Ah Mayo Chiki… is it any surprise that a show that nobody expected to be very original or laden with quality ended up meeting said expectations? Well, if Mawaru Penguindrum has indicated anything (Post on that tomorrow, when I don’t have the nasty habit of putting off my first impressions until I’m barely coherent), it’s never too soon to expect something to be surprisingly deep. Fortunately, it’s also never too soon to write something off as overly derivative, which is exactly what Mayo Chiki was. Well that was quite the meandering introduction.
Kinjirou is beaten up by his little sister on a regular basis, has rumors of him being gay floating around school due to his apathy towards women, and has unreasonable seething rage toward Subaru Konoe, the butler of the school’s local spoiled princess. One day, for reasons quite contrived, he stumbles on Subaru in the boys bathroom, panties down. Shrugging it off as some odd fetish, Subaru soon confronts him and threatens to wipe his memory clean through repeated punches.
The two engage in a fight, with Kinjirou saving Subaru’s life before finding out the shocking secret that the androgynous person wearing panties is not of the male persuasion. Soon after this stark revelation, he’s beaten unconscious and wakes up constrained to a bed, ala Misery. Only his left arm is free, and next to him lies Subaru’s master Kanade Suzutsuki. Kanade makes a deal with Kinjirou, that he won’t get beaten to a pulp if he doesn’t reveal that Subaru is female.
Because Subaru’s family has always served the Suzutsukis as butlers, Subaru volunteered to continue the proud tradition of servitude, accepted under the condition that she keep her gender hidden throughout high school. We also find out one more revelation, that contact with women makes Kinjirou bleed copiously from his nose.
With a deal brokered, Kinjirou is sent back home with Subaru to watch over him to make sure he doesn’t reveal the secret. And thus, a torturous contract is formed.
Calling this work repetitious would be an understatement. Many things are copied from, or at least bear a resemblance to other series (Maria Holic mostly), which is worse in that those concepts weren’t executed all that well. Mayo Chiki seems to be following in those illustrious footsteps by making their show as mundane and mediocre as possible, without an original thought in its head.
Nothing about it is particularly outstanding or particularly bad, so skip this unless you have your heart set on watching it for whatever reason.
Unlike Mayo Chiki, the Idolmaster (I’ll spell it the official way when I’m dead) seems to have its ideas stolen from the wrong medium entirely. Namely “interactive” kids shows and dating sims, taking all the choice out of both.
What makes it unique in its own “Don’t mind him bashing his head against the wall repeatedly, he’s unique” way is the format in which it’s presented. Rather than having a character with the slightest iota of personality be the main character that drives the show forward, the character that the audience is meant to project onto is a nameless, faceless human being in charge of following little girls around with a camera. I could make a joke about this, but it’d be too easy.
His only dialogue consists of inconspicuous text at the bottom of the screen that I could predict more than half the time with my powers of clairvoyance. On a side note, for all who watched this extremely bored and befuddled, try predicting what the cameraman will ask next. Chances are you’ll get the answer right a good portion of the time.
The girls that he’s following around aren’t even that full of personality. Taken straight from the games, you have such gems as “Genki girl with no natural talent for music, but loves it anyway” and “Unbearably cute, moe girl who makes one wish she’d blast off Team Rocket style.” There is practically no substance, the main conflict introduced being the capture of an escaped hamster.
As is standard for these affairs, the voices sound a decibel or two too high for any normal human being to achieve, the music is forgettable pop tripe, and the boring setup is somehow karmically balanced by the equally horrible cheesy drama, mainly the shy girl who’s so overly shy that it borders on irritating more times than not.
The one part of Idolmaster which I’ll begrudgingly admit was fantastic was the animation. And since I’m not an animation freak despite mentioning it in every review, I can’t even let that prop up what remains a series weighed down with unnecessary clichés and baggage. Also, why is it that a girl tripping in the first minute of a show is the only way to get across that she’s supposed to be cute? This season’s letting it get way out of hand.
If you have a compulsion to follow at least one horrible show a season to scoff at, the Idolmaster could be worth your time. And if anybody out there tries out that game, tell me your results, so I’ll know if I’m the only half-clairvoyant in the business of anime blogging.