The narrator slowly returns to consciousness, only to find himself in a pigpen? Huh?! The last thing he remembers is eating some raw pig liver, as you do when you’re a scrawny, bespectacled otaku science major. (All the tropes.) Wait, why does his body feel so…rotund? And why can’t he stand up?! Thankfully, a drop-dead gorgeous blond enters the barn and somehow knows that he’s a human trapped in a pig’s body. Ah, that’s handy: she can read minds. And even more fortunate for Pig-san, Jess, as she is known, seems only too willing to accede to his every lustful thought, shortening her skirt for his benefit, stroking him…yeah, life as a pig may not be so bad! But since he prefers the hard-to-get type, he has to explain to her that she shouldn’t fulfill his every wish, at least not right away. Just the ones that he explicitly tells her to. To help her, he adopts a lecherous tone for the things he just wants to indulge in thinking, and his normal tone for the things he’s telling her to do right then and there. As the episode winds to a close, he remembers to ask whether there might be a mage or something who could turn him back into a human. It’s not super urgent though, as long as her skirt is fluttering like that and she’s squatting down in front of him.
Mkay. Thanks for that, anime-san. I mean, I should have expected it from the studio, Project No. 9, that brought us some of the most unsettling ecchi-not-ecchi series of the past year or so: My Tiny Senpai, and Miss Shachiku and the Little Baby Ghost. They’ve made an art of producing series that don’t necessarily look like ecchi (that is, no nudity), but holy jumpins, sure are problematic in the way they objectify women, children, and so on. Here’s another “gem” in that vein! I’ll admit it, I have a pet peeve for series like this that, in order to make the male lead come across as a nice guy, use the limitless creative potential of fiction to conjure up a reality where either every other man is a complete jerkface or the female lead is so disenfranchised and lacking in self-worth that she willingly acts in a slavish manner so that the ML can throw a couple of lines expressing basic human decency her way and come across as so utterly magnanimous that he gets a free pass to act like a patronizing, lecherous perv to his heart’s content. We haven’t met any other male characters yet, so I can’t speak to the first conceit, but the second one is here in spades. You know, the kind of spades used for cleaning out pig sties. And yes, I am aware that the whole ”man turns into pig” thing is meant to be a witty self-reflective commentary on the “men are pigs” stereotype but frankly, the writing is neither witty enough nor self-reflective enough to pull this off and instead it comes across simply as self-indulgent, juvenile wish fulfillment. Pig-san talks an awful lot and he talks an awful lot of rubbish. It gets boring really quickly, and you can see the layout artists were struggling to try to make these long monologues somehow engaging visually. Unfortunately, that often means random canted angles or focusing on Jess’s skirt fluttering provocatively in the breeze. I had actually been mildly looking forward to this one, thinking that it had great potential to use humor to critique the “men are pigs” stereotype. But instead it seems bent on proving it to be true and even rebranding such behavior as noble and kind. Also, for a series starring a pig, the porcine character design is pretty lacking. Guess they were spending all their time on Jess’s underpants.
Butareba -The Story of a Man Turned into a Pig- can be streamed on Crunchyroll if you really want to torture yourself.