Heroines in light novels are often said to be “easy”. It only takes them an episode or two after meeting a protagonist to go “dere” or lovey-dovey. However, that is not the result of their emotional change, but of their rational determination.
In this article, I will be verifying the expected behaviors of soap heroines, to explain how the development of “Hundred” stands to reason at the same time.
2016 Spring anime series
Now that several episodes of each series are out, it’s about time many of us have almost decided what to continue watching and what to drop. I’m sure everyone has different favorites, but mine is “Hundred”. Especially Emilia Hermit, the main heroine of the show, has appealed to me with her unique behavior. She initially posed as a boy under the name of Emil Crossford.
Her behavior is, in my opinion, the optimum attitude as a soap heroine. She is disposed toward the protagonist to the max from the very start, she is a roommate at the dormitory which gives the protagonist an easy opportunity to see her undressed. Nevertheless, she does not start a duel like the others but stands by him for support. She hardly wastes her opportunities and I wouldn’t be too surprised if someone told me she was doing this for the second time after a time-leap.
I find Emilia a rational person, but those who are not familiar with these types of shows may not see her that way. I’m going to surmise the future development of this show based on similar shows to reach an optimum conclusion before explaining her behavior.
Soap block shows
I mentioned “soap” earlier without explaining it. Let me explain it first for those who are not familiar with this term originating from Niconico. It is a generic name given to the shows based on LNs, especially bantered with their same old tropes.
* tropes such as so-called “Lucky Sukebe” (an accidental lewd event considered “lucky”)
* School setting
* Fantasy setting
* Battle using magic and/or special abilities
* Main heroine undressed at her first appearance
* Protagonist with an irregular ability (different from those of heroines)
* MF Bunko J (This particular trait is weakened with the rise of other labels)
While soap block shows have various elements, I’d like to talk about the aspect of the so-called harem development. Why are heroines of these shows so “easy”? Some may say “convenience for the audience” or “because the author wrote it that way”. Indeed, considering LNs being incorporated into the system of capitalism, the predestination in Calvinism may be more convincing in this argument.
However, as someone who wants to believe that human beings have a free will, I would like to think that every action, even those of a fictitious character, should be a result of consideration to some extent. Not for the convenience of the plot, but I want it to be a result of reasonable determination. Then, on what grounds can we determine their behaviors or actions to be reasonable? In order to answer this, we use economics instead of religion. Once we figure out the environment they are in and the incentives around them, the answer will be clarified.
Economics on Sex and Love
If I just say their behaviors and actions are reasonable based on economics, people would simply dismiss that as a deluded otaku nonsense and start objecting how women in real life are different. So, I’m going to quote the following book to corroborate my argument.
This book, as quoted from the ad, unlocks the mysteries behind our actions and thoughts on sex and love, from students’ relationships and spouse hunting on the internet, further to divorce, using engaging research and economic analysis. The most notable about this book is that the author is a woman as well as she is an eminent scholar with a PhD. A male author saying “women with high educational background tend to have a harder time to get married” would be open to criticism even when it is statistically correct. But she can definitively state that as “The statistical data clearly proves it. And I’m one of them.” (cf. Jared Diamond had to constantly repeat his clarifications on “Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality”.) .
Reading this book, it makes me realize that there are similar situations in real life. Colleges and Universities in Canada.
Canadian colleges have the biased ratio of men to women of 4 to 6, which apparently leads Canadian female students to behave somewhat similar to soap heroines. To be blunt, it’s a buyer’s market. This tendency appears more often when the ratio of women is higher, and the data proves it.
Women on college campuses who have never had a college boyfriend have a 69% chance of being a virgin when 47% of all students are female compared to only a 54% chance when 60% of all students are female. It suggests that women without a steady boyfriend become more sexually active on college campuses with fewer men relative to women.
For women who have had at least one college boyfriend the gap between those who are sexually active and those who aren’t is no smaller; they have a 45% chance being a virgin on the low sex ratio campus and 30% on the high sex ratio campus.
On sexual relations where men and women want one another, both are consumers (demand) and producers (supply). When women are relatively abundant in ratio to men, it will result in what is called Walrasian stability of equilibrium, in economics. That is to say, the value of women goes down while that of men goes up. And when it comes to relationships, women tend to lose negotiating power under this situation (Of course, when the gender imbalance is reversed, women will gain negotiating power. “Princess of Otasaa”, or Princess In A Otaku Circle, is the typical example.) .
To solve this gender imbalance, some may suggest to find a partner outside the campus. However, there is a burdensome issue to do so. The barrier of academic background. Women tend to look for a partner with a higher educational background than their own.
The major reason of emphasis of educational qualifications stems from wages. In a modern world, a higher education grants you a better chance of earning a higher income, and the gender wage gap has become smaller. On the other hand, not only in Japan but also in the West, the tradition of men working and women dealing with the household chores had been going on for a long time. And even after working women increased, they still earned less than men for a while. So, the prejudice that husbands should earn more than wives has still been strongly rooted, and women incline to seek for a partner with higher educational background (It is shown as data on one of the papers by Roderick Duncan. More women who finished high school had husbands who didn’t in 1940, while more women had husbands with college degrees or higher in 1990).
Even if we leave out the income issues, there is evidence that says educational background is important: Hollywood marriages. According to the research by Gustaf Bruze, the Hollywood stars also tend to marry others with similar education levels, no matter the gender, even though their income is not linked to their level of education. So in this case, it explains that the educational background shows what couples share in common, and the commonality is the factor in marriages.
Therefore, highly educated women tend to be disadvantageous with less chances to find a partner as long as they expect the same or higher level of educational background from their partners.
Combat in place of Education
Now, let’s get back to soap block shows. In these shows, educational levels and backgrounds are hardly talked about. But there is an alternative: combat levels. The absolute and sole factor that matters to judge soap characters is the combat power and strength.
Schools in soap block shows are institutions to level up the combat skills. So, they have rankings according to their combat history, and their positions at school highly depends on their strength. We can simply replace the education levels in real life with the combat levels to apply the theory.
Julis, the main heroine of “The Asterisk War” whose second season is currently airing, made an interesting excuse in the show. When she was asked about not having a combat partner for a tag-team match, she said:
“I simply haven’t found anyone who meets my standards as a partner.”
From “The Asterisk War” episode 2
This is precisely the typical example equivalent to a highly educated woman with no partner in real life. As you can see in the ranking of her school, she is the fifth strongest at school. That means, there are only 4 people who are on an equal footing with her, and only 2 out of them are men. Even Lester MacPhail is rank 9. Besides, heroines like Julis value fairness and expect integrity from their partners. The very few strong male candidates get sifted out to be her partner by this requirement.
However, there is one person who can clear this hurdle: the protagonist of the show. Protagonists are often exempt from school ranking, but they receive an opportunity of dueling.
These duels usually end up in draws, which proves the heroines that the protagonists are as strong as them. Additionally, they also find out later that the protagonists have unique abilities, different from theirs, and that those abilities surpass that of the heroines.
Moreover, the protagonists always have an open and trusting nature. Such characters are much rarer than characters with a supernatural power in soap block shows. They certainly attract heroines, and those girls are all talented and attractive because they have no other candidates. Note that it means these girls have no negotiating powers.
I have explained how both highly educated women in real life and heroines in soap block shows have no negotiating powers. What comes next is the competition. What’s considered important in economics is that people generally behave to improve cost-effectiveness. So, if you want someone to pick you as a partner, you have two options: to reduce cost compared to others, or to enhance the efficiency.
In real life with the gender imbalance of scarce males, it will be about availability of sex. If its efficiency is at the same level, the cheaper candidate will be picked. To win this competition, girls have to be easier.
You can confirm the same situation in soap block shows. With more heroines in a show, the new comers become more radical and sexually active. It is quite natural that competitors who appear later have to show they are more beneficial than others, or they cannot win the competition. On the other hand, the first player could lose her presence if she just takes the status quo granted; a sustained effort is required.
Of course, you may think that these girls don’t have to be obsessed about getting undressed. The real life with already unchangeable tendency may be different, but a new soap block show with nobody undressed should not require a heroine to get dressed, some may say. Yes, that is partly right. But that situation is always ruined within 3 minutes of the first episode by a “Lucky-sukebe” trope.
Even if neither the protagonist nor the heroine has any intentions, this accidentally happened lewd trope gives a significance in these shows as the first sexual experience has the following nature:
In short, once she has been seen undressed, it wouldn’t matter at the second time and she wouldn’t mind showing herself again from then on.
Given the situation, you can’t stop this flow. New comers basically end up undressing themselves of their own accord to be competitive enough. In other words, the first undressing event is caused by God’s mischief, but the rest are led by an invisible hand of God.
As we have seen, the environment surrounding the soap heroines is harsh. Their own excellence burdens them. Then what are the appropriate behaviors for them? Peter Thiel gives us a guiding principle regarding this point in his book, as in creative monopoly by concrete plans.
The market for protagonists is promising, but its value is barely known at the start. So, it is desirable to monopolize the market as soon as possible to avoid any potential competitions later. Monopolizing it early on will create composure and allows you to use your efforts on something more meaningful than defeating your rivals.
“Early on”, however, does not mean much if a new comer supersedes the position. A childhood friend is a typical loser example who enters the market first and gets defeated in competition.
With that in mind, let’s review Emilia’s behaviors in “Hundred”.
She makes no useless efforts as someone who knows the exact value of the protagonist. She was very certain that the protagonist would be a Slayer as another Variant, so that she kept watch over all the Hundred compatibility scores all over the world to find him to enter the same academy. There is no such thing as a predestined encounter here. The encounter was staged at 100 percent probability.
Moreover, she enters the academy disguising herself as a man, which gains her two advantages. She can be the protagonist’s roommate at the dormitory, and can interfere to keep off other girls (she could also hide her true identity, but we can ignore this part). By these, she holds an advantageous position. This behavior shows that she is practicing what Caesar said, “Success is not in the battle itself, it means to seize good opportunities (Gallic War (Kodansha academic Paperback))”. She read “where the movement (information) reaches” and got there to obtain the most advantageous position in advance (成功は「機会の活用」で決まる連戦連勝だったカエサルの戦略思考｜戦略は歴史から学べ｜ダイヤモンド・オンライン).
As she knows the protagonist’s true value, she wouldn’t waste time trying to duel him either. She appeals to him how she is on his side from the very start, and she even let Lucky-sukebe happen intentionally and deliberately.
Emilia knew that the protagonist was her roommate from the start, and she also knew that he visited his sister in hospital. Therefore, she definitely knew when he would be coming back; nevertheless she took a shower and attempted to put her clothes on where he could easily see her from the doorway at the right timing. This must be intentional. She counterfeited an accident to inform him about her true gender.
As you all know, however, this strategy fails due to the protagonist’s insensitivity. In the following episode, she even grumbled as “The last forestalling scheme failed, but…”. No wonder, because all these careful calculations to build up her position was ruined by an intruder: the queen of the academy, Claire Harvey.
She dueled against the protagonist in episode 2, and got her boobs grabbed as you saw. Then she turned into dere after admitting his capability in 3. This probably gave many of you a sensation of deja vu with the flow of the story. That’s right, the flow of the main heroine. When I saw this, I realized something; the first episode of “Hundred” was actually episode zero.
Many of the trained viewers chanted how it took too long to see a girl undressed at the first episode of “Hundred”. Generally, Lucky-sukebe occurs within 3 minutes in these soap block shows. But this show took 19 minutes to reach the relevant scene by Katoyuu’s measurement (ラッキースケベ発生時間ランキング – カトゆー家断絶 ). It takes only 40 seconds in 3 minutes length anime shows (下着の少女が40秒で目の前に現れる〜『ワガママハイスペック』が更新した少女の脱衣速度について〜 – うらがみらいぶらり ). Under the circumstances, that is taking things too easy.
But if the first episode was actually episode zero, then everything makes sense. If the scene with Emilia was not a usual accidental Lucky-sukebe, but instead what she attempted prior to the practical episode 1, then we could consider her action to be extremely early. Emilia started her move earlier than everyone else in order to get the protagonist.
In the third episode, we definitely learned that Emilia was a childhood friend. Yes, a childhood friend is a curse for her, that she is destined to lose. That is to say, this story of “Hundred” is about the battle between Emilia who fights against her destiny using her intelligence and against other heroines chosen by destiny. Can calculations win against destiny? This show is a story based on economic perspectives.
These shows are often bantered as tropes or cliches, but that only proves the banterer’s reading comprehension. Setting aside those who are enjoying it, if they are seriously complaining, they should start reading books. You have to be cultured and educated enough to fully enjoy entertainment.
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