Green Green is the most important ecchi anime, for all the wrong reasons. Don’t be fooled by the pictures that promise you fun times with the occasional peak at tits. Green Green is cruel and mean-spirited. It doesn’t want to, but this is the side-effect of taking sexual shenanigans to their extreme. This is what happens when you’re making a sex comedy and enjoy the limitlessness of animation.
Despite what I and many reviewers write, anime is a really just a lot of lines and colors moving around. The stories are in our heads. It’s like how a novel is just some ink painted in different shapes upon (recycled?) paper. No real people are involved, but it’s surprising how legal action hasn’t taken against the creators. Surely, such sexual harassment shouldn’t be presented in such a care-free and comic way, even if it targets animated characters, right? If not, then the viewer himself was sexually harassed and the viewer is a real person.
This is how watching Green Green feels like for most of its length. Panty shots and the camera finding its way to the girls’ bathroom aren’t its defining feature. Very early in the first episode the fat guy gets off on rubbing his man-boobs. This is what the series revolves around. Everything else is just a side dish.
It’s amusing, but only because it’s hard to take your eyes off it. The show pushes things to the extreme, doing things in the real world would land the idiots in jail if not in a hospital. Key scenes include ‘fishing’ a shirt in front of other boys, basically stripping her and a fat guy jumping on the teacher screaming ‘here we go’. In the real world, we call this an attempted rape.
There is a light-hearted tone to all of this, but it doesn’t fit the events. It gives the impression that it takes what’s going on lightly, which only makes things worse. The three idiots are not bumbling buffons, but creeps. It’s hard to feel anything but contempt and hatred for them. The fat guy sees women as literally a stick with tits on. Tenjin is a pedophile who gets off on eating rice while Sanae is asleep. Metalhead-looking guy is sometimes better. He sometimes serves as an amusing satire of a desperate horny teenager. Mostly, he’s a stalker who goes on and on about love but tries to use brute force.
The creators try sometimes to give them what they deserve, but its at the expense of the viewer. We may not feel very sorry for them when they get humiliated, but here the punishment includes a rape from a bear. Worse, it’s not an implied one. A bush volunteers to prevent it from becoming full-blown porn, but there are enough sounds and moaning so you’ll have a clear image enough in your head.
The characters have nothing resembling depth, but that’s not the problem. They’re comic relief characters, but it’s hard to be funny when all you do is harass. What else can you call peeking at the girls while they bath and sending them questionnaires about their bra size? There are even homoerotic and cross-dressing moments. This is when their assault shifts again target to the viewer. I don’t know what is worse, but if I had to choose between seeing Futaba humiliated again or watching Bacchi-Gu rubs his breasts again, I’d choose the latter. Call me a white knight, but it’s not like I’m catching a bullet.
No girl leaves this show unharassed. Sanae and Futaba are the main victims, but only Wakaba kind of avoids this. She only falls victim to them whenever their harassment schemes target all the girls, instead of their girl of choice. The fact Wakaba is the luckiest girl, and she’s still getting harassed thanks to scheme that are the equivalent of sexual genocide should tell you how unpleasant this feels.
The creators hit a fun, energetic, sex-driven high school vibe that makes me feel nostalgic for the days when I was too young to see that girls were just as confused as I. The decision to have more than one male character and have them do stuff makes this stand out. Most high school anime tend to have a comic relief who pops once or twice, a gay dude or a trap.
Still, in such a sexually-predatory environment it’s hard to find friends. Almost everyone here is a creep, not just the idiots. Midori has her happy-go-lucky charm, but what she does to Yusuke is only a little better than what the three idiots do to the girls. Chigusa remains AWOL for most of the show, appearing occasionally to let us know reality can’t compete with those breasts. Sanae is boring and does nothing, and Arisa is a pathetic attempt to make us feel awkward with a horny ugly girl. Too bad for her she can’t compete with the three idiots.
Speaking of Yusuke, he’s a little less boring than your typical do-gooder. His occasional aggressive behavior with Midori is surprising. It’s good to see a male character this active, but all he does is add more to the mean-spiritedness. Midori and Yusuke, instead of being the emotional core and safe haven just add to the unplesantness of it all. Adding Futaba to the love triangle doesn’t help. She’s fun at first, but then quickly becomes a tsundere. You’re always sure these tsunderes are bit more interesting than they are.
Reika and Wakaba are the only ones who lighten the atmosphere a little, and even the former isn’t good enough. Reika doesn’t fit any archetype at first, and she adds some genuine appeal. For a show so obsessed with sexuality, she’s the only one with actual sex appeal and it’s not just because she has breasts. Too many times though, she’s given a cruel edge whose reason is very unsatisactory. She also get a single moment of harassment that might be worse than anything else. You’d think the creators would let us enjoy the sex appeal without seeing the girl humiliated. As for Wakaba, her role is to stand around and talk to the cactus. It’s the only joke here that works, and it’s those little details that make characters feel alive. She’s the only one who’s not an empty archetype or a creep. She deserved a much better show, maybe something like Bamboo Blade where everyone is weird like her.
Maybe it’s the story that makes everyone comes off like creeps. All this envelope-pushing at least makes them feel alive, and not just archetypes. The premise is also great and has a lot of room for satirizing the sexual confusion. There’s even a great atmosphere that makes it easy to forget how terrible everyone they are. They just don’t do anything with it.
High school boys can be silly, and sometimes creepy with their sexuality. They’re never like this. This is criminal behavior. It’s like a satire of bullying where the bully is the killer. They’re both violent, but the satire is way off-target. It doesn’t deal with the confusion or the pressure or the excitement of being sexual. All it does is present sexual harassment with a light tone, hoping we’d forgive because ‘it’s just comedy’. Sexuality can be a pain, but it shouldn’t be this depressive.
The romance is also shaky. It was about to say something interesting about fate and destiny, but then it decided to take the easy road of manipulative sentimentality. A big emotional climax was very uncalled for, but the supernatural elements made the whole thing look like they came up with it ad hoc. It gains a little impact because the characters feel alive, even though they’re shallow. It’s a romance whose obstacle isn’t inner but outer. Instead of exploring how the two lovers deal with challenges, it just throws a silly reason that doesn’t let them be together with hopes it’ll capture some tears.
Yet, this is somehow not a total trainwreck. It would’ve been easier if it this was just a string of terrible ideas after another. There’s focus here. There’s more life in this anime than others in the genre. The story is actually concerned with themes, and teenage sexuality can be a lot of fun to watch. Is focusing on a terrible idea better than not focusing on a good idea? I’m not sure. Green Green has a few things to teach other shows, but I’m afraid people will borrow the size of Reika’s breasts instead of her sex appeal or the fun atmosphere.
The fact that I spent so much time writing about women’s breasts should tell you enough about this anime. I wish I could’ve used it as a starting point to talk about how messy but fun high school, but here I am, writing about the fourth paragraph where women’s breasts appear. I hang my head.
1.5 horny idiots out of 5