12 Days of Anime #9: Watching Hen Zemi in Public

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.


17 thoughts on “12 Days of Anime #9: Watching Hen Zemi in Public”

  1. I’m wary of watching any anime in a public place (mostly trains) – I get embarrassed watching stuff like House of Five Leaves because I’m convinced someone will walk past and judge me for it. “That guys watching cartoons, what a looooooser.” I’ve watched something where there was a slightly risque scene (for some reason I think it might have been Fractale), though nothing like Hen Semi, and I was fumbling about to turn my laptop’s backlight off.

    1. Hen Zemi turned out to be much tamer than I thought it would be. I probably would have ended up being more embarrassed if I were watching something more sustained, yet less perverted. A harem’s beach episode would be such an example. I probably wouldn’t watch that in public if someone paid me…well, I guess if the price is right, I’ll do it.

    1. because you don’t really have to watch this show. As ridiculous as it looks, that’s only in one or two short moments. The other 9 minutes are a chore to watch through, lol.

  2. I do watch anime in public (Read manga too, even at work. The Chinese customer was interested at my manga! Thank god she didn’t open it because it was yaoi), but I didn’t watch Hen Zemi because I was traumatized by the OVA. The first 10 minutes left a scar in my life, and I never even try to google that anime ever again.
    So you, sir, are the greatest man I’ve ever known in my life for both bearing to watch it until the sixth episode and watching it in public

  3. Krizzly! Why so awesome? Ahahah you are a pro watching this in public! I would have died laughing personally but you win xD

    OVA Wut? How about that Opening song? Soooo good! But sadly I could not survive this tv series, maybe I will watch it randomly one day…but not right now.

    1. It was an experiment in perversion. I had no idea that I would succeed as much as I did. And I feel dirty for having succeeded to a particular extent.

  4. Exhibitionism, ka. Quite brave. Hm, I remember that I watched some naughty images in the living room of the hotel I was staying at in Germany and was such a scaredy mouse that someone might see me.

    I saw the OVA but I was left a bit 0o0 after it, so I didn’t pick up the series. There are some things you don’t want to know about 😛

    1. It’s a very risque series that touches upon a number of unorthodox fetishes, which is interesting in itself considering that fetishes in general are quite unorthodox. Hen Zemi isn’t clearly for everyone, and the OVA was definitely a lot more extreme in nature than the TV series. It seems that you’ve already made your decision about it, but it’s still quite funny to note your experience with it either way.

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