Finished at 2:48am on a Thursday.
Summary: HenSemi tells the story of Matsutaka Nanako, a young woman who joins a college seminar nicknamed HenSemi (short for Hentai Seiri, or Abnormal Physiology Seminar) that’s about weird fetishes. She joins because a guy she has a crush on is in it. Said guy, Komugi, is into things like public masturbation, netorare, and letting other people eat his poop. Naturally, Nanako feels pretty boring and vanilla in comparison, so she tries to step up her own kink game to match his. Usually, she just ends up being grossed out by Komugi and her other classmates. Nice, wholesome entertainment all around.
MAL Rating: 6.61 (OVA) 6.64 (TV)
Did it make you hate yourself? Yes. Yes it did.
If you couldn’t guess from the summary, there’s some NSFW content going on. It’s all below the cut, so be weary!
If there’s one thing I’ve always sought to learn more about, it’s sex. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of kink and fetishes, despite not being kinky in any way, shape, or form myself. I just think it’s interesting to learn about what gets people’s rocks off and why. Like, did you know that the reason why foot fetishes are a thing is because the brain wiring for “foot” and “horny” are super close to each other and oftentimes overlap? Wild, right?
When I discovered this show, I was gearing up to take a “psychology of human sexuality” class (and in my mind I probably quantified watching this garbage with studying
ahead). I was hoping for a strange hidden gem that deconstructed sex and conducted some Freudian analyses on its characters’ kinks.
A hidden gem is not what I got.
What I got was a crusty turd that should probably stay buried way, way deep in the manure pile I found it under.
The series consists of a two episode OVA and a 13 episode television series with 12-minute long episodes, so it made for quick late-night bingeing. The OVA definitely trumps the TV series, since it could get away with showing things like a girl fucking an inflatable dolphin, whereas the television series suffered from censors constantly getting in the way of most of the shock-content. And, as I’m sure you can imagine from what I’ve said so far, it’s got a lot of shock-content.
There’s a lot to be said for the ways that other people shame other people for being into “weird” sexual practices, despite the fact that, essentially, everyone is into some kind of weird shit because, essentially, all sex is kind of weird.
Even though there’s lots to be said, HenSemi manages to…not say anything. Instead, it just kinda make fart noises into its hands. It’s really just a whole lot of weird, cheap shock jokes about drinking pee or eating tampons. There are a few genuine laughs, but mostly you’re just cringing. After a certain point, it fails to even shock you. You’re used to it. You can see it coming from a mile away.
Seeing as how this is a very short series, there’s not much in terms of character development or plot. Nanako’s “I’m inexperienced and don’t belong here” shtick gets old real fast, and Komugi is borderline sociopathic, not because he’s into weird sex shit, but because he constantly does things like sneak inside Nanako’s apartment and humiliate her for fun, his face never changing from a smug grin.
Pretty much all of his antics are very rape-y, so why Nanako still wants to bone him is beyond me. This is a common issue in anime (and in media in general) – girl finds absolute sociopath absolutely irresistible. Even in a show that’s as absurd and rancid as this, shouldn’t there at least be some heart? Shouldn’t I at least get a romance worth rooting for? Why, at the center, is there an awful hetero romantic love interest that’s painted as, like,~a quirky rapist~? Why am I suffering through this? Also, why aren’t there more gays in this sex class?
The characters other than Nanako & Komugi are also all terrible, like the creepy professor, the ahegao face Miwako, and Taguchi, the loser who’s always getting shafted by his girlfriend and never getting laid. Taguchi’s girlfriend, Makiko, should have been the real star of the show, but unfortunately, she doesn’t get nearly enough screentime. There was also a biker chick who I really wanted to be a lesbian, but she wasn’t. Instead, she for some reason had split personalities and was never a biker and wanted to fuck her own brother or something.
I guess there were some cool aspects. I genuinely liked the opening and ending sequences to the OVA, and the cutesy art style contrasted with the icky content was novel enough, but <surprisingly>, a show with more than one episode revolving around sneaking cum or pee into other people’s food is, uh, not really that great of a watch.
There is a manga, and perhaps that’s a bit more cohesive, but I’m not going to bother finding out, because unless for some reason there’s a North American publishing company willing to serialize a niche fart and cum joke series, only shitty scanlations will ever exist. Also, I don’t think I care enough. This was truly anime hell.