As Nichijou has taught before, you can’t count on a pre-released OVA to judge the potential quality of the anime that is to follow. Hen Zemi was an interesting case in this regard, since the OVA was utterly ridiculous and amazingly perverted. When it aired, I was initially disappointed by the fact that it was released as 12-minute episodes instead of the OVA’s 24. On top of that, they didn’t actually have as much of a shock factor compared to what I was originally expecting to see.
I suppose it can’t be helped, since you can only think of so many ideas pertaining to social experimentations in an “Abnormal Physiology Seminar,” but regardless of how I felt, I wondered if there was any way to enjoy the experience more. As you’ll find out in a future 12 days post, watching anime (or any other particular form of fiction intake) under special contexts really enhance the experience for me.
So, for a series as perverted as Hen Zemi, one that centres around remarkably taboo experimentation, I decided to propose a particular challenge for myself as well. Starting at the next episode onwards, (at the time, episode 4) I would only allow myself to watch Hen Zemi in Public.
I lasted only 3 episodes before I chickened out, but I still remember those experiences quite vividly (save for ep 5). The first episode was viewed on my public commuter train (GO train) ride home from work. Seats are arranged such that there’s usually one seat next to mine. The person who had the dubious honor of overseeing my show was an elderly woman in her 50’s or 60’s. As early as 4 minutes in, the show reached a scene where the students were having nyotaimori (eating sushi off a naked woman’s body). The human platter, Miwako Mizukoshi, due to her masochistic and fetishistic nature, enjoyed the experience in a way that probably was not meant for public viewing.
I wish I could say the same for myself with regards to the voyeurism of the act of perverted anime watching. For the remaining 10 minutes, I tried to keep a straight face and tried not to gauge the reaction of the old lady sitting next to me. The odd time where my eyes did wander to see her reaction, she was glaring at me with utter disdain. I can’t know for sure if she was glaring the entire time, though I have an idea that she did.
Episode 5 had me watching Hen Zemi at a Starbucks close to the building where I worked. There actually wasn’t anything too perverted on a sustained level, save for the moment where Anna and Yusu’s mother walk in on Yusu playing bass guitar naked while in a sexual position with female mannequins.
Needless to say, nobody was actually around me to make any sort of reaction, so the moment was wasted. It didn’t help that the rest of the episode was remarkably tame and had nothing racy of note.
Episode 6 was when I quit that experiment, and quit the show. I decided to be as adventurous as I could, so I watched it at Starbucks during the morning rush. I made sure to watch with my back, the computer screen facing the line. This time, I made sure to not actually turn around, but at the corner of my eye, I could see the odd looks from people as they passed by my chair after getting their lattes and grande pikes to go.
I succeeded in not cracking a smile, and as this episode kept going, I knew that there was no turning back. I had turned into one of them.
Well, almost turned into one of them. Then this happened…
My first thought was “Come on! How was I supposed to get embarassed by this! People are supposed to be watching me-”
And then I became one of them. It was that thought that made me drop this show before I got too ridiculous for my own good. Let’s hope 2012 isn’t nearly as perverted as 2011 was.