Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
by Steve Jones,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? ?
Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? continues its school arc with that familiar old chestnut of the annual school festival. At this point, even Masato seems incredulous at how many of these tropes are being shoehorned into this digital world, but he's also preoccupied by the party meetings his mom likes to hold in the hot tub. While it's business as usual for this mom-flavored isekai in many ways, with its frequent (and frequently awkward) fanservice, this episode also reminds us that deep down it has a good heart. Or at least, it tries.
In the wake of last week's conclusion, it's nice to see everyone get on board with helping Medhi tackle her own mom problems. Masato says he understands what it's like to not get along with your mom, but it's worth noting there's a significant gap between Mamako's good-natured doting and Medhimama's goal-oriented manipulation. For example, Mamako suggests opening a cafe for the festival so she can put her cooking skills to use, which is a suggestion Masato doesn't have much say in, but he doesn't object to it either. Medhimama, on the other hand, follows up with her own declaration of a cafe as an act of open war against Masato's crew. She creates a competition where there didn't need to be one, purely for the sake of pitting her daughter against her classmates in pursuit of assured victory. This isn't the first time she's done this nor the last, and at this point I don't think we needed an entire other episode to drill this point into the audience's heads.
Regardless of whether or not this arc needed to be so long, there's no question that Medhi needs to get away from her mother by the end of this episode. I mean, I was already convinced for a while that Medhimama was emotionally abusive, but her behavior this week is irredeemably abhorrent. First off, as their prospect of a successful cafe goes down the drain, she prompts her daughter to get changed into a swimsuit in order to attract customers with her body. Now, this by itself is awful, but when Medhi hesitates, she follows up by forcibly ripping her daughter's clothes off! In no way is that okay! Then she tells Medhi to charm Masato into sabotaging his mother's cafe, which is manipulative on several fronts. And later, she literally chokes Medhi and nearly beats her with her staff.
Medhimama is unquestionably abusive, but the real sticking point is going to be how Do You Love Your Mom handles the resolution of her relationship with her daughter. To put things bluntly, I don't trust this show's writing to handle this subject matter with the delicacy and empathy required for Medhi, although to be fair that will largely ride on how this arc wraps up next episode. But the prospects aren't great, mostly due to how much this situation clashes with the rest of the show's tone. Mixing video game humor with Oedipal overdrive fanservice is one thing, but mixing both of those with an unflinching portrait of an abusive parent is something entirely different. In the worst cases, the show's usual tone doesn't just conflict with the serious moments—it makes those moments less effective. Case in point, after Medhimama strips down her daughter, the camera leers over her naked body, and then there's a jokey scene of Masato getting blasted into a coffin. This is completely lacking the appropriate gravity, and it hurts whatever good will Do You Love Your Mom is trying to communicate.
It's a shame, because there are moments in this episode that come across genuine and heartfelt. When the gang finally catches Medhi on her own, they're compassionate but firm in their resolve to make her speak her mind. Medhi, who's been conditioned by her mother, takes a while to lower her defenses, but when she finally does, it's cathartic. She voices her own desires to do what she wants, and her tear-stained yet smiling face, surrounded by her new friends, makes for a heartwarming sight. After Medhimama's violent intervention, Mamako jets in at superhuman speed to shield Medhi from her mother's blows. I've frequently complained about the show not giving Mamako enough good material, but she feels like a powerful avatar of benevolent motherhood in a good way this week. She throws her entire body into the fray in this classically heroic moment, exposing Medhimama's faults while trying to protect her son's friend. If the show actually let Mamako be this badass more often, it'd be a lot better.
Unfortunately, outside of this final scene, Do You Love Your Mom doesn't break its mold too much this week, although it's mercifully more restrained than usual. It is kind of amusing that Mamako's motherly presence inspires not only the entire school to visit her cafe, but also guilts them all into doing plenty of waiting, bussing, and other restaurant work themselves. Less wholesome is Mamako shooting down a secret admirer with the line “I'm Ma-kun's mother, so I can't be your girlfriend.” Setting aside all of the obvious Oedipal jokes, mothers are allowed to have romantic lives, so implying otherwise makes for a sour note. The beauty contest also had me preparing for the worst in costume changes, but it ended up rather tame, with Mamako winning by accident just by advertising her fresh miso soup. And Porta is still precious.
Medhi comes across as a sympathetic character, but this show isn't able to reconcile its proclivity for horny mom antics with its ambitions to address abhorrent behavior from mothers. It's good to try and address abusive parenting, but it's not good to use a mother forcibly stripping her child naked as a vehicle for fanservice. These are serious issues that require more than lip service from characters. I'm at least interested in seeing how the next episode will go, now that Medhi's repressed anger has transformed her into a dragon (with blue hair and boobs, so we still know it's her). However, I can't say I'm optimistic about how Do You Love Your Mom will conclude this arc.
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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