11 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Inushinde /

Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko. Episode 1: Sad Male Leads Doing Squats in the Snow

Henneko101

Molding a milquetoast generic lead into somebody remotely relatable is possibly the most thankless task ever, right behind being a hygiene technician. With an intentionally weak personality and indistinct appearance to supposedly aid in audience projection, anybody charged with making them seem like actual likable humans is in for one of the bumpiest creative roads imaginable. Yet, the Meek Generic Self Insert Character can only dream of inspiring the contemptuous fervor that his polar opposite, the Admitted Chivalrous Pervert does. On that note, there was not a moment in Hentai Ouji that I didn’t want to sand off our admitted pervert lead’s face by scraping it against pavement at the speed of sound.

Being an unapologetic pervert in itself isn’t automatically a bad quality, as long as it isn’t the sole means of defining a character. Oe Kintaro from Golden Boy is probably the poster-child for the shameless font of depravity, but it’s only an element of his larger personality, and so it’s hard to begrudge him for dry-humping toilets and catching spit in his mouth. In contrast, the extent of Youto’s perversion is his only tangible definition, reinforced by every thought and action of his looping back to it, and every character shouting “pervert!” at him. I can’t think of anything remotely enjoyable about that.

I don’t want to bang on about realism in the premise of an ecchi comedy, even though that’s clearly what we all watch it for, but who the fuck wishes that they can express their perversions to the world at large without restraint? I mean I get that’s the gimmick of this thing, but that doesn’t keep it from feeling like an unnecessary contrivance to move the plot forward, in place of character flaws like insecurity actually being addressed and moved past.

Henneko103

However, in spite of the characters and the premise being shit, the first episode does play around with the stone cat mechanics in some interesting ways. The fact that the cat took the belt that the protagonist used to tie his dakimakura to his back (symbolism!) is a neat detail, as is the way that he uses the prissy school oujo’s newfound inability to express herself against her in the most self-demeaning manner possible. Yet I still can’t get past the fact that it’s only an extension of only having a personality in the loosest sense of the word. It feels a little pedantic to whine about the personality of an ecchi lead, but when he takes such a ridiculous amount of focus, the faults of being a boring slab of rebar are all the more prominent.

It’s certainly watchable and I get the appeal, but it definitely was not made for me, and the idea of a straightforward male lead that only thinks about sex has been done to the extent that it’s not even kind of a novelty.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I still abide by that 20th Century Boys page Scamp made.

    • Shengar
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Somebody post that thing please

      • Inushinde
        Posted April 14, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Just look for his Spring Impressions post and save it for your viewing pleasure.

      • Shengar
        Posted April 14, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        I know, I just want to give medal to somebody :(
        Read the manga, also didn’t understand why friend think its good beside the cuteness. The characters design are bland for me. Too stereotyped. not only the lead male but the girls too.

  2. Posted April 14, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Given the unpopularity and general hostility against audience avatars and bland ecchi protagonists, I wouldn’t be so sure that they are *intentionally trying to* make them that way, so much as simply failing to write more interesting characters or plots, due to being talentless hacks.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Well yeah, they are. It’s kind of tough to make a character passive and forgettable, but not terrible, and it’s easy to fall into a blandness loop. However, the more straightforward “Yay tits and ass!” route here somehow fares worse going to the other extreme.

  3. Posted April 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    “who the fuck wishes that they can express their perversions to the world at large without restraint?”

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Fair point.

  4. BwackNinja
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Although it’s kind of weird to say it, the fact that he is specifically defined by one trait is looks completely on purpose and fits well with how the story presents itself. This allows the cat statue to be seen as a more powerfully entity because it completely changes the “personality” by changing one trait. The MC’s _two_ traits are that he is a pervert and that he spinelessly hides who he is on the basis that it should make his life go better, but it doesn’t. Out of those two traits, it’s easy to see which one he doesn’t want in his life. The involvement of the cat statue gives the false notion that changing who you are is a personally insurmountable challenge.

    It takes really good writing to make a deep, multifaceted character that doesn’t need to be exaggerated to be relatable or get the point across. Creating a caricature is the much easier but less respectable endeavor. It is obvious that this won’t be a great series or even remembered for years to come, but it will be a mild enjoyment and a nice change of pace from the actual “quality” shows that say “sad is happy for deep people,” which isn’t what I want to see all the time. I’d say what makes a show subjectively good is that it has contrast in the right places. Contrasting hope with despair and sprinkling on some meager success seems to be the formula that is at least good enough to avoid the wish-fullfillment trap. If someone even just has a bad day, it is easier for them to get a cheap laugh from something that is cheerfully stupid in contrast.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      There have been plenty of those in recent memory, all delightfully terrible. Not saying that the OniiAi lightning couldn’t strike twice, but nothing in this episode makes me suspect that it might. Still, again, it’s not like it’s offensive, the lead just bothers the hell out of me and I don’t really “get” it.

  5. Gan_HOPE326
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    “…and the idea of a straightforward male lead that only thinks about sex has been done to the extent that it’s not even kind of a novelty.”

    Last and not least by real life.

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