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Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World
Episode 6

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World ?
Community score: 3.8

So there's a key point about Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World that almost seems too obvious to make right now, but what else do I have going on? We're six episodes in, halfway through the cour, and the tube of generic protagonist paste that is Michio doesn't even yet have a harem to take into that labyrinth! He has one (1) slave-wife whom we've barely gotten to see him bang twice at this point, and the rest of their relationship is predicated on watching them slowly compose a GameFAQs guide, which probably isn't even one of the cool ones with ASCII art!

This is the point I was trying to make back at the beginning of these reviews about you folks deserving better: the people at Passione have put together some rather impressive indecent indulgences in previous years. They gave us Interspecies Reviewers, for god's sake! Even something like Mieruko-chan had more frequent, interesting fanservice interspersed with its primarily horror efforts. You shouldn't have to waste your time on the oversold pretenses of this show that has no Harem and far too much Labyrinth.

I, however, am obligated to waste my time on it, and for the first three-quarters of this episode, it was the same as it ever was: Michio and Roxanne stand around while she meticulously details how boss encounters work, they fight the boss, and then some other enemies. The lack of imagination in its sparse sex scenes (especially since those are supposedly the main appeal) really does apply to the show overall, particularly to these dungeoneering sections. The second floor looks exactly the same as the first one, a feature Michio can barely muster a shrugging acknowledgement of, which only begs the question of why original author didn't at least describe the bricks as being a different color or something.

But alongside the red-hot action of seeing Michio pick up medicinal herbs or watching the clerk at the potion shop make change for him in real time, this episode of Harem Labyrinth does have a little more narrative thrust to it, actually centered on that much-ballyhooed slavery element! The cruel irony of this show was always that it was so mechanically milquetoast about the whole human ownership side of its story that I couldn't even provide analytical teardowns to engage the forums (though it, uh, looks like y'all got up to that just fine even without my input). But at this point I might as well get right into it, as Michio—and by extension the show's narrative—at last shifts from merely being a participant in human trafficking because "Hey, when in Rome, right?" to being an active defender of the institution.

What's especially wild is that Harem Labyrinth is still presenting the same consent-manufacturing logic pretzels on the chattel-ification of people from the first episode. There's kind of a hilarious desperation in the way the narrative paints the enslaved criminal as some kind of subversive manipulator utilizing the fair, honest slave trade for his own personal gain, which also includes, you know, maybe not being a slave anymore. It's extra hilarious that the reason Michio becomes suspicious of the situation is because he clocks someone who doesn't fit the profile of a clean, upstanding slave trade customer. His immediate impulse is to warn Alan, small business owner extraordinaire, about a possible plan to compromise his human merchandise.

That's all perhaps to be expected from a story where the entire appeal is the fetishized removal of agency and personhood from others. And if the show can't play on the power imbalance kink for the sexy scenes then thank god it can at least incorporate it into its droning exposition! No, the bit that actually manages to be equal parts reprehensible and hilariously indicative of Harem Labyrinth's other ongoing failings is how it integrates Roxanne in this setup. The show still won't confirm for us why she was pushed into the slave trade in the first place, but it will insist that she was treated so nicely at the place where she otherwise had all her fundamental rights stripped away that she feels driven to defend it. Roxanne has no characteristics independent of her slave status, so the most active role Michio can take as her love interest is defending the origin of her Stockholm syndrome.

The show could at least have the decency to be awful in an outrageous, provocative way, but what's most annoying about all this is that it still can't manage to be anything other than just plain boring. Even stopping the friendly local human-trafficking shop from being burned down is implied to be just a side result of Michio wanting to experiment with game mechanics. So every step of preparing for the raid is as rote and over-explained as the characters killing the same trees over and over in the labyrinth was. It's like reading a very boring post arguing with me about Why Slavery Is Okay, Actually, without any creative insults or even some sexy stolen anime girl art in the signature.


Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.

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