Extra: Ball’s in your court, dude

If you’re new to this site, or anime in general, you may be wondering why I bother with all the different sections in my reviews. In fact, you might even think it rude and judgmental. But aside from the fact that I have a right to review shows as I see fit, it’s not quite as rigid as it looks at first. My reviews are sectioned off as they are so you can chose for yourself if what the show offers is what you’re interested in. Even though my opinion taints how I phrase these sections, you can still get the just of what these shows contain. If fanservice irks you, you can be warned. If language makes you mad, you can avoid it. In other words, the ball’s in your court.

The reason I often slam on sexist stuff (in shoujo shows in particular) in my articles, isn’t because I’m judging people who like those things. What you like and watch is your decision. My biggest issue with many of these things is because they are mislabeled for the benefit of a marketing ploy or by fans to justify what they like. And that just doesn’t fly with me. Rape is sexual contact of any kind that is unwanted (non-consent). To push off those kinds of relationships (fictional as they may be) as healthy or normal when they are not is what gets me on my soap box faster than a jack rabbit on a date. Are there women that like watching other women getting raped? I shudder at the thought, but yes. There are. And that’s their business. The danger lies in pushing it off as something it isn’t. Diabolik Lovers contains outright rape. Period. And so does Say “I Love You,” though in a less blunt and obvious way. To claim that these shows display any kind of normal or healthy romance is just plain wrong. They may show some bits of “reality.” Those kinds of unhealthy relationships exist, after all. Rape is a real deal, as is thinking you love someone when really they’re just controlling and manipulating you emotionally. But don’t mislabel it. If you’re going to like something, be honest with what entertains you. If you like violence, be blunt and realize that you like watching gore. If you dig nudity, out with it and admit it. Don’t try to bury the fact under mislabels to justify what you’re into.

As Jelx of Glorio Blog wrote recently, we are affected by what we put in our minds. What we read, hear, talk about, learn, see, taste. We are affected by our surroundings. Numerous studies have shown that. The issue then is by how much. Since every human being weighs issues differently, learns differently, this kind of thing is impossible to measure. It’s also a personal choice once one is of age (which changes a bit depending on which country you live in). But the point of my reviews and articles isn’t to pass judgment on people who enjoy certain things, but to simply say, “Hey. This is what’s in this one.” With a bit of a snarking comment here and there for good measure. The rest is up to you. Only you can know how and what affects you and, hopefully, you know if it’s for good or ill. And at the end of the day, only you have the option of choosing what’s going into your brain. Just be honest with yourself and others when you decide. No good will ever come of passing down the delusion that rape, under any condition, is acceptable in a relationship. Because it really isn’t. Not by a long shot.

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Warning Zone: Say “I Love You”

The why:
I’ll be honest here. This show is really more on the fence than all out WZ. Shows like Fullmetal Alchemist have featured off screen sex scenes. We know they happened, but we don’t actually see anything so it passes. A similar thing happens in this show, but with a big difference. One character reveals she has had sex with a particular male character. Now. We don’t see it happen. Aside from a scene with her in just her underwear (think bikini level nudity), we don’t see anything actually happen. But what makes this so  different from FMA is the why. Simply put, she felt bad after being dumped and slept with a guy who pitied her. I actually have more issues with the guy than the chick. He bent to her tears and did something that probably made her feel worse afterwards than better and may have given her a complex about what love means. She was not emotionally stable at the time, so any overly intimate action by “just a friend” can be quite damaging.
You could also make the point of them being so young and unmarried, but I’m not touching that one. Whether you agree with sex before marriage or not, the reasoning behind what happened is pretty twisted. It’s also pushed off by the heroine as if it’s no big deal. Personally I find the judgment of someone you trust being very much a big deal. But maybe I’m just too old school for these shoujo shows anymore…
In any case, this was just enough of a difference for me to feel compelled to WZ this one. Though, if that doesn’t bother you, you won’t find much else too different from the usual YA stuff.

Personal thoughts:
I originally started this show because people were raving that it was just as good as Kimi no Todoke, a show I really fell in love with.
Disappointment doesn’t really cover this. Slight disgust is a bit closer. In addition to the above issue, I had some other tight lipped moments.  Comments like “being a girl on a day like this (as if you can’t be a girl whenever you flippin’ want or that being a girl requires particular attire or attitude)” and forced kisses are really push button for me. Unfortunately this show has both. The lead guy forces himself on the heroine numerous times and, more than once, she feels compelled to change who she is for his sake. Not a fan of that mentality. Bettering yourself is one thing. Forcing yourself to be someone you’re not? Not okay. And the fact that everyone claims the two are so “in love” just makes it all the worse.

Overall I feel insulted that this show was compared to Kimi no Todoke, as this show isn’t nearly as healthy in its relationships, which was a highlight for Kimi no Todoke. Be warned, this show is really nothing like it. But, again, if the above issues don’t bug you, perhaps this show will be a decent ride. But I don’t think it will be much more than that. The art and music are entirely forgettable, and the characters are pretty flat. The only one that isn’t seems to do a personality 180 simply for the convenience of the story (the heroine needs female friends, right? Past enemies are perfect for that!). Don’t look for anything really spectacular if you chose to press on with this one.