In this anime, you get to watch a overly-enthusiastic school girl sleep with you while acting like a 5-year-old. Making nasily "ehee" noises with this face: =^_^=.
Thus begins a 50-minute mystery journey that ends with a stunning revelation: Issho ni Sleeping: Sleeping with Hinako is a prequel to Bleach, and a sequel to the movie Inception.
Hear me out...
First of all, you can, and DO, teleport. Very often. Maybe you're a camera wearing a human disguise, maybe you're a wizard! Who wouldn't want to sleep with a wizard!? Maybe that's why she thinks she's five, you put a spell on her, you dirty old man,
This then goes into random dreams while she shows just how unhealthy her sleeping is by waking up every five minutes. Then she gets 3AM-horny and wants to kiss you, proceeds to ignore "you" for a body pillow, and then later gets a midnight snack thinking you are a ghost. Why would she "think" you're a ghost, unless...you are a ghost, and she doesn't want you to know that you're dead.
Really, if you think about it, that would explain everything. Why you don't have a physical body. Why you are in her bedroom despite her most certainly having parents that would object to a boy sleeping with her. Why only she can see you. Why you frightened her in the kitchen. Why you don't wake up at the alarm clock. Why you are able to teleport. Why she giggles every time she looks at you, and why when she's "kissing" you, the camera shows her kissing at nothing.
You are a god damned ghost. You're dead. And haunting her. She's your sister. She is happy to see you because she misses you. Give her a couple more years and she will run into a Shinigami and become a Faux Shinigami, you'll run away, and you will join them as an arrancar 100 episodes later. YOU are the final boss. YOU will end up killing the original Shinigami (her actual older sister) while the girl grows up to become Rukia Kuchiki, and Byakuya pretends to be her brother. Hinako IS Rukia Kuchiki. Issho ni Sleeping: Sleeping with Hinako is a prequel to Bleach, and it's possible that you get re-incarnated as Ichigo later on.
And then it turns into inception with not one, but TWO false awakenings.
It's a sequel to Inception, a prequel to Bleach, and the single greatest anime in existence. Ghost in the shell's got nothing on this...or DOES IT?
In the past year, we’ve seen a phenomenal glut of anime made almost exclusively for the sake of pandering. One of those titles was “Isshoni Training”, a lucrative fanservice anime with the premise of convincing anime fans to get off their butts and exercise, when in reality, it’s an excuse for the trainer to give the viewer a lot of T&A. It was a silly but profitable venture, and so it was hard to be surprised when a sequel was announced. Now here we have “Isshoni Sleeping” which takes the pandering of “Isshoni Training” to a whole new level, one that your humble reviewer is
both impressed and frightened at the implications this new level of pandering brings us to.
Capitalizing off its successor, “Isshoni Sleeping” continues with its nonexistence of a fourth wall. Hinako has returned in continuity of the first, saying it’s nice to see you again upon our first glance at her still very-well-endowed and very-loosely-dressed self, hanging spaghetti straps and all. This time, we start by going to sleep, and Hinako has agreed to go to sleep with us. At this point, I’d like to remind you all this is a 45 minute long anime and we’re only two minutes in. Anime being a visual and audible medium, to think we are going to sleep is ridiculous. The director and staff agree and what follows both scares and amazes me.
To begin with the scary part, anyone with previous knowledge of “Isshoni Training” went into this knowing there would be fanservice galore, and the next 40 minutes certainly does not skimp. 99% of the following frames are nothing but cheesecake shots. There are close-ups on Hinako’s cleavage, her camel toe, dragging the camera up and down her body and sometimes just focusing on her breasts, underwear, or lips for a good minute before moving to another just as degrading shot. In short, it is voyeurism and I don’t blame anyone who feels uncomfortable watching it… and yet at the same time, I don’t blame anyone who feels comfortable watching it either. Allow me to explain.
Part of pandering is rooting into what makes otaku tick and catering exclusively to that. But there’s always the problem of the fourth wall. Otaku are almost always kept out of the action, away from it all, and it tempts them so far that they end up bringing 3D items into their lives with depictions of these girls (see; dakimakura). Now here we have an anime of a young well-endowed girl who acts like a five-year-old and makes the audible mouth gestures of a two-year-old. Moe GOLD, and this is where the lack of a fourth wall is most beneficial to it. Because there is no fourth wall, there is nothing separating this 2D girl from her audience other than the screen. Hinako looks at you, blushes at you, sings to you, and dreams of you. Despite being animated, Hinako has been made to love you, thus rooting into the hopes and dreams of many lonely otaku. Though it can and probably will be used as ecchi material, there is a well-placed aspect of comfort to the audience that, as a marketing device, is hard not to be impressed with. The OVA knows its audience and wants the audience to be satisfied, and really you can’t fault this production for that.
Is the audience being used by the first-person gimmick? Absolutely. Is it true they’ll probably have another moe idol in a week? Wouldn’t be surprised. Yet, “Isshoni Sleeping” fulfills everything otaku look for in an anime and more. As fanservice, there’s better out there that’s both more revealing and far less shameful to watch, but as a detached look into the otaku psyche and a marketing approach, it’s rather stunning work. It is lucrative and enlightening, shameful and pure, and it will surely be polarizing, but it’s always honest about its motives, the good ones and the bad ones.
"...without precedent in the purity of its confrontation with the essence of cinema: the relationships between illusion and fact, space and time, subject and object. It is the first post-Warhol, post-Minimal movie; one of the few films to engage those higher conceptual orders which occupy modern painting and sculpture. It has rightly been described as a ‘triumph of contemplative cinema.'"
--Gene Youngblood, L.A. Free Press
Highly recommended for fans of Warhol's seminal works of structural film, "Sleeping" and "Taylor Mead's Ass."
Obviously for the uninitiated, this will just seem like academic wankery. Which is a shame because the film really says something very important about cinema and
the way we consume film.
In a very self-referential way, the film explores voyeurism. For example, Hinako notes being "embarrassed" facing the camera, identifying the scopophilia associated with taking others as objects, noting that she is being subjected to the male gaze. As noted by Laura Mulvey, "At first glance, the cinema would seem to be remote from the undercover world of
the surreptitious observation of an unknowing and unwilling victim" (Visual Pleasure and the Narrative Cinema, 1975). But here, our victim is not unknowing or unwilling; in fact, she seems fully aware that she is being watched, informing the viewers of their own voyeurism. And Hinako not only identifies, but also reacts to the viewers by covering her face.
Deprived of scopophilia, what are we to make of film as a whole? The remainder of the film seeks to tackle this question. The crux of the message of the whole film is in fact the central paradox (the paradox arising from the fact that the film directly contradicts what it prescribes) that ensues: that film is a fundamentally voyeuristic medium, but that the proper response is to eschew self-awareness and make the subject unconscious, to turn her into an unknowing performer.
Film has often been described as a passive medium. Sleeping with Hinako takes this paradigm and turns it on its head for the duration of this section: here, the subject is in fact passive while the camera alone is actively engaging with its surroundings.
Often-times, the descriptions of structural films are reductive. For example, Wavelength (1967) is not just a 45-minute zoom but uses a variety of sophisticated editing techniques: jump cuts, strobing, etc. Here, our subject is not only passive, but sleeping, which suggests an engagement with another of cinema's favorite subjects, the oneiric. The first dream sequence within the film, albeit self-indulgent, explores the ways in which viewers engage with films as inhabiting a real space and not merely a diegetic space (of course, as we regard this as a non-narrative experimental film, the diegesis simply does not exist). The second and third explore the ways in which cinema (the dream, the expression of a wish according to Freud) relates to reality, as both times Hinako appears in the same position that occurs at the end of the dream.
I will put aside this analysis for now to mention a number of in-jokes the film throws around. The mise-en-scene is sparse, but carefully chosen, for example, the recurring shot of the alarm clock, which has no hands, an obvious reference to Bergman's Wild Strawberries (the relevant piece of mise-en-scene appears within a dream sequence). The scene in which Hinako crawls on her hands (which occurs immediately after the second dream sequence) is a reference to the end of Keaton's Sherlock Jr. (which explores the way film informs our own lives).
We now arrive at the third section of the film, which attempts to rectify the central paradox mentioned earlier, as Hinako asks to look back at the viewer. The implied scopophilia on the part of the subject is, in fact, the self-awareness of self-reference. It is looking at cinema in the act of examining itself. This is parallelled with a shot of a row of stuffed animals (a subtle jab at the passive nature of film viewing). We also arrive at our fourth and fifth dream sequences that deconstruct the division between "reality" and "fiction" within the diegesis. Thus, we arrive at a way out of our central paradox, espousing the absolute freedom of cinema to do as it pleases, to look back on itself and to deconstruct dichotomies, while retaining the freedom to abandon self-awareness and explore the dream world.
So when they said "Sleeping with Hinako" they really meant it! I would say about 70% of the 49 minute video is still shots that continuously loop of Hinako sleeping, of course the camera angles are oh so perfectly aligned to help its otaku audience "sleep" as well.
Actually even for sleeping this seemed like a rather short episode, since around the 20-30 minute mark Hinako starts to have different dreams, thinking of how much shes fallen for you? (maybe seeing you doing so many awesome pushups last episode) and later she even goes get something to eat...while I appreciate the fact that this
is NOT just 49 minutes of still shots....BITCH NEEDS TO STOP MAKING SO MUCH NOISE IM TRYING TO SLEEP HERE DAMMIT!!!
I cant say I was able to get a good sleep out of this, this should probably be called "napping with Hinako" instead because of the short sleeping intervals it "might" offer you, but then again im not sure how many of you are not too busy "fapping with Hinako" to actually get any decent rest. This is probably a fansubber's "dream" episode though *crickets*