Ebiten’s Unique Look at the Harem Genre

Ebiten is an anime so chock full of references that it relies on them too much. Though not a show I would recommend, there is one point in its favor I’d like to talk about that I imagine a lot of people didn’t take note of because of the overall lack of interest in the show.

From the very first episode we are introduced to a character named Noya Itsuki, a cute girl who turns out be a crossdressing boy. For most of the series, he factors in only somewhat into each episode’s story, but when the final “arc” comes around (if you can say that for a 10-episode anime), Itsuki gains a more prominent role. In reality, Itsuki is not the effeminate side character first presented, but a man with so much raw chemistry that he can literally control any women who come in range of his pheromones (and who’s also a lolicon on top of that). Up until that point, we learn, some of the girls had been suppressing his dangerous abilities by feminizing him through not only making him crossdress but through drugs specifically designed to counter his natural machismo.

In other words, the “real” Noya Itsuki is actually a harem lead, the guy who mysteriously attracts all of the ladies, and the female characters in the show had been actively trying to prevent the anime from becoming another Love Hina. Much like School Days and its own unique take on the harem (i.e. the amount of emotional manipulation needed to actually sleep with the entire cast of girls), I can’t say the show is worth watching just for this fact, but it’s quite a meta-level plot twist for a show that’s basically yet another “girls having fun in their own club,” even if it only exists as a brief blip in its own series. It also brings to the forefront an idea I’ve seen thrown around here and there, which is that the all-girls moe/comedy titles that exist grew out from harem-type shows once enough male viewers no longer needed a Y-chromosome character to “relate with” or to act as a stand-in.

One thought on “Ebiten’s Unique Look at the Harem Genre

  1. Isn’t the real draw to Ebiten exactly this sort of meta commentaries you can make (and see it makes)?

    I stalled at around episode 7. You’ve just gave me enough push to finish! Thanks.


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