Lamune (2005 IMDb)

Categorization

Debile slice-of-life harem drama: one of the weirdest genres throughout film history. There is no science fiction, magic, sex, violence, or much dramatic resolution.

Subject

When a little boy moves to a small coastal city, he encounters a girl his age, and later discovers that she is going to live next door, just a veranda away. There are other girls in his life as a high-schooler, but a special bond has persisted from childhood, where many flashbacks play out. In one summer, their passive trust is put to a near-fatal test.

Commentary

Of all the women who make themselves romantically available to the ore-spouting protagonist, the most celebrated is the most feeble, whose supreme distinguishing characteristic is blind fidelity. Beside her are a surrogate mother love interest, a little sister, a “biker babe” who has no real independence, and so on.

It's harem anime's usual parade of ephebophilia and incest reserved for one bland central man, emerging at a minimal pace through cheap animation, surrounded on both sides by crappy music. Nothing traditionally cartoonish, beyond the federally mandated minimum level of bizarre head design in Japanese animation, has been added to maintain interest.

I started watching this for an undergrad research project and didn't enjoy it at first, but a few moments caught my attention, and eventually I cried. I bought into the ridiculous stereotypical fantasy of having an unconditional, quirky, totally non-threatening and mutual love interest at arm's length without sacrifice. It's an effective breed of narcissism. Let's hope it will eventually be done without the abhorrent gender roles of Lamune.

Japanese production animation series