really hope Kaitou won’t rape you, ’cause we all know you’ve got no say in the matter.”
But Dr. lolikit, you might object, it’s just anime.
Anime is culture. Culture is education. We learn lessons from every thought we consume. I hope you learn the lesson I did from Ano Natsu (that it’s shit), but there are other lessons one could learn from it. I have friends who like this show, friends who have fallen victim to it. It’s not just that moron Hanners. And even Hanners could do to understand the piss he’s drinking. I’m a benevolent guy.
Is it too much to ask for a show to signal some forward thinking, some progressive attitudes toward sexuality? Is it too much to ask for a show to not rob its female characters of agency over their own bodies?
If your answer is yes, you’re a failed human being.
And to all failed human beings, I say this: anime will always be an abhorrently flawed genre so long as Ano Natsu-level bullshit runs rampant within its boundaries.
these notes are like lelouch's head to the boot of this post's suzaku
it is moist & delicious meta
and it's not even a lie!