Day 6: OniAi
On the sixth day of anime my waifu gave to me,
six girls a-fawning…
five metal vessels!
four Riki routes…
two rockin’ Joestars…
and a chu2 from KyoAni!
So I have to admit, I have a huge thing for incest. Done correctly, I refer to the genre as WINcest, or, even better, tWINcest. And because of this, frequently I’ll end up watching shows with even meager amounts (or in this case obvious displays) of brocon/siscon. And OniAi not only has this, but also a full harem setup, complete with everyone living under the same roof. But the show fails utterly at everything it attempts. So let’s break it down (or at least attempt some constructive criticism). I’ll go over some gripes I have about the show, and afterwards talk about shows that I think are much better.
First off, I can put up with ridiculous settings. Sakurasou is ridiculous, yet I love the show. I even have a soft spot for R-15, even with it’s completely contrived location and characters (Taketo’s ability to cause girls to undress with recitations of ero-passages made me lime green jelly, but that’s a separate issue). But you then have to make the character interactions at least compatible with such a setting. OniAi does absolutely none of this – literally nothing is explained even a bit until a decent way into the show, and ~10 episodes in a 12 episode show is way too late. So what’s the setting here? The entire student council, of course almost entirely girls except for our wonderful male protagonist, all live under one roof. That’s pretty cool, right? Barely any of this dynamic is explored (or even built up – you never figure out why really such a place exists) – instead, it just serves as a place to make gags.
Secondly, if you want to have a harem, at least invent some reason, no matter how stupid, for people to fall in love with the main character. You can’t start out with a harem, and offer minimal explanation! It diminishes not only the asexual main character (because there’s usually one) but most especially the girls in the show, who now become cardboard love interests. At least pretend to care about the girls as if they’re people. I don’t even care how bad the reason is, or how re-used, or how obviously fake – just give me one. OniAi just plops a harem on you and barely bothers with any attempts to explain it until halfway through the show – only after getting over half a dozen episodes in do we get a decent backstory of some of the characters (yes, not even all of the characters, just a handful). Wtf! Even though some of the characters are somewhat interesting, you just don’t care for any of them – the show has given you have absolutely no reason to. Who should you root for? If you can’t empathize with anyone, you can’t even pick a side, and all the romance elements fall flat.
And this is after they made sure all the female cast follows/combines harem tropes to the letter. They have a busty, eyepatch-ed, kimono-wearing, aggresive girl. A short, haughty, blonde, flat, tsundere ojou-san. A tomboyish, shy, and frequently misunderstood childhood friend. A loli half-sister. An actual sister with brocon. A slightly-removed, confused girl from a third-party for comic relief. And of course a lead who’s could for all intents and purposes be an asexual amoeba (although one who could write wincest-fiction, but seeing as how that particular facet has yet to be explored or even discovered by the other characters, I don’t think it matters).
Also: Akiko, I’m sorry for what they’ve done to you. You seem legitimately nice and funny and cute. But your brocon! It was funny in the first episode or two, but afterwards it just became incredibly obnoxious and annoying. Annoying enough for me to heavily contemplate dropping the series. Which was incredibly bizarre for me, having considered myself a wincest fan through and through. It was only halfway through the show where they finally toned it down to the point of being moderately cute again (the one exception is her laugh – best thing since sliced bread). They just couldn’t give you a good balance.
This is by far the worst part of the show. I can sometimes deal with shady exposition and flat (figuratively speaking, although I’m fine with the physical version too) female love interests, but you at least need the character interactions to be good. You need the girl(s) to show they legitimately care about the guy, even if they somehow manage to put up with all the competition. But in OniAi, this totally doesn’t happen. Any sort of meaningful event is turned into a contest where Akito’s feelings are disregarded to a ridiculous extent and the girls just compete with each other. It’s an absolute disgrace. I actually got so pissed watching some of the episodes that I had to yell at the screen to vent my frustration (the only other scenes that riled me so much were from Komari’s arc in Little Busters!, which I’ve already bashed). The only character that has shown some break from this trend was the President, and even that was way late in the game – much too late to save the show.
Seriously, if you’re going to put fanservice into a show, you need to either do it well or just screw it and go overboard. I mean, you can do fanservice without even showing much skin! It’s all in the character interactions. You can’t just do this wishy-washy “well, let’s just throw in some here, because male fans like boobs so this’ll look good!”. That totally doesn’t work. And OniAi does exactly this of course. The fanservice is ridiculously tacky and seems forced most of the time, which doesn’t work for me unless the entire show is designed that way.
So, to summarize, the lack of exposition, proper characterization, or even caring about the main character in general totally runs this show to the ground. It absolutely sucks on almost every level I can think of. Even if the girls are funny and their antics (sometimes) amusing, there’s no real pull to root for any one couple or care about the situation at all for that matter.
“So now what?” you might ask. “You’ve given us disjointed rants trying to trample on this show – what are some good alternatives?” I’ll just list a few that I think are better examples of this type of thing – if you want a harem or wincest show, of course.
Baby Princess 3D Paradise 0 [Love]
This one-shot OVA is a MOTHERFUCKING MASTERPIECE. Trust me – you’ll spend 30 minutes laughing uncontrollably at wincest x 19 or so (what can go wrong with 19 daughters?). It is absolutely ridiculous, and in half an hour manages to map out the territory some shows take multiple episodes to traverse. Just thinking about it is causing me to chuckle.
But for more serious/long-running shows, we can consider some stuff like…
Ore no Imouto
Like really, this is a good example of a great softcore harem and wincest.
Kiss x Sis
If you really want to just go all out with the fetishes and fanservice, there is no better route that Kiss x Sis (the OVAs and the TV series both are ridiculous). It’s twincest at it’s finest.
Okay – the original show was pretty mediocre/bad, I’ll admit it. But the later seasons, especially for me, have the makings of a decently good harem. Not only does the show not take itself too seriously (I mean, Momo’s harem plan? That’s a good one), but most of the supporting cast has been fleshed out between the first season and Darkness. It even has the possibility of wincest thanks to Mikan (and one of the OVAs [Motto TLR OVA 5] actually teases us with this!). Rito though is a bit frustrating, as are most asexual blobs.
You want to see what happens when the main character is not only not an asexual meatbag, but is a jerk and screws with everyone (literally)? And, just for the hell of it, if one of the girls was insane? Well then, this is your show. Be warned – it’s not pretty.
Sora no Otoshimono
I found the gags in Sora no Otoshimono to be much more effective than in most other shows (although that easily might be because I’m a young male). I originally went in thinking it would suck, and ended up marathoning both seasons because the acts of Tomoe and co. were just too great. Also, having Tomoe be a sexually charged deviant was a nice change of pace from the wimpy males that pervade most hentai shows (recently that has changed, although I wouldn’t say for the better, considering recent examples such as High School DxD and H ga Dekinai).
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica
The reason Akatsuki assembles a harem is easy to place – he’s a grade A badass. It’s refreshing having a protagonist who is actually experienced, strong, and knows what he is doing. And also knows how to deal with women to a certain extent (or at least seduce all of them). It’s also a good example of what to do with fanservice if you just want to make it ridiculously over the top.
This is mainly for the laughs at how fast Ichika manages to assemble his harem. Also at how many tropes pop up during this show.
I Don’t Have Many Friends is not the best thing I’ve seen, but it definitely deals with character interactions much better than OniAi does (and contains hints of brocon). Also, Rika’s awesomeness knows no bounds.
A classic. Although it ended up sucking in the end, it was a fun ride. Also a really catchy OP.
I can’t think of any more off the top of my head, so if you have any additional recommendations (or critiques at my terrible taste) let me know in the comments.