Abnormal Physiology Seminar (Hen-zemi)
This anime comes with a pretty heavy content warning. The general subject matter is about perversions in general, and more specifically, sexual perversions. That said, it’s not a hentai anime and not a fan-service (nudity) heavy anime, as you’d expect from the description. Though they toe the line, it’s generally handled in a tasteful manner, given the subject matter. Oh. Don’t bother with the OAVs. Those take a nudity and vulgarity dive that I actually expected from this anime. I decided to watch Hen-zemi on a whim, because the description sounded like some Psychology course I had taken in college and I thought “what the heck.”
The anime is about a, relatively, normal college girl who takes an Abnormal Physiology Seminar class to be with her crush… and deals with the absolutely deviant people who took the course because they wanted to be there. I did actually enjoy it… but not for the reasons you’d expect, based on the content warning. I attribute it to my time in the Psychology department. This anime showcased some hilarious, bizarre things that reminded me of some of the people I encountered there.
The characters were generally solid. About half of the characters were really interesting and had very interesting relationships that were fun to watch. No, the “fun to watch” part wasn’t those guys doing perverted things, it was the way they interacted with each other. I would describe the anime as a “tease” – it really likes playing with expectations. The best example is the Onsen (hot spring) episode – which didn’t actually deal with the Onsen (and fan service) you normally would expect. It was all about the road trip to get there.
On a hilarious note, Zenko actually walked in on the only part in the anime that had actual psychology, so it looked totally legit. I assured her that “No, No, this is the only legitimate part of the anime.” And then we backed it up and watched the entire thing together. What’s funny is it’s not a bad or necessarily tasteless anime, it’s just the subject matter is… questionable at best.
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club + Eternal Summer
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Sports anime? Never gonna happen. Bishonen? No, thank you. Light ecchi for females? I’ll pass. Then why, oh why did I watch Free!…and LIKE it?? I know lots of girls like it, but ME?
It was the swimming. The swimming got me. I never swam competitively, but I love swimming. Then I had heard some good things about this, and I found myself clicking on it on Crunchyroll. I was annoyed by the pretty-boys. I scrunched my nose at the more lines of muscle than there really would be on a human body. I rolled my eyes at the shots that showed them off as they did their stretches in their swimsuits. Their theme song is a boy band for crying out loud! And what’s with all their girly names*? Is that supposed to make them cute? ‘Cause all I heard was pansy.
And yet…that story was pretty darn good, the characters had a surprising amount of depth for what it was, and the animation of what it’s like to swim when you really love it…oh man, that was awesome! (Like I said…I love swimming.) And it wasn’t like there was an ‘evil rival’, he was just a guy and it was just complicated circumstances. Eventually, I found myself on the edge of my seat and cheering for them as they swam in their climactic competitions! (Good thing I lived alone at the time….)
So, would I recommend it to someone? Eh, maybe. Do I tell people I watched it? I’m hesitant…. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Yes, I did. I’m ashamed of it, but I enjoyed Free! Iwatobi Swim Club and Never Ending Summer.
*I started thinking of what their names might be in English to give the same effect. I’m thinkin’ turning Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rei into Hilary, Michele, Noel, and Robin.