Episode 11 of me and Irina’s collab reviews on DAKAICHI, I’m represented by the bold text while Irina (from I Drink And Watch Anime) is not in bold.
So here we are with another Dakaichi review, ready for you weekly dose of problematic sexual advances? I know I am! I get pretty regular helpings of those so this is probably my favourite version of it!
First of all, I kinda disliked how ambivalent Takato was about their break-up, like I get that Takato wanted to handle it all himself but I mean at least talk to Junta about what’s going on, yeah? That’s what people in healthy relationships do, though I guess the mistake I made was presuming this was in any way a “healthy” relationship! Like I mentioned last week, the contrived breakups are one of the romance tropes that annoys me he most. At least here Takato had a logical reason that makes perfect sense. And I agree, a relationship built on almost constant harassment probably shouldn’t be considered “healthy”, as much as I have grown to like the two of them together.
Call me naiive but I’m not sure I got why Takato let Junta have “one more night to do what you want to me” before breaking up? Is it because he presumed if he didn’t he’d have his way with him anyway? Or is this ~normal~ for break-ups? Break-up sex? Unsurprisingly I haven’t had many relationships on my time on earth… I get that this was way to throw i some extra sexy fanservice but the whole time I was like, why? Who does that? What’s the point of this? Why would Junta agree and in such a way at that… This is weird. It’s a show…these aren’t real people. What I’m saying is that it killed my suspension of disbelief.
Something you mentioned last week, about “homosexuality being a non-issue” here in whatever alternate reality Japan this is pretty much was on-the-money, much to my surprise. The fact that the photographer didn’t see any value in the ‘kiss photo’ between Junta and Takato because they were ex-partners at that point seemed like a massive plot contrivance if this took place in ~our~ heteronormative version of reality. The social norms towards sex are really confusing in this universe. Most of the time it seems a given that everyone is either bi or pansexual. Not Junta has no issue about sleeping with women (occasionally for his career) and being attracted to Takato. Everyone swoons over Junta regardless of gender. So when Junta suddenly starts dating a woman, no one at all, including Takato, even mentions it. But it’s also inconsistent. Whenever a guy hits on him (like Usaka this episode), he keeps saying that he’s a man. Implying that attraction between two men is at least unusual. But then in the same scene Usaka relents simply by saying he can’t have sex with someone he’s been watching over since he was a child, making the homosexuality issue completely irrelevant again. It’s very uneven.
The scenes with the suave smoking producer guy (whose name I can’t recall and can’t find in a 3 second google search) were quite interesting… though swerved into ~problematic~ territory super quick too. I liked that Takato was at least trying to play the ‘alpha’ card in this situation even if it didn’t amount to much. His name is Usaka!!! I just said it. I’m useful! I don’t know what an alpha card is so sadly I can only contribute the name.
And then the scenes with the paparazzi guy (man I’m terrible with names) I didn’t expect to get a ‘tragic backstory’ for him… I mean as tragic as unrealised artistic potential and regret for ruining people’s lives can be. But I mean, I guess I appreciate the sentiment? I’m in two minds about the paparazzi subplot, on the one hand in my mind there was a lot more ~juicy material~ to mine from such a story so I’m at least a little underwhelmed by what we got. But then again what we got was somewhat unexpected! I am fairly indifferent about the character himself but I do really like the fact that they are giving him an actual personality, not just a plot device obstacle. However, I do like the narrative use of fame as a roadblock to their romance. It’s a natural fit, not too imaginative but easy to develop and flexible enough to yield a lot of potential. I also really enjoy that their respective careers remain so important. Too often, romance stories tend to make the romantic relationship the only important thing in the characters’ lives and tat often feels shallow. Here, there’s at least more that one angle to take.
So Junta’s decided to date his female co-star on his new project to divert attention away from Takato in the “tabloids”. Smart move? Maybe. But even though they painted this woman as something of a ‘cougar’ who goes through a lot of younger men, I still kind of felt sorry for her? I mean she’s being used by Junta, but then again, I’m probably not supposed to be caring about her. I guess that’s the problem with a (relatively) straight male watching a Yaoi series, I latch onto the bit-part female side characters… I agree. We don’t know what the long term plan is but so far, this seems downright cruel to Yurie (?). Unless this is an agreement and she knows what’s up and is also using this for publicity, or even because she wants to help young love. Unless she knows exactly what’s going on though, I can’t see how this can be resolved without Junta looking like a jerk. Well…except if he’s just in love with her… but nah.
And then we get a scene with (oh god, I can’t remember his name either) guy who tried to rape Takato but didn’t and looks a lot like Junta just with a bad haircut. Not Junta!!! Ayagi I think. He gets my prize for “most improved” as in I no longer want him to fall into a wood chipper.
So a lot happened in this episode and it was entertaining and even kind of heartfelt towards the end. But I’m not sure where I sit on it, a part of me thinks that Takato was a bit of sweetheart for risking his whole career to save Junta’s, but another part of me thinks that’s ~totally~ out of character for him! But then again, love makes us do crazy things and it’s quite clear that Takato loves the heck out of Junta. Ok so plot wise, like just dispassionate story, this episode was kind of dumb as far as I’m concerned. It was the usual people running around doing inexplicable stuff for no reason. Feelings or whatever… BUT I liked it. It was very well paced, flowing perfectly from one scene to the next with just enough emotional manipulation to keep you vested but never so much as to become annoying. The characters are intriguing and I wanted to see what happened to them (not so much what they would do because…nonsense!). It was a more visceral experience. With my personal tastes, I would have preferred to see more calm trust building and just happy times with our two leads but I guess you need some duh-rama. In any case, the director is quite good.
Anything else you wanted to add? There’s only one episode left right? How are they gonna wrap it up. This feels still very unfinished a story.
Actually I’m pretty sure this is a 13 ep season so there’s still time! (maybe… probably?)
Thanks for reading and make sure to catch next episode’s review on Irina’s site!
Previous DAKAICHI Reviews:
Cute Boys Doing Each Other – Episode 1 Review
Matt and Irina Stare At Pretty Men – Episode 2 Review
Attack On Tight Man – Episode 3 Review
Where’s The Manservice? – Episode 4 Review
When In Doubt, Add More Hot Boys – Episode 5 Review
All’s Well That Ends Well – Episode 6 Review
Setting The Scene – Episode 7 Review
Intermission – Episode 8 Review
Opening Night – Episode 9 Review
3rd Act Break (Up) – Episode 10 Review
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