I’ll admit, going into this I was expecting 50 Shades of Grey reverse engineered into Twilight if the later was an anime reverse harem, but that’s not exactly what I got. …In a sense.
This first 14-minute episode follows Yui, a girl whose dad has arranged for her to go live in a mansion for reasons unknown. However, when she gets there she finds a red-headed bishounen who has no pulse and also doesn’t seem to like buttoning his shirt. After waking him up, instead of asking who she is or what she’s doing here, he pushes her down onto the couch and starts licking her neck. Later, when the rest of the creepy bishounen concur that they have no idea what she’s doing there, instead of kindly showing her the door or let her make a phone call, they lick her and comment on the taste. Lovely.
From just those two examples, you can probably see why this episode made me uncomfortable. I was warned that the source material was disturbing, but I wasn’t expecting quite that much right out of the gate. Also, all these guys seem to be textbook examples of sexual predators, from destroying her phone to completely entrapping her. This does not bode well at all for the inevitable romance side of the story. Even the way the episode ended had a number of terrifying implications about what happened next. And why am I not surprised that the guy wearing a fedora calls her a bitch?
Because of this, I cannot view this anime in the context of the wish-fulfillment reverse harem genre, even though that’s literally where it comes from. I don’t doubt that someone enjoyed it in that way, but personally I was completely unsettled throughout the whole episode. Honestly, you could probably rename this “Trigger Warning: The Anime” and call it a day. That said, I did find the show potentially interesting as a vampire story. The true nature of the harem isn’t sugar-coated at all, which is refreshing when you think about the currently popular version of vampires that seem to be all angst and in need of understanding girlfriends. Not this group. Their prey willingly walked into their house, and there’s no need to play nice with food. The vampire myth is based on the idea of uncontrolled sexual desire, after all.
Whether or not I’ll continue watching this will depend on the direction it takes from here. I am interested in a show that takes its portrayal of vampires seriously, yet I don’t want to watch an entire season of the heroine being abused. The chase scene towards the end of the episode is a good example of why I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, the art style and the music lent themselves well to a legitimately terrifying scene, yet on the other hand, part of the reason it scared me was because this was meant to be appealing. Being chased through a locked house by a group of guys talking about all the horrible things they’re going to do to me is not my idea of hot.
…On second thought, maybe I don’t want to give this another chance after all.
This series is streaming on Crunchyroll.
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