Joukamachi no Dandelion Episode 1 — Soooo, are we gonna address the elephant in the room?

Joukamachi no Dandelion is about nine superpowered siblings competing to be elected for their father’s throne. I have to ask: why does it matter to the citizens that they can choose which corrupt despot to win again?

This looks so wrong. Coincidentally, it's a representation of everything this show knows about monarchy.

This looks so wrong. Coincidentally, it’s a representation of everything this show knows about monarchy.

I was somewhat optimistic about this show because I thought it could be fun. It’s not. Worse, I think it’s trying to be serious. But a serious treatment of such a gimmicky premise begs too many questions, the central of which being justification for the very existence of the election. Look, I know the Emperor has a complicated history in Japan, but taking as premise that rigged elections matter, and that celebrity worship constitutes political awareness, is just silly and automatically discredits anything this show might be trying to say. In fact, I know it’s just more nonsense.

The good bits

Okay, Joukamachi no Dandelion is actually a breath of fresh air compared to Ranpo Kitan and Classroom Crisis. By which I mean, the script is not a godawful abomination. It’s still generic as hell, given that it couldn’t move beyond the game show introduction format to describe each sibling’s power, but that’s perhaps more the fault of the source material. Every line and every scene come at the right, if predictable, time, and the voice acting for Akane, the protagonist, was easily the best part of the show. So: “somewhat technically competent,” take that for what it’s worth.

Okay, so there's at least one good moment of exposition.

Okay, so there’s at least one good moment of exposition.

It’s not fun

Unfortunately, at least for me. the tone of Joukamachi is “whiny.” Akane is worried that she would be caught on camera — there are 200 stationed around the town to ensure their safety — and be broadcasted on national television, and spends every minute of her screen time lamenting her public appearances, her special treatment, and her unlikability compared to her sister despite that (spoilers) she is only second in ranking. Consequently, she makes up her mind to become King (Queen?) in order to remove the cameras and live in obscurity. In other words, they expect us to take their ridiculous setup seriously, just to be able to identify with the protagonist’s very overblown teenage worries. Why can’t she just wait until she grows up and move away, that’s what I want to know.

Well, that escalated reasonably.

Well, that escalated reasonably.

First of all, while I appreciate that it is entirely legitimate to be shy and dread publicity, this situation is masturbatory bullshit. Shy and especially socially anxious individuals face an entirely different set of concerns and exhibit an entirely different set of behaviors, more accurately depicted in for example Watamote. Instead, this setup serves as an excuse for Akane to become a super special princess loved by all and fit to rule, because everybody knows that if girls want to hold power and be special they have to have low self-esteem and only forced by circumstances to aspire to higher ambitions than a housewife. This is also why I hate Hunger Games and its whiny protagonist who whines all the time about how richer people have nicer clothes than she does, all the while being even more whiny by belittling herself so that she can be indentified with, and because heaven forbids if a girl is arrogant or conceited. Hey, both protagonists are also on camera all the time so people see what inherently good girls they are, coincidence? Or girls being candidly tested in front of an audience as a trope never fucking dying?

It's such a hard life.

It’s such a hard life.

Second, as I said, there is no way to take the setting seriously. There’s Japanese History and Culture I Cannot Possibly Completely Comprehend, sure, and then there’s this bullshit of putting election and monarchy side by side at the forefront but leaving out the questions of how it works, why do people care etc. as if oppression is a-ok as long as the despotic gits in charge are nice. More commonly in other situations, you have the Good Ruler who fights Evil to attain the power they have always deserved, and this automatically means ordinary people become happy and well-off because only Bad People abuse power. This conceit has always bugged me, but it bugs me here especially because the show acts as if people actually have a real choice, and that the King is so gracious as to give them that choice. Aren’t they all cut from the same cloth? Who gives a fuck?

Wait, what good will that do?

What the fuck, what good will that do?

In closing

Joukamachi no Dandelion offers a naive, simplistic vision of politics in order to bring about the very flimsy circumstances where it would be socially acceptable for its Mary Sue protagonist to become Queen. My suspension of disbelief might go a bit farther if I was reading the original gag manga, where gimmick and laziness tend to be a more accepted norm, but it doesn’t here. Further, as opposed to with Ranpo Kitan and Classroom Crisis, I’m certain I know where this is going (it pretty much told me) and that’s not somewhere I’m interested in. So I’m dropping this show.

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  1. 2015 Summer Anime Conclusion | phantomphonesringing

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