Ore ga Ojou-sama Gakkou ni “Shomin Sample” Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken (whew!) features a high school lad named Kimito who, while walking down the hall, gets abducted by a pack of gay, muscled men and taken to a different high school, intended for super-rich young ladies and incredibly secret. Kirito is meant to be a typical commoner so the girls can learn from and interact with one. And if Kirito doesn’t, he’ll be castrated and worse, if there is such a thing as worse. Also, he must pretend to be gay so that no one will worry.
In other words, it’s an entire school of potential harem girls. We meet two of them right off: Reika, the dignified and proper blonde, who’s pretty dull so far, and Aika, the only one who talks to him like he’s an actual human being rather than an exhibit. Oh, there’s his new maid, Myuki, who despises him. I like her the most. So for those of us who aren’t instantly disgusted with shows like this but find them dumb, the reason to watch is how well they go about the inevitable harem antics. Not terribly well. The abduction bit was fun, but it was followed by a Myuki infodump and then a Principal infodump. Aika livens things up a little, but mostly the episode dragged. Kimito’s bursts of gay muscle-love (to save his cojones) fell flat every time. So it’s all probably a miss.
Dance with Devils starts with some chanting and a mesmerized girl probably about to be sacrificed to someone, and then jumps to the girl, Ritsuka, in her normal high school life. She sings a happy song as she walks to school, and I got a little worried. At her school (so ornate that it makes the girls school from the previous show look, well, common) she’s called to meet the SC president, “Great Lem,” and we get a song by the SC, all pretty boys of different types, about how evil they are). This time the song was so ridiculous that I cheered up a little. There followed an attempted evil seduction scene, repulsed by Ritsuka’s locket. Then her mom is abducted by evil people, and then Rem shows up and defeats the other evil people and is perfectly nice to Ritsuko.
I should probably hate this show, but I was intrigued by the episode. I was worried when Ritsuko found the house being ransacked, bewildered and curious when the police find nothing wrong, and surprised when Rem saves Ritsuko. In other words, the show deliberately and constantly tripped up my expectations. As for the songs, I’ll take them as over-the-top icing on this weird reverse harem bad-boy fantasy tale, if it goes as well as this episode did.
Fushigi na Somera-chan is another short. Maybe it’s just as well. In the three and a half minutes we watch as Somera, wielder of the iron fist, or something like that, which she uses when she and her sisters are in a pinch, like having no food for dinner, or dropping the oden on the floor while she was juggling it, and combining it with the dog.
I might watch it because what the hell, but there wasn’t anything much going on here. None of the jokes or situations were terribly funny, and I’d like at least a little more background on these people. Even dumb shows need that.
In Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru we meet Shoutarou, a normal high school boy, disposing of a dead cat outside his school, and we meet two classmates whom the show quickly forgets about in order to make room for Sakurako, an osteologist and oddball. While digging for bones on a beach they uncover a skull, and that leads to an investigation of an apparent double-suicide that actually isn’t. All along the way the young woman and the younger boy bicker. And we get some odd fantasy footage and light shows when Sakurako’s thinking.
Hard to say about the mysteries; like a lot of shows the first episode was a stand-alone intended to introduce the characters and their eccentricities. Sakurako has a lot of the latter, pushing detectives aside to look at bodies, constantly calling Shoutarou “shounen,” and refusing to give away the skull she found to the police. A nice combination of extreme intelligence and childish willfulness, countered by the much younger Shoutarou, the voice of reason equipped with a spray can for when Sakurako gets to be too much. They’re a fun team. However, I can’t believe that the police in that area would be that ignorant about the two bodies, or that they would step aside and let Sakurako tell them what to do. Still, whatever problems I have with the story is outweighed by the characters.
Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai features, well, I’m not sure who yet, either the 35th platoon leader Kusnagi or the hothead hotshot Ouka. Probably the former, since the first scene is a flashforward to a scene where some nasty thing is about to skewer him, while everyone else panics and fights their way out from the credits that keep barging in … I swear I almost got a headache watching that. Then we return to normal time and learn about the 35th, the lowest ranking platoon in the academy where all the losers go. Ouka, more talented than any of them, joins them because she killed a witch. We see them in action–botching a mission and see Ouka’s personal reasons for fighting witches and her justifiable disgust with her new team.
Pretty good. The show manages to get dark when it needs to and funny when it wants. Not sure I like Kusanagi very much, and I’m not sure why he was put in charge of that group. But he shows hints of both sternness and gentleness by the end of the episode, so there’s hope for him. Ouka is less interesting unless she’s fighting. Her single-minded devotion to beating witches isn’t that interesting, but I guess one of the series’ main points is getting her to lighten up. Worth another look.
Finally we have noitaminA’s Subete ga F ni Naru, which is based on a mystery novel, or string of them, but if you’re thinking it’s another Sakurako-san you’d be mistaken. We meet rich girl Moe who goes to hang out with her professor and crush, Saikawa. From there it’s a lot of small talk hinting at the bigger puzzle, involving a brilliant scientist named Nagata who killed her parents now does research on an island. Moe got to meet her, Saikawa is envious of her, Moe is jealous of Saikawa’s envy, etc. Neither of them can hide their thoughts well, even though Saikawa has a line about never telling the truth. When they’re not talking about Nagata they discuss smaller things, like how we are born geniuses and get stupider, things like that.
Sort of like the Monogatari franchise except there’s nothing supernatural going on, and no fanservice either. Instead there’s a lot of talk. Happy to say that it’s interesting talk. These are all smart, curious people who are interested in interesting things. That helps us get through the episode when really nothing much happens except they all agree to go to Nagata’s island, where, hopefully, the story will begin. Based on how well they plotted this first episode, I don’t mind if they take their time.