Welcome to Random Anime Moment (or RAM for short), an ongoing series of sporadic articles were I choose a random moment in an Anime series (or manga) and proceed to give it the spotlight. Hope the idea is well received so I can keep more RAMs coming!
Warning: Spoilers are probably involved in most RAMs, so thread carefully!
Today's RAM comes courtesy of the utterly demented, funny and heartwarming supernatural harem series Kore wa Zombi Desu ka?, specifically, its second anime season, Kore wa Zombi Desu ka? Of the Dead.
The Moment: Saravasti's Kiss, Episode 9 of Kore wa Zombi Desu ka? Of the Dead.
Why is it RAM worthy?: A harem series can be made or unmade regarding its potential and popularity because of several factors, and the protagonist characterization is one of those factors. Luckily for us, Ayumu, the undead protagonist of Kore wa Zombi Desu ka? is one of the good ones...mainly because he actually adapts and enjoys his harem situation despite the amount of pain, chaos, headache and even physical maiming it puts him through. Getting murdered and then revived as an undead zombie by a cute, silent Necromancer isnt certainly going to make anyone's best days ever, but Ayumu simply rolls with it; same when a Chainsaw wielding Magical Garment Girl and a trio of Vampire Ninjas further bring chaos to his everyday life; for Ayumu, its not like his life was going to be any special in the first place, plus getting murdered pretty much killed it dead on its tracks.
By Episode 9 of the series second anime season, Ayumu's life is at what has to be maximum level in chaos and danger: He's about to get involved in fighting an extremely dangerous foe he lacks the power to beat, said Magical Garment Girl above clearly has feelings for him that he doesn't reciprocate, the cute petite necromancer he is bound to as her zombie has revealed she's aware of his constant "little sister" fantasies regarding her, he was tricked into giving the Vampire Ninja girl he's married to (Note to everyone reading this: Do not kiss, directly or indirectly, a Vampire Ninja girl. Its their way of sealing a marriage pact) a magical ring that suppresses her dangerous magical power, but she believes its an engagement ring, the Vampire Ninja girl who lives in his house and treats him with something that at best could be called "Lovingly Respectful Contempt" has just realized she harbors actual romantic feelings for him, and finally, the other Vampire Ninja/Fellow Student/Idol Singer involved in his life has moved from being in love with him because of her fetish fixation on Ayumu's backside (Why yes, anime girls can be perverts too! And male characters can be the uncomfortable victims of being objectified! I was pleasantly surprised by this too, everyone!) , has moved on to have actual feelings for him.
Said Vampire Ninja/Fellow Student/Idol Singer/Backside Fetishist is Saravasti, who midway through the episode invites Ayumu to one of her idol performances, as a way of showing she no longer objectifies him and has an actual romantic interest in him; her plan to get Ayumu to hand her his carton of coffee milk in return for the invitation is thwarted as Ayumu is savvy enough to realize that if she sucks on the same straw he used, it counts as an indirect kiss and would make the both of them a married couple according to her tribe's laws. However, Ayumu does promise her to assist to her performance, and is surprised to see Saravasti actually blush and thank him for his promise, as is quite a contrast from her usual dominating, imposing personality.
Of course that the episode's events make Ayumu late for the performance, but as he gave Saravasti his word, he actually managed to arrive before the concert ends, much to her delight; as they meet after the performance, they share a moment while sipping on some coffee milk, when the following scene happens:
Thanking Ayumu for making good on his promise, Saravasti acknowledged how hard her request must had made things for Ayumu, giving that she knows what he's preparing for and how the other girls further complicate his life; realizing she's been selfish in extorting such a promise from him at such a hard time, Saravasti says that she is aware of her selfish nature, and that she should change that aspect of herself...and then it happens:
Ayumu interrupts her, telling her that "There is no need for you to change. You are fine just the way you are"...which leaves a blushing, astonished Saravasti speechless, only to smile and thank him for his words.
As they stare at the city's night lights, Saravasti refers to Ayumu by her affectionate nickname of "My Darling", to which Ayumu counters by asking if she'll ever stop calling him that, only for Saravasti to answer that she is not, since, in her mind, they are pretty much dating already, to which Ayumu smiles and responds that Saravasti is being selfish...and then the moment happens:
Saravasti, out of the blue, jumps in and takes a sip of Ayumu's coffee milk's straw, as a blushing Ayumu can only watch as she essentially marries him by the way of that indirect kiss, while Saravasti smiles a devious, blushing smirk at him while doing so.
Now, the moment itself is important for two very big reasons for fans of the series like myself:
First, it actually establishes Saravasti as the first girl of the cast who actually declares her love for Ayumu AND acts upon it. While his relationship with the rest of the girls are just as great, well developed and fun, Saravasti is, by the rules of the series itself, the first girl who properly and by her own choice expresses her love for Ayumu in her own, peculiar way and makes it all too clear to him what those feelings are and what they imply.
The second reason is that the moment cements why Ayumu is such a great character and leading man in this harem series: Because not only he genuinely cares, loves and respects the girls in the cast, but because he does so for who they are. Yes, they make his life insanely dangerous and chaotic, they take away any hope for sanity and lack of injury or lack of humiliation in Ayumu's life...but like he said to Saravasti, triggering her to go for that indirect kiss, he wouldn't have it any other way; these girls do not need to change for his sake, no matter what.
Because these girls, despite the chaos, maiming and humiliating, make his undead life worth living. They bring joy, amazement, hope and above all, excitement into Ayumu's life, and he knows they do so because of who each of them is, so he doesn't want them to change or be something they are not, even if it would make his life simpler and easier...is it any wonder these weird, amazing and supernatural girls would fall for a guy like him then?
Sure, Saravasti acting upon her selfishness will only further complicate things for Ayumu, but its clear that he wont mind or be bothered by it; after all, she is fine just the way she is for Ayumu, and that alone makes her worth any chaos or pain she will bring into his already crazy life...because, like all the other girls, having her brightening his life and making it even more special and unique is worth it, so, no matter what the future brings.
Ayumu is the best kind of harem protagonist: he's respectful, loving and devoted to the girls in his life, but what makes him stand out is that its not that the girls are dedicated to him, but rather he being the one who dedicates himself to each of them, damn the consequences or the adversities. To him, they are all special, amazing and an important part of his life, and they are so by virtue of who they are, no more no less, so Ayumu will fight for them, support them and put up with them no matter what. Because of each of them, just for being the way they are, make his life special, brighter and worth living...even if he's an immortal zombie.