Kodomo no Jikan


     This episode of Kodomo no Jikan  begins with the school kids getting ready for their summer break, Mimi is going to visit her father and Kuro going to visit her grand parents, while Rin will be  staying home. Rin soon becomes depressed about being lonely and refuses to reenter the classroom after break. When Daisuke asks her whats wrong she tells him that she will be sad because she won’t be able to see him. Not thinking about how she would take his words he tells her that since he will have pool and playground duties along with training sessions at the school she can visit him at the school at anytime.

      Later, Daisuke argues with Shirai about how to grade and rank his students, she tells him that he really can’t take a students efforts into account only their results. The other teachers also chime in on how they grade their students, it seems that no two teachers grade the same way. Houin seems to have taken a liking to Daisuke because of his passion and caring for his students. The next day Daisuke passes out the report cards to the students and wishes them a good summer break.

     As Daisuke and Houin leave the school that they both agree that when they were students they felt lonely at the end of summer break and now that they are teachers it feels lonely to see their classrooms empty. As summer begins Rin spends time with Mimi and Kuro just goofing off, and eventually they decide to go swimming at the school’s pool so Rin can see Daisuke.

      Soon  both Kuro and Mimi leave for their vacations, and Reiji has to return to work leaving Rin home by herself during the day for the rest of the summer break. She gets lonely but tries to kill the time as best as she can. But Rin gets so lonely that she decides to visit Daisuke at the school, once she arrives at the school she observes Daisuke and Houin getting along nicely while working outside together. She manages to distract Daisuke away from Houin and leads him on a chase through the school.

     Houin is kind of angry about the distraction because she was about to ask Daisuke to go with her to the firework display being held that night, so she attempts to follow Daisuke and Rin. Rin leads Daisuke to the pool where they both end up in the water together, Rin starts hugging Daisuke and they end up watching the fireworks together inside the pool. Later Houin sees Rin with Daisuke in the pool and Rin gives Houin the message I’ve got my man so you get another one.

     Unknown to Rin, both Kuro and Mimi decide to return home early from their vacation trips, both of them were worried about Rin being lonely. Kuro and Mimi put on their Kimono’s and head over to Rin’s house to take her to the fireworks but soon discover that she’s not at home, and they end up watching the fireworks from a park bench. Later the girls decide that since they can’t wear their nice swimsuits to the school’s pool that they will wear their nice suits but hangout just outside the pool area where the rules don’t apply.

 

     Well, with episode we get a little more insight into Rin’s emotional makeup and why she’ll do anything for her friends. Her guardian Reiji seems to try to properly care for Rin but being the bread winner he must go to work to pay the bills, so when he’s not home this leaves Rin with only school and her friends for companions. Once school is out and Reiji is working Rin is basically left with only Kuro and Mimi for companionship so when they both went away we have a very lonely eight year old girl. So, her friends mean everything to her.

     Now to the issue of Rin’s attraction to Daisuke, it’s perfectly normal for school girls and boys to have crushes on younger teachers, and even I once had a crush on a math teacher when I was in sixth grade but I never tried to make sexual advances on her. Looking back at this it would have been ridiculous to think that I could have had anything to offer her in that sort of way.

     So what makes Rin express her affections towards Daisuke in a sexual manner (please no comments about the manga, I’ve read all the chapters of the manga and I’m only commenting on the anime as it occurs), something must be terribly wrong at home, that’s the only possible answer. Rin has no mother at home to properly teach her how a girl/woman should behave herself, she needs guidance, and lacking a mother this duty should fall to her father, but Reiji is a guardian not her father. Reiji is either not doing a good job at teaching her proper behavior or chooses for his own reasons to let her behave in an improper manner.

     I don’t see any reason why this anime is controversial in it’s current form, Daisuke is clearly not a pervert, he just lacks sexual experience. As far as I can tell Rin is in absolutely no danger from him, she’s just a confused eight year old girl, if this was a high school or junior high school situation than it might be different, I could see the possibility of a teacher in his early twenties messing around with a 14-17 year old girl, while it might to be legal or right but that stuff been happening forever. But comparing an eight year old Rin’s charms to Houin’s charm’s it’s no contest.

     While Daisuke might not know what to call his feelings for Rin, I feel the compassion and maybe love he feels for her is what we might call a father’s love for his daughter, and in Rin’s current state of mind what she really needs is a father. 

  

      This episode begins with Daisuke having his students write an essay about their parents, this is in preparation of his home visits. Some of the older teachers think that the home visits are a waste of time because you can’t really fix home problems. Later, Daisuke is looking over some old school records when he discovers that Rin’s mother is deceased and her father is unknown, and that she is living with a relative.

      The next day when the students turn in their essays, Daisuke notices that Rin wrote a whole paper of lies about her mother still being alive, he than considers the possibility that Rin’s bad behavior might be caused by her lack of parents. Later Rin hurts herself at recess and Daisuke has to patch her up, she makes a comment to him about how he’s kinder than usual, and she even talks him into carrying her back to class. But, as he hands back their papers he screws up by letting everyone know that she has a guardian instead of regular parents.

   The next day, after swimming class, Daisuke tries to apologize to Rin for the other day, but Rin says that she feels stupid for believing that he was being nice to her just to be nice. He tries several times to fix things between them but nothing seems to work, and he eventually goes to her friends Mimi and Kuro for advice. Kuro tell him that Rin is no longer hurt by not having parents, but she’s hurt because she’s fallen in love with him and she felt betrayed by him, and Kuro tells him he’s very dense for not seeing that Rin has fallen in love with him.

     So, that night Daisuke decides to pay a visit to Rin’s house, Rin isn’t home at the moment, but her guardian Reiji is home and he lets him in. They talk about Rin’s current situation, and Reiji kind of makes a suggestion that Daisuke as a teacher is showing too much affection towards Rin, just as Daisuke is about to ask him what he’s inferring, Rin walks in. After Daisuke leaves, Rin asks Reiji what he thinks about Daisuke, and Reiji says it looks like he loves her otherwise he wouldn’t have stopped by, this makes Rin Happy.

 

     The next day at school, Rin confronts Daisuke about the visit to her house and she asks him why he stopped by. Daisuke tells her that he was worried about her because shes precious to him, she asks Daisuke if it’s really true, and he tells her yes. She than tells him not to betray her a second time, and then she gives him a kiss. Back in class, Rin’s back to her old self, and Daisuke realizes that he got his first kiss from a little girl. Well, that’s all for this episode.

      Well, in this episode Daisuke continues to try and deal with his most troubled student Rin, in trying to find out more about her family life he unravels some of mysteries surrounding her. He finds out that her mother died young, and he father is not around, so he assumes that deficiencies in her home life might be leading to her inappropriate sexual behavior.

     But the main problem he has in dealing with Rin is his lack of experience with the opposite sex, when he had to ask Kuro for help with Rin she calls him an idiot for not being able to tell that Rin is in love with him. Daisuke is so inexperienced with women the he can’t even detect that a 9 or 10 year old girl has a crush on him even though it so obvious to most of the kids in his class. At the end of the episode we learn that not only is Daisuke still a virgin at age 24, but that the kiss Rin gave him was his first kiss, for Christ sakes Daisuke you live in Japan, take yourself into town and visit a Soapland and get some experience with a woman.

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     This episode begins with the girls changing clothes in the classroom and Rin has Kuro that a picture of her with her cell phone, and when Kuro asks why she wants the picture Rin says she sending it to Daisuke, this upsets Kuro greatly and she rushes out of the classroom. Daisuke is talking with another male teacher in the teachers lounge when the other teacher says that he’s glad he teaches first graders so he doesn’t have to deal with the older girls as they grow up so quickly. Later Daisuke notices that Mimi having trouble in physical education class because of her over development for her age, and he doesn’t know how to handle it, he can’t bring himself to tell her you should wear a bra (you would think that Mimi’s mother would notice this issue). In the teachers lounge Daisuke is mumbling to himself about the breast problem and Kyoko overhears him and thinks that he’s talking about her breasts.

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      Later Kyoko is leaving the women’s restroom and runs into Mimi, and Mimi asks her how can she have breast as large as hers and Kyoko misunderstands the question, so she tells her to drink milk and they’ll get larger, Mimi gets very upset and runs away from the restroom. Later Mimi tells Rin and Kuro about her problem, Kuro is blunt and tells her to start wearing a bra and that should solve the problem. That evening Mimi buys a bra and wears it to school the next day and her worst fears come true, as soon as she shows up in class the boys spot the bra and start making comments about the bra and her breasts. Just as Mimi runs out of the classroom, Rin sees what happened and attacks the boy who was making the comments.

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      Rin and Kuro find Mimi crying in the girl’s restroom where she tells them that the bra hurts her and she never should have worn it, Kuro tells her its the wrong size and type, and Mimi says she didn’t know what to buy, and that her mother just gave her the money to buy the bra (hey, mom that was really a lot of help). After school Kuro takes Mimi and Rin to a upscale clothing shop where she shops at for a proper fitting. After school Kyoko wants to go out drinking with Daisuke (alone) but Daisuke’s fellow teacher muscle’s into the mix pissing off Kyoko. The next day at school Daisuke asks Rin for help with Mimi and she says OK as long as she gets a tight hug, and she hugs Daisuke, but he says she hasn’t helped Mimi yet, but she says it’s already taken care of. Well that’s all for episode 3, below are some screen shots.

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     This episode revolves around Mimi’s problems with her over developed body and how those problems affect her in the classroom and hurt her self confidence. Mimi’s problems affect the classroom environment and so become a problem for her teacher Daisuke. Let me say this now, Mimi’s problem is caused my her mother’s lack of attention to her daughter, her mother should have noticed her daughter’s development and did her motherly duty by taking her to the store herself and helping her pick out the correct fitting bra. Rin continues to make improper sexual advances on Daisuke and these advances continue to throw him off balance when dealing with his classroom.

      My feeling is that his lack of experience with women (he all but admitted in a earlier episode that he’s still a virgin) and his embarrassment about talking about any issues dealing with sexuality causes him problems. If he could talk about these issues he would be able to ask Kyoko or another female teacher for advice about Mimi’s problem or his problem with Rin. Also the other male teacher he talks with is married and has a daughter so if he had any sense he could ask him for advice but he too embarrassed to do this.  Also his lack of experience causes him problems with Kyoko, she is clearly attracted to him, and he seems to like her to, and she’s practical is throwing herself at him but he’s too involved with his classroom problems to notice. It is really cute how Kuro continues to pine for Rin’s affection  but in her heart she knows that it really won’t happen but that doesn’t stop her. 

     Daisuke main issue in this series will be trying to figure out how to help Rin work through her issue, Rin’s main problem is that she feels the need to express her affections towards men in a overtly sexual manner, he needs to help her learn the proper ways to express affections towards males. Well this setup is quite amusing so far, as the viewer of this series can tell that her teacher isn’t attracted to her in that way but she might just run into a boy/man that just might take her up on some of her improper offers. The series is heavily edited for it’s Japanese television broadcast, any improper visuals are covered by the placing of blocking objects at the right places, and any improper language in bleeped out or covered with random noises. If your looking for that kind of thing you’ll have to probably have to wait and buy the DVD releases from Japan when they become available, or you can read the manga (the manga available from the usual sources). 

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     The first part of this episode is about dreams, the class is assigned a writing project where they have to talk about their dreams. Kuro’s dream is to be friends (?) with Rin forever, Mimi’s dream is to be a animal doctor, and Rin’s dream is to marry her teacher (Daisuke), this upset Kuro and she basically confesses her love to Rin but she blows it off as a joke, crushing Kuro.  Later in the episode we get to see Daisuke struggling to get his stride at teaching, he hasn’t found the right way to motivate the students yet. Daisuke gives Rin some after school instruction, and Rin keeps making passes at him, he tells her not to mess with things she doesn’t understand, and she tells him that he only wishes she doesn’t understand. The next day Daisuke has a lot of trouble keeping his class focused, but he slowly starts to get a handle on teaching, at least he thought he had a handle on teaching, but he finds out from Kuro that Rin is really helping keep the class under control. When Rin scores 100% on her test she waits for her reward, Daisuke asks her what she wants and she tells him to hold her, and he ends up carrying her home. While carrying her she asks him if he hates her and he says no, and she lists her faults and he tells her that some of the things that she did were bad but she’s still a good girl, and that he loves her. At the end of the episode Kyoko is pissed off that Daisuke has turned down her advances twice, and she ends up drinking alone. Well that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots. 

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     Well episode two of Kodomo no Jikan was a very cute and fun episode to watch, the same basic plot lines were continued from the first episode. Daisuke still is struggling to become a good teacher, he means well, and tries hard, but he still has a lot to learn. Mimi is starting to enjoy being back in school after her long absent, and poor Kuro is in love with Rin, she even tells her so but Rin just blows it off.  Kyoko is practically throwing herself at Daisuke but due to his lack of experience he is failing to pick up on this vibe. But the real plot is about how Rin is starting to change Daisuke, and about how Daisuke is changing Rin. Daisuke wonders why he is able to say thing to Rin that he’s never told anyone, in my opinion he is able to say things to her is because she’s safe, even thought she’s throwing herself at him he won’t do anything with her, she may think she loves him, and she really might love him, but he’s too nice of a guy to take advantage her. If Rin was older (like a high school student) than there might be some real chance of  something happening. Overall, compared to the Kodomo no Jikan manga this show is cute sweet romantic comedy, the only real question I have is how long it will take for Daisuke to hook up with Kyoko, after all he still a ******. 

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     This episode starts with Daisuke Aoki walking up to the elementary school, watching the students playing in the schoolyard, and saying to himself that he’s going to be a good “big brother type” teacher.  Daisuke finds his new classroom and opens the door greeting everyone only to find all the girls changing out of their gym uniforms, embarrassed he closes the door and leaves. A while later he starts his teaching career by introducing himself to the class and taking attendance. When he gets to calling Rin’s name, she starts asking him questions about his age, girlfriend status, and then says she’ll be his girlfriend because he’s already seen her naked, the classroom erupted in laughter causing a commotion.

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     The class is brought back under control when another teacher barges in, and she demands to know what he’s doing, his class can be heard all the way down the hall. Then in the teachers lounge Kyōko Hōin, a female teacher about his age tells him not to worry, his class has always been the noisiest. Then he asks why Mini Usa is always absent and he gets a round about answer that doesn’t satisfy him. outside after lunch Daisuke tries to call a black cat over, and Rin shows up, and they talk, she tells him that all adults lie, and hurt without a seconds thought, and he tells her he’s not like that. Then after school Kyoko shows him a book that basically said that Rin and Kuro drove the last teacher out of the school. Later Rin confronts Daisuke, telling him that she did it in retaliation for how badly the last teacher treated her friend Mimi.

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     So, Daisuke pays a visit to Mimi’s house to meet her, he comes to the conclusion that she’s been mistreated, so he is kind to her and tells her to come back to school. She returns to school the next day, and everyone has a lot of fun in Daisuke’s classroom. At lunch Daisuke saves Rin when she falls out of a tree, he breaks her fall and slightly injuries himself in the process. While leaving school, Kyoko asks Daisuke out to dinner, and while she’s getting something, the three girls led by Rin lift their dresses giving him a flash. Well that’s all for this episode, below are some screen shots.

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     Well, episode one of Kodomo no Jikan is finally here after all the controversy and debate surrounding the cancellation of the US publication of the manga. If your wish hear more info about the debate over the manga please view my post on the Kodomo no Jikan OAV. First of all let me say that the TV series is a lot milder and more toned downed than the OAV, or the manga series. Almost all of the risque behavior (visual behavior) is obscured by placards and so forth, so your left to use your imagination to show you whats blocked out, even so several Japanese TV stations cancelled or refused to broadcast this series. I’ll review the content of the episode based only on it’s content, not the manga’s (I’ve read the manga, if you wish to read it you can find it at the usual places). OK, so here we go, we have a young new teacher Daisuke (23 years old) starting his first job, and what does he end up with, a 3rd grade class with some problem students, mainly Rin who uses sexually inappropriate behavior behavior to show affection or threaten the new teacher. He manages to get Mimi, another student who’s been harassed by the previous teacher to begin to attending school again, and this endears him to Rin in the process.

     What I found interesting about this whole stories is the reverse sexual harassment/lolicon angle to the show. In Japanese society lolicon (sexualization of girls under the age of consent) and enjo kosai (older men paying high school/junior high school for dates that may include sex) has become almost acceptable, one survey of Japanese junior high school girls found that 17% of the girls found nothing wrong with the practice. So when the roles are reversed with a young girl chasing a older man who’s clearly not interested in her in that way, I found it to be quite funny. If all then Japanese girls who have ever been groped on a train, had up-skirt photos of them taken without their consent, or have ever been approached for enjo kosai against their will started to harass unwilling men maybe something would change. 

     One must remember that the Kodomo no Jikan story was originally intended for a seinen audience (men between 18 and up to 40 or more) so the humor was written and directed at men not children, so the situations are intended to be ones that would make men amused or uncomfortable. So I won’t make the argument that Rin should have been a middle/high school girl, because we’ve all seen the teen girl/grown man crush/attraction storyline in many movies and books. Even though I found this story interesting it will never be broad-casted or sold in the US, you can make a movie that shows every possible way to mutilate and torture a person and get a “R” rating, but show just a little too much skin and it’s “NC-17” all the way. So to me the whole point of the series will be about how Daisuke deals with Rin’s inappropriate sexual behavior towards him, he knows somethings wrong with her, and while she shows inappropriate behavior she’s also kind, caring, and protective to her friends. In the end he must deal with Rin, by trying to help her, and he must also deal with his attraction to Kyoko, a female teacher, who’s also attracted to him. So this series’ setup can lead to a lot of humorous and shocking situations, one of these that I can see developing is Rin trying to keep Kyoko from stealing “her Daisuke”.  But while this might lead to very funny stories, US culture is very uncomfortable with sexuality especially female sexuality, one just has to look at the different terms applied to outwardly sexual aggressive people; men are called Casanova, Jon Juan, rouge, and so forth; and females are called slut, whore, and so forth. So this anime might follow in the Japanese tradition of bawdy sexual comedy, which has been around for hundreds of years, in America it would be considered very inappropriate.

      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.