The War of the Sexes: Debunked Ignorance and Sexual Education in Kyou no Go no Ni

Kyou no Go no Ni (TV)

I’m not exactly sure what it was that drew me to giving Kyou no Go no Ni (TV) a try.  Perhaps it was the slight similarity to Minami-ke, or maybe it was the elementary school setting, or maybe it was the episodic structure itself, with even the episodes themselves being constructed of smaller segments of comedy.  Whatever the case, I did not expect the main type of humor the Kyou wields: sexual humor.  Grade-school kids and sexual humor, the combination could go wrong in so many ways.  And yet, it does not (for the most part). After watching the anime, I felt compelled to share the lessons I learned with you, my readers.

Summary (a.k.a. skip this section if you like)
This show definitely sits in the comedy/slice-of-life genres (comedy-of-life, or slice-of comedy, as I’ve seen others jokingly name the common mixture), with its school life setting and grade school characters.  We focus primarily on Class 5-2, a class full of kids whose childish antics are enacted in such a way to force the viewer into seeing them through a sexual lens. I don’t necessarily mean that the kids are always aware of the sexual implications that their words and actions lend to others, but they are understandably curious about their bodies’ changes.  But any viewer familiar with the birds and the bees will see many scenes as direct representations of intimacy.  This makes for an endless amount of awkwardly comical scenes for the boys and girls.

The Fun Stuff
While watching Kyou no Go no Ni, I noticed some patterns in the comedic acts that either taught lessons, made statements, or presented some fun ideas. The show doesn’t present these in a serious way at all, but it was only by stepping back and looking at the skit as a whole that I started placing the skits into categories.

  1. Rape? Nope. The girls attacking are freezing and trying to warm up their hands on her warm stomach since she was hot from running to school.

    Kids are not as ignorant as you think they are.
    This is the main lesson you pick up from the anime, that kids do understand what goes on around them. Maybe this is a cultural thing, or just a coming of age thing, but the kids of Class 5-2 all display varying degrees of interest in the opposite sex.  What makes it even more interesting is that a good majority of the girls are the ones who view specific actions as sexual, whereas the boys are completely blind.  Girls do mature physically quicker than guys, but Kyou no Go no Ni seemed to also show girls as quicker in sexual maturation.  We see this the best with Chika and Ryota, the main girl-boy duo in the anime.  With her blushes and stammering phrases, Chika exhibits a higher awareness of the difference in sex between her and Jinta.  The fact that she allows their continued friendship, and thus continued sexual tension, also reveals her strong feelings for him.

  2. Yes, he did knock. They were just too loud to hear him.

    Guys just don’t get it sometimes.  Or, is that all the time?
    Jinta seems largely unaware of how his words and acts appear to Chika.  While he, too, blushes at extreme physical closeness, I took the majority of his awkwardness as stemming from his discomfort with close proximity, not with his interest in females.  This does change over the course of the episodes, as an old promise of marriage between the two is revealed, a promise which neither has forgotten.

  3. I've never played this game, but now I want to try :p

    Girls are just as cool, if not cooler, than guys.
    I love the fact that the girls in 5-2 wield such strong influence on the guys.  Not only do they influence them, but they also often surpass them in coolness, intelligence, and strength.  The prime example of this is Hirakawa Natsumi, an energetic tomboy, whom Jinta has yet to beat in any physical battle, be it drinking milk, thumb wrestling, and sprinting.  With each loss, Jinta’s cool factor visibly lessens, while Natsumi proudly gathers the claps of her female classmates.  You go, girl!

  4. Trend followers, tsk tsk tsk.

    Uniforms are for the sheep.  Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
    One of the oddest things that grabbed my attention, but also something that really made me happy about this show, was the lack of school uniforms.  I initially was loathe to start watching this since it seemed to be like just another school anime, of which I’ve seen many with their plethora of pleated skirts and school ribbons.  Thankfully, Class 5-2 gives us variety.  While the characters do wear clothes more than once over the course of some episodes, I still appreciate the attention to characteristic detail in allowing them their own clothing.  Natsumi absolutely refuses to wear skirts, opting instead for more comfortable t-shirts and pants.  Yuki is the completely opposite, and usually wears dresses, skirts, and frilly shirts everyday.  One episode in particular shows the girls jumping the bandwagon and styling their hair to more and more extreme effects.

  5. Sato Ryota apparently grows up to be Yadomi Jinta.  Who knew?
    This will only make sense to you if you’re familiar with the currently airing anime, AnoHana.

    1. Left: Ryota, Right: Jinta

      Just by looks alone, both of these characters (as young children) sport short, dark, spiky hairstyles.  Their brightly-colored t-shirts also mark them as protagonists of the show and leaders among their peers.

    2. Leaders aren’t always the shiniest of apples. This rings true for both when it comes to perceiving female emotions, as well as general common sense.  Ryota has moments of serious intellectual stupidity, while Jinta’s fear of the world outside his home has forced him into seclusion.
    3. All it takes is a loud and sure voice to start the infection.  As young boys, they both lead their groups of friends with boisterous voices and fearless actions.  Those around them fall into their steps, often whether they want to or not.
    4. Affection? No way! As stated before, both of them lack female intuition.  They act blind to the affections of girls, and are equally inept at expressing their own affections.  While in Kyou this makes for some hilarious interaction, AnoHana instead uses the crossfire to sad effect.

Overall Impression: (7/10 Good)
This show started out both slow, and plain awkward.  I was put off by the completely obvious sexual humor, especially since the characters were all grade schoolers. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that their age was exactly the age that the kids around me started becoming interested in the opposite sex. Remembering this, I started to open up to the comedy and found myself enjoying the set-ups.  I then found myself appreciating each of the characters, who each in turn received their own, uniquely different, silly skits.  By the last episode, I was satisfied with what I had seen and thankful that I finally gave in to watching it.  I got the laughs that I wanted and could still remember the characters’ names a week later! Okay by my book.

Recommendations:

  • Minami-keKyou has a similar art style, most noticeable whenever the simple and childish faces suddenly transform into heavily sketched, mature faces.
  • Azumanga Daioh–Short, comical skits and random humor.  They also both have sexual overtones, though Azumanga Daioh takes the acceptable route and is set in high school.

5 thoughts on “The War of the Sexes: Debunked Ignorance and Sexual Education in Kyou no Go no Ni

  1. I like the new format. Is this something you are going to carry along? I prefer the shorter summary and the scannability of the write-up. The A, B, C, D format comes off a bit funky, but overall I hope you continue this approach.

    The description of these anime characters could really be applied to people of any generation. The body is our last guardian of emotions. Children, I find, are inept at expressing certain emotions because the body does its damnedest to protect their owners. Sometimes people–children may face this dilemma more than adults– are just not ready to face certain emotions, which is where this anime perhaps succeeds. But here I go again, talking about the abstract because I haven’t seen the anime and want to comment. ~~

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    • Hmmm, the format pretty much came as a whim. Maybe i was inspired by the school atmosphere and my own experience teaching. I felt that breaking down the “lessons” into catchy little titles would give my entry some zing. I’m glad it worked for you!

      I don’t think that seeing a particular anime before discussing it is always necessary. It’s those impressions you get from research that can encourage, or sadly discourage, you to try something new. I can only aspire to be as true as I can be to the anime and give readers a good idea of what they’re getting themselves into if they have yet to see it.

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  2. Interesting outlook on the show. Dont remember much on it, as I watched it a long time ago, but at lest remember I enjoyed it quite (both the TV and the OVA versions). Funn that when you said the line “Kids are not as ignorant as you think they are” made me think of Kodomo no Jikan. While KnJ is definally heavier on fancervice and that is most likely one of the purpose of the series, if you pay attention, yopu can notice it’s main theme is the clash about what adults think kids know and what they actually do, centered in a cast of girls that matured mentally early and are in the middle of their body grow and a young teacher who cares about and slowly learn to understand them.

    About your recommendations at the end, I’ve already watched Azumanga (very fun show), but have yet to watch Minami-ke (it’s kinda high prority, as it’s a show i’ve seen one or other displaced scene about and seems to be pretty fun! I think I will specially like Kana).

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    • Hey CP! It’s funny you mention KnJ, as I remember trying to watch it and getting through a good amount of it before stalemating and never coming back to it. I’ve also never felt the urge to go back, since I remember the fanservice to which you refer. I really love shows that highlight how absorbing kids are, and how quickly they learn. This is probably why I love Ender’s Game so much (book).

      I HIGHLY recommend you watch MInami-ke soon, and VERY soon. It’s a wonderful show, though I do prefer the 1st and 3rd seasons, as the 2nd introduces a different art style and wasn’t as original in humor.

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  3. Minami-ke is a show that have been on my HD for a really long time… but there is also many other shows ‘im downlaoded and have yet to watch and usually the airing shows already get me busy. Although with such a strong recommendation I will try to watch it soon (first I need to catch up with current season, I got too behind, and there is still a lot of shows i want to watch I have yet to start).

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