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Hanamaru Q

January 11, 2010

See all of those people in the picture above? They look like your typical Japanese citizens (by anime standards). These seemingly innocent people, along with the rest of the cast of Hanamaru Kindergarten, are all guilty of a crime most heinous: the downfall of Japanese society. They’re the reasons why Juiz exists in Eden of the East.

Essentially, Hanamaru Kindergarten is a scathing criticism of the Japanese family unit and Japan’s education system.

Sakura, the mother of the main character, is the first example of Japan’s debauchery. She hooked up with one of her teachers while in high school. This wild affair led to her getting married, getting pregnant, and leaving school six months before graduation in order to follow her new husband as he “got a job teaching art in America.”

Yeah, right, “got a new job.” More like “got fired for seducing and screwing one of his students both metaphorically and literally.”

Sakura gives up her education to follow her lust for a pedophile teacher. She gets knocked up and has his kid. Despite it being “legal” in Japan to get it on with a girl that’s old enough to be a high school senior, this sort of thing is going to cause scandals almost anywhere in the world. What makes matters worse is how her “loving” husband misses his kid’s first day of elementary school, comes home late to a meal prepared by his wife who takes care of his kid and has her own job, then ditches them to go to sleep early while the mother stays up to do work for her job and watch after the kid some more. This guy is a fucking asshole based on everything we’ve seen him do.

This asshole is clearly representative of the stereotypical Japanese “head of the house.” He expects to be waited upon by his wife/servant, he demands that she give up everything to suit his whims, and he uses her to spawn new life into the world even if that means she has to do harmful things in regards to her own future in the process. That’s a universal stereotype, but it’s one that carries a little more weight in Japan than in some countries since gender equality lags in comparison to many other countries.

That brings us to our protagonist. He’s your typical bland, nerdy, useless anime lead. He’s irresponsible, since he sleeps in the first two days of his new job and allows himself to get involved in an awkward “relationship” with one of his students. He’s a cipher for the future of Japan: wiling away days playing Playstation and performing ineptly at work while becoming increasingly incapable of normal social interaction. If Sakura’s husband/slave-driver is Japan’s past, “Tsuchi” here is Japan’s future.

Then there are those who are lost in the shuffle. The main kid, Anzu, is the product of a broken system. When we’re introduced to her, she’s alone on the street literally barking along with a dog she hears in the distance. Her whore of a mother has abandoned her to get something she “left at home,” allowing her to stand on a street corner ripe for the picking by some creepy serial rapist. Her social mores are clearly disturbed as demonstrated by the way she reacts to Tsuchi’s greeting. She doesn’t think he’s saying “hi,” she thinks he’s hitting on her. She comes to this conclusion based on her knowledge of TV dramas. If the scope of her social interactions begins and ends with soap operas, she’s clearly be neglected at home. No supervision over what she watches, no setting of examples by her deadbeat parents, nothing resembling education that would allow her to function as a normal kindergartener.

Anzu represents the end of Japanese society. Sakura’s husband’s generation and the generations before created Tsuchi and Sakura’ incompetent generation, and their incompetence has bred a generation of evolutionary dead-ends.

Anzu is that dead-end.

Hanamaru Kindergarten is a rock over the head and a necrophilia scene away from becoming Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q. In that movie we see the degradation of the Japanese nuclear family, much like how we see that same decay in Hanamaru. Watch Hanamaru and Visitor Q back to back. It should be an enlightening experience.

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