This season we seem to be in a little bit of an anime drought. That’s not to say that this season is bad, but when you compare to last year, where there were multiple stellar shows each season, resulting in an even better year overall, Winter 2022 is a little calm unless you’re watching AOT or Demon Slayer.
With that being said, I think this has actually been a really fascinating season so far with quite a few unique shows to talk about. Dress-Up Darling being one, and there are certainly a few others, but today we’re talking about a weird one if you couldn’t guess from the title.
I’m going to start talking about Akebi’s Sailor Uniform by calling it something that I don’t think I’ve been called another show, but could probably think of other examples if I tried. It’s “vaguely perverted,” or almost abstract in its perversion and leaves a very strange aftertaste.
It’s a perfect example of a strange tone setting the stage for the entire series, even things that aren’t weird. Because of how odd it is at times, it makes me start to question other scenes where I really shouldn’t read any more into them, but at the same time, I’m only doing it because of the tone of other parts. It’s so weird, but in a different way than you normally hear anime described as.
Even the plot is odd. So there’s this girl, Akebi, who loves this idol. Well, said idol’s shtick is wearing a sailor uniform, so Akebi makes it her dream to go to a school where she can wear one. The catch is that everyone wears blazers, but she still wears her sailor uniform.
I have to admit, that’s actually a somewhat cute premise. Maybe not for an entire series, but seeing Akebi spend time with her mother, picking out materials, working hard to be able to wear it, and then having her mother actually custom make her one is cute. It’s actually heartwarming as hell if I’m honest.
The show actually has pretty good family dynamics, which are often overlooked. In a medium where every other teenager is off leaving home and saving the world, seeing this girl have a genuinely touching relationship with her parents and little sister is sweet as heck; it really is. There’s some damn cute stuff.
And the anime is really good looking at some shots. That’s one of the things people are (rightfully) talking about. Akebi has some pretty, pretty shots and overall has a pretty damn unique art style that’s pretty accurate to the manga as well.
You can praise quite a few things about the art, and it’s just nice to look at. It’s pretty half the time and unique all of the time. It’s good stuff. CloverWorks has their (Clover)work cut out for them between Akebi, Dress-Up Darling, and Tokyo 24th Ward.
So why do I call it vaguely perverted because it’s starting to sound like I’m the perverted one trying to ruin an innocent series? Regardless of my status in that regard, anybody who has watched the series so far would agree with me, I guarantee you. There’s something off. There’s just a little weirdness there, and that little weirdness becomes a lot of weirdness.
Like, why are there so many foot shots? Yes, feet on their own aren’t perverted, but when Akebi meets her first friend by walking in on her smelling her nail clippers in a classroom very sensually, I get the inclination that something’s amiss. Something’s wrong.
Again, technically nothing wrong with smelling your nail clippers, but the way the show handles it isn’t like a joke. It’s like our girl here just got caught by Akebi in the act, and they weirdly just move on. Not that I would prefer they focus on it more, but it seems odd to include at all other than to fulfill some fantasy on the author’s part. That’s a blatant assumption, so don’t read too much into it. I’m just calling it like I see it.
I’m also guilty of my own interests sneaking into things. I like fantasy worlds, so I write and think about them a lot. I sometimes write my characters like people I would like in real life. There’s no shame in it.
So if there was some feet appreciation here, it’s whatever. The problem is the scene is just so freaking weird and it’s made even more so by the fact that most of the series is so innocent. And because of it, it makes me question everything. I start to read too much into sister bath time, sister butt smacks, and the whole plot being centered around a highly fetishized garment. The wires start to crisscross in my brain a bit and it makes me a little uncomfortable.
Then I start to think I’m the one making it weird when Akebi bends over to show her class how crazy she can make her hair, but in the very same episode, she then gets lip gloss and then attempts to do whatever sensual thing she’s doing here. This is pictured on the cover of the first manga, by the by. Interesting tidbit there.
So, it seems clear that it’s supposed to be perverted if that’s the first thing you think of picking the manga up, but she’s just copying her idol that she admires so much, so inherently, there’s nothing odd about it. It’s our damn minds that do it.
Maybe we’ve gotten to a point where we just assume anime is going to be weird that when we get a series that kind of rides the line, we autofill the rest. Maybe Akebi is a completely innocent, cute series with really nice art? Maybe it is!
No, it’s not. Again, watch one episode, and you’ll agree with me. It’s very clearly perverted at times, but it never does anything 100% ecchi. It’s extremely suggestive, and for some reason, that’s wrapped up in a cute show about family bonds and making friends. I don’t get it, to be honest with you, but it’s somewhat fascinating to witness. That’s all I can really say about it.
It’s like how kid’s shows seem innocent when you’re younger, but the adults always get a laugh out of some of the jokes. It’s like that but with perverted stuff. That’s why I call it vaguely perverted/abstractly suggestive.
It almost makes you feel like you’re the problem, but then it comes at you with something clearly meant to stir some feelings, but in doing so, it makes everything, even the innocent stuff, weird to watch. It kind of feels wrong, but hey, maybe it’s all in my head.
Thank you very much for reading
It’s not in my head, by the way.