[Review] Hitorijime My Hero – episode 1

Masahiro Setagawa doesn’t believe in heroes. With his dad out of the picture and his mother just as likely to bring her work (read: lovers) home as to spend all night out with them, he knows that there’s no one to come save you when you’re in trouble. To that end, he’s thrown his lot in with a group of thugs, doing their bidding if only to have a place to belong. Then one night, after the notorious Bear Killer (a man in a weird T-shirt who takes down thugs) attacks his gang, Masahiro meets Kensuke Oshiba in the park with an abandoned kitten. Masahiro helps Kensuke take the kitten home and feed it, only to discover that Ken’s older brother Kousuke is the Bear Killer himself! A year later, Masahiro and Kensuke are starting high school. Masahiro has cut ties with his former associates, become friends with Kensuke, and finally found the hero he’s always wished for in Kousuke. But with Kousuke set to become a math teacher at their high school and Kensuke’s old best friend Hashiba suddenly returning, do the boys have any hope of a normal high school life – or love?

Source: Anime News Network

 

No.

 

Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; why can’t we have nice things. You can read more essays and 

 

All right, all right. You fine people support us and justifiably expect content in return. So content you shall have, even if this show doesn’t deserve it.

There are many branching points in this premise where it could’ve become a serviceable show. It could’ve been about the main character’s struggles to stay away from the gang he fell in with during middle school. It could’ve been about his troubled home life and his difficulties disclosing that to a potential partner. It could’ve been about his best friend, who is clearly smitten with an estranged childhood friend (because these shows regularly insist on including a relatively healthy couple but hiding them behind the garbage). It would’ve still had fairly mediocre art and murder-weapon-grade yaoi chins, but it would’ve been all right. But it is none of those things.

Nope. This is a show about a teacher fucking a student.

A brunette boy in a school uniform peers intently at a blonde boy, who side-eyes him

Y’know what, I’ll be generous. If the author really wanted to keep the “forbidden romance” angle, it could’ve been about a college student who wants to fuck his professor. That would still be highly unethical, but at least both parties would have fully developed frontal cortices and equal legal standing. But no. This is about a high school teacher fucking his high school student.

Why can’t we have nice things?

Seriously, there is good BL out there. Stuff that involves consenting adults and good writing and functional proportions (okay, the last point may be a stretch). But that content rarely, if ever, makes it to animation. Instead, we get anime after anime replete with assault and abuse treated as if they are displays of adorable romance.

And it is somewhat unique to the BL genre. Yuri and hetero shoujo have their share of awful tropes dressed up as fetishes—look no further than this season’s abominable Netsuzou Trap—but there are also enough positive examples that a viewer doesn’t have to drag their tongue along the putrescent barrel leavings of the genre in hopes of finding consumable content. For whatever reason (I have a theory involving the societal acceptability of the Class-S “phase” allowing more consensual yuri romance than the violence- and transgression-based assumptions of BL, but that’s for another day), a show like Flip Flappers is infinitely more likely to come along than a show like Yuri!!! on ICE.

A student in a school uniform smiles while another boy looks at something off-screen, surprised

We deserve better. Queer audiences deserve better. Hell, fujoshi deserve better than to have the masculinity-proactive/violent, femininity-reactive/malleable gender roles force-fed to them in yet another form. The continued privileging of these types of inherently unequal, abusive relationships shows only contempt for female audiences and fetishizing unto dehumanization of queer existence. And I am sick to death of it.

Fuck you, Hitorijime. And good job, Amazon Strike. Your blatantly anti-consumer practices have successfully snagged one series which deserves to be buried at the very depths of the ocean.

In short: I didn’t care for it much. Please watch Samurai Flamenco instead for all your queer hero needs. Its creators might be embittered cowards, but at least the show was sincere.

Read the ANN Preview Guide review.

 

Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; they’re getting too old for this crap. You can read more essays and find out about their fiction at Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, listen to them podcasting on Soundcloud, support their work via Patreon or PayPal, or remind them of the existence of Tweets.

Want to see feminist reviews of more anime by more people? Make it possible for us to pay multiple people to review each show by becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month! 

  • ImaniToo

    The worst, most throwaway BLs always get the anime adaptation. Whhhhyyyyyyy. Are they really the best sellers? Always the least interesting pap, always with an underage lead. If they’re not underage, then it’s rape central. WHAT.

    (I have a theory involving the societal acceptability of the Class-S “phase” allowing more consensual yuri romance than the violence- and transgression-based assumptions of BL, but that’s for another day)

    May that day come soon! I really wanna read it.

  • Vrai

    It’s not a terribly long story, really. Samurai Flamenco ends, in a now very famous spoiler, with a love confession/marriage proposal from one male lead to another. It’s open-ended, but hopeful and in keeping with the growth between them all show.

    SamFlam had absolutely ABYSMAL sales, and at a fan event not long after the end of the series (finale was in March, event was in June) the creators “jokingly” said that essentially the characters were all idiots and nobody grew or changed between the beginning and end of the show (which is the most grievous mischaracterization of the echoes between the premiere and finale I’ve ever heard). Right in the wake of that, they claimed the proposal was a mistake/wasn’t romantic.

    It’s the single most bitter, salty, “burn down the house while we’re still inside it” act I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, the fact that Certain People really like to quote “it wasn’t romantic” but not the blatant falsehood right before it (which then casts ALL the aspersions on the second comment) makes me salty in turn.

    (Making all of this worse is the fact that SamFlam had a SMALL ass fandom, so the translation of the event was basically saved on somebody’s google doc and then lost to time).

    • I never knew Samurai Flamenco had that. I had only seen one episode and was really annoyed by it revolving around a really whiny high-pitched voice female character, so I dropped it, but if she’s not a main character I may have to give it a try again…

  • Blusocket

    I actually run (very inconsistently, lol) a blog that deals a lot with issues of consent in BL! FeministFujoshi on tumblr and wordpress. One of the big features on the blog is a list of 100% consensual BL manga I try to add titles to semi-frequently. And this yuri rec list (link: https://littlegaywitch.tumblr.com/post/92868352000/yuri-manga-by-women-about-women-who-arent-in ) as well as Erica Friedman’s site Okazu are great resources/starting points for finding yuri titles you might like!

  • Rory More

    Shock factor? It’s expected or more than likely it’s got an economically reliable fanbase…