18if centered around a man named Haruto, who travels into the dreams of girls afflicted with Sleeping Beauty syndrome, a fancy terms for people in comas. The twist is, whatever happens in their dreams sometimes affects reality, as a consequence of the experience they went through while awake. Or sometimes they create an entire world for themselves so preferable that they wouldn’t want to wake up.
You’d expect something inherently wrong for a man to be responsible for fixing a woman’s traumatic problems, and for the most part, you’d be right: 18if is particularly protagonist-heavy in terms of who gets the most credit. You’d also expect Haruto to be at least a likable person to follow around, but that’s wrong too. It makes the inherent patriarch structure of the anime that much more pronounced.
That’s why my favorite episodes are the ones where Haruto is mostly a visitor. When the dream is not contingent on his existence, the dream, the extension of the girl’s character, becomes the focus. It’s not that the girl has absolute control over what happens in the dream, but Haruto is not the one who establishes which region of the moral spectrum the girl should be in. It’s not that he doesn’t need to be there. It’s just that his visit is enough to give them a sense of validity on where they should be. A deaf woman just needed an ear to absorb her life’s grievances, and Haruto happened to offer one. A creative girl, paralyzed in the real world, isn’t in need of saving but instead appreciates the opportunity to express herself towards Haruto.
Hell, he even supports a few of them to get what they want. When he does affect the dream, I enjoy the ones where the morality is extremely black and white, with the girl struggling to act upon the morally right decision. An illness stole away her school life? Well, it’d be right to let her experience that in her dream instead of letting her fucking die. Sure, this girl is delivering vigilante justice for her entire family being killed, but the criminals are such a cancer to society that we would be better off without them. In those, it’s not so much that he’s meddling with the dream’s intent and more amplifying it. Personally, I don’t see that much wrong with it in the context of this anime.
Anyways, The episodes I address are outlined by the screenshots taken: Episodes 2, 3, 7, 8, and 10. As whole, the anime is a mess of disparate ideas thanks to the individuality of each episode, half of which I definitely did not enjoy. But the ones I did enjoy have enough potential to be recommended at some level or another. Do keep in mind though: this anime will ultimately be forgotten with valid reason.
- Ain’t that a downer for a first 12 Days post eh yee boi
- Hope you guys are starting strong. Even if you’re not setting yourself a high standard, it only gets harder from here.