The Numerous Problems with Higehiro

Hige-Hiro or Hige-Hirou is short for Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei o Hirou.

It deals with a runaway girl who a 27-year-old salaryman lets in his house. She offers her body in exchange for accommodation for a few days. The man declines the offer but lets her stay at his place anyways.

This show was meant to address a lot of social issues with runaway girls including why she couldn’t stay at home, is it wrong to help someone, and what happened when she was picked up by someone without such moderation and a good moral compass.

This anime has stirred quite a controversy in Japan. The Japanese audiences are quite divided on this anime. There are a few reasons for it.

Taking Home a Minor is a Crime in Japan.

Higehiro

Taking home any minor (younger than 18 years of age) is a crime in Japan. This is mentioned a few times in the series as well. Regardless of what the situation for either of them is, this is a form of kidnapping in the eyes of law.

No matter what the circumstances are, for Sayu, the concerned authority here would be the police.

Even if Sayu does not complain, Yoshida is the responsible adult and it is on him to not inform the authorities and take charge himself instead.

Letting the authorities know would only benefit both Sayu and Yoshida. Sayu would get a new home and parents and a new life while Yoshida would also not be a criminal.

However, this doesn’t make it a bad anime in any way because a lot of anime characters commit crimes. Like murder, theft, and so on!

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If the criteria for whether an anime is good or bad is based on the crimes they commit, then masterpieces like Code Geass or One Piece should also be shunned.

Yoshida is Always Portrayed on a Moral High-Ground.

Yoshida is Always Portrayed on a Moral High-Ground.

Considering the fact that Yoshida is a criminal, he isn’t truly ever held responsible with that sort of attitude.

Even characters Like Luffy who we know for a fact are heroes, who have saved entire countries from evil, are called out as ‘pirates’ and ‘wanted criminals’.

In this scenario what makes them heroes, not only are their deeds but the fact that the organization in power is unjust and unreliable.

However, in the case of Hige-Hiro, neither of these are true, and yet, Yoshida is consistently in the series shown to be her knight in shining armor.

The character Yaguchi recognizes this as a crime and calls Yoshida out on it. But even though what he is saying is inherently correct, Yoshida is on the moral high ground while Yaguchi is not.

Yaguchi is being shown in the light of a villain here, which is due to the kind of character he is playing. Despite committing the very same crime as Yaguchi has, Yoshida and Yaguchi are being shown in completely different ways.

Even though Yoshida constantly suggests in his own words that, ‘he is not nice, they were shit’, he isn’t portrayed like that. He is being thanked for looking after Sayu and always being treated like a hero in the series.

The Relationship Between Yoshida and Sayu.

Yoshida and Sayu have an unnamed complicated relationship.

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Sayu has a past that makes her give herself way too easily or way too little 27-year old and The nature of their relationship started off as a business which is a quite popular trope with the Western audiences but is more off-putting for Japanese audiences.

She offered him sexual benefits in exchange for accommodation for a few days.

This later turned a little into Yoshida being her primary provider. Yoshida became her source of food, accommodation, clothes, cell phone, protection, and affection.

Her primary provider in any normal scenario would be her father, but they in the end did not have this kind of a relationship as well.

They later coined this as a more ‘brother-sister’ relationship. Yoshida became like a temporary older brother for her, which Yoshida was also satisfied with.

This could’ve been a sweet ending to the story, but in the end, before leaving Hokkaido, Sayu confesses her love to Yoshida. Yoshida tells her that he isn’t interested in her.

She asks if he would wait for her to which he responds with his usual, he wouldn’t and leaves.

However, the story ends with Yoshida finding Sayu at the same spot in Tokyo as he did the first time, and she asks him to let her stay at his place.

The Ending

The ending essentially takes the story a full circle but leaves a lot of open-ended questions.

Does this mean that Yoshida and Sayu are in a relationship now?

When in Sayu meeting him again?

Has she graduated?

Did something happen with her mother again?

It is a combination of a tie-back ending and an open-ended ending which makes for a weird combination of not really understanding what exactly the story aims to do in the first place.

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Another anime ‘Koi to Yobu no ha Kimochiwari’ tells a love story between a high school student and an older man who courts her rather aggressively.

This anime does deal with a questionable and uncomfortable topic for a lot of viewers but it maintains its stand as a romantic comedy. It isn’t dealing with other complexities or social issues which Hige-Hiro is trying to do.

The ending is a sort of ambiguous callback to the beginning of the story that doesn’t really take the story forward but instead puts questions on the characters.

Does this ending mean to justify a romantic relationship between Yoshida and Sayu?

Is it okay, now that Sayu has made some improvement and graduated school, for him to let her stay with him? Was that the only thing stopping him?

The ending seems fabricated just to make the story come full circle and serve no other purpose. It is also unclear as to what message it wants to send to the audience.

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