A Brief History of Anime Protagonists Choosing The Wrong Girl – By Stephen Hawking (Sakurasou rant)

I wanted to watch a braindead harem comedy today to recharge after experiencing ACCA (yes Kapodaco I think I’ll take you up on your recommendation of Cat Planet Cuties, seems like the exact thing I want right now) thinking about it though has reminded me why I sometimes find myself infuriated at these types of series. When the protagonist chooses the wrong girl.

No I don’t mean that he didn’t choose the girl that I liked best but when he chooses a girl that goes against the (little) characterization we’ve been shown of them. When a show has it’s character choose someone who wasn’t my personal favorite out of the options presented, of course it annoys me a little the point of these shows is that you are meant to live vicariously through the protagonist, but usually it makes sense.

One example here would be Clannad (not After Story), it’s based off a visual novel where the point is to choose one of these girls at first (a lot of these shows are) but the character presented in the show chooses Nagisa, which makes sense considering she is the focus of the After Story and the character is presented as one that would go for her. While would not have made the same decision it makes sense that our protagonist here does.

Another thing that annoys me a bit is when characters act like oblivious sexless robots, like that guy from Infinite Stratos, come on you’re a teenager, you have no girlfriend, no immediately obvious interests and you are sharing your room with a smoking hot French girl who is fixated on your Johnson. There is literally no way you don’t fuck her at least once. I understand this as a way of retaining the status quo but it does leave the show sort of stagnant and (usually) without the potential to be more than cheap entertainment (an example of how to do this right is Trinity Seven, I’ll talk about it another time).

Both of these things annoy me because they are not something I would do in the situation presented to me, ultimately these shows are escapist fantasies so the reaction to each will be quite personal, but usually they don’t go against the character and make it seem wrong. Even if that idiot from Infinite Stratos continues to be an idiot, I can get past it somewhat and enjoy the synthetic attention of all the female characters around him (although that show is still crap don’t get me wrong).

What bothers me is a show like The Pet Girl of Sakurasou.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

sakurasou-no-pet-na-kanojo-012

There’s something inherently wrong with this show to me. Pet Girl. 

It’s not a show that constantly takes the piss, it takes it’s romantic elements fairly seriously. We as an audience are presented with two viable options in this show, Nanami, the childhood friend and Shiina, a mysterious girl who is a genius level artist. At the start this is fine, both are attractive and both have differing characteristics that will appeal to different people. It’s how the story unfolds that’s the problem.

Turn away now if you don’t want major spoilers, but he (Sorata) chooses Shiina (or at least I’m 99% sure he does I didn’t watch the final 4 episodes and I’ll explain why) over Nanami and he really shouldn’t.

Pet Girl. It all comes back to that. Sorata and Shiina’s relationship throughout the show turns into one of total dependence (he does goddamn everything for her, everything). Shiina is autistic. I don’t mean this as an insult she just exhibits obvious autistic traits. And this isn’t to say one can’t want to be with a girl like her or can’t have a viable relationship with her, one could. Like I said at the beginning of the show she is a viable option. But when that “love” grows out of the dependent relationship depicted in the show it just seems wrong from the perspective of this character Sorata.

My tagline should clue you in to the fact that I am not a huge believer in the idea of love. I watch these shows not to obtain that feeling, I probably watch them to sate my ego. Even so in my eyes and from what one sees of Sorata, the decision to choose Shiina just seems wrong. Accepting Shiina’s feelings would be taking advantage of her for a start, she’s totally dependent on him, she almost has no choice but to love him, she herself notes she doesn’t understand her feelings, perhaps they’re just the fear of losing the force that has made her life so stable. I don’t know she’s autistic, she has a problem expressing things, and Sorata can’t know either.

It almost feels like a case of Stockholm Syndrome, she is in a way captive to Sorata, the only one who she can rely on.  None of this is to say he had to choose Nanami, I mean she was really the only other option and I would have prefered that but he didn’t have to choose her. It’s just choosing Shiina seems wrong, to me and wrong to the character, he can’t choose her it wouldn’t be the best thing for her which is what it seems he wants.

I dropped this show after Nanami decided not to confess to Sorata and it was obvious he would go for Shiina. It seemed to go against the show, I mean she’s the Pet Girl of Sakurasou and you shouldn’t fuck your pets people.

If you enjoyed this improvisational rant please like it and follow the blog below.

Thanks for reading,

Psychime

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4 Comments

  1. Immediately after you sent me a friend request on MAL, I went ahead and compared our scores between mutually seen anime (You score way too damn high). The most intriguing score was for that of Sakurasou, which was FAR lower than most scores you have within your list. With as praised as the show was (I even enjoyed it), I was interested to know why you gave it as low a score as you did.

    Thanks for answering a question I didn’t even need to ask, dude.

    Also, unless you link a specific page or article from someone’s blog, they won’t be notified that you linked them via WordPress. I just happened to see my name within the blurb of my Reader page. People usually do the “About” page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I see I didn’t realise it works that way, I’ll fix that!

      Actually whilst thinking about this show I retroactivly demoted it to a 2, I don’t rate shows I didn’t complete as I think that’s not right and I usually don’t complete shows I don’t like so my list is mostly contained with shows I actually think are good (although a lot of them need rewatches/rescoring)

      I have watched plenty of shows I consider to be poor but not to completion, this show is the only one I haven’t completed that I have rated.

      It’s also a shame as (for me) a show has to have me invested at some point for it to obtain a really low score because otherwise I just don’t care all that much, this and Charlotte undermined themselves to such a degree that despite being good for a lot of it, I ended up hating them at the end. I expect my mean to go down as I start watching shows i dislike in the name of “analysis”

      (Also that link on your MAL page is just the best)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Generally shows where the guy has choices and dithers between them annoy me. If he liked any of the girls in reality he wouldn’t have to choose so essentially these are just forming relationships for convenience and it makes me wonder why the chosen girl doesn’t just slap the guy for taking so long to make up his mind.
    That said, the relationship in Pet Girl was really weird even for this particular trope. I loved the story of him trying to succeed and overcome obstacles but the relationships were definitely weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the show had me up until it started becoming clear what Sorata’s end game was, it felt too weird for me Shiina didn’t seem like a viable choice for him by the time he chose her, I applaud shows that have their characters make an actual decision but make it make sense you know?

      Liked by 1 person

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