Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why I Just Can't Stomach "Deka Wanko"

I'm always one for depictions of lolitas in the media. Sure, there are plenty of manga and anime characters who wear bad-race monstrosities, but despite that, I just can't help but be excited whenever I hear about a new show coming out featuring one of my frilly brethren, especially if it's a live action (featuring actors and actresses, not just an animated cast). Therefore, I was ridiculously excited when I heard about Deka Wanko- not only was it live action, but the main character wore actual brand; she even had a career and everything! I waited patiently for the day I would happen upon a few episodes online.

And then I watched fifteen minutes of the first episodes. And I turned it off in disgust.

Now, I know this is probably not a very popular viewpoint to take. Everyone and their mother seems to have made Ichiko their new style icon, and I must admit, the main reason I watched those first fifteen minutes was because I just couldn't stop staring at that amazing Fantastic Dolly coordinate. This really doesn't surprise me; in a show that's mainly based around aesthetically catering to a subculture, they had better make sure they're doing an awesome job of it. I'm a firm believer in doing something right, if you're going to do it at all, and that's why you can't just look at the clothes in a TV show while completely ignoring the plot- a plot which in this case is at best vapid and boring and at worst largely anti feminist.

Here's the gist of the show that came through in its first fifteen minutes: Ichiko  (by the way, I had to google the show to find out her name- they never said it in the segment I watched) is a newly-appointed detective trying to live as a lolita in a man's world. She is apparently part dog because she smells everything and looks at everyone with huge puppy eyes, and she absolutely refuses to accept that there are certain times in which wearing lolita is just not acceptable. Also she thinks it's a great idea to put an Angelic Pretty phone charm on her gun.

Alright, I tried to be objective there, but I just couldn't. Seriously? There are so many things wrong with those three sentences. On the one hand, it's admirable that she's trying to make it in a very male-oriented field without giving up her sense of self and style. There are also a good number of careers where wearing lolita is acceptable- maybe being an entrepreneur, such as owning a sweets shop or a children's clothing store. However, a position in which one tried to impose force and power on dangerous criminals is really one where you want to give an appearance of brawn, for your own physical safety and that of the people around you. That's the reason I didn't follow in my father's footsteps and become a police officer: if you're going to work a job like that, there's a certain level of sacrifice you must be willing to make to get the job done, and one of those sacrifices is cuteness in favor of strength and an imposing appearance. That leads me to the gun. I'm sure this isn't common knowledge, so for those of you who don't know, weapons are supposed to be scary. It may be surprising, but if you have a gun, you don't want to actually have to use it on another person (at least, you shouldn't); that's why they look imposing and dangerous, so that your attacker becomes intimidated by them and backs off. This is the reason why there's contention about, say, pink or other colored firearms- if it looks like a toy, you'll have to prove that it isn't, and that isn't the point of using a gun for self-defense.

That's not even addressing the fact that her clothes keep everyone in her precinct from taking her seriously. Wait, no- maybe it's more the fact that she is completely and totally incapable of doing her job that keeps her from being a viable member of her team. It's true that she's new to the job- we're told early on that it's only been around a month since she took the job - so it's possible that that's the true explanation of her ineptitude. In the short amount of the episode that I watched, however, I was given no reason to think that this is true. Her attitude is just like a puppy, which I'm sure is on purpose; she's easily distracted, overly anxious to do everything, and she freaking smells people. I mean, what? And then she tells them what they smell like because she apparently has no idea how to keep an internal monologue internal. Would you want to work with someone like that, especially in a dangerous situation with multiple lives on the line? I certainly wouldn't.

There are so many reasons I couldn't stand watching Deka Wanko. Can I please just send out a general plea to the television producers and movie writers of the world? Never make anything like this again. I'm all for women succeeding in male-dominated careers, and I'm also a huge fan of representations of lifestyle lolitas in the media. But if you're going to attempt something like this again... please just save yourself the effort.

Readers: What did you think of Deka Wanko? Can anyone give me a good reason to keep watching it? I'd love to love this show, I really would, but if it's more of the same faux-feminist sexism, I'll just watch Twilight.

EDIT: To see an opposing viewpoint in an incredibly well-written review, check out Tori's article here!

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