Throughout this post there will be several hyperlinks within the text, these links will lead to further information about the subjects discussed in this post. I have done this because many of the themes discussed within this post are of a difficult nature to write and talk about, that being child sexual abuse. This will not be a review for everyone to read and I know this, but at the same time, I feel this review needs to be written because these are subject matters that need to be discussed more often. We can not as a society just stand by and pretend that this kind of abuse does not happen because ignoring a problem does not make it magically disappear. An obvious trigger warning is needed for this one, but if you think you can handle this subject matter you may continue reading ahead, if not well I thank my followers now for their continuing support and don’t worry the next review will be something a lot lighter in nature I promise.
From the abuser normalizing sexual behavior to an underage child, the child acting out inappropriately / sexually around other children and finally entering into a world of escapism and fantasy this cycle of abuse and copping can be found within the three episodes of the infamous ‘Pico’ OVA anime series. Dubbed by some simply as Boku… I think we have all have seen the meme by this point and know it’s warning of ‘Don’t watch an anime called Boku’ and in all honesty, you really should not watch this anime. In many countries around the world, anime fans are walking a knife edge when it comes to child protection laws and anime which in other words means in many countries just viewing this anime is illegal. That being said I hope this review piece of the anime will be enough to satiate any curiosity you may have about this anime.
Throughout the first episode, we see disturbing and downright predatory behavior from Tamotsu who the young Pico nickname’s Mokkun, the scariest of this being how normal and good-natured his behavior towards Pico can seem. DuoReview goes into great detail analyzing the mindset of Tamotsu in their video Anime Theory: Pico’s Love is a Lie. In the video, he theorizes on Tamotsu’s state of mind and gives the reason behind his actions throughout this first ep. Going into themes of not being able to cope with his own latent homosexuality as well as his own desperation for sex and willingness to get it however he can. Though valid points I do believe there is more to the story than this. I will, however, say this, no matter what the reasoning behind Tamotsu’s actions at the end of the day he is a predator and nothing can excuse his disgusting behavior with Pico. The word to describe his actions towards the young Pico throughout this first ep is ‘Grooming‘.
From what starts as slight teasing in front of Pico’s grandfather in the cafe, to subtle touches like innocent hand-holding while walking down a pathway, to holding and sniffing Pico when the young boy is distracted and looking through a pair of binoculars, all of these to an adult looking in could be seen as somewhat questionable behavior especially the sniffing.
And then there is the infamous car scene.
The first shown act of sexual assault in the anime is that infamous scene. During the entire act, Tamotsu continues to tell Pico that it is OK and ‘it does not hurt right?’ a common tactic it seems to be used by predators. All these steps are there to normalize this sexual behavior to Pico and the proof that this becomes a normal feeling to Pico is shown in a later scene where the two of them are caught in the rain. Tamotsu comments that he should have brought the car to which Pico calls him a pervert and laughs because ‘you always do that in the car.’ What this tells us is that the first incident in the car has happened many times again and to Pico, this ritual of abuse has become a normal routine for the boy which is shown in an earlier scene when Pico was excited to see Tamotsu pick him up from his grandfather’s cafe.
As the story of this episode comes to a disturbing ‘climax’ it becomes obvious that the level of abuse on Pico is becoming progressively more depraved, from introducing Pico to the fetish of cross-dressing (I have no issue with cross-dressing as fetish, what I have an issue with here is the sexual fetishization of the act with a child, I myself enjoy a lot of non sexual cross-dressing) and then finally the act of anal intercourse with a child a scene where it is obvious Pico is in pain and once again his abuser tells him it will be OK. It becomes obvious by the end of this scene that Pico has picked up that there is possibly something wrong with what is going on between him and Tamotsu and upon the young boy asking what he means to the older man, the awkward expression from Tamotsu speaks so much and yet once again like every other moment of turbulence between the two; the victim and the abuser once again the adult of the situation talks his way out of it with the young boy.
The relationship that grows between Tamotsu and Pico throughout this first episode is on so many levels of disturbing. It is a systematic abuse of power on Tamotsu’s part and he can only be described as a manipulative monster towards Pico, but he is also the catalyst for the dark road Pico goes down with the following episodes of this OVA series. For if Pico had not had contact with Tamotsu it is unlikely that the other two stories would have happened.
The audience does not exactly know how much time has passed between the first and second episode of this ova series, however, the change of location can be seen as a sign that a stop has been put to Pico’s interaction with Tomatsu. The fact that throughout the rest of the series Pico does not at all bring his ‘special friend’ up in any conversation can tell us that Pico could be actively trying to suppress his memories of his time with him. That being said it becomes obvious upon Pico meeting a younger Chico that a lasting effect has been left on Pico. Though it does not always happen studies have shown that children who are sexually abused themselves are more likely to become predators. This does not mean however that all victims become abusers and should be remembered, but there is also a greater risk of children who have been interfered with acting out sexually with themselves or others there is also the chance that the victim will downright reject any form of intimacy later on in life whether that be sexual or otherwise. Though two completely different outcomes it is near impossible to predict how a child with react to the trauma of abuse and it is important for adults around these children to keep a close eye on them but not so much so that the child feels smothered and fearful.
Pico is clearly not given any proper supervision or guidance during this time as he is never shown around a responsible adult. This, of course, does raise many questions as to the boys family life and relationships but these are never explored within the anime. The only family of Pico’s we see throughout the series is his grandfather who outright handed the boy over to his abuser. Could this perhaps be a hint that Pico does not have a stable home life? If this is the case it would most definitely explain to us a few things about Pico’s personality around others. He very quickly grows attached to new people, which could be a sign that Pico is looking for some sort of comfort or acknowledgment because he is not getting this at home.
In his first encounter with the younger boy Chico, he simply watches him swim naked in a river. We can not tell at this point what is going through Pico’s mind when he see’s the other boy, but it becomes very clear early on that Pico feels comfortable around this other child who seems to enjoy frolicking naked in the countryside whether this is Pico taking advantage of Chico’s naivety and innocence one cannot be completely sure. The two become close very quickly and as soon as the opportunity to act out sexually with his new friend arises upon the two spying on Chico’s older sister masturbating one night Pico goes from victim to abuser himself.
The only other noteworthy moment of the second OVA is the final sexual act between the two boys being caught in the act by Chico’s sister, her own reaction to the situation is as disturbing as what Tamotsu’s was in the first episode. Though she does not herself have sexual contact with either boy, she does bring herself to sexual gratification from watching them.
There is an odd atmosphere to the third and final episode in this series, it feels like it is far from grounded in reality and here is why. Throughout this final episode power lines in the background appear and disappear almost like someone losing track of there own thought processes. The story also takes place in Tokyo one of the most densely populated cities in the world and yet other than Pico, Chico and their new friend CoCo no one else is seen in this city. It is almost as if the characters in this episode have lost touch with reality itself and this is because they have. Much like how many have theorized that Alice in Wonderland is a tale of an acid trip (though many argue against this because there has been little evidence that Lewis Carroll was an abuser of drugs) I believe that this final episode is Pico finally losing touch with reality and I theorize that perhaps CoCo was the one to get Pico and Chico hooked on some kind of drug. Of which I cannot be sure but i believe that that final infamous sex scene on Tokyo Tower is one last drug trip that the three of them never wake up from.
One last side note before I close this review, you may think that I have reached the pinnacle of the depraved when it comes to the darker side of yaoi. Well, I can tell you right now my readers, there is one manga out there that has topped Boku no Pico for disturbing, but that will be a post for later this year, perhaps October even…
Am I reading too much into an anime that does nothing more than sexualizes young boys? Perhaps, but that does not make this theory any less true for real victims of abuse out there. Child sexual abuse is a problem worldwide, from child brides and church cover-ups to the real-life monsters that many children have to face on a daily basis. We are doing more today than ever before to help the victim’s of these atrocities and we as the adults of this world need to protect the next generation of children and those beyond so that we can hope for a world in the future where every child can feel safe.