Anime review: Rescue Me! Mave-chan

Status: watched 1 episode (that’s all there is!)

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Synopsis
This kind of thing happens to me all the time – go to an anime convention, mistakingly walk into the girl’s bathroom and end up inside an anime episode. You think they’d put up warning signs.

Anyway, it’s what happens to Rei Sugiyama when he attends his first convention. Rei, a shy and nervous otaku from the country, is shocked that instead of urinals and white tiles, he’s surrounded by sand and flying anime girls. In riské outfits.

He soon finds out that every once in a while, during anime conventions, passions are so high a gate opens up and a fan is magically transported to a world their collective imaginations have created. But there’s only one problem for Rei: this world – and it’s magical flying girls – is about to disappear and him along with it. Will he save himself? Will he sacrifice everything for a dream? Will he see some panties?

Reactions
At first, I thought this was just some kind of po-mo otaku fantasy – boy is transported into his favourite show where fighter jets have turned into big chested girls (that’s what he’s staring at in the above pic, by the way). Then I started to think that this was a critique of anime and its fickle fandom. Then I found out that it’s a comedy spin-off of Sento Yosei Yukikazea 5 episode scifi series. In the end, I think it’s a bit of all three.

The show is most definitely a spin-off of Yukikaze – during a scene where one of the girls is lifting her skirt to cool off (much like a fighter jet would) the word “yukikaze” is written on her undies. After a bit of research I also found out that each of the girls’ names and characteristics are based on Yukikaze’s aircraft. The main character of the show, entrusted with saving the world, is even called Rei. But there’s more to this show than just a parody.

As much as it’s couched in humour, I wonder if Mave-chan’s producers are pointing out how creepy it is to sexualize anime characters and mecha. One of the characters states they exist because of fans’ desires. “The purer their passions are, the stronger our spirits get” she says while smiling and squeezing her bosom exultingly. Ew.

Mostly, however, the show attacks the wandering heart of the anime fan. The show states that because there’s so much anime out there, fans move quickly from series to series, leaving characters behind. It causes the girls to suffer moments of existential angst, wondering “Once we are forgotten, will we disappear?” Another character answers “Once we are forgotten, we have no reason to exist.”

But just when I was ready to believe this show had something important to say about animedom, it ends with Rei saving his imaginary world – literally – by having the “strength” to believe in the characters and not be a fickle fan. So that’s the lesson the show’s producers want to leave us all with? Don’t forget about anime? Um, here’s a lesson for you guys: stop pumping out hours and hours of utterly forgettable anime and give us something we can deeply connect to. Then you won’t have to worry about being forgotten.

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