Welcome to Pop Culture Infiltration, where we zero in on a particular pop culture aspect and expose it for the repetitive nonsense it is. Today, our conversation leads us to anime. But this time, we’re heading back to the past. The not-too-distant past.
To those 1990s.
Now, I consider myself an Oldtaku (think about it, it’ll click) and my interest in anime peaked with late-90s shows. And back then, there was a certain genre that I just kept seeing over and over again. I call it “Everyone Wants to Do Me” anime.
There are a few variations within the genre, but typically, the shows function the same. Boy character finds himself surrounded by (or living with) multiple girl characters and they all want to fuck him. Hilarity ensues. Everyone and no one goes home happy.
Now Tenchi had one distinct character trait that in my opinion, carries through the genre/trope/whatever you want to call it. He’s a wiener- a bunch of beautiful girls are vying for his attention and no one can quite figure out why. But that’s likely part of the comedy- that’s he’s an every-boy, maybe a reflection of a typical Japanese boy at the time, and this cast of extraordinary women all want to have sex with him.And then something-something Jurai/light saber/space pirates?
The series takes place in a world inhabited by males. A set of male astronauts found a new territory/world but because there were no women present, they all just cloned themselves. Later, female robots were created for company, etc. but they were still just robots. Eventually, a special sort of robot was created with a Maiden Circuit, which makes said robot more human. Enter Lime (spunky), Cherry (demure), and Bloodberry (sexy) and they all live with a lazy, cocky weirdo named Otaru.
I’ll always find it fascinating what happens when the script is flipped on this genre, and it got me thinking about Fushigi Yuugi from the mid-90s. The show was about a girl named Miaka (age 15) who gets sucked into another world (ala Escaflowne and Magic Knight Rayearth) only to be told she’s the Priestess of Suzaku with a group of Star-Warriors she must collect into a singular group. In typical form, they’re all male soldiers, 6 out of 7 are gorgeous, and 4 out of 7 would totally play air-guitar on her ass if she let them. But whereas in the male-protagonist versions of these show where all the girls wanting to wreck a dorkus is played up for laughs, in Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka figuring out which of these guys should hold her heart and body is played in a serious fashion.
And truthfully, the show just doesn’t age well. When I saw it at age 14/15, it was some of the most romantic junk in the world. Now as a jaded grown-up with the series on cheap Hong Kong Bootleg, it’s just laughable. I’ll always remember fondly how invested I was in these characters and how important everything seemed, but the pacing now is just a joke. Plus, the amount of “near rapes” is sickening, but that’s another conversation. I guess you could say the male characters in their own “Everyone Wants To Do Me” narratives come close to assaults, but because society doesn’t take male rape seriously, it’s once more, played up for laughs. So, just give me more magical girls and robots. At least those make sense.
Do you have a favorite “Everyone Wants Me” anime? Did we leave some out? Tell Nerdbot about it in the comments and let’s get the conversation going!
Follow Loryn on Twitter. She also has a personal blog. Her debut novel My Starlight, a young adult novel about anime, cosplaying, fandom, love, loss, and friendship will be released August 3rd, 2018 by Affinity Rainbow Publications.