Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
Hanabi and Mugi are the undeniable protagonists of this different romance story. Yet, the actions and the feelings of the people around them are playing determine their relationship. Kuzu no Honkai is a pure love story that wastes no time in festival preparations or redundant characters. Even the background settings are of minor importance. The focus is on feelings, and Episode 3 was full of them.
Japanese Title: Show Me Love (Not a Dream)
It’s difficult to show affection to someone for whom you have none. Hanabi herself rejected that poor guy in the last episode saying that there is nothing more revolting than the affection of someone you are not interested in. Clearly, she is not interested in Ecchan, but is her affection such a revolting thing now that it comes from someone she deeply cares for? Hanabi will question her reluctance to touch her, ‘Is it because she is a girl’ or maybe because she is in love with ‘brother’? If any of the two is true, why does she feel such comfort in Mugi’s embrace? It’s that comfort that leads her to pursue a real relationship with him, a relationship that very soon crumbles under the weight of the reality that is love. A stupid, crazy feeling that reminds us of our individual perception of reality. There are as many point of views as there are people on the planet, and in the end, love is one of those emotions that creates a much distorted point of view.
Love will make you blind
The one who is most blinded by his love is Mugi. Through a series of well-positioned flashbacks, we learned how Mei-senpai used him to numb her loneliness. It was that relationship in synergy with his love for Akane-sensei that made Mugi into what he is now, a teenager whose definition for love and affection is very different by what the ‘we are always right’ majority considers normal.
Episode 3 of Kuzu no Honkai was mostly about secrets. The secrets we keep from ourselves and the secrets we keep from others. And then, there are the secrets we keep for others. ‘Secrets can save you’, but on the other hand, secrets can also rob you from a truth that could very well be the only path to personal resolution.
Hanabi tried to save herself from a feeling that could have led her to stay forever alone. The twist with Akane-sensei mutated her affection for Mugi to hatred for the adulteress that is probably using Narumi-sensei, and that for Mugi is unacceptable. I wonder when Narumi-sensei is going to get some screen-time. We still know so few of his thoughts.
Ecchan’s Story: Quite elegant if I might say. I really like how all flashbacks scenes are given in a 16:9 format, giving them a cinematic touch. The black’n’white intro set the tone nicely, and the full-screen falling snow made the story even more dramatic. There are many poetic qualities to the anime’s scenes.
Sex Scene of the Week: Ok, we had more than one. The Hanabi-Ecchan kiss. Mugi’s hunky-punky during junior high with slim waist-huge breasts Mei-senpai, and Hanabi’s awkward and sweet handjob. The success of the series is that every one of these scenes shines with an adolescence innocence. They are more erotic than sexual. More cute than vulgar. It is cute to have someone you care about feel good, isn’t it?
Groping: In general, the term refers to touching another person in an unwelcome sexual way using the hands. The term has a negative connotation and in many ways is similar to sexual assault. Where hand-touching is permitted, usually security and medical examinations, massage, etc. the term is used to show inappropriate sexual touching. Both men and women can be subjected to groping: buttocks, breasts, vulva, and thighs are the most usual places of assault on a woman, and the penis, testicles, and buttocks on a man.
Did you know: In Japan, men who grope women in public are called chikan.
If you found the first scene of the anime confusing, Japan has a reputation for women and especially female students being groped on public transportation (trains and buses) to the extent that the authorities have many times implemented anti-groping campaigns. Lately there have been female-only passenger cars.
Homosexual Love: We are so blinded by our lust and genetic pre-programming to seek suitable gene-passers that we forget the true meaning of love. We can truly love our parents, our children, our dog, and our best friend. While these can be categorized as platonic love, there is nothing that prohibits two friends from showing that love in more intimate ways. When procreation is not an issue, people are free to be attracted and pursue affection with either men or women. Who are we to judge someone’s feelings? We are all human and we all deserve to be loved.
Morning Glory: Have you ever heard of the terms ‘morning wood’ or ‘morning glory’? What Mugi experienced after his flashback dream was a spontaneous erection of the penis. It usually happened during sleep or when waking up. All men without physiological erectile dysfunction experience it, usually three to five times during the night, and typically during REM sleep.
Kuzu no Honkai is spending equal time on building the backstory of the characters, exploring their thoughts in the present, and providing enough plot to keep the narrative going. We know why Mugi is behaving as he is and why Hanabi’s feeling suddenly changed. We know why she sees Akane-san as an enemy and how things are going to get complicated from now on. We know because the anime shows us everything we need to know to fully immerse into the story and spent every second on advancing the story.
We know little about Narumi-sensei and what his place in this whole story is. I’m guessing that one of the next episodes is going to give him more screen time. Until then, though, the scene I am most waiting for is Hanabi’s confrontation with Akane-sensei.
Did you like Episode 3 of Kuzu no Honkai? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Winter 2017!
NEXT TIME: Bad Apple!!