To be honest from what I heard about these three shows I thought I could watch them in one night and have the pleasure of dropping three shows from my schedule. Trouble is, only one was outright bad.
MM! is all about Tarou, a first-year student (like everyone in anime, it seems) who has a hardcore masochistic streak. The show gives us ample opportunity to see this in action, in fact, most of the show is Tarou getting abused and getting off on it (with a strange clicky button in the corner). Well, it seemed like most of the show. Maybe it was less. It just SEEMED like most of the show. And it is painful to watch. However, the pain I felt, unlike Tarou’s, was not a means to a pleasurable end.
His sympathetic friend Tatsukichi suggests he talk to the Second Volunteeer Club about his problem. Now, many among you will say that it’s not a problem at all, that’s just the way he’s wired, but he sees it as an obstacle to confessing to Shihori, the girl of his dreams. So he goes to the club and meets Mio, who beats him up. Then she beats him up some more. The next day she beats him up again. What’s more, the two aren’t the only ones with issues. The nurse Michiru pours scalding water on him. Shy Yuuno beats him up when he accidentally touches her.
Tarou isn’t a complete loser. He shows kindness to Tatsukichi when his friend’s own problem comes up. And, with a sister and mother who smother him with love, we see why Tarou might want some pain in his life. The problem is the pain carried over to me. This was excruciating to watch. I haven’t had such a slow 25 minutes in a long time. Dropped.
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls isn’t as flat-out weird as Star Driver, but so far it’s running second. We start out with a montage of great Japanese samurai battles with narrator, but they take it a bit far, like into the 20th century. I mean, samurai girls not wearing much take down B-52s. All done in a far older art style. I’m interested already. Oh, and then there’s this:
Our hero, as yet unnamed, arrives in town to attend a Samurai academy and finds the dojo he’s to stay at infiltrated by Sanada and Matabe, who we learn are members of the “demonized” Toyotomi group. While much of this is your average infodump scene we’ve left the serious samurai world temporarily (apart from the artwork) to throw in some gags more worthy of a high school comedy. Boob jokes, stuff like that. It continues in this vein when Hattori, a Student Council (and, I suppose, local samurai) bigwig arrives with a gang of women warriors to take the rebels in.
There’s fighting and running around. While everyone uses swords there’s plenty of modern technology lying about too, but no guns. The hero sides with the rebel girls, the girl in the globe appears, named after a family that trains samurai, or something like that. We don’t learn the hero’s name but we learn his station. Boy, is Sanada in for a surprise! It’s episode one, so it’s very confusing, but just great to look at. I’ll keep this one for a while.
There’s not going to be anything exciting or innovative about Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (henceforth called Ore no Imouto or something shorter), but it has a couple of things going for it.
And a couple of things that don’t. Our hero, Kyousake, finds an eroge game disk in a magical girl box, which leads him to the usual scenes where he tries to hide it from his parents and at the same time figure out who owns it, even though we figured it out long ago. It’s a shame because up until then I had been enjoying the surprisingly relaxed pace. Maybe because it was a relief after Samurai Girls. Sorry to say that the pace later gets too relaxed during a LONG scene between the siblings.
On the other hand, for its slightly twisted situation (Kyousake discovers his younger sister Kirino is addicted to eroge games about younger sisters) there’s almost nothing in the episode suggesting anything really disgusting. In those little moments when it might Kirino gets disgusted and calls him names. “Don’t confuse 2-D and 3-D!” If it stays that way this dynamic between them could be quite enjoyable. They bicker well. Kyousake has enough snark to overcome his blandness. Kirino can be abusive and conspiratorial in turns. And though I complained about the pace I can toss out that long scene as an inevitable episode 1 infodump and hope it doesn’t repeat. Otherwise the show moved at its own peaceful speed with no slapstick or nuttiness getting in the way. It feels more sober than I expected. I got a strange Haruhi vibe from the classroom scene, with Kyousake channeling Kyon about having a quiet life, and the homeroom teacher wearing a tracksuit, or maybe that’s just me. I’m a little surprised, but I’m going to keep watching, at least for now.