This is an anime that has gotten a lot of shit thrown at it after only one episode. I can see where people are coming from. Maybe. Or not. I can see people feeling uncomfortable and even outraged, with a young girl being bullied into such a deep depression she wants to walk out on the train tracks.
There will be SPOILERS after the synopsis mixed in with some highly personal stuff. If you like neither now is the time to click that back button.
Aya Asagiri is a middle school girl who has problems both at school with bullying and at home from physical abuse by her brother. While browsing online, a website pops up on her computer featuring a creepy looking person. This person appears to take pity on her, and announces that she has granted Asagiri magical powers.
That’s the description for this anime. It sounds almost harmless when you read it. Oh, a bullied girl getting revenge on her bullies with her new earned powers. That’s the premise for the show more or less. It shouldn’t be too upsetting, right?
The whole first episode is a whirlwind of physical abuse from Asagiri’s classmates; they soil her desk, they fill her shoe locker with needles and shaving blades, they stand(!) on her in the bathroom, they flush her head down the toilet and they call their senpai so he can come and rape her. No wonder she wants to die. Then she comes home and the abuse continues; her brother uses her as a punching bag. All she begs of him is that he doesn’t punch her in the stomach because she will not get her period if he does. I am gonna assume that it will be important later on. As will all the sperms in the ending of the show. Anyway, she is severely hit everyday by her brother and her parents seems to not notice, or maybe they just don’t want to see.
Asagiri is a lonely girl, as many bullied children are. It might seem like what she goes through in this episode is way over the top. I had a high school classmate, a boy, who endured similar things like this. Everyday it was something. His head shoved into his locker, chased around the school for a beating, pushed when he walked down the stairs, books in the toilet… there is a long list. And no one cared. At home he was neglected. Always had. My mom was his teacher in elementary school so she knew back then what misery he lived in. A punching bag, not by his brother (he had none), but by his dad. Kids all over are subjected to this every day. But people doesn’t want to know.
A friend of my husband called crying one night; she had found pictures of her son on SnapChat. How many seconds it it? 6 I think. 6 seconds of her son being stuffed down one of those metal cages you store basketballs. A group of boys in his class thought it would be fun to film how they threw him in there and then poured all the basket balls on top of him. On SnapChat. She found it on SnapChat. This wasn’t the first thing they had done to him. She didn’t know the extent of it but after that she found everything out. He never spoke about school at home, for obvious reasons in hindsight. School never cared to take it seriously before that incident, afterwards they halfheartedly talked to the boys and their parents. Our friend reported them to the police. What happened after that I don’t know. (the age to be sentenced for a crime here is 15, two of them was, the third was 14)
Sure, none of the two above were girls, is that the problem people have with this anime maybe? Is it worse to see girls bully girls? And add to that a cute girl getting bullied? I know I find girls fighting (in real life, not in fiction because at the end of the day, it’s fiction) to be more disturbing than guys for some reason. I can’t say why, it just is. So, would you watch this if Asagiri was a boy in the same situation?
Sure, one can questions the pace in this episode. Maybe they should have taken it more slow and built the bullying up a bit more but seriously, do you want three episodes of Asagiri getting tortured before she can kill the rapist and one of her tormentors. This first episode gives us all the backstory we need to move forward. She lives in hell and now she’s gotten hope for a better future. It’s not as if it was easy for her to kill the two guys either, she is filled with remorse and guilty thoughts even though she had no idea what would happen when she pulled the trigger of that cute looking gun.
Another thing to talk about is the character design of the bullies. Some say they are over the top. I say it fits them very well. Because, is this really a show where we need to be subtle? The brother is proper and handsome in the company of their parents, so why not make him look like Light when he turns into his worst. And those evil smirks on the mean girls in class, isn’t that what sneering looks like. I know I can sneer that evil. Believe me, I became a master at sneering when I was eight. (mostly because I didn’t believe anything anyone told me so I sneered as a kind of selfdefense. The ways of a bullied I guess) Sure, it might come across as comical and overly exaggerated but I think it fits the story well.
As for the darkness; isn’t this supposed to be dark? She is so depressed she wants to wander out on the tracks the first thing we see. And the whole first episode we get to know why, visually mixed with her inner thoughts. People compare this to other anime I haven’t seen (so I can obviously not say anything about it) and I don’t think it is fair. Look at it and judge it for what it is. People should overall judge an anime for its own merits.
Maybe I am a highly disturbed person, but I like this darkness. I like suffering, I like abuse and I like revenge. Because, in the end that will happen. But the interesting thing is how she will get there. How they will get there. And I am dying to know how she will deal with her brother. I hope she wont get rid of him right away. I want to see more of his torture of her. I told you I am twisted. That rope he carried when he was going to her room, I want to know what he planned to do with that. It’s the little things like that I want to see. I don’t want to see her eliminate all the evil in one go. I still want the suffering because I know it will eventually end. She’s got her heart shaped gun after all and she has her magic and that pretty class mate who can stop time. Give me suffering and misery and a slice of hope and I’m in.