Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy – episodes 11 and 12

August 12, 2004 on 10:28 pm | In Don't Leave Me Alone, Daisy | Comments Off on Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy – episodes 11 and 12

Amazingly, by the end of this 12 episode run, literally everyone in the world except Techno learned a valuable lesson. Marvellous! Social reform for everyone but the one who needs it the most! One of the hardest things to understand about Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy was that it was actually created by a woman.

The eleventh episode somehow managed to pass without any offensive scenes, a small miracle. This episode centred on Anii, the blue-lipped cyborg designed to keep Techno in check who I hadn’t mentioned before because her role had previously been inconsequential, and stupid. This time, with the introduction of war and the feelings of Techno’s well meaning but poorly executed Grandfather, some good scenes are allowed to happen. Post war paranoia definitely fuelled the actions of Techno’s Grandfather, and the wartime scenes were very well done. The effects of war also led to the creation of the Yamakawa family: the ultra-nationalists and the alienated “rebel” X are very much the products of an outdated system. The mentality of the forties definitely damaged everyone here, and this allows Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy to have a sideline in “anti-war sentiment” that ultimately leads to the nuclear disarmament of the planet.

The problem is not that Hitomi started to feel for Techno – in her dreams he was always a well adjusted young man, so she only committed the “sin” of hope – but that Techno couldn’t see the error of his ways ever. Even when he changes direction, he still believes that Hitomi is an alien, that her name should be Daisy … the fact that she starts to go along with him just means he doesn’t have to be as forceful. In effect, Hitomi ends up encouraging his character defects. These are not simply eccentricities, and should never be considered as such.
The part of the series that should be most powerful seems to mean nothing to the stupid boy, despite revolutionising the rest of the world. His backwards thinking is very, very dangerous. Turning destructive power into creative means nothing if your mentality remains the same, so it feels like Techno has achieved nothing as a character. This is a major source of frustration.

Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy was an occasionally sickening account of the complexities of society. It can not really be considered “entertainment”. The best that can be said for it is that it’s not a von Trier film: there is humanity here, and that is when it shines. Techno is putting his skills to better use by the end, but he still doesn’t understand the fundamentals and it doesn’t seem that he will; such an unshakeable character is what made this series hard to watch.

Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy – episodes 5 to 10

August 11, 2004 on 6:37 pm | In Don't Leave Me Alone, Daisy | Comments Off on Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy – episodes 5 to 10

There is no way that one can take Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy on face value and escape with their sanity intact. Digging beneath the surface for societal woes makes the whole tawdry exercise a much easier experience because it’s hard to laugh at so many of these situations.
For each step that Hitomi and Techno take in the right direction, they follow them by falling down holes and becoming mired once more in the pits of unacceptable behaviour.

Domination is something that is received differently by different people, but most will think that forcing someone to do something against their will is not cool. So Techno putting bubbles on Hitomi’s arms and legs and then getting her to dance in the streets, drink a tropical juice with him, and then preventing her from telling the police about her predicament – a clear sign that he now knows what he’s doing is wrong – is simply not fun to watch at all, no matter what anyone tells you. Mainstream (that is, non-hentai) anime is at its worst when it’s being fetishistic and this situation, and the time when Techno actually leashed Hitomi, does not belong on television, no matter how late at night it was.

Hitomi had mostly been a character not willing to put up with Techno’s rubbish, but amazingly she starts to develop feelings for him. It’s what’s known in James Bond films as “Stockholm Syndrome”, and to some poor misguided souls as “Romantic Inevitability”. The good thing that can be said for Hitomi here is that she doesn’t like Techno for what he is. She likes him for what he could be … which leads into one of the series’ few thematic strengths.
In Siberia, Techno’s idea of a skiing date spot, the characters meet a scientist who has lived by himself in a facility for fifty years. He speaks Japanese, inexplicably (he actually does explain it, but it makes no sense – hence the comedy). He doesn’t realise that he’s fifty five years old, and still thinks of himself as having that five year old body. Here Hitomi can see the long term effects of isolation, and Techno is infuriated and can’t quite place his finger on why.
The exact lesson learned is that it would not benefit Techno to be sent back to his shelter, because otherwise he’ll stay seriously messed up and get even worse. To become worse than Techno already is doesn’t bear imagining – he’s really a moron.

The only time Techno seems sympathetic at all is when he travels back to 1985 and meets his five year old self. For once he acknowledges the sadness of his existence, even yelling truths at his childish apparition. It’s really sad that Techno’s grandfather wants so much for Techno to be a good part of society, but did so poorly at it. Locking a child away doesn’t let them learn and grow socially, and therefore solves nothing.

Basically, Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy survives on its merits as a look at the sort of society that can produce freakish offshoots like Techno and meek, half submissive women like Hitomi and her unsupportive friends. It turns out to be a great examination of loneliness, but for once it could be a bit more preachy – because Techno can’t see the consequences of his actions. He’s going to end up with Hitomi, that’s probably for sure: but without being able to see his mistakes, will he really have learned? Will he not repeat the past, will he change at all, if he can’t accept the truth of life?
In the last two episodes, Techno had better at least begin to become human, or this series will really have been quite infuriating. Although, of course, Yamakawa X is still gold.

Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy – episodes 1 to 4

August 9, 2004 on 11:32 pm | In Don't Leave Me Alone, Daisy | Comments Off on Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy – episodes 1 to 4

Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy is probably the weirdest thing ever made, based on a decidedly amoral idea.
Techno, a boy who lives in a nuclear bunker, one day spies a young maiden on his lawn. The images relayed by his camera system raise his adrenaline levels and tell him that he is experiencing love for the first time. After three months practise with a robot, he goes to school, christens the girl ‘Daisy’ despite her name being Hitomi, and declares that she belongs to him.

It’s not just the idea that a woman can belong to a man. That’s outmoded as it is, but it’s not as blatantly wrong as:

  • Techno trying to coat Hitomi in formaldehyde to preserve her from the dangers of the world – coincidentally killing her (first episode).
  • Techno threatening to drop Hitomi from one hundred feet if she refuses to eat lunch with him (second episode).
  • On these two episodes alone, it’s a wonder that Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy had an audience left to watch it.
    Fortunately, after these outings, Techno softens just a little bit, making vague attempts to understand Daisy, and Hitomi making valiant efforts not to get herself killed.
    Come episode four the viewer, if not Hitomi, can start to see something in Techno that made him what he is. He has no parents, and believes in ‘just the two of us’: firstly his grandfather, and then himself and Daisy. His grandfather wants to integrate him into society, while having raised the young boy to anticipate the apocalypse. It explains where Techno’s coming from, but it doesn’t excuse what he does. However, something breaks inside of Hitomi and the audience when they come to understand the desperate feelings of loneliness.

    Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy isn’t really offensive so much as it is just wrong, but there’s some aspects about it that allow one to watch without turning off in complete disgust. Firstly, it doesn’t play stalking too much for laughs, as the producers probably realise that one of society’s worst nightmares is being captured by their stalker – so it has other things to lighten the mood. Miss Rarako, the swimsuit donning teacher who panics about appropriateness, is generally hilarious and the one source of fan service.
    The actual comedy comes from Yamakawa X, the self proclaimed outcast of Japanese society (who is actually much more popular than he realises). He’s so down that he even lets Techno pick on him. His rebel without a cause routine is funny by itself, but is boosted by his family. His mother and brother are ashamed of him, because he used to be such a good boy. When Yamakawa runs off after being trapped in a monster suit, his mother cries “I just hope he doesn’t go crazy and destroys Tokyo Tower!” His brother’s response is gold, and worthy of meriting a bracketed exclamation mark, like so – (!).

    Don’t Leave Me Alone, Daisy is a late night production from the team behind Haunted Junction, and they have that nice late night feel to them (although most modern licenced anime is broadcast late at night), but this is significantly different. With the addition of a couple of surprisingly high profile names amongst the general assortment of first timers, it’s okay to listen to, and the OP is genuinely creative. It might be difficult to to get past the definitely disturbing subject matter, but despite itself it can boast a certain charm.
    Still, one suspects that these DVDs are out of print for a reason.
    It might be wrong on a base level, but at least it doesn’t make stalking seem too acceptable a pastime.

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