Well the controversial manga Kodomo no Jikan  (at least it caused a stir in the United States) is finally available in animated form. Before I begin my review of the OAV I feel that I need to cover a little bit of the controversy surrounding the attempted introduction of the Kodomo no Jikan manga into the US market. In 2006 the Los Angeles based company Seven Seas Entertainment licenced the Japanese manga Kodomo no Jikan  for distribution in the US. At the request of the manga’s creator, and over the objections of Seven Seas Entertainment the manga’s creator demanded the manga be called “Nymphet” in the United States. The literal translation of Kodomo no Jikan  into English would be “a child’s time”. The creator’s demand for the manga to be called “Nymphet” in the US was very unfortunate for Sea Seas, because almost immediately a firestorm of controversy erupted surrounding the manga. Within a short period of time, Seven Seas announced the cancellation of publication of Kodomo no Jikan  in the US.

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     The basic plot-line of this manga is that a 3rd grade student Rin Kokonoe falls in love with her 23 year old school teacher (Daisuke Aoki) and continuously makes sexual advances towards him, kind of like a role reversal of Nabokov’s classic Lolita. In Lolita, a 37 year old man named Humbert makes a twelve year old girl named Delores (Lolita) the object of his affections, and this leads to sexual obsession, and eventually murder. The publishing of Lolita  lead to the introduction into mainstream culture the usage of the terms “Lolita” and “nymphet” when referring to sexually attractive girls “under the age of consent”. To most mainstream culture inside the United States anime (cartoons) and manga (comics) still equals kids, so a manga or comic book named Nymphet was bound to cause quite a firestorm.

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     So now I’ll review the content of the Kodomo no Jikan OAV. The story follows the exploits of Rin, Kuro, and Mimi who are friends and classmates whom attend the same third grade class. The plot for the OAV is that Rin and her friends try to decide what to get their teacher (Daisuke) for his birthday. The girls go shopping for a gift but in the end decide to go to Rin’s house and hand-make a gift for him. The basic setup for this OAV is that Rin has a serious crush on Daisuke, Kuro is crushing on Rin, and Mimi is infatuated with Rin’s older brother. Of the three girls, Rin is the only one who really tries to change her crush from a dream to reality. While the other two girls pretty much act their ages when it comes to being around their crushes, blushing, acting shy, being a little goofy, and so forth. Rin, on the other hand does the most inappropriate things possible, pantie flashes, coming on physically, sending sexually explicative pictures, and so on. Well that’s about it for the OAV’s basic plot, below are some screen shots from the OAV. I choose very mild screen shots for this blog entry. 

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     And now for the review, I found this OAV to be quite amusing and funny. The animation quality was very good and the accompanying music matched the pacing and feel of the story quite well. The color pallet used for this show was very crisp and bright, and I like this kind of feel when watching a show of this type. After reading the first couple of volumes of the Kodomo no Jikan  manga I thought the OAV version was really quite mild mannered. I know I’ll be in the minority in stating the following opinion, I feel that Kodomo no Jikan is a very good example of a well done Seinen (men’s manga or anime, targeted at men aged 18-40) comedy.

     The whole idea of a reverse Lolita  plot-line is very interesting and has many humorous possibilities. Think about it, in country that has large roricon (Lolita complex) problem, and a seeming national obsession with enjo kosai  (compensated dating; the practice of older men paying teen aged schoolgirls for dates and maybe sex). The idea of a young girl terrorising a older man with unwanted sexual advances is quite a change of pace, it’s almost like the sayings ”be careful what you wish for”, and “you’ll reap what you sow”. Hell, if Japanese schoolgirls started groping men on the trains like they grope the girls, all hell would break loose.

     What I found funny was how Rin having some basic idea about what should turn on a guy takes everything to such an extreme and absurd level that it has the opposite effect on her teacher.  This episode contained all tropes that go along with a Ecchi flavored series, pantie flashes, the mandatory shared bath scene, the eating of ice cream in a seductive way, and so on. The problem that this series has which will make it unairable and even unreleasable in the US is because of the sexual overtones contained within. Western Christan culture has always had problems with sexuality in general, even bigger problems with blatant female sexuality, and huge problems with any mention of child sexuality.

     I can remember the huge controversies surrounding movies like The Blue Lagoon, Pretty Baby, Taxi driver, and Kids. The main difference between Lolita and Rin is that Lolita is aware of Humbert’s attraction to her, and she is able to use that attraction and her skills of seduction to eventually end up pulling most of Humbert’s strings. Rin unlike Lolita lacks the ability to see that Daisuke is not interested her as anything other than a student, so as she throws herself at him harder and harder it only makes her look more like the child she really is. In my opinion, Rin is a really nice but confused little girl, and hopefully by the end of the manga and anime series she’ll get straightened out without getting hurt. Because of the above mentioned issues of sexuality this series will never in a million years see a manga or DVD release in the United States.

     If you interested seeing in a quirky live action movie dealing with the issues of sexualization and objectification of teen-aged girls in Japanese society watch the horror movie Stacy. In the movie Stacy, Japanese girls between the ages of 15-17 contract a illness called Near Death Happiness (NDH) which turns them into giggling airheads, and then a little while later they turn into flesh eating zombies. Well I’m looking forward to the Kodomo no Jikan  series starting in October 2007, as with any continuation of a OAV the regular series will be much milder than the OAV.