Episode four of Murenase! Seton Gakuen, aka Seton Academy: Join The Pack is here! Was it any good? Well, there was good and bad. Let’s discuss.
This week, we were introduced to Ranka’s big sister Ferrill. And by big, I don’t just mean older. You see, Ferrill is massive. Like, super tall. This is put down to Bergmann’s rule that animals in colder environments tend to grow larger. Because Ranka and her family came from up North – where it is twenty below zero – it makes sense. Even more so because she apparently kept lending Ranka her coat on cold days, meaning she felt the cold more.
This arc was actually really sweet. It was nice seeing Ranka talk about her family. Equally so, it was nice to see that Ferrill really does care about her little sister and that their arguments over Ranka befriending other animals hurt her. Her ridiculous level of toughness was also a lot of fun, with her regularly burying students headfirst in walls.
I’m happy that she seems to be sticking around to keep an eye on Ranka.
Continuing Side Quest + Broken Rules
The saga of King Shishino and Shiho continued too! I honestly expected it fall to the wayside and never be brought up again. Instead, we learn that Shishino’s stepping down as King has resulted in a turf war for the top spot, complete with rumours about big prizes and an invading force from another school (which turned out to be Ferrill, who wasn’t invading at all). Despite the escalating violence, the teachers aren’t stepping in either, meaning it’s pretty much par for the course there. The love story also took a sad turn as Shiho told him that she won’t be able to see him for a while as she must concentrate on her long jump club so that she is not beaten by the new club member. Her running off causes him to lose the rest of his mane in sorrow.
Meanwhile, the fan service this week was…toned down. The scene with Jin walking Ranka on a leash was fun. We got some brief shots of Miki in her usual state of undress, but these were few in number. Ferrill tried to ‘make a man’ of Jin via a seductive lick but stopped short of doing so. Yena’s de-pantsing also didn’t happen. The focus was more on the characters than the boobs this week. This was good. Until it wasn’t.
The Problem With Yena
So, Yena (a spotted hyena) turns up part way through the episode and tries to challenge Ferrill. Interestingly, Yena dresses like a male and is identified as such by the male wolves. But, Yena has human features, marking them as biologically female. This is where things got a little tricky.
Yena identifies as male. The others around him both see him as and treat him as, male. Jin immediately says he’s female based on facial appearance. When Yena tries to confront him about this during a cooking club session, Jin refuses to believe it. So, Yena tries to take his pants off to prove his point, only for Jin to point out that female spotted hyenas have genitalia that grows to the point of looking male, so it wouldn’t actually prove anything.
While Jin’s pointing out that Yena’s views on what being a male is all about were a little antiquated, the problem comes in the resolution on his end. You see, Yenas has lived in hand me down clothes from his big brother and has been convinced that he’s male from a young age. Jin puts this down to being a mistake on Yena’s part and applauds Yena for figuring it out, causing him to flee the room. Jin says he’ll work it out as he’s tough, and Ranka says he’s kind. What basically happened here is that the heroes completely vetoed Yena’s gender identity based on physical traits, applauded the concept of Yena just being silly and realizing he made a mistake, and then claimed it was kind.
But it clearly didn’t resolve anything for Yena. At home, his Dad has already gotten him a female uniform and his brother – who is now a hairdresser – gives her a more feminine haircut. At which point he runs off crying that he is a male.
What concerns me is that this essentially looks like we’re going to see Yena’s identity used as comic relief. I hope there’s more to it as the story goes on, and that it leads to development for everyone. I’m worried though. This series has an interesting set up and some genuinely funny moments, and I really don’t want to see it fall into being outright problematic.
When the episode got it right, it got it really right. The Ranka/Ferrill arc was great fun. The Yena arc was poorly dealt with though, mixing some good moments with a wave of transphobic undertones. Fingers crossed it gets back on track.
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Did you enjoy this episode? Do you agree or disagree with any of my observations? Let me know in the comments below.
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