Home > Episode Reviews, First Impressions > Mitsudomoe Episode 1 – Age Inappropriate

Mitsudomoe Episode 1 – Age Inappropriate

A slowly growing sub-genre of anime comedy could best be called “grade-schoolers behaving badly.” I won’t dignify the trend by naming any such shows, but mostly they involve students on the cusp of puberty (if even that) doing suggestive things with each other and/or with a poor teacher, who spends any time not protecting himself from their advances frantically denying charges of pedophilia. The charge would be better laid on the creators of the show and their audience.

Mitsudomoe edges into this territory just enough to make me uncomfortable admitting I even watched it. Having said that, it not only manages to avoid the obvious pitfalls of having a student fall for a teacher, it also remains remarkably funny whenever it’s not borderline voyeuristic, and sometimes even when it is. In the end, though, I’m not certain the balance falls on the tolerable side of the line.

All teachers probably feel like this on their first day. Yabe just has more justification than most

Satoshi Yabe has the honor of being the luckless teacher this time around, as his sixth grade class is home to the incorrigible Marui triplets: sadistic Mitsuba, cheerfully violent Futaba, and aggressively unsociable Hitoha. Despite their differences, the three can work together remarkably well when they have a life to ruin, and this case “Yabe-chi”—which is an extremely disrespectful way to address a teacher in Japan—is their target.

The first half is devoted to how the three turn Yabe’s opening class ice-breaker, a variant on musical chairs, into their own personal playground. Futaba misinterprets the game as a battle royale, beating the snot out everyone in arm’s reach until Yabe stops her. Yet it’s Mitsuba and Hitoha who really assert control over the situation, through emotional manipulation and occasional open cruelty.

A picture is worth a thousand words, or, in this case, a couple obvious stereotypes

It’s in the second half of the show, which is itself divided into two parts, that things begin to get sketchy. First off, the girls notice that Yabe might be attracted to the new school nurse, Aiko Kuriyama (who is the glasses-wearing well-endowed klutz that regular anime watchers will immediately recognize as a genre staple), and decide to hook the two of them up.

This seems nice, until Hitoha suggests the best way to do that would be to injure him (in, shall we say, a very sensitive area) so that the nurse will then treat him, leading to romance, etc. While the basic slapstick concept is fine, the overall subject matter is a bit disturbing for 11 and 12-year-olds to be discussing. Even more disturbing is that after the injury happens—in a way not immediately expected—all three girls are present when the nurse makes her inspection. (The plan ends in failure anyway.)

The triplets are present when Yabe exposes himself. Last I checked, this was illegal. And extremely disturbing

Part three involves the various misunderstandings that arise from when Hitoha decides to name the class hamster “Nipples”—and I’m certain by now readers can figure out that the various double entendres leading from that name will cause misunderstandings between Yabe and Aiko, increasing the former’s misery. Everything in this show has something to do with increasing Yabe’s misery.

Truth be told, I’m fine with that; comedy shows often need victims and Yabe certainly works in this regard. It’s the continual sexually suggestive elements that get me a little uneasy. Futaba’s seemingly omni-sexual curiosity, Mitsuba’s sadism occasionally drifting away from generic cruelty and more toward the original Marquis de Sade, the fact that the book Hitoha carries around like a security blanket has a porn mag stashed inside—all of these behaviors are not things I’m comfortable seeing from sixth graders.

Smashing a child's face right through a chair? Illegal and hilarious. It helps that Mitsuba deserves it

Of course, I’m perfectly fine with seeing these same sixth graders inflict and suffer grievous bodily violence. I’m sure someone will say this just proves that Americans are excessively desensitized to violence while rather prudish about sex. What I say is that I’m not comfortable being asked to view as entertainment the perverted imaginations of children, or children inadvertently saying perverted things, or anything else which would lead me to use the words “perverted” and “children” in the same sentence.

The fact that, as yet, there’s no sexual attraction between the students and the teacher is the only thing that keeps this watchable for me. The girls themselves are not sexualized, even if everything they touch is. There’s also the fact that the slapstick is genuinely funny, with excellent direction, effective musical accompaniment, and a fine sense of how to turn the pain and suffering of other human beings into comic gold. If I were only writing a review of the first half of the episode, I’d be happy to recommend it.

Among the characters hinted to be important are this kid and his three obsessive admirers, who always follow him starry-eyed

Even in that case, I’m not certain the show would have enough content every week to justify a regular review. There are some hints that there’s a larger cast of characters whose quirks and bizarre behavior will be explored in future episodes, probably in ways that cause Yabe more pain. And, given how the triplets can play off each other, either in opposition or in partnership, the three probably have a few more full episodes of craziness all by themselves.

But as the odds of the show toning anything down as it progresses is basically nil, I’m guessing that the sexual content over the next couple episodes will quickly exceed my already stretched tolerance. Those with a higher tolerance for this sort of thing than I do will probably find a lot to appreciate; I just won’t be around for it.

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