Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
by Steve Jones,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? ?
Upon finishing the third episode of Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?, I found myself struck with admiration for how little the show takes itself seriously. That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but I sincerely appreciate that the show recognizes its audience is primarily watching for cute and/or hot mom shenanigans, so that's where it keeps its focus. The “trapped in a video game” stuff is perfunctory, to facilitate the skeleton of a plot and the requisite meta-jokes at the genre's expense, but really this is all about Mamako. I respect that kind of honesty, and I think any degree of success the anime accomplishes will depend on how much it embraces this strength.
We waste little time before diving into yet another pile of mom cheesecake, starting with a trip to the armory. It's not surprising that things kick off by paying homage to the longstanding RPG tradition of impractically horny bikini armor, although in this case I have to give props to Do You Love Your Mom for actually making it a bikini made out of armor, rather than a bikini as an accessory to armor. There is a difference, and I respect the care taken to authenticity. Of course, the show tries to have its cheesecake and eat it too by having a weary Masato grumble about seeing his mom in such attire. True, it's probably for the best not to have Mamako waltzing around with her buttcrack hanging out for the rest of the show, but Masato's role as the designated wet blanket continues to do no favors for his character.
The rest of the scene is taken up by more gag armor: a high school uniform, some black edgelord plate armor (my favorite), and some healer robes. These robes can't be equipped by a warrior class like Mamako, which is translated to her literally being unable to put them on. It's an okay gag, but mostly an excuse for the line “Help mommy get her clothes off!” to exist. Also, I know Japanese-to-English translation can be notoriously tricky and highly dependent on nuance and context, but I swear the translator keeps defaulting to “mommy” on purpose. Not that I blame them.
Mamako's ultimate armor choice is actually pretty cute. It's more or less a white dress, but with some red and blue trim on the armor plating and other little accessories for flair. The original character designer, Pochi Iida, has a good eye for design, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a lot more anime featuring her character work in the future. The second half of the episode takes us to the obligatory hot springs, so Mamako doesn't remain fully clothed for long. She joins Masato, mostly as a pretense to get all of the party members together in one big hormonally-charged soup, enticing the viewers to buy the Blu-rays. I feel like any other comment I could make on this scene (and there are plenty) would pale in comparison to the name of the hot spring itself, which is Maman's Milk Bath, so I refuse to comment any further.
Plot-wise, the crew has been sent to Maman to take care of the Empress of Night, a powerful mage living in the forest who has been accepting the village's young men as tribute. It's immediately obvious, however, that this figure is Wise's estranged mom, who has gone rogue and has no intention of adhering to the game's purpose of reconciling the relationships between mothers and their children. This opens a surprisingly complicated can of worms, and not all of them are good. For starters, we're already seeing some progress between Mamako and Masato. After he goes off on his mom for being excited about their adventure, Wise calls him out on his immaturity, and a conciliatory Masato walks his words back and makes up. This is how the MMMMMORPG is supposed to work, and it's especially black-and-white that Masato was being a jerk, while Mamako is only trying to help.
However, Masato and Mamako's relationship is only uncomplicated because Mamako still doesn't have much characterization beyond being the platonic ideal of a mother. Real familial relationships are more complex than that, because parents are real people with their own desires and shortcomings. The predicament with Wise's mom seems to be indicative of this, but she only makes things more problematic. She's shown to be cartoonishly evil and selfish, amassing a harem of surrogate “sons” that she literally arranges around her like a dude throne. Clearly she's bad news, but by contrasting her with Mamako, an unfortunate implication can be drawn that a mother having any desires of her own—especially sexual desires—makes her unfit to be a parent. Equally problematic is the implication that Wise needs to make up with her mom, and is in fact required to do so in order to leave the game. The story waxes poetic about the special relationship between a mother and child, but like all relationships, there's no universal constant, and maternal relationships can be just as toxic and abusive as any other. Children aren't duty-bound to make up with parents who have failed them. I have no doubt that Do You Love Your Mom has good intentions, but it's broaching touchy subjects well outside of its comedy-driven wheelhouse.
It could be fairly argued that I'm reading into the show's themes much more deeply than the quality of the writing merits, but even deliberately trashy anime has things to say, whether it intends to or not. I'm still surprised at how much I'm enjoying the show, mostly because of how ridiculous and bawdy its fanservice has been despite Masato's many protests. However, if it's going to thoughtlessly attempt some kind of moral lesson, I'm going to be far less enthusiastic. Do You Love Your Mom continues to function as a reasonably amusing self-aware isekai romp with plenty of motherly cheesecake to titillate its audience, but in no way do I trust it to say anything meaningful about motherhood without tripping over itself.
Steve is lost in space, but he can still stream anime so it's okay. A communications relay has been established on his Twitter.
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