There’s been a fair amount of discussion about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun over the past few days. And, since it’s already established that I’m not averse to joining bandwagons regardless of how smart it is to do so, I’m going to give my two cents on the matter. To get it out of the way now, I’m treading unfamiliar ground here. Most of my writing about anime is in regard to how certain elements fit into the overall picture, and very few of them involve offhand rape threats in what’s supposed to be a comedy, so finding that I actually have something serious to say on the matter is pretty damn new.
I cheated and read some a few other posts before I actually watched the first episode. To say that the response is mixed to negative would be like saying that the sky is very often blue, or that the sun will rise in some part of the world in a few hours. “Rape culture” is a phrase thrown around quite a bit in response, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t (unfortunately) apt. However, a part of me isn’t convinced that it’s all unintentional; Haru is depicted in such an overdone way as both an inexcusable creep and a world-class genius that I have trouble believing that at least one person onboard didn’t think “Is this trying to poke holes in the kind of culture that promotes this kind of relationship as being totes adorbs?” Or, if their grammar hasn’t been shot, “How could there be a more unhealthy relationship than this?” (more…)