OK…. I just watched one of the weirdest anime of my life… Well two of the weirdest anime of my life…. And I didn’t really hate it?..
The first anime I came across is a relatively new anime called OneRoom. In OneRoom, everything is supposed to be in first person… except… only… it’s not??? Because why then can I keep seeing almost up the backs of the girls’ skirts?! Do I have hidden cameras in my apartment? Do I have super powers? Am I having an out of body experience? The answer is NO, they just wanted to cram as much fan service as humanly possible into each 4 minute episode…
Not only that…. But it is the first anime I’ve ever watched which puts YOU in the anime…. or tries to… but fails miserably at this… They make it so you never see, hear, or know anything about the main character… sort of… only except… you do know/assume what he is saying based on the things the girls are saying to you… And unless you’re a total pervert, chances are whatever the anime thinks the main character is feeling/thinking/saying doesn’t line up with what you’re actually feeling/thinking/saying while watching it… so it’s still almost impossible to immerse yourself into this supposed “blank slate”.
While watching it, I felt like I was playing Love+ (a dating sim game), except I wasn’t playing anything at all. It was like a waifu simulator, with all the gamification and simulation parts taken out.
Still… because the artwork was cute… and the music was catchy… and most of all because the episodes were only 4 minutes long, I kept watching….
While reading reviews after watching, just to laugh at peoples “WTF” comments…. I discovered there’s a version of this “anime experiment” designed for women as well….
Enter Makura no Danshi! Pillow Boys! An anime by the same studio as OneRoom, Makura no Danshi, or Pillow Boys, features a different Pillow Boy each week.
What the heck is a Pillow Boy? In Japan, for both guys and girls, there are anime pillow cases that fit large body sized pillows. WARNING NSFW: https://www.aliexpress.com/promotion/promotion_anime-male-body-pillow-promotion.html
This anime was blatantly created for one sole purpose… to sell such pillow cases…. and this anime is effective at doing that… Before watching this anime, I knew about the Pillow Boyfriend / Pillow Girlfriend trend in Japan…. and I’d looked at such pillow cases before… I didn’t have a large pillow at the time though; About 3 weeks ago I got a really big expensive memory foam body pillow…. It’s currently dressed in a not very feminine or kawaii dark color…. Watching Pillow Boys reminded me that I could get something more Kawaii that would fit my image, my room, my decor, my life. I already cuddle my pillow every night so why not cuddle it and look at cute anime boys too lol. So I will probably buy one of these pillow slips, as soon as I decide which one I want… there are literally hundreds of styles, some from popular games and anime, and others completely original characters.
So now that you know what a Pillow Boy is… let’s move on to the actual review…
Title: Makura no Danshi! Pillow Boys!
Episode Length: 4 minutes
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Slice of Life, Shoujo, Romance, “Pillow Boy Simulator?” lol.
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll
Overall: 35/55 64% D “Average Anime for Girls”
Geeky: 1/5? lol… Not sure… I mean it does have pretty art, and actually I really like the opening theme song, and it IS geeky, because I mean, who else buys these pillows except for geeks. But I can’t in good faith give it a higher score here, because aside from the opening theme, there’s almost no other music, each episode is 4 minutes long, and there’s literally no plot, and it’s just weird as heck lol.
Sweetie: 5/5 – at the opposite end of the rating spectrum, this is an incredibly cute, kinda awkward, and at times highly inappropriate, funny, fun, anime…
Concept: 6/10 — Fanservice for Women. Blatant money-grab anime whose sole purpose is to sell merchandise… but yet… oddly… interesting… and entertaining… Each week a new Pillow Boy is introduced… and they’re all pretty cute and likeable….
I want to make a comment here… but it may be a spoiler… not that the story is important or even coherent in this series… but just in case, using my spoiler tags… you can click to read… it’s about the ending of the final episode…
[spoiler] Perhaps the weirdest thing about this anime is, I believe that the characters actually ARE pillows throughout the anime, not just cute guys who the main character (You) spend your time with… My reasons for believing this include, in the final episode the Pillow Boy says “Hey!! Don’t Fluff me! That’s so mean!” Now why on earth or even how on earth would you fluff a person? You could fluff their HAIR maybe, but that’s not what the character says… Also there’s the fact that You are always tired and/or sleeping in every episode… And… the fact that all of these guys know where you live, sleep in your bed, and seem overly familiar with you, and that’s odd especially for Japanese cultures even more so than American culture, and it STILL seemed weird to me too as an American. My first thought was WHY do I have so many different boyfriends, and how do they know where I live, and why are we sleeping together all the time? — All of these things led me to the conclusion that not only are they ACTUALLY PILLOWS; but that YOU as the viewer are well aware of this fact, and that YOU as the viewer and main character, are actually talking to and fantasizing about your pillows… making you perhaps one of the saddest, most desperate, lonely main characters that I have ever seen… On the other hand, you could just be dreaming in each episode, which would be less creepy, and also less funny, than someone talking to their pillows and pretending to be in a relationship with them lol. [/spoiler]
And when you realize THAT, it kinda completely changes the entire tone of the anime lol.
Story: 3/10 – Each week a new Pillow Boy is introduced, each episode is self contained and stand-alone. Each episode consists of the Pillow Boy talking to you about his day, and asking you questions, which you’re encouraged as an audience member to talk back to the TV (k we go from talking to pillows to talking to the TV now lol). They don’t give you much time for response, and ultimately, it suffers the same problem as OneRoom, in that it’s still difficult to immerse, because you can still get a vague idea of the “conversation” that is supposedly going on.
Characters: 9/10 – Ok so the characters themselves though are actually strangely cute, and charming. I honestly liked just about all of them. My favorite was probably the cuddly one or the shy astronomy geek, or maybe the naughty twins lol. “Let’s play find the flower” lol. But even the little boy was cute, in a strictly platonic way. But that didn’t stop the anime from making highly inappropriate sexual innuendos and jokes even in that episode such as the title of that episode: “Innocent Danshi, a highly energetic, hot, 5 year old” WHAT THE F??? That is the creepiest weirdest title for an episode I’ve ever seen. PS, the episode is COMPLETELY G rated – thank god. It’s NOT some weird creepy perverted pedophile anime lol. — You know most anime with a “young looking” “Loli” or “Shota” character, they merely LOOK young but are actually of age of consent, and not an ACTUAL 5 year old… but in this anime, he really is a 5 year old, and you’re baby sitting him… I won’t give too much away, but you’re playing power rangers and he tells you to be the pink ranger, and he wants to be the super “rare” black ranger, whose super power is “Fatty Beef Bomber” — Really? lol… Innuendo much there? Given the character’s age, that is just messed up…. But then… when you take into account what I mentioned in the spoiler tag above, about the ending of the final episode, then you can look past this part. Each character is unique and has a charm of their own.
Artwork: 3/5 – The character designs are super cute, but the animation itself is very low quality and cheap. One scene, with your coworker, in particular, keeps one still image on for 1-2 minutes… in a 4 minute episode… that’s…. pretty cheap lol. The character designs are also not consistent — the final episode brings back the pillow boy from Episode 1… and he looks like a junior high school or even elementary school student now (which to be honest, fits his personality better) Except then, near the end, he goes back to looking about college student aged again (as he appeared in the first episode) for a few seconds. I don’t think this was done for any reason other than they were lazy. It wasn’t like he was done in a “chibi” style to be more cute, It was more like, they forgot what they went with, or couldn’t decide on and stick to one style, or they were outsourcing or using different artists – which would be pretty sad given its a 4 minute per episode kind of show, which shouldn’t be overly complex or have that much detail etc.
Music: 3/5 – The opening theme honestly, would be like a 5/5 — I really like it. It’s catchy as heck. But the rest of the anime has almost no music at all… Even an episode where the Pillow Boy is a violinist, which was the weirdest episode to watch without music.
Voice Acting: 5/5 — I thought the voices were cute, as well as the artwork, those two factors played a big role in my liking of the characters and overall enjoyment of the anime.
Overall: 35/55 64% D “Average Anime for Girls”