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In "Misfit Demon King Academy", Sasha Necron makes a bet with the demon king regarding one of the competitions. She says that if she wins, "Then I own you." 

In "Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average", Mile agrees that if her team loses to all of Arledy's minions, the noble Arledy would own miles. 

I've seen this trope in a number of other anime as well, "owning" someone as a result of a bet. Does anything like that every happen in real life? Is there historical precedent that it stems from? In the US, that concept would be an absolute taboo as it would connotate slavery which is still a recent blight in our nation's history.

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  • Hi - African-American man from the United States. Going to go on a limb here and say that the mention of "slavery" in and of itself doesn't cause me to bat an eye these days since slavery existed since the days of Pharaoh. The point I think that should be made is that there is a distinction between fantasy and reality, and while some people may feel triggered by the notion of slavery at all - and yeah, I was that kid growing up for a time - it's more important to not run away from those conversations, and even go as far as challenging why those themes crop up in media.
    – Makoto
    Aug 6 '20 at 16:02
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The words "own" or "slave" may not be used, but the practice is very much alive in high schools, colleges, fraternity houses, etc. all over the world.

When people make this sort of bet, they are not literally selling themselves into slavery - the "contract" is not legally enforcable anyway. The only thing making them stick to the penalty is potential social stuff (being kicked out of the group, club, frat , etc. for welching or chickening out).

Usually the loser is agreeing to do whatever the winner wants (within reason) for a certain period - usually a semester or academic year, sometimes for the rest of their student life - this would be things like making/bringing them lunches, carrying their bags, putting up with verbal abuse without complaint, taking the crappy jobs during fund raisers (e.g. the kissing booth or dunking chair), doing their grocery shopping, washing their car, help with or outright doing their homework assignments, etc.

Yup. College and high school students really are stupid enough to do this to themselves. No I'm not joking.

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Despite not having watched either of those series, what I can say without risk of overreaching is that this does have some connotations to slavery or the ownership of persons.

Let's first frame it from the two series you're describing, and the people that are engaged in the conversations. Both series are set with some kind of monarchy establishment, and it is well within the realm of reality for monarchs and nobles to trade property, of which, slaves would be considered property.

These days...it doesn't happen all that often because slavery is recognized internationally as against the law depending on the circumstance. Again, not knowing what each series is talking about, it's tough to pinpoint which modern real-world law would be violated/flaunted.

Note that I said "all that often". It is my understanding that this still does occur in places where monitoring and enforcement aren't as strict as other parts of the world. You can watch as many documentaries on this subject as you like - PBS and the BBC have fantastic and rich coverage of the subject if you're interested in learning more about it.

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