About This Website

This website is the latest incarnation of a string of otaku-themed blogs stretching over the last six years. I am the administrator and writer, iklone, and I post about otaku media.

This site was developed in 2020 and is meant to look like this. It is the fifth anime website I've run, the older (extant) sites are archived here if you want to look around.

I post about a range of topics, primarily anime commentary and analysis (lol). I also post thoughts on otaku culture and anime-adjacent media. My favourite period of anime is around 1995 to 2005.


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      Bunny Girl Senpai isn't about Bunny Girls

      Anime watchers enjoy shows that build upon an established genre, with many shows just being small tweaks to tried and tested formulas. Take isekai, or battle harem, or even four girl moe. This is part of what makes anime a tightly knit subculture, as each new entry into these microgenres builds upon everything that came before; so even if one specific production isn't great or interesting on its own, the amalgamation of all of these similar shows is.

      However, being an anime fan is tantamount to a crime in wider society, and anime fans are bombarded constantly with ideals that are not synchronous with their way of life. "Anime are too tropey", "Why are there so many of the same show", "Cliches are inherently bad". We understand this isn't true deep down, and is in fact why we enjoy anime, but we don't recognise this on the surface and therefore parrot these phrases back at anything we don't like, and this in turn effects the anime that is produced.

      Let's take an example of a genre that has such a strong premise that is has lasted mostly intact for thirty odd years: harem anime. From Tenchi Muyo to Love Hina to Clannad to Bakemonogatari, the concept of one down-on-his-luck guy surrounded by an (if not yet, then soon) adoring and varied cast of beautiful girls has survived remarkably well for longer than most of us have been alive. But even though it is such an established and popular genre, it has always been regarded as bottom-tier trash by adult viewers. And since the target audience, teenaged boys, are easily influenced (by nature of being teenagers), such sentiment becomes near universal among even those who are the biggest watchers of the genre. To counter this, writers build in gimmicks to appear more mature, more complex or just pretend to not be harem in the first place. The trend of the modern "battle harem" is one such trend, with shows being sold on their cool action rather than the hot girls. But the most interesting harem trend has been that of the "sarcastic emotional exorcist".

      The most important show of this type is the Bakemonogatari series, not the first, but definitely the most influential of it's breed. Fundamentally Bakemonogatari is a harem show, but saying such a thing to many fans will get you thrown out the pub. "It's not like other harems", "the protagonist is different (just like me)", "the show has deep themes so isn't harem-trash". Such things are heard from harem fans that want to mature, but still enjoy harem shows. To avoid their crushing guilt for enjoying things they like, they have truly started to believe it is a different thing. The story differs from classic harems in it's aversion to life. Araragi is a jaded man with developed complexes, but the story punishes him for it, leading to conflict in the protagonist. The girls are not simply fawning/lusting over him but are in need of help emotionally (portrayed through parallel supernatural ails), which Araragi feel compelled to help them solve despite his unreserved pretense for a lack of care for the world or himself. While fans may not be comfortable with the labeling of Bakemonogatari as a harem, Nisioisin is, and has built a nuanced story that understands and addresses the same fundamental ideas harem shows always have. "An imitation can never surpass the original" is an important meta-jab from Nisioisin at copies of the series. In their fervor to reproduce the show, they often missed the point and ended up creating works with exactly the opposite message.

      Bunny Girl Senpai is a show that isn't actually about bunny girls, so don't worry! This is the invariable recommendation you will get from fans of the show, which is truly bizarre since I know for certain the concept of "bunny girls" sounds appealing to every man on Earth, and I'm also sure it is one of the reasons they picked up the show in the first place. Being another "sarcastic emotional exorcist" show, jaded-protagonist-kun wanders around his high school fixing hot girls' emotional problems (manifested as supernatural ails, again). But this time the protagonist is a shell. Araragi is sometimes criticised for being "problematic" by outsiders, all this really means is that he is a fallible person and the show does not shy from that fact. The Bunny Girl guy (don't remember his name) is without blemish, and so anything stupid he does comes off as just the show being retarded since it has no idea what to make him do. The most famous scene in the show is also a case in point: [www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir4InlrQJ9Q].

      Fans will use this scene to extol the virtues of a truly nihilistic role model, while everyone else cannot help but find this scene hilarious in it's idiocy. The protagonist is being an edgy whiny arsehole, and it's obvious to see, but the show portrays his actions as chivalrous. On the surface, this aspect of the show seems to be a product of negligence and greed from the production staff, but I think that the show, or at least a small part of it, is pointing out it's own viewers' insecurities and laughing at them too. The OP has a catchy bit that goes:

      "It's your fault, your fault, your fault that I'm
      So cowardly and pathetic
      It's all your fault!"


      This could just be sung from the perspective of the girls blaming the guy, which is what is immediately suggested, but it seems rather on the nose and could be thought of as a mocking rendition of it's own main character, and in turn its fans. A recognition of fault, a shift of blame and an acceptance of self-corruption. Put like that it comes off as an insult, but the protagonist exhibits these traits throughout the show all while the audience is told he is in the right.

      This twist of reality is what the entire work is couched in but never addresses: a nihilist who cares, a harem that isn't a harem, a show that isn't about its title. If you think that is cool then you are in need of help: it is a reinforcement of coping mechanisms you use to avoid your problems by calling them solutions.

      Bunny Girl Senpai would have been much better if it were about bunny girls.
      Post #00003 | 20 Sep 2020 @ 11:51pm

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