I’m definitely far from the target demographic for reverse-harem animes, and I’ve only seen a handful of reverse-harem shows anyways; so maybe I’m more than a little biased when I say that otome anime tend to be really awful. I’m glad that the anime industry is finally starting to capitalize on the fujoshi market more, though I can’t say that a lot of these fujoshi anime have been any good. Kamigami no Asobi is no exception.
The episode starts out with a scene of six magical beefcakes fighting amongst one another for god knows why. Maybe because they’re fighting over the heroine, but who knows, maybe the plot will have a good explanation for this later on. I have a feeling it’ll be something petty either way though. The highlight of the scene would be when one of the men, who we later find out is Apollo, has a transformation sequence in which he grows long hair, and we get a close-up of his crotch as his pants are ripped off. Nothing really bad about a little fanservice, especially with how rare male fanservice is, though I can’t help but laugh at how in your face it is. It’s times like these that I can sympathize more with non-gynephiles who get bombarded with breasts and pantyshots in all their animes.
Then we go back in time, and are formally introduced to Kusanagi as she goes about her daily sword practice as a competent and dedicated swordswomen. This lead me to believe that just maybe, we’d get a reverse-harem lead that wasn’t utterly shy and timid to the point of being infantile. See, if the archtypal harem lead is a generic beta nice guy with no personality, then the archtypal reverse-harem lead is a ridiculously shy and timid girl who’s dependent on all the hot boys around her. If Kusanagi’s a dedicated swordswomen, maybe she’ll be a strong and confident woman! But alas, as soon as she starts talking with all the gross bishies of her harem, she ends up being just as shy as all the other reverse-harem leads; barely able to speak up amidst the beauty and odd behavior of these hot men. Maybe she’s just shaken up after being teleported to a strange place, but I doubt it.
The rest of the episode is the usual kind of introductory episode for VN adaptions, where we’re introduced to each character before we start embarking on each “route”. And like a lot of bad VN adaptions, it barely has any time to even briefly introduce each character. Each member of the reverse-harem gets so little screen time, and not much really happens at all; half the episode is literally just Kusanagi wandering around an empty school, and then being amazed as flowers bloom behind the heads of these men. I barely have any idea what these characters are like, except that a two are suave gentlemen, two are assholes, and the other two are quite and weird.
It says a lot when the shy and timid heroine has twice as much personality and likability than any of these bishies, too. Maybe it’s just because she gets more screen time, and maybe I’m just biased since ripped bishounens aren’t really my thing. But really, Apollo and Baldr either act ridiculously suave towards our heroine with each nearly kissing her, and then Takeru and Loki are just huge jerks. Especially Takeru. “Oh, this new girl is talking to my quiet rabbit friend? Better get uncomfortably close to her and tell her to back off!” I mean, geez, it almost feels like a yaoi show with how clingy some of these men are with each other. Then there’s Hades, who just says a few cryptic things to our heroine, and looks and acts likes a total emo. And I don’t even remember much about the rabbit guy.
And for this genre, super suave really means getting close and kissing a girl without their consent. Well, okay, to be fair that’s just wish fulfillment for the fujoshi audience. It’s like how a lot of men would love the idea of a cute girl they don’t know going up and kissing them; consent is often a nonissue when people fantasize about these things. And hey, kissing is a pretty minor offense compared all those other nasty things that require consent, (don’t go start kissing people without asking them though!) But just like the cute moe girls in anime, this is a pretty unrealistic portrayal of what guys are like in real life, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
The whole premise in general is pretty asinine. So this chick has been chosen to be the representative of humankind, and must interact with these six gods in order to help them re-learn what humanity is like. Which makes sense I guess, except she’s apparently supposed to do it within this barren setting of a highschool for gods, by herself. If you really wanted these gods to learn what modern humanity is like, wouldn’t it be a better idea to actually send them down to earth, and have them live there disguised as humans? Having them interact with a human representative makes sense, but if she’s the only person they interact with, that’s just giving them an extremely narrow view of what humankind is like. I guess the creators just figured that’d get in the way of the otome hijinks.
At first I was going to call bull on Zeus’ statement that humankind has become distant with the gods. Yeah, atheism and agnosticism is steadily growing at a rapid pace, but most world population still identifies with one religion or another at 84%. But then I took note of which gods are actually apart of the reverse-harem here: two Norse, two Shintoist, and two Greek gods; all three of which are religions with relatively few worshipers in modern times. Sure, 51% of Japanese people identify as Shintoists, but even then most people in Japan aren’t all that religious; all that praying and shrine attending that they do is more a cultural thing than anything else. So hey, I guess Zeus’ statement checks out.
So eh, nothing about Kamigami no Asobi really stands out from the other, admittedly small number of reverse-harems that I’ve seen. And just like all the other reverse-harems I’ve seen, this is pretty bad.
Hrm, I’m a bit behind with these First Impression posts. I mean, I’ve only written about two Saturday shows and it’s already Tuesday! Maybe I’ll try to do two posts today and tomorrow to catch up, but no guarantees there.