Plunderer – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore January 11, 20200 Comments

What’s it about? In this world, everyone’s body is emblazoned with a number. This number could denote anything, such as how many kilometers you’ve walked or how many people have said your food is delicious. If you succeed at a task, you gain a point; if you fail, you lose one. If your number reaches zero, you get dragged into the Abyss. Five years ago, Hina’s mother was one of the unfortunate ones to hit zero, but before she died, she gave Hina a mysterious orb and tasked her with finding the legendary Ace.


Content Warnings: Depictions of assault and attempted rape.

If Plunderer lost a point for every time it tried my patience, it would have hit zero about ten—no, five minutes in. Maybe after I get through this review a bunch of generic spooOOoooky anime arms will rise out of the ground and drag the show into the Pit of Shame.

A hand coming out of a miasma. Subtitles read "and others say it's even worse than death."

A lot of people I’ve talked to have asserted that Plunderer was more or less doomed from the start, because the concept is pretty dumb and full of holes. And you know, that’s fair, but I was feeling a bit less cynical. Yeah, there was a lady with her giant shiny boobs almost entirely bare on the promotional art, but if I rejected every anime with a tiddy-lady in the promo art, I’d miss out on a lot of shows that I’ve come to love. I was entirely ready to embrace this goofy-ass concept, because at least it had some originality behind it.

But no, Plunderer had to go and squander all the goodwill pretty much immediately with, and I wish I were kidding, slapstick sexual assault imagery.

A young man in a white cape presses someone's legs apart and says "Tell me, what do you think about handing over that ballot now?"

See, the counters are a pretty big deal. They determine people’s entire social standings, with people with low numbers basically serving as slaves to people with higher numbers. If someone with a higher number orders you to do something, you must do it.

That seems unfair on pretty much every level—some of those countable tasks require skills, or effort, or having a learning curve. Nana’s counter (neatly placed on her left boob, of course), for instance, goes down every time someone says her food tastes bad. When she was learning to cook, wasn’t her life basically in danger?

Meanwhile, Hina is super powerful because she walked a whole bunch. But hey, at least that gives us a really powerful heroine, right?

NOPE.

Hina’s not the hero of this story. Despite her high number, she has precisely two personality traits: a cute hat, and getting molested constantly.

A young woman in a pink robe tries to pull away from a man in a cape. Subtitles read "Now do what I say and give it up like a good girl"
The rape imagery is too spot-on to be accidental.

Her number is on her upper inner thigh, so everyone who wants to know about it, instead of asking, forces her legs apart. The imagery deliberately evokes rape, playing it up both for laughs and drama. It’s gross I can’t even joke about it.

The real “hero” of our story is Licht, the town perv, who after swimming up to her in a foot bath and forcing her legs apart, follows her while stammering about boobies. He has long white hair and wears a weird, ugly mask. When the end of the episode revealed he was actually strong and handsome, I was shocked.

Wait, no, scratch that. I was… what’s the opposite of shocked? To quote Shakespeare’s classic character Iago, “I think I’m going to have a heart attack and die of not-surprise.”

(That was Shakespeare, right? Othello? Yep, that sounds correct.)

A man in a mask sips from a tankard while two women watch him. Subtitles read "Hear that, Licht? Hina's talkng about some Legendary Ace."

She gets pulled away by a bunch of… town guardsmen, I think? Their uniforms resemble the military in Fullmetal Alchemist, but unlike the basically decent people forced into performing terrible acts in that series, these guys are fucking bastards. The main dude wears a star sticker on his cheek like some kind of three-year-old (I should know, I’m an expert). Why, Hina just happened to be looking for a man marked with a white star!

But wait… if she just got to town, how would he know she was looking for him? And he’s shocked that her MacGuffin is a Ballot, which does we-don’t know-what but apparently it’s super powerful. So it seems like he just… walks around with a sticker on his face? Okay??

(Side note: I have been known to do exactly that, but mostly because a kid stuck it there and I literally forgot.)

A masked figure says "and spent all the money on 'adult goods.'"

But when she refuses to give him what he wants, because her number is higher, he just happens to have a nifty workaround: challenging her basically to a duel, which forces her to wager her points. Then he holds her down and tries to rape her until she begs for him to stop.

Good thing Licht is there or else Hina might… uh… be victimized by a pervert?

I’m so, so, so exhausted by shitty men in anime being juxtaposed against guys who are even worse to try to make them look better. It’s such a bad, obvious tactic and it keeps happening.

A white-haired man in a cape holds on to a young woman heroically.
BEING PRETTY DOESN’T NEGATE ALL THE AWFUL SHIT YOU DID.

So yeah. Plunderer is bad. It doesn’t even have the grace to be funny-bad, either. It’s just fucking gross.

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