How would you rate episode 8 of
The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You ?
Community score: 4.6
Let’s talk for a moment about kissing in anime. A pretty common observation about romance anime is that, outside of overt fanservice shows, couples rarely show much physical affection. There are some cultural differences behind that – PDA is generally much more frowned upon in Japan, for one – but as the genre has progressed and built upon itself, the total absence of physical intimacy has kind of become a staple. Sure, characters can fall into each other’s chesticles and crotches all they want, or see one another naked by accident. Yet something as vulnerable, as intimate as a mutually romantic kiss? Those are saved for emotional climaxes at the end of the story, or possibly not at all. It creates a bizarre dichotomy where accidental, unwanted, or purely fetishized physicality through fanservice is the only kind of contact the characters are allowed outside of the occasional holding of hands. Physical or sexual attention isn’t necessary for romance – I know plenty of asexual friends who can attest to that – but when characters are so obviously into one another, yet remain completely chaste, it can feel kind of alienating.
100 Girlfriends, oddly enough, eschews that dichotomy entirely. It most certainly has fanservice, but nearly all of those boob presses and face-sittings are consensual acts between characters who are openly attracted to one another. It’s also not at all precious about the characters kissing, having already featured more on-screen smooches before this episode than damn near any romcom besides – and that whole show was built around a magical kissing gimmick. Even other romances airing this season, where the couple gets together from the start, are lagging far behind it on the smooch-per-episode department. This puts 100 Girlfriends in a curious spot on the Wholesome-to-Horny spectrum, existing anywhere and everywhere along that line at any given moment depending on whether it’s being sincerely romantic, insatiably horny, or both simultaneously.
That also allows for something as ridiculous and potentially creepy as the Kiss Zombie conceit of this episode to work at all. In most other series, the fact that all these girls have been mind-wiped into thirsting for the protagonist’s lips would feel potentially invasive, taking away their ability to consent to that kind of contact for the sake of teasing fanservice. However, since everyone here is already dating and has swapped spit with Rentaro multiple times, it washes away that grimy subtext and allows the series to indulge in ridiculous comedy and cheesecake without any of the grody aftertaste. Rentaro’s resistance is borne out of trying to prevent a crazy kiss-zombie apocalypse for his girlfriends, rather than not wanting to tongue-wrestle, so when he inevitably gets captured by each of them, there’s room for genuine intimacy to poke through the goofy jokes.
Is that putting entirely too much thought into a ridiculously stupid premise built around a wacky mad scientist character and a thinly veiled excuse for some steamy kiss scenes? Yes, absolutely. However, that’s the only way I can rationalize how funny I found this whole episode. This is a rock stupid joke built on a wholly ridiculous set of circumstances even by this series’ standards, yet nearly every sequence of “Resident Hazard: Kissage” had me dying laughing as it either escalated that central joke or else sprinkled in tiny character gags. You’d think with 2/3 of the cast being mindless zombies, there wouldn’t be room for character-driven humor, but little moments like Nano pulling Shizuka along in their desperate hunt for a kiss, or Hakari and Karane’s double-team attack, keep their personalities at the forefront, even as they’re only capable of saying the word “kiss” for most of the episode.
Ironically, the one character that does suffer from a lack of focus is Kusuri. Outside of being the cause of this predicament, she disappears for a long stretch of the episode, and the whole zombie thing prevents her from interacting with the rest of the cast much. We do get some more emotional weight to her, learning that her crazy experiments have chased away any peers or friends before now, but it’s just a sliver too distant to work for me. Maybe Kusuri is still just a little too far on the weirdness scale to fully relate to. While her resolution is sweet, it’s not quite as heartening as those that came before.
Thankfully the rest of the episode is funny, audacious, and just plain weird enough to compensate. Not to mention this episode means the harem show about one guy having 100 girlfriends now has more girl-on-girl kisses than any of the multiple Yuri anime airing alongside it. Hakari and Karane’s extended makeout session raises the possibility of perpendicular ships within the larger harem, like intersecting constellations but for anime girls sucking faces. If that is also a possibility for this show, then 100 Girlfriends‘ power could truly know no bounds.
In honor of the new couple’s first kiss, have some equally family friendly alternate review images
is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.