‘ME!ME!ME!’ AND THE DILEMMA OF ESCAPISM
- January 28, 2021
And the loop is the key to
All hidden fears.
I’m trapped in the most beautiful cage you’ll ever see.
And I’ll accept anything for her to be,
To gnaw my flesh and my lethargy.
It’s the moment fiction becomes real.
A moment of euphoria.
It chose me.
And another. And another. And another. And another.
And the loop is the key.
‘ME!ME!ME!’ depicts the dark sides of media consumption and does an amazing job in emphasizing the feeling of being lost in idealized versions of reality and the struggle of fighting to free yourself from this artificial cage to create actual human relationships.
It focusses on pornography as a lot of people are easily drawn to it but I think this is only one of many possible aspects that can and do create a disconnect between someone and their environment while diving into possibly toxic fantasy worlds. I think art is not only a great way to express these feelings but to learn how to deal with them. Getting out of such a seemingly infinite loop of insanity is everything but easy but it is possible. The creators did not portray solutions, they showed the struggle through the protagonist fighting against the female character which is the ultimate embodiment of a non-existent, idealized, highly sexual version of a woman. She creates a contrast to his (former) girlfriend who he struggles to connect with because his addiction has consumed him. It is emotional and harsh and certain scenes were captivating and memorable in a way that is unusual for a lot of other music videos. The most disturbing and gripping moment is the end when you realize that the ending scene is the beginning scene and vice versa. Besides its highly relevant themes, the realization of such are absolutely stunning – the music, the vibrant, psychedelic pictures and shots, the shift in tone from funny and joyful to devastating to depressing is done in a unique and engaging way. I’ve watched it rather late (last year for the first time) but it instantly has become one of my favorite music videos!
Looking at the protagonist, the video he watches could possibly also have been live action content or porn if there were not clear hints and shots of figurines and merchandise which makes it clear that the guy is someone who is caught up in anime and lives the stereotypical Otaku lifestyle which is depicted by his passive behavior, his dirty room, the lethargy his eyes express and the screen being the only thing he still pays attention to. The female character who escapes her fictional world and enters his dimension and in this case the bedroom of the guy is the embodiment of an idealized sexualized female character and the guy struggles a lot to withstand her seduction. The imagery and animation throughout the whole video is stunning and the music underlines the music really well. The loss of the protagonist’s girlfriend caused by him seeking fictional characters and content rather than spending time with her is realized tragically. Especially the image of his body being eaten while keeping a glance of horror in his eyes, his revival through his girlfriend’s kiss, the flashing memories which create a strong beautiful contrast to the depressing environment, his increasing anger and sudden will to fight for his live, to change, to (literally) transform into something else, into something stronger that has the ability to live a life worth living. There are so many layers to the video and therefore also scope for interpretation but one of the most impressive aspects was the ending: The reveal of the crushing reality of the protagonist who is still stuck in his loop of addiction, despair and emptiness. It is authentic in an incredible uncanny way.
As mentioned, the music video focused on the depiction of getting lost in pornographic imagery and even though porn/hentai addiction is an issue what is more fascinating to me is the general idea of getting lost in fictional worlds. I’ve had a personal connection to anime as a medium since I was in kindergarten but I’ve never regularly indulged in until I’ve started going to uni. To sum it up, I’ve entered a phase of disorientation and struggled to establish a routine in my everyday life. I got to know a lot of people but I felt like I couldn’t connect with anyone on a deeper emotional level and that was frustrating. Anime became an anchor, I loved diving into it from time to time to experience something outside of my struggling everyday life and it worked. Of course it worked. It’s a double edged sword, anime can become really helpful in coping with certain feelings, there’s a whole genre (‘Iyashikei’) which literally means ‘healing’ and is meant to relieve stress and sooth its watchers. It can also be a space to explore one’s own perspective and feelings through fictional characters. However, as with everything, it can also be used to escape reality in a really toxic and damaging manner. It becomes problematic the moment one denies reality in the sense that one does not see any use in engaging with it anymore. No matter how much one loves media, we as human beings need social and emotional connection, sun light, fresh air and movement and when there’s a lack thereof, it can cause negative effects on our mental and physical health. Sometimes I used binging shows in order to escape a the lethargy and the fear of not being able to experience intense feelings (anymore). Sometimes watching shows I love left me extremely enthusiastic but empty and longing for more at the same time because I suddenly felt a gap between things I experienced in media and things I experienced in real life.Realizing and accepting that took time and a good amount of self-care. At times, I’m still struggling but luckily anime also managed to make me interact with the community and gain online and real life friends who I can connect with through similar experiences and above all, it motivated me to express my personal experiences through posts and articles and texts like this one. ‘ME!ME!ME!’ is a remarkable work of art because it is personal, for me and I’m sure for a lot of others who have struggled with media consumption as a form of escapism.
Another aspect that I almost find as intriguing as the video itself is the fact that a lot of people (mostly outside of the anime community) who reacted to it were shocked and despised all of the nudity so much that they did not pay attention to any of its content and themes. One of the most prevalent arguments is that characters (in this case the fictional female character) are sexualized which is pretty ironic because in a piece of art that criticizes the act of getting lost in animated pornography in a destructive manner, of course characters are viewed in a sexual way because they are solely defined by that. I hope that more people appreciate the video not only for electro music and anime titties or despise it for those things but are able to acknowledge what the video tries to convey because – it does so phenomenally!