Home > Asobi ni Iku Yo!, Episode Reviews > Asobi ni Iku Yo! Episode 5 – You’re a Rich Girl, and You’ve Gone Too Far

Asobi ni Iku Yo! Episode 5 – You’re a Rich Girl, and You’ve Gone Too Far

The best and worst thing about Asobi ni Iku Yo! is that it’s content to be nothing but mindless entertainment. That’s great, because we get the constant Bond movie meets space opera fan-service anime absurdity of its world and plenty of gunfights drawn by gun fetishists and directed by action movie nerds. And the odd moment of humor, but that’s as rare as most anime.

The bad part is, well, the rest. Asobi ni Iku Yo! is a sprawling mess of narrative dead ends, pointless and derivative one-off characters and strange pop culture references. Nowhere is that more evident than this episode.

In case you had any doubt this was a reference to characters from John Woo films...

If you missed last week’s hasty plot summary wrapped in a rant about otaku consumerism, main character Kio and alien space opera cat girl Eris were kidnapped last episode by the eccentric teenage orphan otaku heiress who is head of a worldwide religion of catgirl fetishists. Eris is also in heat, which continues to be the comedic elephant in the room that the writers are bewilderingly ignoring (it is used pretty cleverly, but only to set up some crossdressing).

Instead of escaping, they stay to eat and play with said heiress, because she is lonely. Don’t ask me to be more specific, because I tuned out at ‘eccentric teenage orphan otaku heiress’.

Eris's powered suit doesn't work when she's in heat, because she's irresponsible. That's pretty clever, but not nearly the kind of gem I was expecting from such a development

I understand that, by watching anime, I am consenting to watch the same talentless hacks rehashing someone else’s hit-making story elements in a narrative car crash of confused memes and creative ignorance that would be beautifully surreal if it wasn’t so unbearably pathetic. But I am unwilling to try to understand the alien mindset that made the ‘eccentric teenage orphan otaku millionaire heiress’ a stock character of modern anime. She’s even appeared in one of the show’s we’ve covered for this site: last season’s awful anthology show, Mayoi Neko Overrun!

It may seem slighly hypocritical, because Hayate the Combat Butler, one of my favorite manga, arguably cemented this trope’s popularity with its (supposed) heroine, Sanzenin Nagi. But Hayate quickly got bored with all the things that make these characters pandering wish fulfillment and, when it even paid attention to the character, set about dismantling them all.

Antonia is this series' dedicated eccentric teenage orphan otaku heiress. They're always blond, for some reason

But elsewhere, it seems like it has become the default protagonist for maid/butler anime, which are similarly ubiquitous. That’s just what happens. Something like Hayate the Combat Butler will get really popular, and then manga writers and anime producers will iterate over every possible element of the show, in a vain attempt to figure out why it was successful.

The eccentric teenage orphan otaku millionaire heiress (which I’ve decided to just copy-paste rather than retype) is everywhere, so it must be pretty popular. Or maybe the people making this stuff just think it’s popular, because so many shows that feature them are also popular?

Here's the cross-dressing I alluded to above

So we get the perpetual motion machine of bad taste and creative despair that is modern otaku culture. The eccentric teenage orphan otaku millionaire heiress is just one of the mind-bogglingly specific stock characters that pop up everywhere. I’ve already covered the ‘bland and mediocre in every way but slightly nerdy and inexplicably desired by the ladies’ guy that seems to be the main character of every new show; a blank slate for its bland, nerdy and explicitly not desired by ladies to imprint itself upon. There’s also the ‘girl who acts tough and violent but secretly likes cute things and just wants to be loved’, a more specific version of the ubiquitous tsundere.

But the eccentric teenage orphan otaku millionaire heiress is by far the most egregious to me, because it’s the most unreal and yet strangely specific. It’s, again, wish fulfillment for the otaku audience: a wealthy girl who can buy anything she desires, and yet uses it to buy the things every otaku would if they had an infinite amount of pocket money. With nothing denied her, she inevitably turns into a self-absorbed brat. She’s unencumbered by parents or any other impediment to her selfish whims; she’s inevitably accompanied by a maid, but said maid is infallibly demure and any protestations over the girl wasting her fortune on frivolities or running roughshod over people are unerringly polite.

Hardcore maids with military training/hardware are also getting tiresome. Maids in general, really

She’s a perfect plot generator, in a way, because she is unrealistically wealthy to the point where she can, and inevitably will, do anything with her money. But, by the very nature of being such a specifically focused and unrealistic character, it means she can never be anything more. Otaku can want to be her (or, as appears to be the creator’s design, want to date her), but she’s so unrealistic that you can’t empathize with her. Her struggles are foreign and trivial, even by the standards of anime characters, unless you threaten to take away her money, and then you’ve surrendered all that made her appealing in the first place. (I should point out that Hayate the Combat Butler has recently done just that, which gives me even more respect for it).

Basically, the only thing you can do is make her lonely, isolated from the rest of the world, with none to call an equal. It does make sense, after all; eccentric teenage orphan otaku millionaire heiresses are a rarity in the world their shows take place in, even if their chances of showing up in a show made nowadays is in the double digits. They don’t have any family by design, and who would want to be friends with someone so utterly selfish?

There's more attention to detail put into the 3D models of the Phalanx CIWS the cruise ship is armed with than the ship itself

Probably lots of people, actually; the toadying sycophants that money naturally attracts. But that would ruin any chance of pathos. So, these girls are inevitably loners, with no one to call a friend, except the bland and mediocre in every way but slightly nerdy and inexplicably desired by the ladies protagonist. Because he’s such a nice guy.

Asobi ni Iku Yo! tries to pull this exact same stunt, except it throws it in as a halfhearted B-plot to the main story of the girls being forced to star in a direct-to-DVD softcore porn action movie directed by a man who so defines camp gay that he is a force of homosexual nature, as part of a plot to steal a powerboat loaded with weapons so they can stage a daring rescue on the cruise ship where Kio and Eris are being held captive. It’s so muddled and overshadowed by the wild stunts of the rest of the episode that it’s even less believable and affecting than it would have been otherwise.

Aoi and Manami are stuck in swimsuits so they can star in the B-movie. Fortunately they're the most unattractive swimsuits in the world, or this might be considered fan service

It’s embarrassing, really. But it speaks to the show’s “more is more” attitude. And, if you can clench your teeth and ignore it (or if this is your first exposure to such a ridiculous character), it’s a pretty entertaining episode with some decent action scenes and a wholeheartedly ridiculous premise. Which seems to be all Asobi ni Iku Yo! wants to be.

Takao Kawasaki would not be any gayer if *censored for reasons of taste*

Watch the episode here.

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