Ookamikakushi – 2
It’s weird: Through most of this episode — and the previous episode — I seemed barely interested in what was going on, even outright mocking it, and yet in both episodes there’s this one thread that serves to make me sit up and think a bit more about what is going on. In this episode, and the preview for the next episode, it is the somewhat disturbing nature of the sexuality that made me take notice. (Spoilers for the ending of The Wicker Man are in this post, so read with caution if you ever want to see that great horror movie.)
Sexuality in horror media is nothing new — horror and sexuality have gone hand-in-hand since the advent of horror fiction. Sex is often used for straight titillation in horror for the crowds who just want some blood and tits in their movies/comics/TV/etc., but sexuality has also been used often to highlight the deviancy of what inspires horror in the audience. Vampires, werewolves and so on often have a sexual bent to them — they lead the sorts of “deviant” lives that “good” (or maybe “moral” is a better word) people do not lead. Horror often — and justly, in plenty of occasions — gets a bad rap for exploiting sexuality to appeal to people’s base desires, but there is also plenty of horror that uses sexuality to say some interesting things about the characters involved and the society that produced the work.
(Just as a random example: David Cronenberg’s Shivers has some interesting things to say about how modern society views sexuality (although it is apparently also interpreted as a strike against the “Americanization” of Canadian culture). It’s a very raw movie, with bad acting and clunky dialogue across the board, but I nonetheless recommend it to horror fans who like their horror to challenge them a bit.)
Hiro is essentially the classic chaste protagonist. He doesn’t know how to deal with sexuality at all — Isuzu’s advances make him go bonkers. The way Hiro thinks about Isuzu later in the episode says to me that he does not complete reject the way Isuzu latches onto him; however, he instinctively pulls away from Isuzu when she gets too close. Why? Maybe because he senses there is something “wrong” (or “immoral”) about Isuzu’s sexual advances. It could be because the pair are too young for a sexual relationship (I think they’re supposed to be 16, even though they look like middle schoolers), or maybe it’s just an outright rejection of a strong woman who is bold enough to declare her attraction.
The series has established repeatedly that there is something unusual about the way Isuzu loves Hiro. Kaname has commented multiple times about the confusing nature of Hiro’s popularity because he’s a huge loser. Kaname and Hiro (along with Hiro’s family, and presumably, Kaname’s family) seem to be the only people out of the loop in this town. Despite that, Hiro seems to be the one getting all the attention. The entire town welcomed him with open arms, but Kaname doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere near the attention Hiro has received. Why? Has Kaname’s popularity passed by already without our seeing it? Is there something up with Kaname we aren’t aware of? Or is it because Hiro is a man — a chaste man at that?
In my previous post, I mentioned how I got some Wicker Man vibes (however faint) from the first episode, as did adaywithoutme. Those vibes are slightly stronger now — just as the policeman in that movie was an ideal sacrifice for the pagan villagers because of his virginity (among other traits), Hiro could also fall prey to the village because of his rejection of sex. Could that be the nature of the argument between Nemuru and Isuzu? Is Nemuru trying to prevent the “corruption” of a prime sacrifice? All we have seen so far of Isuzu hints that there is something strange and wrong about her — but is she really the villain in all of this?
And what about Isuzu’s brother, Issei? He has also been shown to be a corrupting force — the guy hits on just about everything that moves (he drops off a woman with the promise to “drive a little farther” the next time they meet), and the preview to the next episode shows him in a moment that will surely be far more uncomfortable to Hiro than his time with Isuzu. What is he trying to do? Is Isuzu’s family the black sheep of the village (similar to the Houjou family in Higurashi)? Isuzu loves her brother, but does she know the type of man he is?