Tuesday, 24 January 2012

お金がないっ/ Okane ga Nai / No Money

Here it is, then. The worst piece of animation I have ever seen. Stephen Fry writes in his autobiography about the guilt he felt giving a book a bad review, but I feel no compunction calling this the worst anime I’ve ever seen: it’s not anyone’s personal baby but the mangaka’s, and after all, it’s the lowest sort of trashy porn so I seriously doubt she has any great attachment to it.

Yes, this is another review of a hentai – although I suppose it may be trying for shounen-ai rather than yaoi, featuring as it does ridiculous arty angles and shining lights rather than pixellated genitals. And yes, it’s another homoerotic one, although it’s actually been a while since I last watched anything like this, unless you count the tedious Junjou Romantica – which I suppose it has more in common with than, say, Words Worth.

You may point out that I always seem to give homoerotic anime a hard time. I didn’t like Papa to Kiss in the Dark, I stressed how much better Enzai would be without the porn and Boku no Pico remains more funny than anything else. Loveless and especially Gravitation really tried my patience, and Sensitive Pornograph was dire. So why keep watching them?

Well, the fact is that there are good stories along these lines out there. This show covers similar themes to many a CJ Michalski or Yamakami Riyu publication, only with everything that makes it unique also being everything that makes it utterly horrible. Why animation companies should choose to animate a manga like this and not something decent I don’t know. So I am not naturally predisposed to hate these shows – they are just very bad examples of their kind.

Okane ga Nai – and I sigh as I write this – is about a girly-boy university student who looks like a mutant little girl stretched out and given ten thousand eyelids around his terrifying eyes. He is voiced by the seiyuu who did characters I really like, like Riku in Onmyou Taisenki, Gauche in Tegami Bachi and Albert in Gankutsuou, which makes me strangely sad (and he was also Grell in Kuroshitsuji, which makes me mostly confused). Through no fault of his own (a reckless family member), he is in debt by millions of yen to a huge scary (but handsome) 'businessman' (One Piece’s Arlong and Naruto’s Asuma…). Unbeknownst to the boy, he once showed kindness to the man at his most vulnerable, so the man is actually in love with him. The man thus decides to express his love by saying that the boy can pay off his debt by moving in with him and becoming his whore.

Romantic as this may sound, it gets worse. Not only does the man keep his feelings hidden for some reason, making the boy feel he is being mercilessly raped, he has powerful enemies. Thus, the main crisis of the OVAs comes when the boy gets kidnapped, drugged and the bad guys strip him with intent to rape him on camera. The man comes sweeping in to save the day – too late to stop the boy being violated by a suppository and exposed to the camera, and with the great plan of bringing in one of the rapists’ daughter and threatening to slit her throat. And then just using brute force instead. To celebrate the boy being saved from almost being raped on camera, arrangements are made to make a nice sex tape of him, now that he’s found out the man actually genuinely has feelings for him. This is, of course, supposed to be hilarious.

I hate everything about this, except that it was only four episodes long. I hate the art, with the absurd giant seme and ridiculous stick-limbed uke. I hate their faces, one some sort of golem and the other with creepy eyes that look like an unkind anime parody – though the original manga seems to look less terrible. I hate the rape fantasies even more than I hate them in just about all erotic anime (as it’s sadly prevalent) – this time it’s even more of a nonsense because a few words would totally change the issue. I hate that the boy is supposed to shrug off the fact a whole room of men saw him abused and violated. I hate that he’s supposed to fall for his abuser. I hate that the characters are such distorted ideas of lovers.

This is really like banging my head against the wall. I’m aware that it’s like watching a live-action porno and complaining about how unbelievable the plumber’s character was and how the naughty nun’s lines didn’t ring true. But dammit, this sort of thing is a huge industry in Japan, and straight hentai is getting surprisingly good. Yaoi has its big names, and some of them are big because their art, story and characterisation is good. So why is rubbish like this still made?

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