「命短し腐れよ乙女」 (Inochi Mijikashi Kusareyo Otome)
“Girls, Life Is Short, So Rot Away”
It’s always the quiet ones. This one is just going crazy a little earlier than most.
Actual Character Development
This is yet another hilarious episode, with a great comedic swerve, plenty of over-the-top laughs, and some of the cutest animation cuts since Sakura Trick. But before all of that, I’d like to point out what this episode shows about the storytelling worth of this series. Because, believe it or not, it’s not entirely fluff.
Some stories are afraid of change. To LOVE-ru is a classic example of a story where the status quo strangles anything close to character development. Others have problem bringing about change. Shingeki no Kyojin—which, to be clear, is a show I very much enjoyed—doesn’t have the most dynamic characters in the business, not by a long shot. What this episode proved is that Prisma Illya is willing to let its characters change, in big ways.
Think of the Mimi we first met in the second episode of season one. Now think of the Mimi we know now. They’re undeniably the same character, but hoo-boy, they’re not the same person! She’s undergone some massive changes, and this is in a secondary character. And true, it’s mainly (exclusively) for comedic effect, but I respect a show that’s willing to irrevocably change its characters, whatever the reason. I said last episode that I’ll allow a reset button only once in a while. Had they pressed it again here, I woulda been pissed. Fortunately, they didn’t. We get full-gay-all-the-time Mimi from here on out. Woohoo!
This. Is. BL!!
The comedy this episode was once again in the combo—it wasn’t what happened, which was predictable enough, but how far and how fast she fell into her new hobby. (Those sisters are dangerous, Mimi. You shoulda run.) (Also, Bishi Kuro is clearly the superior bishie. All my bishies have casually tousled hair. It’s the right choice.) And once again, explaining the jokes would ruin them, so I’ll avoid doing so. Instead—is it just me, or do fujoshi have a low opinion of fujoshi? I know I shouldn’t take what’s happening in a comedy episode as the absolute truth, but even the word fujoshi (lit. rotten girl) doesn’t have a good connotation to me. And all the imagery that went along with the fujoshi characters was not positive.
Granted, there’s a strong hint of that in many anime with any kind of otaku, so so this isn’t really new. I was just struck because—well, I’ve met a few ladies over the years who were into fujoshi-type stuff, whether of the anime variety or not. I remember a girl back in high school who liked BL, gay porn, and shipping professional wrestlers. The difference was that she (and most of the others I’ve met) treated it as no weirder than any other fandom. They liked seeing two dudes kiss, I like seeing two women kiss—no fundamental difference, other than preference. I’m not sure if that’s a cultural difference, or simple anecdotal evidence that doesn’t mean jack squat in aggregate (note: It could easily be the latter, because I don’t even have a good sample size for anecdotal evidence). Still, it’s a shame to hear people talk about the things they like (and themselves) like this, even if this is an exaggerated, fictional version. You like what you like! Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Illya’s Youthful Prejudice
There’s a fine line between a character endorsing (or condemning) a certain viewpoint, and the show itself doing the same. To wit: Illya’s initial prejudice. The unfortunate truth is that, to someone who hasn’t been exposed to the idea of homosexuality before, her reaction is probably not an uncommon one. So is it the show saying that homosexuality is wrong, or just the character? In this case, the character, because Suzuka has clearly been a fujoshi this entire time, most anime fans know what that entails, and she’s never been marginalized. Here, it’s just how sudden and how fast Mimi plunges into BL that makes it so shocking—and rightly so. They toed a delicate line in always making it juuuust feel like it was the speed of her “fall” (as they put it) that was the problem, not that she liked BL itself. So it was just Illya’s not-uncommon youthful prejudice, and fortunately, one she got over quickly enough. Not surprising, since she’s clearly been aware of yuri love, even if yaoi was a shock to her.
Mimi: “I think boys should date boys, and girls should date girls.”
Miyu: “I kind of understand that.”
Hah! Of course you do, Miyu. And once again, them backing away to their friend, who they just realized might see them as a romantic partner, is kind of problematic, but largely okay, because they’re young, and they’re back to hanging out the next episode. All in all, a funny episode, I though. I look forward to seeing Mimi geek/gay out about ALL the things. Especially since her friends give her so many opportunities.
Looking Ahead – Theme Park Time!
So this was more of a fluff episode, and though the girls will be transforming next episode, it’s not sounding like it’s going to be a super plot-y episode. (Though it could lead into that. I don’t know, I haven’t read this far in the source. Tag your spoilers or I’ll beat you to death with Saber Lion, fumoffu.) And granted, I’d like to get back to some plot-y stuff, because too much comedy in a mixed series starts to feel … formless? If that makes sense. But the source is the source. We’ll get there eventually.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Mimi falls into the darkness that is BL (teh horror!), to the utter shock of Illya. Kuro & Miyu are cool with it, though #prismaillya s3e3
- I hardly mentioned it, but Kuro and Miyu’s argument in the beginning was clearly about more than just Mimi’s problem. I heard the source for this is actually from 3rei? Which means they yanked it out of the sequel, and then gave it a little plot relevance to boot. Well played, Silver Link. Well played.
- Remember what Hiyorin in Raki Suta said, Mimi: “I must … not … ship … my friends!” (Paraphrased, and usually said right before she does it anyway, ufufu~
- My favorite anime episodes are the ones where, when I describe them to a non-anime watching friend, it (mildly or majorly) freaks them out. Anime saikyou!
- Thigh-highs galore + twintail Kuro AND low-twintail Illya? HNG! Well done, girls. *salutes* Well done.
- Why do those two look so familiar… OH NOTES! I see what you did there *nudge nudge*
- Kuro: “Don’t mind me, I’m just staring up Illya’s skirt.” Get a room, you two. You’re interrupting Miyu’s reading. Also, you’re going to give Mimi a heart attack.
- I still don’t mind the comedy episodes, and I know they’re all being done at the beginning to build up to a crescendo by the finale. One thing they could have done, though, is pinch a move from C3-bu and save one of the comedy episodes for the end. That could improve the balance, while still getting a full 10-episodes of content, and giving us a sort of “reward” for surviving the coming drama. That could be what they’re planning already, though. Like I said, I don’t know! (Tag those spoilers, or else. Or else what? Exactly.)
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Absence (from work) makes the heart grow fonder, The Kingsman princess joke, Be the anime blogger, and If you find yourself using buzzwords, STOP.
Full-length images: 15.