This is how the girls actually end up in the world of Haibane Remnei. They read BL only to get sucked into the pages and forced into purgatory as they repent for their yaoi loving ways, ony to turn into angels for adoring the pure beautiful love of The Gay. It was Yoshitoshi ABe’s way of protesting the Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill years before it came into being.
Well, do you know what the world of Haibane Remnei was supposed to be? Didn’t think so. Until then, I’ll stick with my version.
This episode was surprisingly direct by Humanity has Declined standards. The past few episodes have been an exercise in drawing sometimes tenuous links between societal issues and headless skinless chickens, debating whether the rise of BL fandom was an allegory for the homogenisation of subcultures that lead to the ultimate downfall of humanity. This episode, on the other hand, was about the characters making a manga as a commentary on…well, the manga industry. The dialogue was incredibly direct too, such as how 2 panel spreads make everything seem more dramatic but quickly loses the interest of the reader when done repeatedly.
Which unfortunately leaves me with rather little to talk about. I can’t really spell out my interpretation of the intent of the bizarre events when the episode itself spells them out itself so plainly. Which leaves me with little else to write about, except to make dumb jokes about other anime like I did in the opening paragraph. Observe.
I’ll tell you one line I did enjoy from this episode was Main Character off-handedly mentioning that humanity was in decline while they were busy re-enacting a scene from genderswapped Saint Seiya. I’ve seen many people say that the main character is the single voice of reason who puts herself above all the nonsense that occurs in the anime. That’s mostly true, but she also does nothing to try counter this. While she may mock the repetitive nondescript BL artwork and story, she creates nothing of worth herself and just lets the entire fad pass her by. Humanity being in decline has become something she just spouts and accepts without ever questioning why or what she can do to counter it. The anime is critical of the unquestioning ignorant masses who scoop up whatever false products with no understanding of its origins or process from which it was created, but it seems to be also critical of Main Character’s approach (I’ve seen people call her Watashi, but Watashi will always be the main character from Tatami Galaxy for me) of being apathetic towards everything.
Or maybe that’s just my lens telling me what I think it intends. There’s few genres that have as much varied interpretations from the viewers as satire. I still find people’s interpretation that the last episode was a celebration of otaku culture to be willfully blind to so much of that episode to fit their viewpoint of how it should have gone. But then again, maybe I’m willfully blind to large chunks of the episode too. We all have different interpretations, and That’s Cool. I’ve seen people throw around the old Death of the Author idea yet again, which I’m starting to get tired of seeing. Arts students grabbing hold of the one piece of theory they can remember from their literary critique class. For those who took a degree with employment prospects, the Death of the Author is the idea that the original author’s intent doesn’t matter when it comes to audience interpretation. What it does not mean is that your interpretation of the intent is invalid. All our interpretations are valid. Some are just more valid than others =P
Anyway, back to dumb jok-