「夢を見させて」 (Yume o Misasete)
“Let Me Dream”
You know this was a weird little episode, and it sort of threw me for a loop, but the events that transpired felt both close to home and at the same time a massive wasted opportunity.
Throughout the run time of D_Cide I have been getting this feeling that it wants to be fresh, edgy, and a little bit braver than most. Dealing with heavy topics like abuse, self-discovery among many other things. Ala Persona. D_Cide has been touching on this through its airing. We can touch on these topics, and we’re not afraid to do so. That’s what the creators are exclaiming through its writing. Yet most of the time it just kinda falls flat or doesn’t have that punch needed to actually really delve into the root of the problem.
This week D_Cide decided it wanted to try its hand at unrequited love and gay relationships as a whole. The premise of the episode is as follows, Oda our resident jock-Genki-boy receives an anonymous love letter in his locker. Oda becomes absolutely giddy with this, he simply can’t contain himself. The letters have a cute design on the front and are printed out. More on that in a bit. Oda uses this opportunity to show off to his friends and starts imagining what she would look like. Later when he’s training, he advocates for a short hair girl or long hair girl basically he doesn’t really care how they look. But Oda never actually stops and considers the facts. Usually, love letters are written by hand, as pointed out by Rena and Eri. So they grow suspicious, but Oda brushes it aside as he thinks they are trying to ruin his happiness.
A day passes, and another love letter comes, and this time it has a place and date, the writer wants to meet Oda in person and confess their love for him. Oda plants himself in the park, and oh surprise! It just so happens its’ another boy. This is where the problems start. Oda claims that he can’t fall in love with someone he just met. Nozaki and under classmate of Oda exclaims in joy because Oda didn’t exactly say no. So a little hope glimmers in Nozaki’s eyes. The next day Oda is visibly bummed out by the whole situation, and he recaps everything that happened to the girls. Who of course put him in his place and care for Nozaki’s feelings. They exclaim Oda must go and turn him down immediately, which he does. Simply put Oda can’t fall in love with another guy. And why not? Just a moment’s before he was claiming he wouldn’t mind how that girl looked. The show wanted to speak about LGBTQ relationships but doesn’t go all the way. Of course, because Nozaki later becomes a dreamer. They use a bait and switch, just to incorporate Nozaki into the Traumerei.
Here’s a thought! What if Oda has one little line change. Instead of denying the whole thing, he becomes curious and want’s to see what’s on the other side of the coin. But when Rena and Eri bring him down to earth, they explain all the troubles he would have to deal with by dating another guy. Rena and Eri would explain that they themselves would openly support Oda in his decision, but the rest of the world wouldn’t be so appreciative. This in turn causes Oda to not want to deal with all of this, and instead of just putting down Nozaki and turning down even his friendship, Oda would find a much softer way of denying Nozaki’s feelings. Yes, that would mean Oda is bi, but bisexuality is the true underdog of the LGBTQ, your story becomes super progressive, but still, have Nozaki’s motive to become a dreamer. Even if it’s still a little problematic.
Then later in the dream, Oda jumps into the Traumerei and finds Nozaki having to deal with the same mummy monster Eri turned into before becoming a Knocker Up (I know that name).
But instead of cloning Oda and showing a deep personal trauma, they go with putting Oda in a mummy wrap and making Nozaki the bad guy. For all the progressive ideas D_Cide want’s to spew out, it still manages to ostracise and continues to permeate a decade-old idea that gay people will still force others into relationships with them, because they never get the guy they’re actually aiming for. It makes Nozaki the villain and shoves him in a negative light. Because in the end, he was willing to make Oda fall in love with him no matter the cost. Even if that meant hurting Ryuuhei. Why not make a shadow clone of Oda and make him accept Nozaki’s feelings. But that leads to Nozaki realizing that what he’s doing is bad, and in the end doesn’t want to force anyone to do anything. Same outcome different results.
One good takeaway is that the cast never calls out’s Nozaki as gross or doesn’t go to his rescue because of his sexuality. Yet still, it never actually does any good, it just sorts of reiterates old ideas and decade-old stereotypes. It doesn’t try to break the paradigm, instead, it recycles it with no intention of breaking harmful stereotypes. Don’t try to be progressive, if you’re not willing to break some glass along the way.
If anything Oda is a really good guy who has empathy for others despite their circumstances.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week for another episode of D_Cide Traumerei the Animation.