Some Thoughts on Men, Women, and Animé

In response to Steven’s comment, I posted some information on Saito’s connection to Louise, which abruptly terminates in season 3.

I think it’s because he kissed Louise (for real this time, not as a part of the familiar-bonding ceremony) but then when he tried to go a step further and unlace her blouse, she went tsun-tsun and rejected him. Can’t imagine what her problem was….

Later, he tries again, and she blasts him, then makes him run behind the carriage the next day. While it’s refreshing to see a male lead who actually wants to score with one of the haremettes, Louise’s alternation of tearful insecurity with berserk smackdowns is tiresome. Yeah, she’s cute, yeah she’s a powerful mage when she can cast her spells, but she’s not growing up; she’s growing *down*. One minute she’s begging and pleading with Saito to never leave her, the next, she’s abusing him.

Well, I got to thinking: I’m sounding like I believe Saito’s attitude should be, “Listen bitch, you dragged me into this world, made me your familiar, I’ve been confessing my love to you since the middle of the second series, you begged me to never leave you, and now I’m risking my life for you when I don’t have to and have no power. Blasting me is your idea of a reward?? Enough emo abuse, either put out, or get out of my life!”

And you know…. I think he’d be a cad to state it so baldly, yes, that’s what I think. She wants him… but she doesn’t want him. She’s emotionally tied to him, but she’s a like a child, unable to commit herself, and blaming it on him. (I thought commitment was the guy’s problem?)

Now, I’d bet there’s some pretty old biological imperatives behind that line of thinking; ones that any bunch of plains apes from 2 million B.C. would recognize in an instant. “Hang around, defend me and this territory, and I’ll make it worth your while.” (Well, it was probably more like “Oook ook eee oook!’ but you get the idea.) I’m sure there’s a feminazi or two dozen that would like to sew my nuts to their totem just for saying that, but tough shit.

So yeah, lets go there, as controversial a subject as it may be. Why should he stay with an insecure emo girl who is probably going to get already has gotten him killed? Given that:

1. Louise (unintentionally) kidnapped modern-day teenager Saito into her medieval world,
2. Louise at first treated him like a servant, but later came to appreciate him,
3. Saito on many occasions has proclaimed (to her) that he loves Louise,
4. Louise obviously is very insecure, and afraid Saito wont stay with her without the familiar bond,
5. Louise broke down and tearfully begged Saito to never leave her,
6. Saito has, even *with* his powers, died for her once (brought back by magic),
7. Saito has defended her, even without his powers, at great risk to his life and limb,
8. Saito is a genuine hero of the kingdom (the queen was going to reward him with a patent of nobility, but he turned it down),
9. Louise angrily rejects any attempt at intimacy by Saito “It’s too early!”*
10. Louise routinely blames Saito for her own mistakes,
11. Louise abuses Saito constantly, blasting him with her wand or making him run while she rides the carriage,
12. Saito is about as good a guy as you could get: he’s brave, he’s loyal, he’s not afraid to confess to Louise (he’s almost boringly nice); his only flaws are that he can’t disappoint or be rude to women, and sometimes he’s a bit of a hothead,

Should he tolerate the status quo?

*In the first series, under the effects of the love potion, she offered to close her eyes for an hour and let him do anything he wanted. “If I close my eyes, then I won’t see anything and it never happened.” He turned her down, because she was under the influence of the potion.

Unfortunately, #12 is a recipe for him to be walked on by Louise. The way I read this is that she wants to possess him, but not be responsible to him for anything. That’s why she is so upset over losing the familiar contract with Saito; it gave her a claim of possession, without any need for commitment on her part. Even in medieval times, oaths of fealty and loyalty worked both ways. A knight pledged himself to a lord, but the lord also pledged to defend the knight, and this chain of binding commitments went all the way to the top. Hell, the Magna Carta was one big call by the barons on the king, saying, “look, we’re supposed to have these things based on our oaths, now stick by your word!”

(Edit: My point here is that Louise is demanding a one-sided deal; even if you look at Saito as a faithful retainer and bodyguard, she’s interfering in his private life by not permitting any involvement with other women.)

But if we waive Saito’s wishy-washiness for a moment, then the question I have to ask is, given the emotional investment by the parties should Louise’s commitment to Saito include physical intimacy? Or to put it bluntly, should Louise “reward” Saito with sex to keep him around? If Louise does not, given that he’s a free agent, and she makes extreme demands without providing anything but room, board, and abuse, should Saito continue to stick around, or should he leave her? If you’re not familiar with the series, Saito has a few other prospects, even if powerless — Siesta would certainly elope with him in a heartbeat; she considers herself Saito’s proper match.

So… I think my opinion is obvious. Tea and crumpets are served, please step into my parlor, and state your opinion. Do try to keep it civilized, as Sir Charles (Barkley) might say.

Update: Heh, no comments despite linkage from Steven. Rejoice feminazis, your gelding of the American Male is almost complete! (My expectation was that no guys would reply — especially no married guys. I should just put up a sign saying “<— Minefield this way! Form one line to the left!” and be done with it.)

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7 Responses to Some Thoughts on Men, Women, and Animé

  1. Dr.Heinous says:

    Well, I’d have had to have seen the series to really comment, so I will refrain, sadly…

  2. jgreely says:

    (never seen it, but…) #3 seems to trump the rest. As long as it holds, his actions won’t be based on rational self-interest, and with #12 in play, he won’t even get any on the side when it’s offered. From your description of his character, he can’t take a “put out or get out” line with her except as a hollow threat.

    Should he? Nah, he should go chase another girl, because even if she sleeps with him, she’ll still treat him like dirt. Possibly worse than before, because she’ll be secure in the knowledge that nothing she can do will drive him away. She needs therapy, not sex.


  3. AvatarADV says:

    We should stipulate that Saito’s at least a little bit of a masochist to have gotten this far at all. ;p

    #8 should have a much bigger effect, but unfortunately we can be pretty sure it won’t. Saito’s got an “I saved the kingdom, baby” marker in the bank. He’d have a reasonable chance at -any woman in the kingdom- by cashing that marker in, Henrietta not excepted; I figure he had a shot at jumping all the way to royalty at the end of S1 if he’d wanted to. But yeah, he could go obtain a royal command to marry any particular girl he liked, and that would be one way to handle Louise as well.

    Louise’s real problem is that there are certain standards of nobility, and she sucks at all of them. She’s a crappy mage, her figure’s defined by a plumb bob, her rivals and friends out-shine her in everything that she’d like to be good at. Basically, she’s spent years as the kid in class that got picked on. Saito, for her, serves as someone to abuse… not necessarily because she’s a sadist, but because asserting herself against him is a way for her to reaffirm that she really is a noble. (Interestingly, we don’t see her take the same tack against the “normal” help, which is interesting…)

    At one point, in the novels, Derf advises Saito to just rape Louise and get it over with…

  4. Ubu Roi says:

    LOL. I was thinking that, but not sure I wanted to go that far. Dollars to donuts, she’d instantly go dere-dere if he did, though.

    And yes, that’s an interesting point. She doesn’t abuse the “hired help” to assert her nobility; just Saito. But I also think that turning out to be a void mage kind of changed her status. Plus the victory in S1 owed a lot to her. I infer s2 owed more to Saito; apparently what killed him was stopping an army of 70,000. Which is why Henrietta tried to make him a noble.

    Edit: Saito seriously needs lessons from the Maid Guy. If Saito were just GAR enough, Louise would throw herself at his feet. “Kukukukukukukuku!”

  5. Dollars to donuts, she’d instantly go dere-dere if he did, though.

    Boy, oh boy, is THAT politically incorrect!!! Yikes!

  6. Ubu Roi says:

    I am in no way suggesting that even a sizable significant minority of women would do so.

    But Louise? Yeah, unless Saito was violent. Which is not in his nature, and, given his weakness vs. women, the situation won’t arise anyway.

    I am not so nice, however. To be honest with myself, much as that scenario appeals to the baser instincts that we are “not supposed to have,” if I were Saito, I’d end up selecting the path of least resistance; i.e.: Siesta. I’d probably be sending some harsh words Louise’s way, though. On the flip side, if Louise ever made me think it was all intentional instead of immaturity…. well, as Saito, I would be sleeping in her bed. Depends on how much I’d want to risk pissing off her noble family.

  7. Toren says:

    ZnT is one of my guilty pleasures, and IMHO, but if there ever was a girl who says “No” when she means “Yes, yes, yes!,” it’s Louise. While they are writing about a fantasy world, the writers simply cannot leave behind certain cultural assumptions. One of those is the very un-PC fact that a guy in Japan who takes “no” for “no” is very likely to die a virgin.
    True, it would be a risk. Louise could go one of two ways. She might finally break out of her the ice maiden shell she uses to hide her insecurities and start the process of growing up. Conversely, she might be unable to cope with the new emotional demands and lose even her false pride.
    If Saito wants to take a chance on pushing the envelope in order to have a real relationship with the girl he claims to love, then he’s going to have to conduct Operation Extreme Seduction and give Louise the firm push she needs. If he can’t summon up the stones for that, he needs to grab Siesta and retire to some remote village to plant potatoes.

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