Content warning: Mandated heteronormativity
What’s it about? High schooler Anzu Hoshino lives for but three things: video games, chocolate and her beloved cat Momohiki. But when she one day accidentally boots up a shady game that got delivered to home, she is forced into a contract with Riri, an otherworldly magical sprite. Riri takes away everything she loves and cares for to force her to find a boyfriend and help solve the dwindling population crisis in Japan.
I’m begging the Government of Japan to figure out a better policy on solving its population decline issues without sitting a man and a woman down on a bed and telling them to get with the baby-making, because the real culprit of faltering birthrates is a stagnating economy leaving younger generations with fewer and fewer opportunities to enjoy the same level of wealth and stability their parents enjoyed.
I MEAN, SHINZO ABE IS ALREADY DEAD.
Putting the whole conceit of “this is to combat the declining birthrate” front and center is a bland joke in and of itself at this point, but to force it upon a teenager so openly and explicitly invites disgust at best, and would be inflammatory if any politician said it during an off-the-cuff interview on TV.
But the thing about Romantic Killer that had me especially livid was just the blatant enforcement of heterosexuality, and the moralizing theater that transpired throughout its inaugural episode (and which I am guessing is about to continue for the rest of the cour). Riri characterizes Anzu as someone with no interest in romance. She is the definitive candidate for someone not interested in baby-making. In other words, she can kinda be read as asexual, and the show is aiming to “fix” that.
Though not stated explicitly that Anzu is ace (I wouldn’t expect this show to really do that in the first place), her character coding plays wildly similar to someone who is. She’s capable of having normal conversations at school and has a few friends. She has hobbies (video games and eating chocolate) and loves her cat very very much. Honestly, this kinda describes a number of ace nerds I know, and here’s this motherfucker coming in going “but you gotta get knocked up for the good of humanity” like he’s your grandma during Easter dinner.
And thus, Riri takes all she cares about in life away so she can just focus on Da BOYS, like it’s some kind of sadistic torture porn where two people are locked in a room by Billy the Puppet and told they can’t get out until they screw. I’m here watching a girl being forced to live a life devoid of anything that brings her joy until she gets charmed enough by some plot-device boyfriend who’s perfect in every narrative way to twist her heart into going doki doki.
It reminds me of desperate parents dispossessing kids of all comfort until they can be “normal.” Abusive practices that basically render people fucked up well into their adult years, and for what? Babies?
It’s insulting enough as it is, but premiering this show on Ace Week earns this show an extra “fuck you.”
Yeah, yeah, Anzu’s probably going to get video games and chocolate back. She’ll keep aggressively hating the dreamboat boy that Riri so desperately wants to conjoin with her at the mouth and hips. And she’s probably going to find out he’s not so bad after all and become friends with him, until that one moment she realizes “oh he’s maybe cool after all” and they kiss and blah blah blah, man, fuck out of here. I’m not bothering to find out.