Friday, August 24, 2012

Binbougami Ga! - 08

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Wow – did Binbougami really just go there?

[gg]_Binbougami_ga!_-_08_[19CEF87E].mkv_snapshot_02.10_[2012.08.23_15.25.47]That was certainly an eye-opening episode, but on balance it was definitely the weakest of the series for me so far.  This was really the first time the character side of the equation felt off – this was a bit syrupy, heavy-handed and too close to manipulative.  So far Binbougami Ga! has been surprisingly good at handling character drama with a light touch for a show that started out looking like a completely ironic screwball satire, but this appears to have been an off week.

[gg]_Binbougami_ga!_-_08_[19CEF87E].mkv_snapshot_03.03_[2012.08.23_15.26.35]Given that’s what bothered me, it’s no surprise that it was mostly the second half of the episode that veered off the rails – but there was some head-scratching going on in the first half too.  For starters, I almost had to rewind and double-check because I couldn’t quite believe it had really happened – but did those three girls in Ichiko’s class just try and get her gang-raped?  It’s certainly not news that high school girls can be indescribably evil to each other, and that sort of thing has been known to happen (certainly in anime) – but boy, did it feel out of context here.  It was the way such a heinous act was being brushed off so easily that really had me thinking I must have misread the moment – whatever mode this series is in, that whole thing felt totally out of place to me. 

[gg]_Binbougami_ga!_-_08_[19CEF87E].mkv_snapshot_04.10_[2012.08.23_15.27.56]The worst part though, was the aftermath.  I mean, honestly – those three girls do something so evil for such a petty reason, and the upshot from Rindou is “Hey, let’s all try and get along” and they stare on as the heartwarming ending takes place and all is forgiven?  Sorry, no – I recognize that this is a comedy, but karma’s a bitch – and so are those three.  That was a horrendous thing to do and that’s why it’s such an unhealthy direction for a comedy series like Binbougami to go – it either ends up being trivialized (which is exactly what happened) or dealing with the reality of it takes the show to a much darker place than it really should be going.

[gg]_Binbougami_ga!_-_08_[19CEF87E].mkv_snapshot_04.46_[2012.08.23_15.28.32]It’s funny, because I like Rindou a lot, and it’s certainly great to hear Tomatsu Haruka doing a voice that’s so different from what we’ve heard her do before.  But the chemistry of the second act was just off.  Where Momiji is involved, there’s usually enough acidity in scenes that touch on Ichiko’s vulnerable side to keep them from feeling cloying – while this show can pull off sincere, I don’t think it can pull off sentimental.  Maybe Rindou is just too nice, and that ironic edge is lost.  In any case, by the time we were introduced to Ichiko’s old friend Kurumi (Rie Kugimiya, vis flashback) as the treacherous grade-school yandere who’s the reason why Ichiko won’t allow herself to get close to friends, I was pretty much a lost cause for the week.  Hopefully things get back into balance in the next episode, and we return to the sometime hilarious and flinty-edged Binbougami I’ve grown so fond of.

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8 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, I was wondering when this season's obligatory "episode featuring possible gang rape" would turn up. When dealing with shows from Japan, it's only a matter of time. At least it didn't actually happen in this one, unlike a certain Mirai Nikki that shall remain unnamed.

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    1. But you know, my problem isn't so much with the scene, but with the context and the way it was handled. Surely you'll admit that Mirai Nikki (for example) is a very different sort of series than this one. Yes, this is a bit of a trope in anime but IMHO Binbougami is the wrong sort of show to go down that road. They effectively write themselves into a corner by doing so, and the no-win path they chose out of it was to trivialize something really terrible.

      In contrast, whatever you think of Mirai Nikki, it's an outlandish drama with ever-escalating feats of atrocities committed by characters against other characters. And when shit like that comes down there are consequences for it within the story.

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  2. Yeah, I agree, gang rape was too far for a 'Let's put her in her place' prank. I mean, the other girls were even going to watch? That's just straight out sadism if you ask me. I mean, I could have accepted just about anything else better than that, rather than just handing her over to some guys.

    And if they'd done something less over the top, I still think the 'rescue' by Rindou would have worked for the plot. Then we'd be talking about that, and whether it was a believable turn of events, rather than the dire situation she was in.

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  3. I thought as much. Weakest episode so far. The way they brushed it off left a bitter taste that kinda soured the episode for me. Kind of silly to see the girls just show up next day with slight regret on their faces. You know, rather than on a bus straight to juvie.

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  4. Uh Oh- Rindou likes the same boy as Ichiko... I foresee a repeat of the Kurumi childhood drama. Although hopefully they handle it better then this episode and I'm pretty sure Rindou isn't going to go Yandere on us.

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  5. I always dislike it in a show when the badguys do something horrible like rape, murder blackmail etc only to have it later downplayed to nothing more than a harmless prank by the protagonists.

    I know it's supposed to show how good natured the protagonists are, but for me, it just makes the protagonists look like idiots who don't get the seriousnes of the crime.

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  6. I heard it's not unusual for Japanese high school girl bullies to use rape as a bullying tactic so I'm not that surprised. They even have a term for it, it's called "being friendly" with the victim.

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  7. I can definetly agree with the gangrape thing, those bitches need to go to jail or something, though I think the bigger piece of the episode was Ichiko's Flashback and her finally accepting Rindou as a friend. Like you disapprove of the trivialization of the gangrape ploy by those three, I was rather irked that you did the same for the flashback and the end, though thats just me.

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