Home > Asobi ni Iku Yo!, Episode Reviews > Asobi ni Iku Yo! Episode 3 – Dirty Minds Think Alike

Asobi ni Iku Yo! Episode 3 – Dirty Minds Think Alike

I’ve been pretty high on Asobi for two episodes now. The show, despite its apparently prurient premise and correspondingly lascivious female cast, has been a dizzying sprint through spy movie conspiracies, action movie excesses, scifi technobabble and keenly aware self-parody, with some bizarrely literate cultural references sprinkled throughout.

But the third episode, as I’ve mentioned before, is the true test of a show’s mettle. The freshness of the premise and characters is beginning to wear off, the budget and hours spent working on it starts to slip, and the show starts to settle down from its initial burst of exposition for the long haul of being a long-form narrative television show. It’s where we start to see a show’s true colors: what it’s going to be in the middle of the series rather than the intriguing beginning and explosive finale.

The Catheans show up for the diplomatic meeting wearing school swimsuits, to throw the negotiators off-guard. And because Eris read in a dirty magazine that they were the ultimate costume

So the third episode, predictably, is where I start to come down from my Asobi ni Iku Yo! high. As usual, the show goes in a completely different direction from the first two episodes, but one that seems destined to head in for at least a few more. As I had feared, the show is leaning more towards putting its female cast in suggestive positions and the usual harem comedy antics, rather than building a coherent long-term narrative.

The Catheans have begun negotiations with the Japanese government, and have taken up residence in Kio’s house, now the temporary Cathean embassy. Aoi and Manami also end up here, as fugitives on the run from the agencies they spurned last episode, seeking asylum in the embassy. And it’s here that we are introduced to what appears to be the show’s ultimate enemy: a race of human-like dog people (I can’t tell if this is self-referential brilliance, utter laziness, or both. I’m going with both, at least for now).

Dog people? Are you kidding me?

There’s a lot of setting up the plot, but nothing else of substance. The rest of the episode is devoted to the same tried and true methods to getting the main male character near to and touching as many different naked girls at once. It’s a pretty shameful display, and definitely disappointing. The show is certainly capable of better.

There are still moments where the story seems to approach a real narrative, and where the characters try to act like real people. Kio briefly feels remorse for ruining the hopes and dreams of his best friend by coercing her into giving up classified information, but then it devolves into embarrassing self-pity (although I guess that’s fairly realistic). Manami and Aoi talk about Aoi’s feelings for Kio, with Aoi worried about her unseemly past and Manami encouraging her to make a move, because otherwise Eris’ forward and permanently-aroused nature is going to win Kio over. It’s these little touches—and only those touches, in this episode—that show that someone is still paying attention, and trying to make this more than yet another rote fan service anime.

This episode continues the fairly icky running joke that Eris gets most of her knowledge of Earth culture from Kio's porn.

Most artists tend to focus solely on the parts that immediately stand out, like faces, or breasts (male characters rarely get the attention paid to them that female characters do), ignoring the numerous body parts that are not breasts. I’ll say this about the artists working on Asobi ni Iku Yo!: despite the average breast size of the cast being well above the average American—much less Japanese—woman, they know how to draw the female figure.

The characters have all the little details that lesser animators fudge or try to avoid: armpits and the detail paid to how cloth bends around bodies stand out in particular, since both are hard to get right and usually ignored. The clothes are varied and similarly detailed: all of the humans have worn more than one outfit so far, which is fairly impressive. It gives the animation a sense of depth and reality that is sorely missing in a show about catgirl aliens coming to Earth to party.

A lot of attention has been paid to details...but only for the girls

It’s too bad that those figures are so frequently covered up by terrible self-censoring. There’s quite a bit of nudity in this episode, and all of it is covered up by distracting white smears that utterly ruin the image.

I’m obviously opposed to gratuitous nudity in shows like this, but throwing white streaks over what is there is even worse. It’s visually distracting, aesthetically appalling, creatively lazy and, worst of all, an unabashed marketing ploy.

I’ve mentioned before the harsh economic climate that anime gets made in. Most shows, especially fan service-laden shows that air late at night like Asobi ni Iku Yo! are made essentially as ads for other Asobi ni Iku Yo! merchandise, much as how Transformers and other 80s cartoons were made mostly to sell toys.

There's no way you can pretend this is steam. They're not even close to the bathroom

These can be anything from plastic figurines to creepy full-body pillows shaped like the body of a particular girl from the show, but one of the big ticket items is DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the show itself. Putting extra bonus content on DVDs is a time-honored tradition, and in a lot of shows like this, the censorship gets removed, leaving nothing but the full nakedness the creators intended to show.

I’m not sure if broadcast restrictions prevent this (although one satellite provider is well-known for broadcasting the uncensored version), but I’ve seen late night anime get away with a lot in this regard. It’s pretty obvious that the main reason for the white streaks is to sell DVDs which, while it makes financial sense, is pretty awful from an artistic standpoint and a big “screw you” to the fans.

In shows like this, the best kind of crimefighting is naked crimefighting

Of course, I’m sure no one here has any delusions about making art, and the fans are going to buy the crap regardless, but it’s just another sleazy practice that has become an institution in the anime world.

It should also be noted that this is a very recent trend. The first time I remember hearing about it was in 2008, for one of the more blatantly pornographic shows. Since then, it has become standard practice even in shows like Asobi ni Iku Yo! that have something to offer other than nudity.

The show's devotion to gun porn is only outstripped by its devotion to regular porn

Anyway, all this seems to indicate something I’ve feared all along: Asobi ni Iku Yo! is going to continue to be heavy on tasteless prurience. I just hope it continues to give me another reason to stay watching.

You can watch the episode here.

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  1. August 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm

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