「電柱の下の女子高生」 (Denchū no Shita no Joshi Kōsei)
“The Teenage Girl Beneath the Lamplight”
Now you might be thinking that Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou. reminds you of Yesterday wo Utatte and I’m here to tell you…I think so too.
While the characters are entirely, tone, and premise are different, we’re looking at a potential repeat love triangle between a young adult man, an underaged high school girl, and a working woman. I’m not so fond of this type of ‘ménage à trois’, pitting woman against woman for the attention of a man rather than mentoring one another. But I’m probably speaking a few steps ahead.
If you’ve read the source material by original creatorShimesaba from which this series was adapted, I’m sure you have your own thoughts about what I’ve just mentioned as you have a larger perspective.
Backtracking to this premiere, our main character Yoshida (Okitsu Kazuyuki) is stumped when his long time office crush rejects his invitation to go back to his place. It’s uncertain what their relationship is outside of being colleagues but it’s clear that this was the first ‘date’ they’d ever been on. Was anyone else not surprised by his quick advances? The only situation in which I think this would be alright is if they’d been friends for a long while and were comfortable with one another, but I’m doubtful since he’s using honorific ‘san’ with Gotou.
Moving on, the man is completely dejected and looses himself in alcohol before going home. On his way, he picks up a stray. And no, not like an adorable stray cat, rather, a voluptuous high school runaway named Ogiwara Sayu (Ichonose Kana).
Things get heated when Sayu offers to sleep with him in exchange for crashing in his flat. But as the wholesome man that he is, Yoshida refuses and lets her stay free of charge for one night.
I’m suspending judgement on this series because there’s a lot of information that I don’t have about either characters but I will share that I’m weary of how the narrative evolves from this point on. Is the framework for this relationship set up so Yoshida has overcome moral trials (including a love triangle, status, age gap) before he can honourably get the readily available girl? Or perhaps, on a more optimistic (wishful thinking) level, he’s into an ‘older brother’ role to provide her with necessary structure. I’d be happy for this to be the latter but I have strong suspicions about this leaning into the male fantasy genre.
This ingenue girl has the body of a model, the cuteness of a little sister, the innocence of a virgin (even if she isn’t), and so much to learn. Meaning, there’s room to influence to seep in whether that’s via her surroundings, relationships, parents, and other experiences. Mind you, this isn’t to say she isn’t manipulative and resourceful. These initial interactions could be seen as Yoshida saving the young damsel who needs a home but to me they come off more as someone taking advantage of a runaway, regardless of whether or not they enter into an intimate relationship. Gifting things to her (which can be seen as taking care of) in exchange for what is essentially a platonic partnership with ‘maid perks’ is in fact taking advantage or he’s placing himself as her ‘sugar daddy’. I understand that Sayu’s safety is on his mind but that’s jumbled up with other complex feelings he’s having towards her (comparing her to Gotou, etc.). If it were a responsible adult, would it not make more sense to reach out to her family back in Hokkaido? It might be an overstep but that would be the logical thing to do, hence why I’m more of the opinion that this series leans towards satisfying a male fantasy of sorts that I can’t really relate to.
That said, I think whoever picks up the series is in for some fun with these characters. The dynamic the two are building, while not as complex (so far) as that of two lost souls in Yesterday wo Utatte, seems like it’ll be ripe with humour and lightness moving forward. Both will possibly provide challenges for one another, perhaps even opportunities for each other to ‘get back on track’: Yoshida with Gotou and Sayu with her parents.
I don’t think I’ll be covering the rest of the series but would love to hear your initial thoughts about it!