Do you want anime – any anime – that doesn’t shove fanservice in your face literally every five seconds or so? Too bad, because you’re not getting it.
Dolls’ Frontline/Girls’ Frontline
The setting is post-World War III, and continuous biological warfare has devastated the land. To protect what’s left and defend people from enemy android armies, private military companies are using… girls. Androids. Girl androids. Because of course they are, what else would they possibly use? Oh, and I’m pretty sure the android girls themselves are also basically guns (who also carry guns).
Look, if you’ve seen Kantai Collection, in which the main characters are all moe-style girls who are also anthropomorphic battleships, you’ll know what you’re about to watch. In fact, the Chinese game that Dolls’ Frontline is based on was itself heavily inspired by KanColle, so no points for originality there. Essentially, this show here to glorify war/extremely specific weaponry while simultaneously allow its viewers to ogle at mass-produced moe ladies who are dressed (for no apparent reason) in mini-skirts, knee-high boots, garter belts, and I shit you not, maid outfits. Oh, and be prepared for the odd German word to be used (Danke!), likewise for no particular reason, other than I guess that’s what all the horny moe-android-loving kids are into these days?
As a general aside, you can tell this series was based specifically on a Chinese-specific game because at least one of the outfits has an oddly familiar-looking hat design. Again, no points for subtlety, guys.
Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru/My Dress-Up Darling
Boy, was I left grinding my teeth in frustration after this one. Sadly, My Dress-Up Darling has the capacity to be pretty good, because there’s some actually decent content here (and we’ll get to why that’s sad in a moment). The main characters make it clear that hypocrisy exists here, and on more than one level. First, if main male character Gojo had been a girl, nobody would likely have batted an eyelid at his hobby of doll-crafting – it’s only considered creepy and gross if a guy happens to be into dolls. Gojo can also sew (to make clothes for the dolls), which takes main female character Marin aback because frankly, I don’t think many guys in Japan are taught how to use a sewing machine – that’s wife work, ya know? (Indeed, if anime and my own experience living in Japan have taught me anything, it’s that single guys living alone are all but incapable of even doing basic cooking or cleaning for themselves – they apparently need a nice young lady to do all the domestic work on their behalf. But I digress.)
Second, if Marin had been a boy, she’d very likely be considered a creepy and gross otaku herself; however, since she’s considered as hot by her classmates, she’s one of the most popular students at school, despite being an out-and-out anime fangirl – and for a lot of fairly risqué-sounding shows that are clearly aimed at horny male teens, no less. And it sounds as if she’s fully aware of this, or at the very least never judges people based on their hobbies, thus making her a sympathetic character who goes against the mold – especially considering how she presents herself physically, what with all the piercings and whatnot (to say nothing of her undisguised love for cosplay, of course).
As you can see, there’s plenty to unpack here, much of it genuinely interesting. And then, Because Anime, the show goes and squanders all that goodwill by throwing in boob shots, panty shots, thigh shots, butt shots, close-up mouth shots, and everything else it can think of to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Not just one or two of these shots seemingly incidentally, either – the premiere is filled with them (just in case the OP didn’t make it clear that it would be). If the camera isn’t focused on Gojo full-on blushing and talking to his dolls – just to make it clear that he in fact does have some kind of problem and feels a lot more for his dolls than just a healthy passion for a hard-earned hobby – there you go, have some more cleavage.
And to get back to my very first point (man, I wrote a lot, huh?), this series wouldn’t have needed to change a single thing about its opening episode to be good, other than to simply take that all out and replace it with literally anything else. A scenery pan, scraps of classroom dialogue – I don’t care what, just anything other than skeevy fanservice. But apparently, that’s too hard an ask, or whoever created this thought it wouldn’t sell otherwise, whatever. Either way, it’s deeply depressing. Way to ruin a potentially good anime, guys.
Akebi-chan no Sailor-fuku/Akebi’s Sailor Uniform
So there’s this potentially good anime about a girl living in the deep, deep countryside who goes to a private high school and is excited to make new friends and get to wear a sailor fuku for the very first time, and her mom spends, like, half the episode lovingly making for her from scratch, which is actually pretty heartwarming stuff, and… you know what, never mind. You all know where this is going. Why do I even bother anymore. Fuck you, anime.
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