Me!Me!Me!: A Close Look at the Cost of Otaku Culture

Starting this blog post off, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Me!Me!Me!, it’s not an easy video to watch. I am on my twentieth viewing of this video and it still makes me feel semi-uncomfortable when watching it. So fair warning, this music video is probably one of the weirdest things you’ll watch. There are a few images some might find disturbing. This music video was a joint creation between character designer Shuichi Iseki and director Hibiki Yoshizaki. Yet the song itself was created by a Japanese DJ and producer Teddyloid with lyrics created by Daoko.

((This video has a lot of flashing lights, so those who are prone to seizures might want to skip this video or just listen to the song on youtube instead.))

https://vimeo.com/113998423

Now I know this is a music video, but I feel like this conveys a story not many people take the time to really look at. From the images to the lyrics (the translated lyrics at this link are timed with a different video but essentially are matched up with each singing segment of the video), every layer is a story of addiction explained. The main character is called Shuu (Also spelled Syu), and Shuu is an Otaku. Otaku culture is basically just an obsessive interest, it just happens to mostly be toward anime and manga. Which in this video is very indicative of Shuu’s room; the figures, the toy gun, etc. This video centers around Shuu and how his addiction or obsessive interest has effected his life. Specifically toward his girlfriend Hana ( the pink haired girl). It has a heavy basis of struggle between reality and the fiction of his obsessive tendencies.

 

Screenshot of Shuu from Me!Me!Me!

Shuu from Me!Me!Me!

The women from Me! Me! Me!

The women from Me! Me! Me!

The world we see between :22-1:07 is the fantasy, the well-endowed, cute girls that seem to be absolutely and only interested in Shuu. The atmosphere is colorful and the music is cheerful, seemingly harmless. This is the fantasy world. To Shuu these girls only love him, only see him. Looking at the translated lyrics,

“Always, Always, We were together at all times.
Always, Always, I was thinking of you.
Your company, Your time,
My feelings are divided into two, baby.
Right now, at a time like this, I would like to show you your pain.”

These girls are the distraction to keep Shuu from seeing how alone he is. This could be seen as how the Otaku culture with anime can be, a lie. This idea is literally wiped away at 1:12, with the dark obsessive addiction side revealed.

 

Fallen Hana from Me!Me!Me!

Fallen Hana from Me!Me!Me!

One of the women from the dark world from Me! Me! Me!

One of the women from the dark world from Me! Me! Me!

In the next section (1:07-1:45) we are introduced to Fallen Hana. Fallen Hana is Shuu’s personified addiction among other things. She controls the women that lead him into obsession. In this world the women are almost like puppets with strings attached to them, all their movements are the same and they are basically prisoners. The world is dark and the music is no longer sweet as it once was. Going back to the translated lyrics,
 
“You told me.
I am the depth of your being.
I am your hatred and your sadness.
What you created is not a lie?
Am I the one you created, the real me?
My heart changed at your convenience.
False Memories, Narrow Mind.”
 
Fallen Hana is all the negative parts of Shuu, not just his addiction. Fallen Hana is his hatred and sadness. These idealized women are convenient for people like Shuu. The realization is that these ideas of women we see in the beginning of the video are not completely harmless and can give men like Shuu the wrong idea about women. This idea leads to a return to the same obsessive tendencies when real women don’t match up to these idealized anime women. Near the end of this section of the video Shuu is literally smothered by Fallen Hana, symbolizing his addiction battling to overtaking him. He knows the world is a lie, so he tries to fight it.
...

 

In the next section (1:47-2:19) we see him awaking from his “dream”, also probably attempting to escape this dark world that is smothering him. When he is awake he believes it’s all a dream. Yet Fallen Hana pushed her way through the fantasy into reality, basically invading Shuu’s life. She chases him in his small room, and pinning him to the ground, regurgitates into his mouth. I believe this could represent painful memories he wants to forget. Yet it could represent a many number of things, such as the anime industry’s degrading portrayal of women being shoved down his throat or his addiction taking over again.
 
Hana and Shuu from Me!Me!Me!
Hana and Shuu from Me!Me!Me!

 

At this point Shuu is almost watching a memory. This section (2:20-3:40) seems to be completely devoted to the memories he is most likely trying to forget. It seems as if Hana tried to pull Shuu out of his addiction, yet she failed. Shuu abandoned her, and his body movements almost make it seem like this was a bother, or unimportant.

“Show me your life, the figment of your undecided mind.
Extreme dissatisfaction, your real life was covered with distress.
A direct blow divided my days into two.
Return, love me. We’ve come so far.
If only I could just erase it all.
I fall deep into unconsciousness,
As a form of distraction.
I will sing, I will sing for you.
You’re not here, lights have disappeared.
Please recall my heart, please recall my love, please come back.
Thinking of yourself made us distant.
Since that day, at that moment, when I dreamed of a flower
I could not stop thinking of you.
Please remember, please remind yourself,
I was more sad than you thought.
I’ll be waiting for you.”
 

Shuu’s attempt at a real relationship failed and he didn’t put in the effort to fix it. Most likely because in the portrayals of idealized anime women, mostly in dating simulators,  are always agreeable. The focus is only the men playing the game. Hana was crying and Shuu did absolutely nothing, he walked away and left her there. From the lyrics we can most likely assume Shuu is selfish when it comes to his addiction and did not believe he had a problem. After this we see Shuu’s realization of his mistake and Fallen Hana eating him. Once again, his addiction eating away at him. Yet Hana has left and is waiting for him to come back. Despite all that Shuu has done, she still cares about him. Shuu’s memories of Hana come flooding back and he wants to fight to be with Hana.

 

Hana from Me!Me!Me!

Hana from Me!Me!Me!

 

In the last scene (3:44-6:22), Shuu gains strength from his memories and fights to regain control of his life and overcome his obsession. He fights his way through the women who have fueled his addiction. They are almost rabid, trying to consume him once again. Although Shuu gets close to winning back Hana, she falls out of his reach. The lyrics show his love for her and how important she is. There is something inside Shuu that is ready to overcome his obsessive behavior. 

“Something is overflowing.
Something is overcoming.
She was a good girl.
Something is overflowing.
Something is overcoming.
It was good.
Overcoming, It was good, Overcoming.”
 
Shuu's Addiction

Shuu’s Addiction

 
The last part of the lyrics give the idea that it might be Fallen Hana talking by the fact it puts him down and overwhelms him with thoughts of self-defeat. The pace at which these lyrics are placed are fast and one could see how they could be very overwhelming.
 
“What will you do with your life?
What will you do for a living?
No matter how you live, you’ll always be a loser.
Fear stops, builds, and accumulates inside you.
Your memories overlap one after another.
She was a good girl. Envy, envy seems fun.
I tried my best. What are you gonna do yourself?
I want you to realize that they are just pieces of a broken mirror.
By your side, By your side,
I was waiting for you, I loved you.
Hey, hi, hey look, hey, hi.
Hey, hi, hey! Look at the sky!
I’m not going anywhere!
Goodbye.”
 
At this point it seems like Fallen Hana has consumed the good memories of Hana and has left Shuu only with these overwhelming thoughts. Even the crowd of women overtake him. He ends up being consumed once again by his addiction, just this time they have almost consumed him entirely. The lyrics tell us that Hana has left, and that the idealized women are just mirror images that are broken. They can never actually love him, or give him anything. Yet they have won his attention and keep him distracted. By the end of the video we are back to the beginning of the video of Shuu in bed, looking toward the camera. His addiction is an endless fight, that just ends the same place he started. Depression works this way, you get down on yourself, and sometimes you don’t want to leave your bed. Shuu has a very real problem which he avoids with his obsession for this fake world that only makes him happy for a short while. Shuu’s problem is he is seeking help from a place that won’t give it to him, just delving him further into depression and further into addiction.
 
Last scene from Me!Me!Me!

First and last scene from Me!Me!Me!

 

  6 comments for “Me!Me!Me!: A Close Look at the Cost of Otaku Culture

  1. jturner2
    February 17, 2015 at 8:16 am

    To be honest, this is was quite possibly the best music video analysis I’ve ever read. You read into that video with more in-depth acuteness and critical analysis than I could of given the time. Watching it for the first time, I found myself just thinking “Oh this is just some weird anime’s video, but it has great animation quality so I might give this a look see.” However, after watching it a couple times, I started to see it as you analyzed. I saw it as showing the pitfalls of Otaku culture and how an obsession can lead to destroying real-life relationships. Thanks for the great read, good work.

  2. Casey
    February 17, 2015 at 8:27 am

    It’s interesting when a medium chooses to embrace weirdness to further its point. Me!Me!Me! seems to do this very effectively. By being so overtly odd in its portrayal of the main character’s relationship issues caused by his absorption into the Otaku lifestyle. However by being so odd a work runs the risk of alienating much of its potential audience through them stopping their experience as a reaction to said oddity. Me!Me!Me! definitely has a message to get across, but do you think that the benefit of the striking oddity is worth that possible alienation? Or would it be better to portray it in a way that wouldn’t unnerve so many others? I personally think the former. Also I very much enjoyed your blog post.

    • blissfulmomo
      February 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

      jturner2: Thank you!

      Casey: I think the weird aspect is important. I believe without the striking images, the idea of being eaten alive by obsession and addiction wouldn’t come across well. Addiction is unnerving and I believe the video captured that idea. Addiction and depression isn’t a perfect picture.

  3. jamerive
    February 18, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I can definitely say that this article you’ve written (and the video as well) are well thought and articulate. In regards to the video, I appreciate your disclaimer about it being possibly “weird” or “disturbing” as it was an apt statement but I will also say that it didn’t feel inappropriately so. By that I mean that I agree with Casey about it using its own oddness to drive its point through to the viewer and that it takes an effort to get through, but that with many other stories worth telling, the pay-off leaves you with something to think about. Given your context, I didn’t have to make too much supposition of my own, but my one question is this: do you think that the music video is an effective medium for such a story? I’m referring less to the images themselves but in their coupling with song and “dance.”

    • blissfulmomo
      February 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      I do believe it’s an effective medium. The song helps drive the multiple layers of the story of Shuu. First carefree, then more intense, sad, dynamic, and finale. Without the music, and the lyrics that come with them, I feel the story wouldn’t be as clear. I think the moves that go along with the song really bring the idealized nature of the women, every element is important in the telling of the story.

  4. VideoVillain
    October 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Just watch this video breakdown, it is amazing and eye opening:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHIf2IFloAc

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