Looked at normally, Eiken is much like a fever dream, or a nightmare, or some kind of demon-induced hallucination. The horrific glory of the show can hardly be matched. So why blog about it on Classy? While we plan to define exactly what a “classy” anime is, for now let me posit this definition: A classy anime is one which has its true value hidden beneath a face of mediocrity or even “badness.” Queen’s Blade: Rebellion was hidden underneath a mask of misogyny and sexism (ironic, considering its true substance) and Horizon is surrounded by a seemingly impenetrable fog of incomprehensible plot and backstory. Eiken is much the same. Practically a horror show on the surface, this 2 episode OVA series only reveals its true colors when looked at as a cutting satire on our current sex obsessed culture.
I suppose I should preface this by noting that Eiken is not the absolute classiest of the classiest anime. This is because the anime has a rather poor disguise of awfulness, such that a trained eye can immediately see its true genius. The creator’s seemingly blatant disregard for telling a cohesive story and the almost willful decision to adapt an arc that is clearly from several chapters into the manga are as obvious clues as one could ask for. But I still believe it deserves a place on our blog in spite of its relatively thin veil due to the artfulness with which it conveys its message.
Eiken is a subtle, yet hard-hitting commentary on the dangers of our modern society. Let us take a look from the beginning. At first glance, it goes about creating its setting in a groan worthy fashion, playing all the requisite cliches in the most by-the-book manner imaginable. Our protagonist gives us his name (which already eludes me, no doubt following the intent of the creators) and introduces the setting, an impractically large school facility. Then, he trips over, somehow mounts (despite the fact he was falling backwards), and gropes the demonically large breasts of the most popular and – apparently – intelligent girl in the school, all with an infallible precision only true successors to the MC-kun-Ryuu possess. As male side characters #1 & #2 explain the situation to Mifune (our protagonist, whose name I had to look up), he looks first to the left, than the right, both times taking an obligatory squeezing of the girl’s chest. Everyone looks on in stony silence, and Mifune remembers only then that he must pretend to act surprised. He does, at which point members of the infamous Eiken club (the club, what they do, the reason for their name, and why they are infamous are all unnecessary details and are therefore left out) fall out of the sky on a giant mecha, and for reasons we are never told, they immediately – and forcefully – induct Mifune into the club.
Though this may be hard to believe, I feel that Mifune is intentionally created with the little/non-existent personality he has, that we might project ourselves onto him. Though this is an unprecedented move in the creation of a harem lead, I feel that it is not too radical a leap to make for a groundbreaking anime such as this. Thus, let us place ourselves in Mifune’s position. Immediately, several things become clear. The school represents modern society and the onlookers, our fellow human beings. Eiken depicts a grim world in which the physics of falling are disregarded, and people may be pushed down and touched wherever, and the only reaction passersby will have is one of inactive silence and passing curiosity. Pent up sexual frustration runs rampant, and even the blandest and most unredeemed student in school is free to feel up any woman he pleases. The mecha falling from the sky is the final piece to the puzzle, as it implies this takes place in a futuristic setting. This whole time the audience had believed this was taking place in another world, separate from our own. This, however, is not the case. The desensitized reaction of the onlookers, the masterful sexual harassment displayed by our supposedly average protagonist, the grotesquely massive bosoms of all females in the world, and the robots. Clearly, just as Queen’s Blade: Rebellion depicts our world as it should have been in ages past, Eiken depicts the grim, harrowing future that we are headed towards.
Most of the first episode is devoted to warning us of the dangers of this dark world we are headed towards by putting us in Mifune’s shoes. A simple look going through it step by step makes this apparent. For example, Mifune is forced into joining a shady organization (the Eiken club) only minutes after entering the school, a jab on the heavy-handed bureaucracy of the world that thrusts us into corporate and social spheres we know nothing about. A few minutes later, when Mifune is called over to an open window by two classmates (who quickly abandon him), his once innocent eyes are exposed to a grotesque amount of naked flesh (the window was looking into the room where the girls were changing for physical examinations). This particular scene is indicative of many things. For one, it shows how peer pressure is becoming a major problem. The older kids we think are our friends in high school may in fact be stringing us along, ready to cast us out to dry at any moment. Additionally, the fact that the window was left so obviously open clearly shows what lack of common sense is apparent in teens today. The girls, no doubt used to constant violation, make no attempt to hide or protect the sight of their bodies from passersby, which further supports the low ethical standards of tomorrow’s society.
The club itself is as much a testament to the horrors of the future as anything in the series. Its seven or so members appear to spend the entire day doing nothing but lazing about and eating. Over the course of this short scene of a few minutes, Mifune is cast about from club member to club member, having little say or control over what happens. From this, it is clear that we are currently headed towards the path of culture-wide lethargy, and as a result we will lose our sense of direction and ownership of our own lives.
What happens next is perhaps the most disturbing event we have seen yet. Two of the club members trip over each other, and, acting purely by instinct, Mifune leans in, his hands magnetized to each members’ breasts, and somehow manages to end face up several feet away with both falling comrades thoroughly handled. So great is the collective perversion of the future that even the most average member of society can alter the laws of reality just to grope multiple acquaintances of the opposite sex.
In the midst of this dread future, we are left to ponder what could have caused such a thing. As I suggested at the beginning, I believe the cause is our current culture’s obsession with sex. Left on its current path, society will crumble into a hellish abyss where she-beings such as this are considered attractive. Indeed, all of the terrifying sights and experiences we’ve seen Mifune have up to this point are due to him giving into the temptations of the flesh, or being tricked by those who have. The men who have lost themselves to such temptations turn into brutal women-beaters with greedy obsessions and poor senses of fashion.
The rest of the series is devoted to teaching the solution to this problem: Celibacy. It is only when Mifune ignores the pleasures of the flesh and remains focused only on his goals that he overcomes his challenges. The one time he regresses results in him losing and having to crossdress as a reminder of his shame.When he returns to purity by cooling the sexual fires within, he allows himself to overcome even one of the most talented and attractive boys in school (who lost due to his lustful tendencies).
This message is both hopeful and despairing at the same time. Though there is a chance for us to regain hope in our lives even in this dark future, it is clear that mankind is doomed. At this point, some women have fallen victim to the ever degenerating lust of humanity and crossed the line over into realm of grotesqueness (never to return), and the rest are already following. Though we can try to help them, as Mifune tried, neither they, not the pain of their existence, can ever be erased or forgotten. With such irrevocable and dire consequences awaiting us, the necessity of preventing this future is immediately apparent. As Eiken shows us, the only way to prevent this from happening is to ignore the temptations of the flesh. If we do not, we shall only fall into ruin. From this message we can conclude that Eiken is making a pro-celibacy argument, and quite a strong one, at that.
Yes, Eiken may not be the most classy anime of all time. But I feel that its powerfully-communicated message elevates it to a status whereupon it may be freely spoken of on this shrine dedicated to only the classiest of anime. It may not be Queen’s Blade: Rebellion, but it still left me crying at the end with the clarity of its warning.
This has been the first attempt at a solo post by a Classy writer. I, and the rest of the team, sincerely hope that you enjoyed this analysis of the fine series Eiken. May we meet again for our second colloquium on the understated masterpiece of the season Kyoukai no Senjou Horizon II. Thank you for reading.