Do you want a boyfriend, but don’t want to bother with all the trouble of meeting someone, talking to them, finding out their wants and desires and providing emotional support? As always, Japan has the answer: the new anime Makura no Danshi (or Pillow Boys)!
Pillow Boys is a very brief show — each episode is about four minutes long, counting the minute-long opening sequence — and the premise is that every episode has a new boy who wants to sleep with you… in the literal sense.
Pillow Boys airs at 1:15 in the morning on TV Tokyo every Monday. In the US, it runs on Crunchyroll, a subtitled version of the same day’s episode posts at 10:35 AM (for subscribers only; non-subscribers can watch for free on a week delay). It airs so late in Japan because the viewer is supposed to watch it as they drift off to sleep themselves… ideally hugging the dakimakura (a body pillow with a pillowcase featuring a character) of their favorite boy.
Thankfully, the show has a sense of humor about itself. It knows that it’s a strange idea, and ultimately a mercenary show intended to sell dakimakura. That sense of humor changes something that could come off as either creepy or bizarre and makes it fun.
In every episode, the camera is the viewer’s eyes, and each boy speaks directly to it. It’s not clear whether or not the camera/”You” is the same “you” every time, which is part of the fun. Since the show needs to come up with different scenarios each time, not every episode features “you” drifting off at the end of a long day. In the second episode, you drink a bit too much and your co-worker’s chauffeur drives you home as your co-worker sits in the back of the car with you and makes vaguely… uncomfortable… jokes. In episode four, you end up napping on the grass with a middle-schooler.
By episode eight, a hot college student remarks on seeing you yesterday afternoon, sleeping soundly outside. At this point, you start to wonder whether or not you’ve got an undiagnosed case of narcolepsy. It wouldn’t be a shock if the last boy you sleep next to is a doctor trying to tell you that it’s a serious problem and you need immediate help.
Still, it’s a great show that’s probably one of the strangest shows you’ll watch in a while. It’s cheaply made, so there’s not a whole lot of actual animation; mostly just camera pans over still images. That’s not really a knock, though, it adds to the quiet surreality and dream logic of the show.
But ultimately, who wouldn’t wanna sleep next to these guys?