Don’t Leave Me Alone Daisy
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You know, I may be American, but I think I have a lot in common with the Japanese. We both love exotic junk food, comics, video games featuring loveable, god-like cute animals and plumbers, and really awful pop music. However, there are some things that are common and accepted in Japan that just frost my cupcakes– for example, the overt fetishizing of little girls, the incredible, almost cartoony sexism of many aspects of the society in general– and that leads to Don’t Leave Me Alone Daisy– the complete nutcases that such a society might conceivably breed.
One of these nutcases is Reijiro Techno, a classic genius nerd-with-glasses who spends most of his time in a high-tech bomb shelter because his grandfather is paranoid about the usual armageddon crap. However, he’s distracted from tinkering with his implausibly-powerful inventions by the sight of a girl, wandering into the yard above his shelter to retrieve a ball. He’s enthralled by this girl. He must find out everything about her. He must possess her.
It doesn’t take him long to find out that she’s a classmate of his, one Hitomi Matsuzawa. His first attempts at socializing are only vaguely unsettling– he tracks her every movement, memorizes every aspect of her appearance, and mentally rehearses how he’ll introduce himself to her (with the help of a simulation, of course). But when he finally works up the balls to talk to her, it gets scary. He’s very presumptuous, you see, and decides that this new girl of his shall be named “Daisy”. (Not very creative of him– “Hitomi” means “Daisy” in Japanese.) He lures her into an empty building to patiently explain this to her, while waving an obviously-fraudulent bill of ownership in her face. Then he writes his name on her shirt. When she objects, he claims that he only wants to protect her, and then attempts to pickle her. What the hell..?!
This is only the beginning of a chain of events in which Techno attempts, in his own horrifyingly-inept fashion, to court Hitomi. One thing that Don’t Leave Me Alone Daisy has going for it is its’ supporting cast. Hitomi herself is cute and charming in a generic way, but it’s the rest of the cast who amuse me– Techno’s best “friend” is X Yamakawa, a would-be rebel with a bad haircut and ugly clothes who secretly yearns to have friends and belong. Amusingly, Techno regards X as a threat to his pursuit of Hitomi, and finds all kinds of ways to keep X distracted, some of them rather violent. There’s also Ms. Rarako, the token blonde, buxom teacher, who makes Tenchi Muyo‘s Mihoshi seem like Stephen Hawking in comparison– her dialogue is usually virtually drowned out by the roaring sound of air rushing out of her head.
Finally, thankfully, there’s Noe Anii, an older high school girl who deftly deflects Techno’s more dangerous attempts to win Hitomi’s attention. “She doesn’t belong to you,” she chidingly tells the puzzled Techno. Anii is probably the only sensible character in the show, because she seems mainly interested in withholding Techno’s gadgets and forcing him to deal with Hitomi conventionally. And there’s also Techno’s pet intercontinental ballistic missile, but if I try to recount that, I’ll likely go into seizures.
Animation, music, character design– they’re all pretty conventional for a TV series. Daisy was originally shoujo manga (girls’ comics) created by Noriko Nagano, which is kind of puzzling. I can’t imagine any female in her right mind creating such a whimsical story about a complete maniac relentlessly pursuing a girl who may or may not be interested, but is generally too terrified to be making any rational decisions. I do like Hitomi’s voice, which is provided by Kisa Iinuma (who is, as far as I can tell, new to this voice-acting thing), and I do like the opening theme, a gritty faux-punk affair complete with a chorus that goes “Fangirl! Fangirl! Fangirl!”
Daisy‘s story (told in 12 episodes) isn’t bad, but Techno is such an incredibly offensive character that he completely ruins any appeal that any other characters and situations might have. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing even remotely sweet or endearing about his naivete– he’s just fucking creepy. I don’t find his “Remember, you’re Daisy, and if you don’t acknowledge that fact, the robot teacher will fry you with laser beams! Ha ha ha!” approach to dating even remotely appealing, and I think that Hitomi is an incredibly strong, forebearing character for not murdering him outright. There are some funny and sweet moments in Daisy, but the central element of the plot– Techno’s frighteningly unorthodox pursuit of Hitomi– just makes my skin crawl.
Added: Friday, October 10, 2003
Related Link: Bandai Entertainment