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[DearS box art]
AKA: ディアーズ
Genre: Fantasy romance comedy
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Discotek Media, but also available on Hulu if you're so inclined.
Content Rating: 15+ (light offscreen violence, fan service, light nudity, extreme sexism)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Chobits (for the love of God, go for that instead)
Notes: Based on the manga by PEACH-PIT (Rozen Maiden, Shugo Chara!), available in North America from Tokyopop.
Rating: One Star

DearS

Synopsis

Upon returning from school one day, Ikuhara Takeya comes upon a mysterious cloak-wearing girl. When he expresses his concern to her, she kneels in front of him, kisses his hand and professes herself to be his slave.


Review

I'm not much of a fighter for women's rights. I'll help (or let my opinion on the subject be known) if asked, but that's just about it as far as I usually go on the topic.

That being said, this series has offended my sensibilities like no other anime has ever done before.

You see, aside from what you have read in the synopsis, the role of the DearS seems to be solely to be "of use to someone", and if they fail in that, they look at themselves as worthless. I can't even begin to explain what I felt when I saw the first episode, starting when I heard the opening theme (which I will get back to shortly).

This is much like Chobits gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Those of you who've seen some art or screencaps from the show; don't be fooled. The show itself LOOKS just plain gorgeous, though, on second glance, the animation is fairly average. The characters are mostly well defined, though it's easy to see that most of the effort has been put into the main characters -- the DearS themselves chiefly among them. And I guess they could be considered quite cute, if you can ignore the collars).

Yes, you read correctly. All the DearS characters (there are a few male ones as well, probably to show that, hey, they're not SEXIST or anything. Oh, no...) are wearing collars fairly reminiscent of dog collars. In the intro animation, there's even a leash attached to the main character's collar, and I don't even want to THINK about the implications of that.

Oh, did I mention that the intro theme's refrain is "I'm Your Slave"? No? Well, it is. In fact, the whole song is about how the sole meaning of these aliens is to be "useful and liked" by whoever they deem worthy to be their masters. And the show itself sure as hell isn't doing anything to dispel that image, except perhaps in the regard to the main character. For a main characters who makes half of his living by peddling porn for his creepy friends, he's fairly against this sort of exploitment, which is quite ironic when you think about it.

But I have to give credit where credit is due, and for a main male lead who has a female slave at his beck and call, he's certainly not taking much advantage of that. Not that it helps much, though. Whenever he shouts at Ren (his "very own" slave DearS) or tells her to make up her own damn mind on what she wants to do, he gets berated by the GIRLS at school for "being mean." Well, I never....

And then, there's Miu, Ren's adversary. In what, I have no idea. They're not fighting for the main guy (not yet, at least) and neither of them is a threat towards each other in any way. Still, she bears a grudge, which means competitions.... in HOUSEWORK CHORES and such. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Shoot me, and do it quickly."

By the way, the teacher in Mahoromatic just HAS to have a sister in this show, except that said sister is much worse. At least Shikijou-sensei had the good sense to keep her dirty and creepy fantasies out of the classroom, which is more than can be said about Teacher Mitsuka, who frequently dresses in lingerie or god knows what and just as often "asserts her sensuality" on the teacher's desk during class. It doesn't even take any sexual innuendo to get her started. She is fully able to come up with that on her own.

And don't get me started on Nia, who is another DearS type, but has the purpose of hunting down and subduing Ren. She's supposed to look like a catgirl, but comes across as more of a clown with oversized hands (paws) and feet (also paws.) In true comedic relief, all her missions gets foiled by her falling into a pile of eatables and becoming distracted. And she ends most of her sentences-nya like this-nya. Annoying-nya? Hell, yeah-nya.

In short, this anime isn't worth the effort. Aside from being astoundingly sexist, it features quite a lot of irritating characters. The worst part is that it wouldn't take a lot of changes to make this work. Get rid of the whole slave deal and a few of the irritating characters, and you might have had another winner on your hands.

But, where this series messed up, it REALLY stepped into a Triceratops-sized pile of poop. I recommend you turn to Chobits instead for this kind of show, and leave DearS to find itself another "master."

If you're a sucker for nice art and animation, and can completely disregard any plot, you STILL might not want to add another star. If you're a practioner of the Gorean philosophy, you may want to add four stars and call this show the greatest show on earth. And if that's the case, I don't want to hear about it.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Well, the show itself is fairly fan service-laden. The Dears (the female ones) are a fairly large-breasted bunch. Plus, there's the teacher too, with her complete lack of common decency. On the other hand, there isn't much in the way of violence (outside of someone bleeding to death in the 8th episode.)

And then, I remember the whole "slave" angle, and the word "appropriateness" flies straight out the window.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (8/12)
DearS © 2004 Peach Pit / Anime Works / Team DearS
 
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