Heartwarming underwear

“Is it that hard for you to understand how important panties are?” I am pretty sure most regular viewers of Japanese anime of the romantic comedy type are┬ávery well aware of how important panties are, but evidently some autistic artists are not. We are not actually shown that part though, thank goodness and the Japanese television code.

And now for something entirely different from my previous entry! That’s why it is a Chaos Node. (It is not a death and destruction node though.) If it were an Order Node, I would write the same kind of stuff every time. Perhaps I should have one of those too. But now: Friendship and panties, the Japanese way.

Last night I watched 6 episodes of a romantic comedy animation, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (probably meaning “The pet girl of Cherry Hall”.) It is about a reasonably normal young man, studying at an art academy and living in a cheap dorm called Sakurasou (Cherry tree apartment house, unless my anime-level Japanese fails me.) The other residents are the most eccentric of the students, but they pale in comparison to the new girl who moves in: A high-functioning autistic, who is already a famous painter but has trouble deciding what clothes to put on (if any) each morning, not to mention challenging tasks like shopping food. With the main character being the most normal one around, the teacher tasks him with keeping the new girl dressed and fed and getting her to school each day. After all, he has taken care of several cats, so he is obviously reliable.

As can be expected, various embarrassing situations ensue with alarming frequency. Outsiders tend to misunderstand the situation, especially a girl in his class who has a pretty obvious crush on him, but thinks he is in an intimate relationship with Autistic Girl. And as often the case with this genre in Japan, there is a lot of underwear going around and generally semi-sexual situations.

Despite the recurring sexual content, there is as usual in this type of series no actual fornication, although one would think the thought would cross the minds of various characters from time to time, and probably not a few viewers.

The most interesting part, however, is how friendly and heartwarming the whole story is. Watching it reminded me of why I tend to greatly enjoy Japanese erotic comedies. They portray human folly without malice. Everyone is treated with a certain measure of respect, despite the embarrassments they suffer. The characters are genuinely likable and tend to find traits to admire in each other, even those who don’t necessarily get along well. I think this inherent respect for other people (or at least countrymen) is an integral part of Japanese culture.

Or perhaps, as I say about my NaNovel this year, it is “the Japan that only exists in our heads.” The Holy Land of a new era, eh?

This is indeed the kind of atmosphere I wish I could convey in my own fiction: The lighthearted but sincere friendship, youthful excitement and freshness, the heartwarming fun. Just without the panties. Wait, that did not sound quite right. Just without having to actually show the panties. Unfortunately, I can’t hold a candle to this story yet.

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