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Tatami Galaxy and the Temple of Doom

May 22, 2010

Pranking that goes out of control –> Disastrous confrontation with egotistical neat-freak –> Icarus-level self-defeat –> Cult-like discipleship –> Heaven’s Gate 2012 doomsday whackos

That’s some Gurren Lagann-styled escalation there.

I like how Tatami Galaxy is playing the field here with the way the various clubs are presented. The first four episodes dealt with the main dude joining clubs where he was forced into an antagonistic role. He didn’t fit into the Tennis or Cycling Clubs because he sucked at the respective sports and was mocked for his lack of athleticism. He was harassed by the head of the Movie Club, was forced into performing menial acts, and had his personal movies derided to the point where he enacted revenge. His position as the God of Matchmaking’s disciple devolved into a never-ending war of petty pranks and spiteful behavior.

Until now, everything he’s been confronted with has been harsh, angry, and cruel, but with the latest episode the main character finds that the opposite form of behavior is no escape from the shackles of oppression and resentment.

I’ve been exposed to the sort of pyramid scheme the main character joins in episode five. One of my best friends joined an “online business” that worked in a similar manner: You receive payment in the form of commissions from your sales, and the sales of those that you “sponsor” to join the business, and those under them, and so on and so on. They also highly encouraged you to buy their products, using the motivation that they were of higher quality than products you bought at the supermarket (I tried some of their products. They sucked.).

The kicker is that there was a spiritual element to the business. They held church services, and the way my friend described them they came off like a mishmash of self-help seminar, Bible Belt revival, and Charles Manson’s “family.” They emphasized improving oneself, often through the use of company products. The man who performed services “healed” people and other charlatan-like acts. They also preached the idea that having people join the business was “helping”  them because the business was also a family, and family helps each other no matter what the costs. The only differences between his “business” and the one presented in the latest episode of Tatami Galaxy were that his products were not honey-based and his church didn’t use the apocalypse angle. At least, he never told me about any sort of doomsday preaching.

I listened to what my friend had to say once. Then I did everything to avoid talking about it after that, steering the conversation towards D&D or the latest anime or whatever.

So this episode struck close to home in that regard, and I can understand the allure of such a group. I can also understand how the main character cracked under pressure. The way my friend talked about this organization, there was a strong sense of “the positive.” It’s like that nonsense book that Oprah was hawking a few years ago: The Secret. Bad shit happens to you because you let it happen to you. You lose your job? It isn’t because the economy is bad and your employer is cutting back, it’s because you didn’t want to keep your job hard enough. They stress the lie that you can have anything you want so long as you wish for it and will it into existence. If you don’t get it, then you just didn’t want it enough.

This sort of ideal leads to an absurd level of niceness, much like the way the people in the “softball” club were behaving in this episode of Tatami. You can’t think negative thoughts or want bad, unhealthy thing or make snarky comments or do anything like that because such behavior causes you to lose sight of your goal, and if you lose sight of it then you obviously didn’t want it and it’s your own damn fault for failing at life. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, In Honey Bee’s name we pray, Amen.

We’ve seen the main dude descend into darkness by giving in to the dark side. He’s been seduced by Ozu many a time and has found himself defeated and ruined. But this time he balked at the dark side and joined the Jedi Order. He completely refused his negative feelings, at least for a time, and allowed himself to get killed during Order 66. He was too busy being a good little Jedi fighting against the racist aliens and retarded robots that he was blind to the fact that the fat Emperor running his “softball” club was the fucking Dark Lord of the Sith.

He needs to be like Luke. He needs to embrace both sides of his personality. He needs to keep Ozu at bay, but at the same time Ozu gives him an outlet for his frustrations. He can be buddies with Ozu and act out while not giving in to his crossdressing lust. He needs to be more like Akashi. Akashi seems to walk the line. She can fraternize with Ozu and the God of Matchmaking and the real doll loving Movie Club dude and maintain her composure. Her only problem is moths, and if that’s your only problem you’re living the good life.

Akashi is Luke Skywalker. She’s bringing balance to the Force. The main dude needs to see the error of his ways before it’s too late, or else he’ll end up a half-robotic shell of himself. Vader may be a badass, dude, but he ain’t someone you aspire to be.

Dammit. I meant to insert some Indiana Jones references into this post and I went all Star Wars on it. To rectify that: Akashi is Short Round, and she’s kicking Indy (the main dude) in the balls until he snaps out of the Kali’s blood trance. There we go.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2010 11:09 PM

    This is the best show of this season.

    I’m not kidding.

  2. May 23, 2010 3:03 AM

    I agree that Softball Circle Honkawa certainly brings the “other side” of oppression into focus – a sort of warm and fuzzy groupthink that can leave you sort of cold.

    However, I’m more of the opinion though that Watashi’s oppression is at least in part self-inflicted, sure, he is definitely dealt some bad hands throughout every episode, but his reaction to his issues tends to run towards resentment and thoughts of retribution or some sort of grand redemption. I get a stronger sense in part that Watashi actively chooses to self-exclude; he has a stubbornly individualistic streak (which he must have of course, it’s what makes him an entertaining protagonist).

Trackbacks

  1. The Tatami Galaxy 05: Softball Circle Honkawa « FungaFuFu
  2. Anime Review: The Tatami Galaxy Episode 5 | This Euphoria!

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