Not a Piece of Meat

I am one of those people who enjoyed Himoto! Umaru-chan. Maybe it was the relatability of being an older brother (of 7 younger siblings). That said, in Episode 2 of the anime we see one of the most raw and realistic moments in the series. We see how Ebina moves into the neighborhood and we see things from her perspective.

Ebina is a busty character. Unrealistically at times (this piece on unrealistic body shapes in anime from I Have a Heroine Problem actually reminded me I wanted to talk about this). But, in episode 2 her body shape isn’t being played up for fan-service, for laughs, or for awkward ecchi moments. Instead, we are given a rare look into her perspective. Ebina is a young, shy woman moving to a new area who happens to be have large breasts. She’s constantly being ogled by men and it makes her self conscious. She rarely is looked in the eye by men. She’s nervous and it diminishes her self-esteem, making her feel less valuable and quite honestly less human. Again, instead of this being played up as some joke, it’s actually done in such a way that you can relate to Ebina’s frustration and disappointment from the lustful gaze of those around her.

As a Christian, I hate the way the stares of these people make her feel as I watch this episode. Ebina is not being treated as a human being, as an image bearer of God. The Lord commands us to treat women with respect as we all bear God’s image (Genesis 1:27, 1 Timothy 5:1-2). By ogling and treating someone like a piece of meat, we diminish that person. This overt, carnal desire for young co-eds is not befitting a Christian man. This is not to say you cannot find a person attractive, but to stare at a person and treat them like an object of lust is unacceptable.

After feeling defeated from all the stares, Ebina continues going about the business moving to the big city. This is when she meets Umaru and Taihei. Umaru, for all her flaws, just treats Ebina like anyone else her age. And Taihei, Umaru’s older brother, is the first man in the show to look Ebina straight in the eye when he meets her.

umaruchan_ebina_intheeyes

He doesn’t stare at her bust, he doesn’t ogle her, he doesn’t treat her like some object of lust. Taihei treats Ebina like a person, an equal, a new neighbor. This is new for Ebina and actually makes her flustered around Taihei. While she does develop a crush on Taihei in the anime and manga, this moment shows her just being awe struck and confused by a man treating her with respect. It’s a bittersweet moment and one I have found uncommon in anime.

It’s rare for anime to show a busty female character being upset by being stared at. It’s rare for an anime to not play that up for laughs or to try to force ecchi moments into the series. Instead we receive a brief moment where we get a very real situation about a girl upset at being ogled finally being treated like a human. This type of honesty is both refreshing and unexpected from a gag anime about a lazy sister who turns into a little video game monster whenever she’s home. I appreciate it and wish we saw more of it.

About the Author

Matthew Newman
Matthew Newman is a Christian environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

3 Comments on "Not a Piece of Meat"

  1. Excellent points, and probably a much-needed reminder for a lot of men (and especially Christians).

    • Thank you for the encouragement! And it really is. The piece I linked to reminded me about this episode and made me want to discuss it. It is an important point and an unexpected moment from such a goofy series.

  2. I barely remember that episode. I haven’t dealt with ogling (well, not to my knowledge at least), and I’m often surrounded by respectful Christian men. So while I sympathize with anime characters like Ebina, I don’t relate to these situations as much, beyond basic relating to a human being who’s being treated poorly. But I do appreciate it when anime don’t play up chest size and embarrassed girls for laughs. This show has a bit more respect for Ebina than I see in a lot of anime, where the seriousness of harassment is undermined by things like embarrassed tsunderes slapping the offender into the next zip code. I’d like to see harassment dealt with more seriously in anime, and genuine sympathy for the way ogling affects a character is a good start.

    I *can* relate to frustration with people of one’s own sex ogling people of the opposite sex. It’s a matter of respect, of seeing people as whole people. Learning how to appreciate someone’s attractiveness in a healthy, respectful manner is difficult when media often shows only two approaches: lust and idolization. It’s true for girls as well as for guys.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: