「恋する王国」 (Koisuru Oukoku)
“Kingdom of Love”

Was it just me? Anyone else a bit disturbed by this episode? At least a little? Thus far Hisone to Masotan has been mostly comedic, positive, look-at-this-cute-dragon fare with some drama sneaking its way in now and then, but as the plot starts to rear its ugly head and come stomping onto the scene HisoMaso seems to have taken a turn for the sinister. We’re finally starting to learn what this enigmatic ‘Ritual’ is about (well, mostly that it’s unreasonably expensive) and none of it looks good. Somehow, all the fun and games about getting to pilot a dragon-jet of your very own has become an unaccountable government conspiracy. What’s worse, they’re not even doing anything cool like hiding aliens or building a Death Star. It seems, instead, that a whole lot of effort is being devoted to destroy a bunch of women’s self-esteem. Sure, much of it is still being played for laughs, but still not enough to cover for the fact that the plan is literally to seduce the D-Pilots and break their hearts to ensure that they never love again. I’m not sure if it’s more malicious than it is stupid, but in my head every scene came with an evil cackle and a moustache twirl.

Generalising, though, this is more or less a modern variation of the old myths where where women need to be sacrificed to some deity/monster/tyrant for the prosperity/survival/pleasure of some kingdom/village/family. And it’s almost always women, and if not it’s children (bonus points: daughters) because these are also often the story of some man swooping in, rescuing the damsel and saving the day. Which is to say, a lot of women back then apparently had it pretty rough. This typecasting does not seem to have changed in the modern myth of HisoMaso, unfortunately. The whole ‘a woman’s job is to love’ thing is not only insulting to single women everywhere, but also speaks to a rigid set of gender roles that is more pervasive in Japan today than those of us raised on more Western values may find tasteful. On my part, I was most offended by how unethical the entire operation was. Only one person seems at all displeased at what they are being made to do, and the rest seem to be cool with abuse of power and casually selling out their friends and colleagues. If this was just a cultural thing then I would make an effort to understand them, but if this Ritual really was of such long-standing importance they would have created special facilities where they psychologically torture orphans from birth for the sake of creating the perfect D-Pilots. Instead, they have this nonsense. How is the OTF programme still a secret? Surely someone must resigned out of protest and made a stink about it by now.

My only solace is that Minister Guy is being painted as something of an antagonist (or even a banal kind of villain) and seems unlikely to get his way. I’m assuming that HisoMaso is trying to, in its own way and at its own pace, make a point. Sometimes a story will have some implication that I find objectionable with (like the state-sanctioned repression of women in HisoMaso) and I usually chalk that up to the writer not thinking things through enough. Here, though, I must assume that every implication is deliberate. The whole setting with the OTFs and the D-Pilots and the Ritual are completely contrived, so there must be some purpose to it. Not a very subtle way to send a message, perhaps, but I’m sure there will be one in the end.




  1. So is this “let’s remind all those Western barbarians that despite American military occupation and enforced incorporation into the Western economic sphere, Japanese culture is still truly alien” week? Or is it just the week where we ourselves are forcibly reminded how much our own culture has changed over the past few decades?

    1. This isn’t about American or Japanese culture. Obviously, neither culture approves of treating people this way.

      It’s more about the humor and the narrative structure of the show. The biggest question is, is it funny? Passerby is suggesting that no, it isn’t funny. It’s too cruel, and it conforms to old tropes (women are expendable) rather than playing with them. There are ways this could be funny- if the show was about women banding together and fighting back against a “boy’s club” institution, for example, it would feel a lot more meaningful and intentional. Instead we have a show that is about a group of “loser” women being treated like shit because…something something dragon jets?

      We already know that being a woman military pilot is really tough and involves a lot of misogyny. So making a show where the lady pilots are all “unlovable” misfits and have to deal with even more misogyny just isn’t funny.

  2. Personally I thought the episode did make it clear that the whole plan to destroy the women’s self esteem was absolutely stupid, with Remi very much acting as the moral compass of the episode. But perhaps in playing it up for laughs as well it undermines the severity of the lack of ethics behind the whole thing, and makes it harder to understand the message.

    1. the problem more has to do with the contrived nature of this whole ordeal and the lackadaisical handling of the ethics of this whole prospect. There is no difficulty in understanding the message; it
      plot detail itself that just audaciously ridiculous in a way that seems irreverent in the wrong kind of ways. It puts the narrative in a precarious situation, but we’ll see if and how HisoMaso circumvents this potential issue and what it wants to say through these recent developments. The show is still fine and like you said, the show kind of points out how stupid this whole enterprise is to begin with.

  3. I feel like trying to squeeze a message (or being offended by it) out of a show that has dragons being disguised by the Japanese military as aircraft and women that lick these dragons is taking things a little too far…

    1. out of curiosity, why would it be taking it too far? Isn’t the point of storytelling to convey some kind of feeling or message to the recipient so that they can resonate with said story? The story in question doesn’t need to be overly serious before it is justifiable to search for some meaning or emotion from its narrative. Even if a story isn’t deep or transient; even if it’s eccentric and ridiculous, it can still make you feel a certain way and for some, that feeling may not appeal to their sensibilities; it’s as simple as that

      1. I just felt from the tone of the post that Passerby took this episode too seriously. Maybe there really isn’t much to talk about when it comes to content in this silly show, but I didn’t expect to read about a comparison to gender culture in Japan. This series is either an attempt at creating goofy, surrealist entertainment or one big satirical art piece aimed at poking fun of the different departments that govern Japan and its air force. Maybe a little of both. Either way, the only meaning I’m getting from all I’ve seen thus far is that dragons can be hella cute, and silly shows are fun to watch. I just think you don’t have to read too much into the stuff that’s happened and just enjoy the ride.

  4. Honestly, if the girls realize what they are trying to do, they have every right to sue them.
    This is an invasion of intimacy and very great disrespect.
    I guess with all your contacts, you have nothing to fear, but it is very hypocritical that you try to control the love of the girls.
    There are so many prejudices in this chapter that I don´t even know what to mention.
    On the other hand, nobody noticed that this chapter served to create new ships, and improve personal relationships between some characters.
    (Sorry I’m a romantic)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *