Despite the amazing reviews it was receiving, I put of watching Shimoneta until last night. I think more so than its lewd nature (everyone knows I like lewd things), it was the setting that put me off.
I dislike the idea of over-controlling, heavily censored dystopian societies so much, that even a fictional depiction is hard for me to consider watching.
But, well, almost everyone seems to like this, so I forced myself to man up a little and give it a shot. As expected, I ended up loving it. I love this show so much, it is now a solid contender for anime of the season along with Gatchaman Crowds (I need to watch episode 3 though…) and Prison School.
I think Shimoneta is rather relatable for a lot of us, especially if you grew up in an uptight society like Conservative parts of the US, or a lot of Asia. I spent four and a half years of my childhood in the Middle East and Shimoneta definitely hit home.
I remember in Grade 5/6, my Science textbook had the pages talking about human reproduction glued together. I remember a letter from the teacher for our parents that read along the lines of “You should buy your kid a Science Encyclopedia and I recommend gluing together any /bad/ pages”. Of course, we still managed to gleam some info out of the school textbooks and of course, we always kept our eyes open for any new textbook that the teacher hadn’t glued yet. More so, a lack of proper education and the society’s insistence on being proper didn’t stop anyone from being curious or lewd.
I still remember overhearing one or two lewd conversations in the changing room. I remember trying to browse the internet trying to figure out how the nuts and bolts fit together, partly due to lust, partly due to curiousity. I remember my friend using a school library computer to browse an adult flash video game website that he had found. I remember browsing through a sand dune tour guide’s cellphone and finding a naked woman (which due to my lack of Arabic comprehension, I accidentally set as his wallpaper – woops, but don’t worry, I managed to fix it without him noticing). I remember grinning on the inside when I heard younger kids talk about how a “man must pee in a woman to get her pregnant”. I grinned because I was confident that I had figured it all out, when I still knew nothing.
It is surprisingly hard to figure out anything on your own (but that won’t stop anyone from trying..), especially if your internet is censored and not quite as vast or accessible as it is today. To make matters worse, due to school transfers and scheduling conflicts, my education in such matters was effectively null till Grade 10, where we learned a little bit (under the assumption that all the important stuff had been covered in earlier Grades…). Anyway, I did figure out the important bits (I think), so there was no real loss, but the curious, clueless attitude demonstrated by Shimoneta’s students is definitely relatable. And I am sure it is relatable for a lot of people for similar reasons.
If you ignore the dystopian, future tech, Shimoneta’s setting is honestly not that different from where I grew up or even much different from modern Japan, where you are actually meant to be rather uptight and proper in public (all the ecchi anime is a lie and I am pretty sure most Japanese people are not openly lewd). If you follow tech news and are sort of up to date with all the privacy scandals of these past few years, then the setting becomes even more frightening because while the tech is definitely exaggerated to the point of being near impossible, some of it feels like it could actually be possible if any backwards society really wanted it and had the money to do it.
More importantly, Shimoneta talks about the effect such a setting has on the students. The students are not only totally clueless about biology, but because of it, they can’t even express love properly. The students still try to talk about lewd things, they still try to learn about their bodies and they still have dirty thoughts that they now have to repress and don’t even truly understand why. The finest (and craziest) example came in the fourth episode when the purest student of all, sexually assaulted someone because she thought that is what it meant to express love. She not only did not know what a lewd act actually was, but she didn’t realize that love and lewd sometimes go hand in hand.
She also had no idea that even when giving into love, you gotta respect people’s boundaries. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the anime to go so far, but well, it did and it was rather shocking. The relatable setting and its consequences is Shimoneta’s third greatest strength. Its second greatest strength is the cast.
Shimoneta features a wacky, very fun cast. Each character is distinct and despite some exaggerated quirks, they feel rather human. I am especially fond of the Scientist girl and her various experimental attempts at deducting the truth. She demonstrates excellent scientific methods, though she might want to invest in mammals and not flies.
The main girl is also quite likeable. Bad jokes aside, she is definitely fighting for what she thinks is right and you really do end up sympathizing with her. Even the MC, despite his wimp like appearance, is not a total loser and is quite a good Straight Man to Kajou’s jokes. Episode 4 took a rather dark turn and I am not quite sure Anna is wacky anymore (she looked really, really broken there at the end), but I will try to have faith in this show’s handling of character development…
Finally, the show’s greatest strength is quite simply its humour. The way the SOX organization goes about educating youth, the dancing in the opening/ending, the euphemisms and innuendos people use to get by censors, the shit that comes out of Kajou’s mouth, almost all of it is hilarious. Sure, some of the BEEPS BEEPS BEEPS are a little unnecessary, but all in all, jokes are everywhere and almost all of them are hilarious. Some scenes in particular, like the fly mating video were absolutely hilarious. That scene is probably going to be one of my favourite anime moments this year.
I spent most of this post talking about how Shimoneta is relatable and provides good social commentary on sexual education and morality, but really, when it comes down to it, this show is good because it is damn funny. It is absolutely hilarious and that is just the way it should be. After all, crass humor is timeless, right?
Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
Restitutus says: “Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates”.
Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog
Oh and this show might also win the award for opening/ending song of the season. They are both really good.