Aoharu x Kikanjuu 03-05

Meet the enemy–pediatricians!

spring15-irenesWell, they got rid of that debt plot line much more quickly than I thought. Two episodes in, and we’re already done. However, because of that, we get into the meat of what this series is really about. The thrill and essence of the sport of survival games a.k.a. Airsoft. Our heroine, Hotaru, quickly finds that despite only getting into the sport out of necessity to pay off a debt, now that she’s done with all that, she can’t help feeling that her life has been irrevocably changed in some way. She tries to deny it to herself, but she misses the tension, the danger, and the all around fun that came from playing the sport.

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Having fun for all the right reasons.

Yet, her pride won’t let her beg to come back to the team after having so boisterously leaving them. But of course, since her “ex”-teammates happen to live in the same apartment building, it’s not an easy task to keep denying her call to the sport. And in the end, she of course can’t stand it, and her teammates of course enthusiastically let her back on. And it’s a good thing too, since her presence as the third member of their group, allows them entrance into the biggest and most important Airsoft competition in all of Japan. Great timing, right?

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Are you sure that’s not an invite to Hope’s Peak Academy?

This series, is really in essence a sports series masquerading as a shounen series. It’s all about a trio of friends playing the sport of Airsoft, but they treat each and every experience and game with the same tension and melodrama that you would get in a typical shounen. The sport is treated as if it’s real gunplay on the battlefield, and when people are shot, treated with the same seriousness as actual death. And that, my friends…is the joke. And while, I, who haven’t ever been an athletic person or a sports enthusiast, can’t really understand how some can find it so serious. The ploy does serve the situation and allow us to get the feeling of stakes, even if we know that in the back of our minds that this is a bit ridiculous.

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Angel or Devil?

In this last few episodes, we see Hotaru’s full entrance into the whole world of Airsoft, but also get an idea of these two guys who have become her teammates, and somehow her friends. While clearing her debt, her mind was pretty focused and so she didn’t really think beyond that. Now that she’s officially a part of the team, she’s begun to take time to get to know Matsuoka and Yukimura. Both guys are quite a couple of characters, one a childish playboy, with the heart of strong and smart leader underneath, while the other is a S&M master whose mood swings despite his overall dry demeanor could put anyone either on edge, or in hysterics.

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Man, if you think this is bad, have you ever been to Comic-con? You’d never survive.

The two guide her through the game, of both sabage and friendship and it’s a bit of an unforgettable and uncomfortable experience for our girl. While she’s had a friend beyond the boys, and she is popular enough to become school council president, Hotaru gives the impression of  being a loner by choice.  We don’t really see her hanging with anyone else, and she’s a bit socially awkward, especially considering her brash and heavy “sense of justice”. She’s also extremely independent, having been alone in her one-woman crusade for a long time now, and probably rebuffed for the way she thinks and acts and looks, so it’s understandable that when she does become part of a team, she still acts completely independently.

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There are two kinds of Hotaru, make your choice.

And of course that’s a bit of a problem in a team sport. In a way, I can understand her ire during her explosion at the end of episode 4. She is excited to be in this game, she has a new toy to play with and she wants to be a help to her teammates especially in this grand tournament coming up. Yet, her excitement is quickly shot down when she run into much better opponents and taken out of the game in the very beginning. It happens again and again, crippling her confidence.  And when she begins to hear whispers that she’s no good and was only added to the group to make the “3 member” requirement, it only adds to the self-doubt. So when Matsuoka censures her and tells her sternly to follow what he and Yuki tell her to do, she snaps, becoming defensive in a way I myself and many others have. We don’t like being corrected or feel worthless or feel used, especially when we had such high hopes to start off. It chips at our self-confidence, and can have different levels of damage depending on how we respond to it. Thankfully, Hotaru got an outsider’s perspective and was able to see what was really going on before it created a wedge between her and the rest of her team.

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Shifting realities 

And honestly, I think she would have probably benefited from Mattsun’s teaching technique when it comes to girls. In fact, things would probably be quite a bit easier for Hotaru if she were to make her gender known. And she would have…if the team she wasn’t currently on, didn’t have a “No Girls Allowed” clause. She wants so much to stay on the team, but she’s got a bit of a crisis of conscience as well. Her sense of justice won’t allow her to keep silent for much longer, no matter her fears. But I fear that the choice will be taken out of her hands soon, and it will be by the same reason that such a rule was created in the first place.

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Who thought this could turn into a horror movie?

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Enter: Team Hoshishiro

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Nothing to see here, just your average psycho doctors.

Meet Nagamasa Midori, Takatora Fujimoto, and Ichi Akabane. Wonderful members of the medical profession, having taken the Hippocratic Oath, and healers of children. Annnnd…one happens to be a manipulative sadist, another a beta-male, and the last…well, she’s a girl with not much personality.  And they also happen to be Team ToyGun-Gun’s mortal enemies. The only problem is that Hotaru doesn’t know that yet.

Of our antagonists, it’s Midori that gets the most screentime and the most character, and is by far the most interesting. He’s an interesting foil for Matsuoka, as well both are quite the bishies and have a way with the ladies, one has an actually kind heart and is a great leader by supporting and defending those that are close to him or weaker than himself. Midori has quite the opposite personality under that pleasant facade of his. When Hotaru meets him in the store, she’s taken in by his charms to such a degree, that she never even has a clue as the “evildoer” that lies beneath the surface, which gives you an idea as to how naive she actually is.

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The face of a monster.

Where Mattsun likes to support and protect, Midori like to crush and control. From what we see of him, he loves to maliciously play with others, he gets a kick at seeing their spirit crumble under his cruel, sadistic hands. Even when looking at how he treats his other teammates, he’s not much different. The only difference is that Fujimoto is a submissive, borderline masochist and so he enjoys Midori’s domination. (Ichi doesn’t have enough personality to see what’s up with her.)

However, Midori and Matsuoka love a challenge and while they will both be in this tournament, the prize means little to them. Their main goal is to find a way to beat each other. For Midori, it will be a chance to crush Matsuoka again and delight in his despair. For Mattsun, it will be a chance to get vengeance for how Midori destroyed their team’s morale last time, to the point to turning one of their teammates completely against the sport completely.

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It’s all about fear and control…

Yes, the reason that Team ToyGun-Gun doesn’t allow women on their team, is because the last time they had one on their team, Midori had his teammates torment and torture her during the tournament, all the while making Matsuoka watch helplessly. The girl afterward, without a word to Mattsun, let the team and the game completely, scarred by her experience. Matsuoka himself was crushed by this and because of his innate fierce protectiveness of those of the female sex, he couldn’t handle having another girl on his team that could potentially go through the same thing.

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…cruelty and malice.

Hotaru knows this and knows that if he finds out the truth about her gender, not only will there be a trust broken, but also he will most likely never allow her to enter the tournament with them. And to make matters worse, she doesn’t know that it was Midori who orchestrated the whole thing. Midori, who nicely helped her pick out her gun, even taking measurements of her body to make sure the gun fit her body type….

Yeah, there is a very good chance that Midori knows her true sex. He knows how to read people as well as Matsuoka, plus he has the benefit of also being a full-fledged physician. I think that he should be able to tell the difference between the feel of a female body over that of a male.

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Hotaru is in dangerous hands.

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So, what should Hotaru do? She’s stuck between what she wants to do and what she knows she has to do. And will the choice be taken out of her hands when they reach the competition and Midori decides to start his sadistic games? How will Matsuoka and Yuuki react to finding out the truth? And even though it’s a pretty good bet that Hotaru is made of tougher stuff than the previous female teammate, is it enough to deal with a man like Midori, who even she was tricked by? And will Mattsun and Yuuki’s attitude and treatment of her change once they realize that she actually a member of the fairer sex?

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How the heck did this happen to me?

About

A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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7 Responses to “Aoharu x Kikanjuu 03-05”

  1. Highway says:

    I think it’s funny you think it’s a sports series masquerading as a shounen. Because what it seems to me to be is a bishounen shoujo, with that romance undertone. It really doesn’t reach into either sports or shounen, since it’s all about Tachibana’s angst about his relationship with Matsuoka and Yukimura. Yeah, they’re playing airsoft, but that’s been what, like 10% of the total time of the show? And none of that has been “I need to be awesome at airsoft!”

    I’ll be honest, tho, About 10 minutes into episode 6, I was wondering if I’d rather just turn it off. This really isn’t the kind of shoujo romance I like, and Tachibana isn’t a character that I care about at all.

    (I’d also point out that this is a perfect example of why one should never cite MAL as some definitive authority on genre. It lists this as “Action, Comedy, Shounen.” There’s no action (there was more action in K-On), there’s no comedy at all, and as you say, it’s not really shounen)

    • skylion says:

      there was more action in K-On

      I’m gonna need the better part of the evening to collect myself after this one…..that was funny….

    • IreneSharda says:

      Well I can see some shounen cliches in Hotaru herself and in the way they treat the sport, and I know that the manga itself is considered a shounen too, so that’s kind of where I got that from.

      There’s really not any romance in this series right now. There’s potential, but nothing really definite so far.

      • Highway says:

        Potential is what most shoujo romances have most of the time. But I’m looking more at the presentation style. All those slow-mo sparkly bishounen looks, the lack of any action whatsoever. There’s overlap in all these genres, but style-wise, that’s what I think it is.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    I should’ve known Matsuoka not allowing girls into the team had a traumatic event involved. It makes me all the more curious of his reactions once he finds out Hotaru’s true gender. So far his air headedness is Hotaru’s plot armor.

    Midori being responsible for the incident was distasteful. Calling it “low” is an understatement when you’re tormenting someone who’s just starting out an activity.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Well, Midori pretty much seems to get off on it, so for him, he enjoys it. In fact, from what we will see later, the girl wasn’t even really what he cared about. He cares the most about breaking Matsuoka, and that was just his latest way to doing it.

  3. Di Gi Kazune says:

    It would be nice if the nurses wore Nurse-meido outfits… We should start a hospital with nurse-meido Komugi-chan! Doctors wear nekomimi.

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