TW: rape, sexual assault. If these are issues for you, do not watch Green Green.
#1 Insufferable protagonists
Green Green is an ecchi romcom anime set in a school far removed from civilization. For years this school has been a male-only institution, but it’s considering going co-ed. To that end, a pilot is started where its student body is temporarily mixed with that of a girls-only school. A plan that falls apart almost immediately as the horny male students instantly proceed to terrorize the girls.
Caught in the midst of this is Yusuke Takasaki. A grumpy dude who is disinterested in this pilot and most other things. Still, since he is the one student who can be relied upon not to be a horndog, he is put forward as something of an emissary. It is then that he draws the attention of Midori Chitose. A girl who leaps into his arms the moment they meet and declares her undying love for Yusuke.
While I have many issues with Green Green, most are related to its obnoxious protagonists. Midori has no personality when you get down to it. She is characterized only by her obsessive love for Yusuke, from which all her other traits stem. She is gratingly peppy, overly clingy, prone to emotional outbursts and unreasonable temper tantrums, but all of that is determined only by her interactions with Yusuke. It’s not even obsessive in a funny way.
This also doesn’t meaningfully change in any way. Midori puts all her cards on the table in the first moments of episode 1 and that’s it. She just keeps behaving the exact same way, repeating the same routines, hoping that Yusuke will just acquiesce at some point. Her archetype would be annoying in any romance story, but here it’s expected to carry the entire show. They want you to be invested in this non-character.
Yusuke is bad as well, but at least nowhere as bad. He’s mostly a boring, stick-in-the-mud kinda guy. Always grumbling and lecturing at people, getting upset over little things. Similarly not a character that I could enjoy as the lead in a romance anime. At least I didn’t utterly despise him as I did with Midori.
My biggest problem with him is how weak his arc is. He gives Midori the cold shoulder for ten episodes. Straight up not accepting any of her advances and justifiably complaining that her behavior is annoying. She is not endearing herself to him and he wants her to stop. Then there is a sudden magical twist, at which point Yusuke’s personality instantly turns. Without any lead-up, he is now madly in love with Midori too. He is a completely different character now. Impeccable writing skills.
#2 Obnoxious attempts at comedy
If anything, Midori does a good job setting the tone for the kind of comedy you can expect in Green Green. It’s loud, it’s obnoxious, and it’s repetitive. Even if you go into it looking for some sleazy ecchi fun—as I did—Green Green still feels so thoroughly un-fun.
Most of the humor is divided between Midori’s clingy behavior towards Yusuke and the antics of the school’s biggest perverts. These guys are constantly hatching schemes to seduce or harass their new classmates. They claim to be in love, but any girl will do really. While making their moves, these guys are basically always screaming, spazzing out, and cycling through exaggerated animations. No joke is ever delivered with a modicum of subtlety. It’s all barked at you at full volume by one of these hyperactive morons.
If you have seen any ecchi series, or even if you just have a general image of the stereotype around them, then most of Green Green will feel uninspired. The guys try to spy on the girls while they bathe and antics ensue. The guys invade the girls’ dorm and antics ensue. Midori throws a fit because someone else is partnered with Yusuke and antics ensue. The antics are, of course, never really that funny.
The only character that ever got a laugh from me was Wakabe. She is this quiet weirdo who is obsessed with the care for her cactus, which she carries around everywhere and speaks with. Funny how a joke can suddenly land when the characters don’t scream it at you.
#3 Straight up rape
There is also a meanness to the jokes that feel like attempts to push the ecchi content too far. Several jokes end up involving characters being raped; usually one of the male idiots being sodomized as a consequence for their scheming. One portion, however, has a female character being stripped by a horde of monkeys, whose dialogue implies—in no uncertain terms—that they want to sexually assault her. She is then pinned to the ground, a monkey gets between her thighs, and the camera cuts after a line implying that they are touching her genitals.
That’s the joke. Girl is raped by animals. It is even framed as being punishment, for her trying to get between Yusuke and Midori earlier in that episode. That’s… certainly a normal thing to write.
While this is the most extreme scene in the series, there are others that cross uncomfortable lines. Such as with the aforementioned dorm raid. One of the guys ends up watching a particularly-demure girl sleep, sniffing her body all over, and then crawls into bed with her. Later claiming that he couldn’t help himself.
More like this…
Arcade Gamer Fubuki: Awful shit directed by Yuuji Mutou.
Canary: Sister series
I My Me! Strawberry Eggs: Culture clash about a girls-only school.