I’m off to Indiana and Michigan to visit with relatives, both adopted and biological. I don’t have time to type up a post so instead, I thought I’d reblog an older post that I enjoyed doing.  Here’s Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan.




Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan Is an interesting anime. In fact, I’d say it is one of the best josei I’ve seen in a very long time. So far I’ve seen two episodes with 10 more yet to be released.
There will be 12 anime in total, each created by a different artist and voice actress. The stylistic difference between eps 1 and 2 was there. A lot more color in ep 1. Ep. 2 struck me as dark and grey most of the time.

Ekoda is a woman of 24 who has lost her way. She feels she is past her marriageability prime. Men think she is older than she is. Or perhaps they just say that because they think it gives them leverage.

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He says she looks 30.

She plucks her eyebrows to look more beautiful while contemplating the pain of each tweeze.

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Contemplating how infants and children survive aircraft collisions better because they are relaxed and flexible.

Each episode is short, only a few minutes. Ekoda herself would be a typical young adult living in an apartment – at least in urban USA. She is an at home nudist – she’s usually naked when she’s home. (That may not be so typical but I suspect more common than one might think.) She also worries that a lizard that got into her apartment might run up inside her. That is not a reasonable fear.

Her current lover is no Prince Charming. She needs to dump this toad and find a better frog to kiss. She keeps him around because she fears loneliness. She hopes to outcompete his other girlfriend and make him hers. He is two-timing the woman over the phone even as they are in bed together and it is painfully obvious (to me) that will be Ekoda’s fate as well. He’s even a lousy and disinterested sex partner. Rolling over and going to sleep while your lover still wants more ought not to be an option.

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She is concerned over his reaction to such a mundane thing as what position she is sleeping in. He doesn’t care, Ekoda. He’s asleep.

Some people will drool over the “fanservice” while others bitch about the sexualization. I’m not feeling either one here. It is just how she lives. It is amusing that not adding in nipples somehow makes this suitably sanitized by someone’s standard. (Not the first anime I’ve seen this in, either.)

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I’m not sure he is worth waiting for.

Ekoda-chan is worried. Time and the aging process do not sleep. Waiting for her train to arrive, so to speak and hoping her lover will finally cut the cord to his other girl. She is eking out a living working in bars. She caters to Japanese businessmen. She cannot keep names and faces attached. (I guess if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.) The customers frequently become obnoxious.

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It is a peculiarity of middle-aged and elderly males that they imagine that a younger woman would desire their aging and decrepit bodies because they have money or status. The truth is that some women will desire status and money enough that they will tolerate these aging and decrepit bodies to get it. It may well be that the men don’t care if they are desired as long as someone fawns over them.

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But it is not by choice.

She has bought into a toxic illusion. Several, actually. All the things she needs to be happy are supposed to be found outside herself and not inside. These illusions are supported by the culture around her and pushed upon her at every turn. But she survives and endures, maybe even discovers bits of happiness along the way.

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The rest of the half-hour is given over to a discussion with the voice actress and the director of each show. The actresses so far are young and look a lot like I imagine Ekoda would in real life. The directors look a lot like the businessmen in Ekoda’s bar. To try to spike up some prurient interest, they call it a “Naked Chat”. So far the discussions haven’t sparked my interest at all. YMMV.

Twelve different episodes by twelve voice actress and director combinations. The poster features 12 different versions of Ekoda-chan and almost all are nude. Is this what they think the entire message of the series is? Let’s go stare at a naked girl?

This is going to be interesting.

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Episode 3

Ekoda is bright pink rabbit. Now that is something different.

Episode 3 is a look at Ekoda’s relationship with her world and her sister. It is completely different from the first two. One and two had a similar vibe to them. They were obviously different takes on the subject matter but it wasn’t all that pronounced. This is only three minutes and very fast paced.

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Ekoda’s sister. Always vain and full of herself.

The third ep is done in simple bright colors. The people are drawn as animals and Ekoda-chan is always naked.

The naked chat wasn’t as utterly boring but it was still an effort to plow thru it. Once again a young and beautiful voice actress and two old farts who could easily pass for Ekoda’s business customers at the bar whose names she can never remember.

The voice acting and art seem intended for a much younger audience. In fact, I thought this was a flashback to Ekoda’s childhood until I saw this:

I think that may be her boyfriend???

That’s that for this episode. There really wasn’t any kind of plot at all besides Ekoda not really fitting in with the world around her. She often looks on at the strange behavior of others.

They are trying to cheer up the world with their song and dance.

Ekoda gets her revenge by feeding her vain sister in her sleep.

 

Episode 4

I’m starting to feel really sorry for this girl. Her boyfriend is an absolute hole. Totally self-centered. A budding psychopath without empathy, just looking for different girls to score with.

This anime pushed the boundaries a bit with her thinking about all the times a woman says no when she means yes and yes when she means no.

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We learn she has always been a loner. She is an introvert who doesn’t understand social conventions. (Oh gosh. My Aspie detector is pinging on this.)

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If she was going to have more fun with the others, maybe she would already be with them?

She doesn’t want to die alone. But sleeping with this bastard is worse than lonely. Understanding that, how can she harbor feelings for him? How can she still stick around him despite the direct insults and emotional abuse? Despite being used as a mere receptacle for his plug?

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Props to the director Mochizuki Tomomi for his subtle shading of the characters bodies and for taking the risk of making a dark version of Ekoda.

According to MAL this is supposed to be seinen??? It is completely josei.

Episode 4 is the darkest version of Ekoda I’ve seen so far. The previous versions were all done as a rom-com but this one is tragedy with a couple sprinkles of humor. The after-discussion was interesting for a change. The voice actress Chiba Chiemi honestly thought she wasn’t going to be able to handle it. She said it had been a long time since she had felt this way.

The author, Yukari Takinami, indicates that the manga was about her life as a single woman in Tokyo. It seems from this episode like a very sad existence. It feels closer to what might have happened. Ekoda should not be played as a genki.