Grow your own?

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ripeWhat do gardening and Japanese anime culture have in common? There are probably a number of strange intersections, but this is the only one I know about. And it’s weird. The Ripe Boyfriend Cultivation Set home gardening kits ask us to imagine vegetables and herbs as sexy young men. (Sexy in that anime kind of way.) You get seed packets, potting mixture, and containers. Each variety is represented as a different hottie, with some obvious characteristics—baby carrot has orange hair, eggplant purple, and arugula a dark sage green. Their cute preppyish outfits are also color coordinated.

d854cabf10f65e2647631567bc04b95b1429273158_fullThere are no girl veggies, and I can’t decide how the sexism is intended—is it than only women would grow vegetables, or is it that it would seem too abusive to grow, cook, and eat girlfriends? And that’s only the hetero speculation. Here’s how Crunchyroll.com, where I saw this, explains it:

The idea is that you’re supposed to nurture the crops as you would nurture a relationship with a sexy, sensitive guy. In a sense, the plants become your boyfriend. Then, when he is ripe, you devour your boyfriend. Or chop him up and add him to a stew.

61d7e14d0e51bab6a3d836dd5e04a6271429273213_fullPagan sacrifice, fertility rites, and plain old cannibalism all come to mind. And the scene in Animal House when they discuss whether cucumbers are sensuous or sensual. It seems a harmless enough gimmick, though I kind of doubt  it would seriously  encourage young people to grow healthy food.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, two of favourite ways to spend time actually intersect! I watch anime and garden and found this amusing. I suspect the target market for these seed packets are young girls who also read and view “shoujo” manga and anime. Shojou material often revolve around highly idealized romantic and emotional themes.

    Sounds like gardening to me!

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