Hen Zemi Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! — I’m taking a look at the first episode of every show from the Spring 2011 anime season that has been subtitled, and giving it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Hen Zemi, or “Hentai Seminar” a.k.a. “Abnormal Physiology Seminar” is a weekly television anime series that started in April 2011, following a two-part Original Video Animation that aired in July, 2010 and March, 2011. The series is based on a comedy manga series by Tagro. The show follows the shocking exploits of students of a college-level course that explores various sexual fetishes and situations.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: Nanako tries to maintain sanity surrounded by perverts; It’s the Two Girls One Cup of Anime!
Episode Summary: Nanako meets up with Komugi, who warns against her walking down a certain staircase unless she wants to be spied upon from below. Later, when Nanako turns in her paper to her professor about farting in the bathtub, it is summarily rejected as “not being too perverted enough”. Meanwhile, her fellow students delve into such topics as incubating fruit fly larva in earwax, touching breasts by touching any part of the body, using adult diapers while in public, and “netorare” (if you don’t know what that is, don’t look it up unless you have a strong constitution).
My Reaction: Ah…Hen Zemi…so we meet again. I gave the first episode of the OVA a solidly positive review, then turned around and gave the second episode a solid thumbs-down. The type of humor didn’t really change from the first episode to the second, and it hasn’t really changed with the regular television series, either. So…what the hell happened?
I guess the bloom wore off the rose pretty damn fast. The first episode of the OVA was new, novel, fresh…and completely shocking. As a one-shot, it was more like “Oh My Fucking God I Can’t Believe They Did That”, a novelty show that broke the borders of the profane and took you places you’d rather not go (or so I would hope). The second episode was just…more of the same. No novelty, no shock, just more boundary-blowing humor. And for the first episode of the television series it was just…more of the same. By now it’s more like “Ho hum, what sort of taboo will they explore today? Yawn.”
Also, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s all about sexual fetishes, there’s more the focus on “abnormal physiology” than “abnormal sexuality”, hence we get such oddities of purposefully cultivating the eggs of fruit flies in one’s ears. First of all…yuck? Second of all…what the hell?
Nanako is, of course, adorable. As the sweet, innocent “newbie”, she really is the only normal one in the bunch, unable to even conceive being abnormal (farting in the bathtub as perversion? not in the same league as NTR by a long-shot!) Watching her in a continuous state of shock and surprise at everything is funny at first (as in the first OVA), but just gets tiring after a while.
Alas, it looks like Hen Zemi was, at best, a one-trick pony. It’s funny as a one-shot shock special, but the humor just does not wear well over time. The one big plus for the show are the artwork and character designs, which are great — there’s just something really neat about how the characters look with their big, round designs. But that’s hardly enough to keep watching this show. Sorry, but “perversion du jour” is not for me.
- Videos and Previews:
- Additional Info Resources:
- Official United States Licensing Information:
- Not yet licensed in the United States.
- The Blog-Roll of Reviews:
- “Strictly speaking, Hen Zemi could end up being the 2 Girls 1 Cup of anime—it sounds funny on paper, but you just might end up leaving halfway through the performance. Grade: 10/25.” – AniMaybe First Impressions
- “Hen Zemi pretty much was the best fanservice comedy of the new season, but that has mostly to do with the fact that all of the other fanservice shows were so poor. I enjoyed it, but at the same time I unfortunately noticed that it has been tamed down compared to the OVA. Potential: 55%.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “This is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, for better or worse. I was expecting ‘wtf’, and what I got was ‘wtf’. Grade: 2.5/5.” – Moeronpan
- “I cannot say I enjoyed this episode. I enjoyed it up until the scene where the viewers were introduced to Mizukoshi’s research. It was hard to get through it after that. I don’t understand the humor of this series, which is why I do not find it funny. It crosses the line of funny into the realm of disturbing.” – Rabbit Poets
- “All I get is fugly characters that all look like their faces were boxed in and a garbage story with failed comedy and a lot of talk about sex. What makes this complete trash is how it’s all sex, and not even the least bit interesting visually, musically, or story wise.” – Seventh Style
- “Certain charms to the original OVA series, as oddly raunchy as the series was, kind of defined it for the most part. Taking out the raunchy sex and such changes the series completely, and just makes it seem more like a standard fanservice show. Grade: 6.0/10.” – Emory Anime Club
- “I’m actually enjoying this, although most of the humor is of the “I can’t believe they did that” variety. This show stretches the boundaries of socially acceptable behavior to the limit, and just when you think they can’t go any further, jumps fifty miles downstream.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “Call me strange and throw rotten tomatoes at me but Hen Zemi deserves some praise for bringing up touchy topics and dirty little secrets into light. I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with me but I found much of the topics at hand funny and eerily irresistible. Grade: 4/5.” – Population GO
- “The first episode, had panties, feces, sexual euphoria out of jealousy, etc. It confuses the heck out of me. I get the charm that each character have. But their existence is simply not yet, established, in the first episode.” – The Dere Moe Project
SPRING 2011 ROUND ONE RESULTS!
- First Episodes from the Spring 2011 Season receiving a thumbs-up: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha, Dog Days, Moshidora, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, Tiger and Bunny, Fireball Charming, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, A Channel, Sengoku Otome: Time Paradox, Nichijou, Yondemasu-yo Azazel-san, C – The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono, Showa Monogatari
- First Episodes from the Spring 2011 Season receiving a thumbs-down: Sket Dance, Softenni, Happy Kappi, Astarotte’s Toy, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera, Inazuma Eleven Go, Hidan no Aria, Suzy’s Zoo Daisuki Witzy, Seikon no Qwaser Season 2, The World God Only Knows Season 2, Toriko, Maria Holic Alive, 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku, Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, Fairy Tail OVA, Plastic Nee-san, Yu-Gi-Oh: Zexal, Nana to Kaoru OVA, Shukufuku no Campanella OVA, Gintama, Tono to Issho: Gantai no Yabou, Hen Zemi
- Coming up next (in this order – 41 down, 8 to go!): Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, Senjou no Valkyria 3, Honto ni Atta Reibai Sensei, Seitokai Yakuindomo OVA, Amagami SS OVA, Katte ni Kaizou, Detective Conan OVA 11, Asobi ni Iku yo OVA