Jul 6, 2022

"RobiHachi": Gay-Subtext Buddies on a Planet of Musclemen, Chased by a Horny Gay Stereotype

 RobiHachi, a 2019 anime series on Hulu:down-on-his-luck Robi tries to escape bill collector Hachi by stowing away on a spaceship headed for the planet Iskander, but Hachi follows him on board.  Now "this odd couple will make the trek together," No doubt with a romance developing, as evident in the "shipping" of the two names.

It looks like two boys,but Hachi is rather androgynous, so they could be a girl.  I checked out the voice artists: Kazuya Nakai (Robby) is male, but I can't tell the gender of Keisuke Komoto (Hachi), left.   Plus their biography uses "they/them" pronouns.  

The website Behind the Voice Actors has photos of characters they've voiced.  Darn!  Keisuke Komoto does both boy and girl voices.  Another dead end.

I should have checked the IMDB photos from the series first.  Both boys.  This one is from the episode "Que-eel-ee Surprise."  What the heck does that mean?  I'm reviewing it anyway.

Scene 1: Robi (redhead) and Hachi (pink hair) are piloting the space ship alone, except for a white-headed Hello-Kitty-type pet.  I thought it was a passenger ship?  They plan to stop on Hamama II, a planet known for its eels, just in time for its Great Eel Festival. (They're extinct back on Earth).

Scene 2: They land amid a herd of oxen supervised by musclemen in jockstraps.  "Awesome! You're so buffed! Robi exclaims.  "There's no time for you to admire him!" the Hello-Kitty yells.  "Ask where the Festival is."  Wait -- Robi is admiring male beauty.  Is he canonically gay?

Whoops, the festival is starting now!  The musclemen mount their oxen and gallop off.  Robi and Hachi follow.  

Suddenly a giant eel bursts from the ocean and swallows the oxen -- and chases Robi and Hachi.  The musclemen quickly subdue it.  Another giant eel for the festival!

Scene 3:
A festival full of musclemen lassoing giant eels and turning them into sushi.  A little girl asks if Robi and Hachi need a guide.  "Not you," Robi says.  "If you were a young lady, then..."  Wait -- is he canonically straight? Maybe he just thinks that she's too young to be qualified as a guide.  She gives them a sob story, and they hire her.

Scene 4: Mr. Yang, the Big Bad who is chasing Robi, ostensibly to collect a debt,  lands on the planet. He's wearing nail polish and multiple rings.  A stereotypic feminine villain?  His henchmen note that the Eel Festival is going on. A perfect opportuinty to enhance his virility before hunting down Robi.  In English "virility" refers only to sexual prowess.  The Japanese word must refer to strength of all sorts, unless Yang plans on having sex with Robi.  

Scene 5: 
 Various aliens and humans in swimsuits eating grilled giant eel. Why swimsuits?  I'm going into beefcake overload.  Robi and Hachi, also in swimsuits, eat several skewers, even though Hello-Kitty advises that they're very expensive.  Their guide gives them a rundown of the day's events.

Meanwhile, the henchman bring Mr. Yang an eel bone.  When he eats it, he's overwhelmed with energy -- and shows a big bulge in his swimsuit!  

They stop for a parade, with a giant paper-mache eel carried by innumerable muscle men -- and Robi and Hachi!  Mr. Yang doesn't notice them.  He yells "Robi, I'm going to catch you, wherever you are!"

Scene 6: The Unazuki Hotel, popular among off-world tourists. Robi and Hachi get separate rooms -- not canonically gay. Meanwhile, Mr. Yang is prancing around, swishy hand on hip, wondering where Robi went. He and his henchmen get rooms at the Unazuki, too.  He continues to gorge on eel, over-fortifying his virility.  I think they really mean sexual potency.  The gay stereotype is hot for Robi!

Scene 7:
At the hotel buffet.  Everything eel-based, obviously.  "The only planet residents we've seen are muscle men," Robi notes.  "Where are all the local beauties?"  Ugh, he's hetero-horny!  

When a loudspeaker announces the Eel Festival Dance Show, they reason that there's bound to be some girl dancers, and rush into the auditorium.  But it's all musclemen!  Disappointed, Robi goes to bed.  Hachi says he'll "look around some more."  I know Robi is straight, but maybe Hachi is gay?  He wants to gawk at guys.

Scene 8:  While Robi straddles his bed, looking very much like he's about to masturbate, Hachi checks out the Eel Baths: you sit in a tub getting zapped.  "Sounds painful!" Hello-Kitty exclaims.  "Are you a masochist?"  Hachi doesn't know -- maybe.

Scene 9: Night. Robi is still straddling his bed, murmuring "Pretty girls!  Pretty girls!"  Hachi is in his room, reading a pamphlet.  Suddenly he hears a noise outside: it's Mr. Yang, transformed into a snarling bodybuilder with rape on his mind. "Robi! Robi!"  He stops at Robi's room and squirts brown liquid over everything!  Then he reverts to his usual form and murmurs "What happened?  I should go to bed."  Yes, I get sleepy after doing that, too..

Scene 10: Morning.  Robi decides to enter the eel race contest, to win some prize money -- and to impress girls!  Grr!  That gay subtext vanished very quickly!  He chooses a gentle, friendly eel to ride.  

Then Mr. Yang finds him!  He jumps on another eel, pushes the driver off...and the race begins.  "Pay back what you owe me, with interest!" he exclaims.  So he's just interested in money, not in Robi's butt? No, he yells "interest," interspliced with "butt" and "ass"!  "Interest...butt...ass...interested."  He reaches out and pulls off Robi's swimsuit, revealing his butt.  This naturally shocks Robi, who nearly falls off his eel.  

Mr. Yang wins the race, and Robi comes in second.  I'm rather surprised that two offworlders who have never raced before win against locals who grew up racing eels.

By the way, where are the girls?  Their guide explains that she's actually a boy: "This planet has only males."  I'd be asking "Where's the nearest immigration office?", but Robi and Hachi are shocked.

Scene 11:  Back on the spaceship, Hachi wonders why Mr. Yang would collect a small debt himself, instead of sending a bill collector -- and chase them all the way across the galaxy for it.  "Did he say anything to you?"  he asks.  Robi remembers "Ass...butt," and shudders.  The end.

Beefcake:  Constant. The planet is totally occupied by musclemen in swimsuits.  All of the humans wear swimsuits throughout, with bulges visible. 

Gay Characters: Robi and Hatchi start out an obvious gay couple, but Robi regresses into "girls! girls! girls!" very quickly.  I don't know about Hatchi.  Mr. Yang is a swishy gay stereotype.

  Some comments on the anime board find Robi's reaction to Mr. Yang's attention homophobic, but it wasn't exactly a polite date request.  Yang was chasing him, grabbing for his butt, and pulling his underwear off.  Most people would find an attempted sexual assault disturbing.

On the other hand, when Robi and Hachi discover that the planet is all male, their look is one of shock and anger, as if to say "You mean we've spent two days surrounded by...ugh...homosexuals?"  

On the anime fan board, a lot of comments criticize the episode for the all-male planet and its implied same-sex behavior.  "But how do they reproduce?  Wait...they must...oh, gross, gross, gross!"  

My Grade: D. The eel festival was interesting, and I liked the endless beefcake, but the sudden switch from "Admiring a muscleman" to "Girls, girls, girls!" was disturbing.  And the swishy stereotype intending to rape the innocent straight boy?  Shades of gay panic!  

1 comment:

  1. I mean, in Japan, the gay stereotype is basically Mishima.


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