Tag Archives: Heat Guy J

Apparently Daisuke is the “Heat Guy” of “Heat Guy J” (with notes on plot armor)

There are 26 episodes of Heat Guy J,
and for the first 24, there is no reason to doubt that J is the Heat Guy.
He’s a robot. He emits heat from special pipes.
And then, in the last two episodes, the human protagonist gets addressed as “heat guy.”
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This actually makes sense. The show’s opening title sequence juxtaposes their faces together.

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The one on the left is the “Heat Guy.” The one on the right is “J.” Apparently that’s how it’s supposed to be.

I respect Daisuke’s decision to use nonlethal bullets in his pistol. Unfortunately, the writing sucks. The writers did not use nonlethal bullets because they had an excellent idea about less-than-lethal firearms. The writers used nonlethal bullets because the marketing department told them: “We want a teenaged boy hero. He should have a gun. But make sure there’s no permanent death and not too much blood – this a show that eight-year-olds will be watching with their parents.”

Similarly, the romance component is designed to appeal to movie stereotypes and not to realism. The hero and his romantic foil ought to be madly in love with each other, but their romantic tension is no more than lukewarm, in order to avoid embarrassment. This is a show that small children can watch with their parents. The writers don’t need to include kissing or any of the awkward realities of courtship.

There are three teenaged girls who seem to be prostitutes, but their exact job is never explained. Their inclusion might have been intended as a sop to edgy teenagers.

There is a rapidly-aging drunk woman who can’t get men to commit to her, and the characters speculate that she might be a suitable wife for the middle-aged “salaryman”/”ojisan” character.The drunk woman’s daughter is an insufferably precocious girl. This kind of character was done much better by Engaged to the Unidentified (未確認で進行形, Mikakunin de Shinkōkei).

Heat Guy J is a very PG kind of show, perhaps verging on G-rated. The final villain is PG, because he is a living, walking manifestation of a Freudian Excuse. Characters routinely make stupid decisions that ought to get them killed, but people don’t get killed, because it’s all very PG. I might have liked it better if the villainy had been more grown-up. It is still a very watchable show, despite the plot armor protecting the stupid characters. In the end, all the personal rivalries are shown to be not so bad. There are still divisions, but by the final episode, the viewer gets the impression that it would be possible for all the characters to be reconciled into one big happy family.

Contrast this kind of family-friendly reconciliation with a story like Unforgiven. A major theme of Unforgiven is that people do not forgive; when possible, people raise the ante of violence to make the game more expensive. People get wounds that do not heal on this side of the grave.

I don’t care about the characters’ ages, I care about their responsibilities

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Heat Guy J is very unrealistic. It is a ridiculous background to show off some bland, sympathetic characters. Even I like these characters, and I hate just about everything.

Why do I like this show so much more than so many other anime shows?

Because the characters have responsibilities.

The protagonist is probably 15 or 16; his tsundere love interest is similarly young. But both of them do grown-up jobs as police. If they were in high school, I would not have bothered to watch their slow but inevitable romance.

Conversely, Tatami Galaxy is critically acclaimed and artistically beautiful, and it doesn’t engage me. The characters are essentially infantilized, even though they are in college. Likewise, Shaft’s very popular Nisemonogatari did not win my loyalty, because the hero is infantilized and useless, but still gets to hang out with pretty girls despite his tremendous uselessness.

A lot of shows for teenage audiences suck because they show an unrealistic transition from infantilized passivity to responsible action. For boys, this often means, “You were stuck in a boring high school, but now you’ve been handed the keys to a mech, and the bad guys are invading in even bigger mechs.” For girls, this often means, “You were stuck in a boring high school, but now you’ve been handed a magical girl’s wand, and the bad guys are teleporting in from the Negaverse.” Two noteworthy shows that bring realism to infantilized passivity are Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou and Tonari no Seki-kun. The first confronts the passivity with humor and the second goes from passivity to active goofing off. Those two shows are watchable because they are entirely humor-based.

Note that “responsibilities” are sometimes more interesting when they are not confronted. Welcome to the NHK features a protagonist who fails to engage with his responsibilities. It’s a very interesting and engaging show, because it shows a realistic failure to behave like an adult. A much more cheerful show is Arslan Senki, in which the protagonist realistically fails to be a hero because he is a 14-year-old boy surrounded by highly competent adults. An example of Arslan’s failure is his misguided attempt to free slaves who are not psychologically prepared for freedom. Arslan fails for the right reasons, but he never fails too badly, and his companions always take care of him. Arslan also has the initiative to take action and act like an adult in many respects (e.g. basic riding and sword-fighting), so he’s not an entirely useless waste of space like Araragi Koyomi.

Sometimes I love bland characters

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Heat Guy J is not a show with serious sci-fi themes.

It is a crowd-pleasing show about bland characters.

The girl shown here would be a perfect wife for the main character.

She is surprisingly modest, and she also loves him enough to risk her life trying to save him.

And she looks good in black hotpants.

She has a small amount of tsun and a lot of dere, but she also can handle a gun. I like that in a female character. I would like to say, “I like that in a woman,” but in real life guns are a lot less useful and dramatic than they are in fiction.

With the bobbed hair and hot pants, this character resembles “Armitage,” but this show is much more of a PG-13 show than “Armitage” was. “Armitage” tried to raise some serious issues. This show just tries to make the audience feel good. Sometimes art is merely an anesthetic or a sedative.