Welcome back to my episodic review series for Murenase! Seton Gakuen, aka Seton Academy: Join The Pack. With episode 7, we get a conclusion to Yena’s gender arc. And…I’m happy with how that played out. First though, let’s talk about honey badgers.
So, honey badgers. In real life, they’re super tough. There are videos out there of them getting bitten by poisonous snakes, passing out, then getting up and hunting the snake down – in a tree – to kill it. Plus, they bite nads. I honestly didn’t know that Anamitsu was a honey badger until it was pointed out. I actually thought that she was a skunk. But no, she’s a honey badger.
To be fair, her arc here was fun. The basic idea is that she wanted to join Ferrill’s pack and decides to do so by beating up Ranka, but keeps getting distracted by a honeyguide bird. In the end, she gets attacked by a bunch of lions – and feels nothing – then sprays stinky fluid in Yena’s face, only to finally be made to feel pain by Ferrill herself. She did get to join the pack though after Ranka says it would be awesome.
This was all fine. There was nothing offensive, she has a cute, childlike level of attention, and the secret toughness was a nice touch. Good stuff.
The brunt of the episode was given over to Yena’s quest to find his gender identity. This started out with him attempting to act more female, which basically meant trying to imitate Hitomi. Why? Because he views her as the female of females in all of female-dom. It doesn’t go well initially, because it just isn’t Yena. Until it is.
For a brief moment, Yena comes across as super feminine – though Jin does notice that he isn’t really Hitomi-like – but blows it when he vomits up half-digested food. When the lions then attack Anamitsu, Yena snaps and reverts to male, taking them out in one blow.
This was far better done than I expected after Yena’s debut. There were actually some really nice moments too. First up, Ferrill’s second in command, Kuromori, still viewed him as male, even when he was in the girl’s uniform. The moment Yena said he was being female, Kuromori accepted that. Simply accepting someone’s gender identity is important, so well done that wolf.
Yena’s family too is very good here, supporting him no matter how he’s presenting. They compliment his femininity when he’s trying it, but the Dad actually refers to him as his son at the end too. Supportive families are awesome.
Finally, we have Jin. What was interesting here was that he was so insistent that Yena couldn’t be Hitomi, but the other girls were wanting to help him try. When Yena breaks down, Meimei offers the idea that he could just be a tomboy. That was well-intentioned, but I fell like Jin had a better viewpoint here. There’s a moment with the lions where he says, “So do it. Be a male.” That prompts Yena to accept himself again, and it was framed in a way that you could take it as Jin talking to Yena, the lions or both. He actually came through again this week.
Overall, this was a huge improvement in my eyes. I still maintain that the actions of the characters in episode four bordered on transphobic, but the final message is the right one. So well done Seton Academy, that restores my faith in the character a lot.
Oh, and does anyone else love how hyena fur markings are worked into Yena’s hair? That’s great!
Shiho x Shishino
The post-credit love story continued with the track Captain swearing to protect Shiho, only to run away and abandon her when some warthogs turn up. King Shishino stepped in though and saved her. She ran into his arms and admitted to lying about needing to focus on track; she was just scared about how much she was beginning to like him. Shishino, wanting to be her knight, gives her a big hug and doesn’t listen when she says top, so she kicks him in the face and runs off, because she’s not in heat yet. The whole ‘being in heat’ bit never really landed for me, here or prior, but I still think this is a sweet side story.
Fan service was pretty much left to Hitomi’s attempt to imitate Yena, so that remains at a low level. The humour was mostly good again too, and the actual story arcs were very good. The series is beginning to show some signs of consistency in quality too, most importantly, while it’s riding a high. So yay!
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.
Previous Episode Reviews
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 1
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 2
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 3
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 4
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 5
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 6