Yes, the site is ugly. If I had any design talent, I would draw anime, not write a blog in my underwear.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kaze no Stigma: Episode 17

The opening of episode 17, "How to defeat a magic user" is remarkably troubling on multiple levels. Overall Kaze no Stigma has been a fairly positive show, with violence being confined to either clearly villainous acts or those who can fight back, with a few exceptions for slapstick violence of the Tom and Jerry sort. Which is partly why the opening of this episode is so very troubling.

It starts at school with a pervert taking lewd photos. With his wicked grin and insistence that this is "art", he is clearly the bad guy in this vignette (though what the show itself thinks of him is perhaps more ambiguous, since the animators are no stranger to pantyshots in the prior episodes, but I am hoping to save that particular bugaboo for a future, longer, post).

The victims, all non-magical, find our villain, also non-magical, and destroy the camera. This seems reasonable.

They then circle around him and proclaim that his photos are not art, but gross and illegal. This seems also reasonable.

Then they start to hit him. This starts to veer into the possibly ill-advised category, but seems like a very human response, and hardly enough to claim moral ambiguity.

Then they destroy all his hidden cameras, and we are back into the realm of the eminently reasonable.

Then they come out with brooms to hit him some more. On the face of it, this would be unnecessary escalation, especially since they have now had time to cool down (which they didn't) and call the police (also didn't do). We can excuse the brooms as cartoonish violence, weapons at once plausibly on hand, serious, but also not so serious that we need to wonder if the police (they did call the police, right?) will arrive in time.

Then the tennis club leader pulls out an aluminum baseball bat, the sort the mob uses when they want to cause an ugly death, and hits him in the head with it.

Perhaps it is just me, but this last touch is so tonally out of the range of the rest of the show that I really get morally conflicted about it. You want to beat a lewd photographer? Sure, that's understandable, if probably not the decision that would be made by calm, rational minds. You want to hit him with a metal baseball bat? That is homicide, or at least attempted homicide.

Kaze no Stigma is a show with a body count, but our photographer (not actually dead yet through the twin miracles of thematic damage and cartoon physics) is the first one to be all at once in a position where he can't fight back, beaten graphically with relatable weapons, and attacked by people who are clearly the good guys.

And through it all, I couldn't help but think that if the show runners really wanted pantyshot photographers bludgeoned to death by mobs, then WHY ON EARTH ARE THERE PANTYSHOTS OF HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS IN THIS SHOW? WHY IS THIS EVEN A THING? WHO THE HELL JACKS OFF TO PHOTOS OF WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR.

This last point will be the topic of a much longer discussion on fanservice, but until then, seriously, Japan, what the hell.

No comments:

Post a Comment