6 thoughts on “Hensuki episode 12 reaction thread

  1. Sadly, Hensuki had the odd good scene, and they spaced them out just enough to keep me from dropping the show. The worst thing about the show is how dull it is. It’s supposed to be a harem about perversion, but the line up is so painfully conventional that it feels more like a regular harem where the subtext accidently took the stage elevator during the play. You captured a picture of the best character, I think. I should have dropped this.


    1. I *did* drop this, after the customary give-it-a-chance “three episodes” because I worried that the series became a little too comfortable with using sexual assault as comedy. I only picked it up again to skim through when I noticed people mocking it as worse than even EroManga Sensei. But then they mostly made fun of Keiki… and bleh, he’s stupid, but I don’t think he deserves it. He’s so clearly the victim here… like, people have kinks and I respect that (I am not attacking SM) but the girls in Hensuki just straight-up abuse him!


    2. I’ve watched the show all the way through. The show does have its moments of genuine emotional impact, but they’re too few to rescue the show. And as I’m typing this I’m trying to remember specifics, but I already can’t.

      As for the abuse angle: when you watch a lot of harems, this type of abuse comes across as some sort of masochistic metagame. The Dawnstorm theory of harem abuse:

      In older titles, you don’t yet have the blank identification figure. So when you watch stuff like Love Hina, the abuse is probably more a ha-ha-serves-you-right jealousy response. All those cuties pay attention to you, so you deserve that. (You see a literal mob of jealous fans hunt the harem lead in some titles, most of them older.) Then the VN adaptions come in, and the main character’s personality needs to change according to the route, so he’s fairly non-descript. But the original “poetic-justice” mean-spiritedness doesn’t exactly go away. So what you end up with, is a mallable protagonist who won’t make up his mind (that’s why the point here is to find out who confessed – without ever spending much thought on what happens afterwards, and so they also half-ass the ending). In the transition to VN adaption, writers would have to make place for dominant women who take the lead, and so a hint of masochism play creeps in. It’s like harem abuse is a sort of unexamined genre-trope that rolls through the stories like a dung beetle’s ball, picking up lots of things on the way. But at the centre of that dung ball is the idea that sexual urges are shameful. And that’s also why Hensuki’s concept doesn’t really work. If you use standard harem concepts (like panty obsessions and abuse for example), then you’re already a pervert for having sexual interests and all those kinks feel like window dressing.

      I can’t comment on the way the community’s making fun of Keiki, because I’ve been staying away from any talk about this show (not deliberately; just out of lack of interest). But making fun of harem protagonists is sort of a standard game, too.

      Finally, it isn’t as simple as calling Keiki the clear victim, when there are scenes where he uses the girl’s kinks to reveal their panties and find out whether they’re his “cinderella”. Really, the plot is one orobourus of depravity: for this to work, you’d have to make cast open Konosuba-like trash. But they used the standard harem template instead.

      Sorry for this extended post about a show that’s really not worth much attention. But since I’ve been watching harems since the late 90ies, I can’t really see abuse as straightforward abuse anymore.


    3. 1) I don’t have anything to add to the how-we-got-here genre history; I think you’re pretty much spot on there.

      2) I’ve exaggerated Keiki’s victimhood for the sake of that last post, though I still think he puts up with a lot more abuse than I’ve noticed in older harem shows (Yuika alone goes too far). And on his own complicity: keep in mind that he does most of the creepy harem stuff with Sayuki — who very explicitly asks him to do so, even when he doesn’t want to. Otherwise, he’s the passive victim of Yuika especially, he doesn’t do much more than talk to Mao, Mizuha, Ayano, and Koharu, and when he gets touchy, it’s most often to push the girls away. To borrow your Konosuba comparison, he doesn’t delight in the harem like Kazuma does, he wants to escape!

      3) You say “unexamined genre trope,” which yeah, I think to some degree audiences just expect it at this point. But what about when you do examine the trope? I don’t think the abuse in Hensuki is so over-the-top that you (or, at least, I) can laugh it away like with the pure, comical insanity of yandere.

      Rather than making me laugh, Hensuki often just made me uncomfortable… …and then it lacks any of that sort of winking meta-genre commentary that Konosuba (or Oreshura) has to make it funny again. How should I react when a girl jumps on top of the lead and stuffs panties in his mouth? Without an internally established ironic tone (as opposed to the external one brought in by audiences looking for trash), the comedy frustrates more than it makes me laugh. Even when placed among its garbage-tier harem comedy peers, Hensuki is, basically, terrible.

      I dunno, that’s just me though.


    4. Re 3) I simply have a very good auto-filter, so rather than feeling in any way uncomfortable, I just felt bored, because there was… just nothing.

      As for Sayuki, I thought that’s exactly why it’s problematic: in his quest for information he’s leading her on. I don’t mind people doing consensual “creepy” stuff, but he’s not into it, and then he initiates a date for his own purposes? What sort of message is he sending here? That’s just mean. It’s like he’s setting up a gotcha-moment of the worst sort. It’s not that he does creepy stuff; it’s that it’s basically dishonest and setting false signals, when the girl’s in a rather vulnerable situation. And why? Because he got confessed to and is on a quest? That’s not so much creepy as scummy. You don’t encourage someone’s feelings for your own purpose like that. Except I don’t think the show has that much thinking in it to begin with.

      The main difference between us seems to be your discomfort balanced against my boredom. But it ends up in the same place: the comedy’s not funny.

      As for:

      “How should I react when a girl jumps on top of the lead and stuffs panties in his mouth?”

      In the post VN age? Pick one of the following:

      “I wish that was me.”


      “Wrong girl.”

      That seems to be expected genre response if I read the genre right. (Of course, there’s also “Wrong Show.”)

      Aside: I quite liked Oreshura. Didn’t expect much of it when I started it, but I ended up pretty fond of it. Not many people talk about it, so I’m always a little happy to see a reference. (Not the first time on your blog.)


    5. I don’t know how useful it is to argue over a show that I only skimmed and have no intention to return to, but I really don’t think Keiki leads Sayuki on. When he asks her out for a day, he does so with honest earnestness in Sayuki’s eyes (“when you asked me to become your master, it seemed to come from your heart”) and Keiki himself takes the date as an opportunity for a serious reckoning beyond his moronic quest (“I decided I needed to face you seriously as well”). And then by the end of the episode, they do become genuinely closer (“The mission was a failure, but I guess I got closer to Sayuki and I guess I saw a part of her I never expected” — multiple entendre). And then at the very least, after he fails to get his glimpse, he drops the pretense to straight-up ask her. I think he’s more honest than you give him credit (and then in the genre context, especially since Sayuki seems closest to “winning” the stupid harem situation anyway).

      And for your excellent visual novel dialogue options there… yikes, wrong genre for me then, eh? Hah hah hah, bleh. At least Oreshura left the relationships with more room to grow around the characters’ personalities than culminating in an exclusive “choose your kink” win condition…


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