As is the case in many seasons of anime, there are a series of recurring trends shared between two or more shows in this Fall Season. Working’!! and Shinryaku?! Ika Musume are both sequels of slice of life-ish comedies, for instance. Guilty Crown and Un-Go haven’t aired yet, but are already amassing a large enough future-following to ensure a large audience for the first episode. And finally, Mashiro-Iro Symphony and Maken-Ki are super bland harem anime with the power of being completely indistinguishable in the gelatinous, panty filled mass that makes up their genre. Oh, and they take place in recently integrated co-ed schools, so I guess there’s some iota of originality there to set them apart from the bunch… sort of.
I had to watch both first episodes twice in order to fully process the information that they presented. This wasn’t because I was blown away by the presentation or the story had a lot to it, it was because I fell asleep about halfway through each showing, and had to make sure I didn’t miss something interesting (I assure you, I didn’t).
Mash(iro2) sets itself apart from its brethren by not even waiting until the halfway point to begin boring the audience. When a bland younger sister who I swear speaks in the most disturbing monotone ever has trouble finding home one night, she calls her brother for aid. Unless she has some kind of mental disorder where a lack of emotion in one’s voice equates to them being unable to process directions properly, I see no reason why our time had to be wasted with this. Then the older brother takes her home, takes a bath, and has her request to join him because “That’s what siblings do.” Okay, so it’s not just her monotone that’s creepy, at least.
Then, and please hold your gasps until the comment section please, he goes to school the next day as one of a select few males allowed access to an all female school! The entire episode just deals with him meeting his harem and having periodic run-ins with a creepy cat… thing… that looks like it had its tail sliced in twain by a machete.
In short, watching this has the same sedating effect as reading Moby Dick after a heavy dose of sleeping pills, except if watching this were your reality, you’d wish you would never wake up.
Maken-Ki takes the perspective of the bland male protagonist’s main squeeze, at least for a few moments. What potential there was for skewering of the genre from her perspective was quickly pushed aside for cheap panty shots and having her dote on him in a classy tsundere way. So we learn that this school has also been integrated, and one girl wants a chance to kick the main character’s ass, because of a tattoo he has. I mean yeah, it makes him look like a douche, but that alone is hardly reason to want to kill him.
No, a lot more should make her want to kill him. Even compared to hentai protagonists, this man has the mental capacity to do little but look at girls and breathe, and somehow comes across as somebody who the audience shouldn’t sympathize with in the slightest. With most main characters in his position, you won’t like them, but you likely won’t wish death on them each time you sit down to watch an episode of their crappy show. You may wish that otaku would stop buying this shit and that it should quietly die in a corner, but you’ll hardly blame that on the ineffectual male lead. Not so with Maken-Ki, sadly enough.
This guy has so much negative charisma and such a capacity to elicit loathing for simply existing that mistaking him for Uwe Boll and Ted Bundy’s illegitimate love child is a reflex to the horror that is his existence. He doesn’t have to kick puppies to twinge that nerve that makes us want to hurt people that kick puppies, and world peace could be declared just so every nation on Earth could torture this man for weeks on end. Seriously, I hate this guy, and it perplexes me that he gets more interaction from the fairer sex than restraining orders sent in the mail daily.
His haremettes, while nowhere near as annoying, are just… there. Yeah they look decent design-wise, but I can think of nothing about them that would have a man leap at ‘em like a cheetah on a springboard. Thankfully, nobody cares about this show, so I don’t think this post was necessary to tell you not to fucking watch.
Tl;dr: Nothing unique or worthwhile to find here, move on before you feel the urge to put a pencil to your large intestine, watch Penguindrum instead.