Kuragehime: the contemptible Amars

While I like Kuragehime, I must admit that I have little love towards the Amars, especially towards Banba and Mayaya. Although I’ve alluded to this in my previous post, I’m saying it clearly in this one: I don’t like the lifestyle of the Amars, and while they have every right to do what they want to do with their lives that does not mean I approve of their parasitic existences.

Someone on /a/ called people out (including me) saying that we only dislike the Amars because they’re not the usual beautiful and sexualized beauties we see in anime. He or she argued further that if they were men, we would sympathize with their existences just because of the proximity and similarity between those men and /a/nons.

I vehemently disagree, however. I don’t dislike the women just because they are both unsociable and ugly (although it’s much easier to dislike someone ugly than physically beautiful, that is true), but because in addition to being unsociable and ugly, they’re also offensive and obnoxious creatures.

One of the most endearing caricatures (if not avatars) of male otaku the world over is Madarame. He is the personification of the otaku archetype. While I must admit that his countenance does not make him easily endearing, it is his actions and his quirky kindness towards his friends and other people that made me like him, not his being a male otaku.

I’m an anime fan, but I’m also irritated with other anime fans. Just because other people are anime fans doesn’t make them someone I’d automatically like, although that characteristic would make them easier to like. I dislike Banba and Mayaya not merely due to their physical ugliness, but more importantly because of their ugly personalities. I don’t find Banba’s actions towards Kuranosuke defensible; I find much contempt in turning away someone who honestly just wanted to join in. My perception of her only worsened when she equated the kindness of Kuranosuke to a permanent provision and depersonalized him into a bringer of meat. The only reason that would exonerate her to some extent was that if she was mentally retarded (which is highly possible, actually). If she wasn’t, though, there is absolutely no excuse for her actions: her face is just the ‘urine on top of the turd.’ It just makes things worse.

Mayaya’s less offensive and more obnoxious, but I also don’t find their stance towards parental dependence noble. I find it rather insulting to those who act as real children. Other than Tsukimi, the Amars are already more than thirty years old. I just don’t think it’s good for anyone to rely on one’s parents for support when one’s already that old. I’m also not one to sympathize when these Amars look at reality from some imaginary catafalque: they do not even want to recognize that there is something fundamentally wrong in their lives and in their way of living. Their physical ugliness just makes things worse, but I doubt that it is the sole source of disdain from watchers like me.

Devil’s advocates will probably propose Katsuragi Keima from The World God Only Knows as an unforgivable otaku. The thing is,

(1) He’s not thirty years old. He’s barely into his teens – and he at least goes out of their house.

(2) Despite how he looks, he is very responsible for his tasks.

Just the first defense alone would exonerate most of his faults. It’s undeniable that a male otaku trying to save the world from destruction despite his unwillingness, as some sort of antihero, perhaps, is more sympathetic than a realistic caricature of uncouthness and physical homeliness. Isn’t that common sense?

5 Responses to “Kuragehime: the contemptible Amars”

  1. Nijuro Says:

    I disagree that it is easier to dislike someone you find unattractive. Maybe if they lack charisma but that isn’t dependent on physical appearance. Charm and confidence could easily make any of the Amars into mai waifu~ (tongue in cheek).

    Even that we’re having to defend our dislike of the characters says something about male anime fans. What does it matter how attractive a female character is? They aren’t dating prospects. Madarame may have been a spastic or endearing but no one so far has mentioned his dorky haircut or his huge glasses or that stupid fang.

    The Amars didn’t even make me that upset before I found out how strongly /a/ had been reacting to them. Yes, they’re very rude. Yes, they’re living unhealthy lifestyles. No, they don’t spend much effort on their appearance. Nightly and weekend ronery threads would seem to suggest that /a/ then has a lot in common with the Amars.

    And it’s very easy to criticize a flaw of yours when you see it in someone else.

  2. Michael Says:

    Nijuro:

    Thanks for the comment. I think you’ve a point on that first count of yours.

    >What does it matter how attractive a female character is?

    It doesn’t, really. But certain anime fans from /a/ think that we dislike the women only because they’re women. I don’t think my dislike can be pegged to sexism alone. I dislike them because I find their attitudes towards others contemptible. It’s as simple as that. They could be as ugly as hell but if they were likable, I would like them.

  3. RedMaigo Says:

    I got the Madarame vibe from them as well. Although, Madarame did graduate and get a job, he still suffers from arrested development. I feel sorry for Madarame because he continues to live in that sunless, twilight world between adolescence and adulthood.

    While we are throwing around comparisons to Genshiken, I see Kuranosuke as Kasukabe and Kousaka son who was somehow adopted by the Koibuchi clan. He has the best traits of both without their faults.

    As for the Amars of the Amamizukan, they merely represent the unattractive, self-centered, otaku in its female form. We only hate in others what we secretly hate within ourselves.

  4. vendredi Says:

    I think there’s certainly a division between “defensible” and “understandable”, speaking specifically to Banba’s case at the dinner table. Kuranosuke breaches a great deal of etiquette by showing up to what should be a very private social function unannounced and uninvited, then proceeds to help himself quite blatantly to the meal they all purchased. There’s no obligation on any of them to be accommodating of a complete stranger who just waltzes into their home. Being earnest is a wonderful thing, sure, but it doesn’t make Kuranosuke’s actions any less impolite. Banba’s reaction is certainly rather impolite and very passive-aggressive, but it’s an understandable reaction.

  5. Michael Says:

    RedMaigo:

    Hello, it’s nice to see you again in here. Madarame thinks there’s something wrong with his current lifestyle, however. He recognizes it is quite abnormal, and for that he has points above the Amars, who are proud of their status as withdrawn otakus. I guess you’ve a point there with us hating a part of ourselves secretly.

    vendredi:

    Hey! Long time.

    While you’ve made a salient point there. What she did was certainly understandable, but it isn’t defensible. And when you look at the intention behind their acts Banba’s just altogether worse.

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