12 Days, 12 Moments: Day 3–When Pronouns Attack

Time for today’s Moment of the Season, brought to you by the Anime Blogging Collective and a dozen others! Today, I bring you a turning point that signals not only a change in that particular show’s mood but a reflection of what has happened to anime fandom’s expectations in the past half year.

Day 3: When Pronouns Attack

We can never look this way again 

It was so easy to mock at first, that pronoun titled show Myself; Yourself. It even had a pretentious semicolon. The first two episodes didn’t give us any significant reason not to mock it, either. It was a standard harem comedy/romance, filled with childhood friends and tsunderes and big boobed girls with Chiyo-chan voices. 

Then came The Nice Knife in episode 3.

Look at that knife again–look how bloody it is. Consider the context in which it appears, a jokey fishing trip in a show full of jokes up to that point. Look at the way it’s being held, almost threateningly given the right mentality. And think about what I mean when I call it a Nice Knife.

The context in which this appears in fandom, of course, is post-School Days.  That show, for better or for worse (mostly the latter if you ask me), has changed the rules of watching harem and romance shows. No longer can we assume that just because a show is a romance that it will not contain serious violence. Knives, trauma, and blood have to all be taken seriously now. My immediate reaction upon seeing that knife was–oh no, they really are going down that path, aren’t they? 

And, of course, it turns out our fears have in part come true, as Myself; Yourself lurches into multiple genres and has become a dark, implausible melodrama. It really was a harbinger, and that it appeared at the time that it did was probably a coincidence–and yet this scene not only shows what the growing trend in this genre is but illustrates the changed expectations and gut reactions that its infamous predecessor has induced. 

The harem genre, in other words, is no longer entirely safe. And this is the first time at least in my viewing where that sense was confirmed.

Shock, horror, trauma, drama! 

This is an Anime Blogging Collective post. Other participants include   



Author: gendomike

Michael lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been into anime since he saw Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1999. Some of his favorite shows include Full Metal Alchemist, Honey and Clover, and Welcome to the NHK!. Since 2003 he has gone to at least one anime convention every year. A public radio junkie, which naturally led to podcasting, he now holds a seminary degree and is looking to become Dr. Rev. Otaku Bible Man any day now. Michael can be reached at mike.huang@animediet.net. You can also find his Twitter account at @gendomike.

2 thoughts on “12 Days, 12 Moments: Day 3–When Pronouns Attack

  1. The title of this post sounds like some kind of horrible B-movie.

    Honestly, I hope we don’t get more anime going the School Days route, as inevitably violence and gore will just end up as a way to mask the lack of true plot development.

  2. @0rion: the title was very, very intentional, because that is exactly what M;Y is–a badly written melodramatic B-movie! I love coming up with funny titles. And I fully agree with your second sentence. Already I see gore and violence becoming a gimmick. You can only shock people once.

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