「萌えるお世話係」 (Moeru Osewa-gakari)
Racism, illiteracy, and servant abuse are just a few of the problems Shinichi has already encountered, with more quickly on the way.
We’re Not In Tokyo Anymore
This show has comedy and moe, that’s for sure, but what’s really drawing me in is the interplay between those elements and the more serious sociological, political, and cultural themes they’re playing with. This was thrown into stark relief – both for Shinichi and for us – with his realization of how servants are treated in this world. Before that Shinichi undoubtedly knew that the Holy Eldant Empire was different, but it was an innocuous difference, more like visiting a magical world in an anime than truly living there. Now the truth has really sunk in. This world not only contains elves and magic, but an entirely different culture with cultural mores that are not only foreign, but repulsive to his own ethics. Myuseru might be moe sometimes, but when looked at through the lens of the culture she lives in…
Which brings me to a sociological question this show brushes up against. What do you think – are some cultures better than others? I’m not talking about how fans of rival sports teams will insist that their team is better, or innocuous matters like having a more widely used language or a different style of BBQ sauce; what I mean is, are some cultures objectively better based on the cultural mores they possess? I’m told that many experts try to avoid labeling different cultures as better or worse, and instead merely explore how they’re different.
Take the Holy Eldant Empire and modern-day Japan. Japan’s culture is clearly the superior of the two because, among other things, the Japanese don’t beat their servants, force children to become soldiers, and whatever racism exists in that country today – and I don’t think there’s a country on this planet that is completely immune to that particular scourge – it’s not so overt as to have even a sympathetic character indulge in heinous bigotry. I don’t throw stones here lightly because I won’t claim my own culture is peerless, but compared to a the Holy Eldant Empire, yeah, they’re worse. I can say that unequivocally.
Which is awesome, from a storytelling point of view. The collision of these two cultures is already fascinating to watch, especially with a main character who isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Though I’m not sure being turned down because you’re an otaku is anything like what Myuseru endures as a matter of course. No matter, at least he did the right thing.
The big challenge ahead of Shinichi is undoubtedly the population’s overwhelming illiteracy. It will be interesting to see how he manages this obstacle to his given goal of spreading otaku culture, because while there are some elements that don’t so fundamentally require a mastery of language – video games, for example – those have other problems, like it being damn near impossible to spread electronics to a medieval-level civilization without an electricity grid. With the translation rings not working on anything but spoken language, manga is the best conduit to spread the Word of Moe, but if no one can read it…
Well, time to get some Japanese lessons going, or teach everyone Eldantese (or whatever their langauge is) and hire a bunch people to translate everything. Hey, that could even help Japan with that whole recession thing. Two birds with one stone!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Racism, illiteracy, & servant abuse are a few of the problems Shinichi has encountered. This is more than moe…but it’s that too! #ob_c 02
- I’m sure Garius En Koldobar (Miki Shinichiro) will be important later on, but for now–Minori shipping Shinichi x Garius SO HARD!!
- Don’t grow your harem any larger than this, Shinichi. It’s perfect how it is.
- Lap loli is best loli. Lap loli is best loli!!
- So. many. REFERENCES!!
- I apologize for the late post; I was out of town this past weekend drinking a lot of really good beer, and I didn’t want to have someone cover this episode for me since I wasn’t sure whether I was going to pick up the series yet. But you know what? Fuckin’ picked up. Who cares about free time? Bring on more Outbreak, woohoo!
Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Beer does the spirit good, Convenient, The four levels of consuming art, and Realism in fiction is overrated.