The theme of this essay is not the hatred of men subjectively speaking, but the beast they all struggle to control that lurks inside. Most men in the world are perfectly wonderful creatures, however when the all too visible few who aren’t can’t control their inner beast that resides within their family jewels , the world becomes truly scary for girls.
I recently viewed a very insightful episode of the Ouran High School Host Club that addressed the issue. The anime is about a group of the best looking boys in school who profit from their charm and good looks by hosting their female classmates for profit after school. They’re pretty much the male versions of geisha’s. They are so good at what they do that I almost wish we has something like this in the States. Charming and handsome is so hard to come by these days and it usually manifests as someone else’s happy and well mannered husband.
“The Sun, the Sea, and the Host Club!”
“Taiyō to Umi to Hosuto Kurabu” (太陽と海とホスト部)
The catalyst that released the beast in one of the members of the Host Club was the actions of the main female character, Haruhi. Haruhi is a lot like myself; strong, independent, a bit butch and takes action when help is needed. Haruhi is a tomboy and is the only child of a single parent, so while she has a capable resolve, she is naive about certain social issues that only a grandmother or a tete e tete with a second parent can provide. The mistake Haruhi made was the defense of two female Host Club patrons from local thugs while on an outing. Despite the fact that her male colleagues were very close by, she did not call for help and took the thugs on herself. Her attempts fail and the thugs attack the girls they were harassing and one of the thugs throws Haruhi, who they mistake for a small adolescent boy off a cliff. The Host Club’s male members show up just in time to rescue Haruhi and the girls and subdue the thugs. Haruhi is then fiercely reprimanded by the Host Club’s leader, Tamaki . She scared he and the rest of the club half to death, but as usual, Kyoya, who always solves problems clandestinely, remained calm, cool and collected as everyone else freaked out.
The knee jerk reaction of a feminist like myself agrees with Haruhi; “What’s the big deal?” I saw trouble and tried to help. However, their is a subtext that Haruhi and myself did not understand until Kyoya the Host Club’s second in command made very clear to Haruhi later: not only could a girl get seriously hurt, but the violence can also trigger the beast. What Kyoya does is unforgivable, but one is still grateful for his daring blatant explanation of the subtext of the term, “Weaker Sex”. Kyoya is my favorite character in the series, however if I saw this episode before the second half of the series, I would think otherwise. I would like him, but be very wary of him. Sort of like how a girl id wary of her grandmother or selected aunt after having, “The Talk”.
Kyoya simulates am attempted rape of Haruhi to show her just how vulnerable she is to a man. If those thugs found out she was female, she would’ve been spread eagled on that tor in addition to being horribly beaten. All of this could’ve been avoided if she had laid aside her self righteous ego and called for help as she held off the thugs. Always call for help. Kyoya lecture as he pinned her down on the bed and hovered menacingly over her goes as follows:
You’ve left yourself completely defenseless against me.”
As Kyoya scolded in his deadpan demeanor you could tell he was quietly struggling to suppress his inner beast. Help came in Haruhi’s concession and rebuttal as she confessed her realization and her reminder to him that he is a nice guy who is now “playing the bad guy” to prove Tamaki’s earlier point: ” Your a girl”. Kyoya retains his composure and releases Haruhi and the two observe a moment of reflection before Tamaki lightens the mood by barging in the room to ask for sunburn lotion and becomes comically outraged that Haruhi’s alone in the dark with Kyoya. Tamaki’s ever the Prince. Kyoya’s a prince too, but a dark one. Still a good guy, but darker in disposition. He’s only going to sugar coat life lessons to a point.
Still..when Kyoya leaves the room and walks down the hall, he muses to himself with thinly veiled regret that he could not fully take advantage of the opportunity. Kyoya’s the dark prince or Shadow King of the group. He’s the Japanese ‘cool type’ who glides though life like a swan swimming calmly on a pond never showing that this legs are kicking with considerable effort beneath the surface. Kyoya, like every good man strives through his life to control that beast.
The episodes rounds out with the mutual understanding when Tamaki discovers what actually scares Haruhi, thunder, once again she does not ask for help and hides in a wardrobe. Tamaki then realizes that Haruhi is the only child of a single parent who is used baring life’s difficulties on her own and is therefore not accustomed to asking for help. Wen the terrified Haruhi’s runs to the protection after another clap of thunder, Tamaki declares that he will be the friend who will always be around to help and comfort her,
I really had to watch that episode several times. No social conscious cartoon has stuck such a cord since the Jem and The Holograms’ “runaways’ episode called the Music Awards. As a filmmaker, I looked for foreshadowing clues that justified Kyoya’s actions. They are several. Tamaki demanded that he was not going to speak to Haruhi (who he adores) unless she apologized and admitted she was wrong for acting so recklessly. They had a silent treatment stand off that lasted through dinner that eventually drove Tamaki from the room. Kyoya as usual was watching the feud quietly from the sidelines. After Tamaki’s and Kyoya’s departure, the remaining Host Club members try to explain that Haruhi scared all of them with her actions and they were really worried. Even the childlike Hunny sempai fell out of character and suggested that she apologizes. Haruhi concedes, but the twin lament and state that she still doesn’t, ‘get it’. There were a lot of things that weren’t said in their plea and table choose not go into the subject any further and send Haruhi to the nearest bathroom, after she realizes that she sick form eating to much crab at dinner. That bathroom is in Kyoya’s room….
I remember my mother would always say, no matter how small a man is, he is still stronger than you. I discredited this advice as I grew into a HUGE woman with broader shoulder span that many of my peers in the animation industry. I used to have debates with a guy animator friend of mine about how I would fare against a single attacker. I was so used to men being deathly afraid of me for my size and my tomboy nature, that was arrogant and felt that I cold at least do some seriously damage before succumbing to my fate. However, my friend soberly informed me that horrible things can be done to me, such as having a my face crushed, because a rapist mashes a woman’s face to prevent her from screaming for help. Well, about about learning to fight? The Ouran episode covered this as well. The twins did mention that Haruhi should know martial arts before making such rash actions.
More recently, my arrogance surfaced again when I lauded that I would defend my date if we were ever mugged outside of a bar in New York and I could even take on my 6’8″ VFX supervisor. Like my animator friend earlier, the VFX lead soberly said: “No, you could not.” I rebutted that I could if I could kick-box. The VFX lead then conceded shaking his head and said, “maybe”.
Well, after seeing, this episode of the Ouran High School Host Club, I retract my remarks. I will still defend my friends or myself of they were attacked my thugs, however, this time I would swallow my feminist pride and call for help FIRST.