Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy
Just what the world needs: shoujo for psychopaths.
I wish I could leave it at that and tell everyone to go home, that there's nothing to see here, but my job as a reviewer requires me to go further into the mire that is Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy. Although it wants to be a sweet, endearing romantic comedy, it is filled with callousness and mean-spirited behavior that goes far beyond the pale. There are no likable characters here, only stereotypes at best. What's worse, you've got a sadist masquerading as your lead! It's Hannibal meets Kimagure Orange Road, if you can imagine that. Just remove all the gore and cannibalism from the former and all humor and romance from the latter, and that's Daisy.
Techno has lived his entire life in a bomb shelter, tucked away due to his family's concerns about nuclear annihilation. In his youth, he has discovered thousands of technologies, but he finds one thing he is missing as he watches the cameras guarding his underground fortress--a young woman whose hat flies into their yard. Lovestruck, Techno names the girl of his dreams Daisy, and within a few short months has gotten himself enrolled in school so that he can meet and win said girl. Problem is, the girl's name is Hitomi, and she wants nothing to do with Techno. She's not mean about it, she's just isn't interested. But Techno is not dissuaded, and so over the course of 12 episodes, he uses every experiment, creature, and technology, no matter how dangerous or absurd, to claim Hitomi as his own.
Is there anything good in the show? Certainly. The opening/closing sequence music is actually very good and really catchy. Wait, I know there was something else...
Hmm... No, that's pretty much it.
Seriously, Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy varies between faintly amusing and strikingly painful to watch. I won't deny that it has a few moments where you laugh briefly in spite of yourself. In particular, there is one character, X, who belongs in a better show. He's an intentional outcast who separates himself from everybody, then wonders why he doesn't have any friends. Surprisingly, he's funny to watch most of the time, especially since he is usually a sideline to the main story. But he's only in every episode for a minute or so, and aside from him, everything else is worthless. If the animation (which is weak) or the character designs (which are pleasantly nondescript and tired) were even moderately interesting, there might be more hope. But there's not. And those are the highlights.
Techno is not really in love with Hitomi--he just wants to own her. You cannot truly love someone you abuse. Techno consistently abuses Hitomi by putting her in highly dangerous situations and constantly kidnapping, stalking, and attacking her. If that weren't enough, his refusal to use her real name makes her nothing more than a pet. By the end of the show, Hitomi isn't sure exactly who she is. This isn't funny, folks--this is where you call Domestic Services and get the heck out. The parallel I made earlier with Hannibal Lecter is where this obsession fits--as Hannibal is obsessed with Clarise, so too is Techno obsessed with Hitomi. In those films, though, Hannibal is seen as a sick, twisted individual who needs to be locked away. Here, Techno is just "misunderstood". He has no arc, no growth--he is the worst of characters, a bully who stays that way because everyone adapts to him rather than standing up to him.
What's worse is that the heroine eventually submits to her fate. If Hitomi had any individuality or even spine, the show might work a bit better. However, Hitomi is such a poorly written character that we are distressed by her plights but we don't relate to her personally. The absurd ending has her deciding that he's OK after all, kissing him to stop the destruction of the world and then winding up boyfriend and girlfriend. By that point, we're so exhausted by the whole ordeal that we just stare blankly at the screen, willing to let Hitomi go off with the madman because we can no longer concern ourselves with it. It deadens our feelings of outrage through overload. The more I think about it, the angrier I get about how this show makes abuse seem like a rational way of dealing with the world.
Simply, Daisy whitewashes severe psychological problems by covering them up with a sugar coating. At times early on, I hoped that the show would become a dark comedy, something along the lines of a Dr. Strangelove or Pulp Fiction where we can laugh with the absurdity on the screen because we know it's all intentional. Even a show like Urusei Yatsura with all of its slapstick violence is innocuous because it isn't serious about itself. No such luck here, though--Daisy is played straight throughout. As such, it's patently offensive, particularly to those who have helped others with or dealt personally with the real problems of abuse. If that doesn't stop you, here's the last thing--it's just plain boring, an epiphany to dullness. I wrote to a friend recently about how there's a difference between merely mediocre anime and "screechingly, howlingly, scratch out your eyeballs please somebody make it stop bad" anime. This is that anime. Am I getting my point across?
This show stinks. Can reviewers use that word? Today, I don't care--this show is offensive, stupid, and mind-numbing, and I want to spread the word. I've got great shows like Macross, Video Girl Ai, and The Irresponsible Captain Tylor sitting on the shelf waiting to be watched. There's no need for crap like this. Life is too short for bad anime.
Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy -- violence and abuse played for laughs - F
(though I casually throw a C+ at our poor friend X who deserves better than the rest of this dreck)