It's a parody of super sentai shows. Superheroes in colour-coded armour fight monsters of the week. That's is already pretty silly, as you'll know if you've ever seen Power Rangers, but this show takes that to nuclear levels to be one of the silliest things you've ever seen in your life. I loved it. Eventually, though, your brain springs a leak and you almost forget that you ever thought this was silly, as amazingly the show takes its premises seriously and starts extrapolating them into a proper plot.
The ending sidesteps the expected drama, as if the producers seem to be assuming that there's going to be a season two. There's also some silly sexy content, although fortunately no actual sex. That's it for grumbles, though.
What's it about, then? Answer: fetishes and obsessions. Our hero, Souji Mitsuka, is the world's biggest twintails freak. (Twintails are pony tails. Yes, a hairstyle.) Souji lives for twintails. He thinks of nothing but twintails. He's such a whack job, in fact, that he barely notices the actual girls underneath those objects of worship. What he doesn't know, though, is that this obsession of his is what qualifies him to be the saviour of the world! Aliens called Ultimegil have invaded the Earth, to steal our fetishes and especially our love of twintails! Shock! Should these fiends succeed, girls would lose their twintails and life would have no meaning! Fortunately, though, a sex-crazed alien called Twirl has a superhero transformation battle suit that's powered by its user's love of twintails.
No, really. I'm not joking. That's honestly the premise of this anime. Oh, and Souji's magical transformation turns him into a girl in twintails.
This is daftness piled on idiocy, stacked on cuckoo and powered by space cadet fuel. I went crazy for it. It takes brilliance to dream up something this absurd and then turn it into a TV show. (Well, at first it was a light novel series.)
Then we have the cast, who live in this world and take it all gloriously seriously. Souji has religious epiphanies about twintails, but he's not far beyond Twirl and the Ultimegil. The latter are particularly amusing, being hammy ultra-dignified samurai aliens who happen to equate honour with kinky fetishes. They're likeable.
I've discussed Souji (transformed name: "Tail Red"), but there's also his childhood friend Aika Tsube ("Tail Blue"), who's a trained martial artist, hot-tempered and violent, but also secretly insecure about herself. (She's particularly sensitive about her lack of curves and has been known to go berserk about comments about this and beat the offending Ultimegil to death with her bare hands.) She's Souji's best friend. Twirl calls her a barbarian and a wild beast, although that's largely because she's regularly pummelling Twirl for being Twirl. I felt for Aika and liked her a lot.
After her, the third team member will be Erina Shindo ("Tail Yellow"), whose battle transformation makes her voluptuous and whose main battle technique is "strip to your underwear and turn your armour into a flying magical cannon". She also has boob missiles. Normally, though, she's modest and demure.
I'll admit that I'm not sure about the comedic sexy content. It's only a minor, occasional element, but I don't think it feels organic. Lechery is the whole joke in Daimidaler, for instance, and there is appropriate, but here the gag is twintails and it's not clear how that's served by Twirl talking filth or Erina believing that she needs to try to buy a porn mag. It works with the Ultimegil, though. They're all fetishists, so perversion and tentacle attacks go with the territory... and in any case they're all honourable, upright alien fiends who'd never actually do anything bad. They're just trying to kill you and/or steal the most important thing in your life.
That said, though, the non-comedic gender angle is fundamental. Souji is a boy who worships a hairstyle worn by girls. He's never worn them himself... but when he's transformed into a girl, s/he does. This is life-changing for him and almost certainly more important to him than gender identity. His development is interesting. Even the first episode doesn't suggest that he's particularly uncomfortable with gender-bending, but eventually we'll learn that he's reached a point where being kissed by a girl doesn't mean anything to him when he's female. Is it really just his body that's changing? The show pushes this further than you're imagining, by the way.
Similarly, Souji's an obsessive being brought into day-to-day contact with the object of his obsessions. Eventually he'll be forced into contact with some simple realities, e.g. hair needs washing and maintenance. He'll even start to grow up and spread his horizons (slightly) beyond twintails, which of course will be a source of trauma for him, as well as affecting his superpowers. I love this. It's fantastic. This show is finding emotional and thematic depth in a hairstyle fetish. It's a bizarre dramatic finale, although entirely characteristic of this show, and quite strong. My only objection to it is that our heroes don't actually defeat Ultimegil, who just go away again in what's effectively a throwaway gag and don't even get any resolution for Dark Grasper. (The show's most vulnerable and emotionally damaged character is the supervillain who shows up halfway through. I really liked her and I wanted to see her story taken somewhere. Drat. Well, let's hope there's a second season.)
Even Souji's mother is pushing him to chase girls, by the way. He's only ever been interested in their twintails. Mind you, Souji's mother is a fruit loop who's more than happy for a nymphomaniac alien to build a secret base under their house and change her son's gender in order to kill aliens. You what? Well, at least her decision-making's less dubious than that of Erina's mother.
This is a wonderful show. I liked the characters and I loved the way the show takes their insecurities and obsessions seriously. If it's important to them, the show makes it important to the fate of the world and it will thus be explored with intensity and a ludicrously straight face. "That would be a living hell!" It also gives us a dark side of obsession, in which our heroines' twintails fetish is actually helping to fuel the Ultimegil and, what's more, they know it. They just can't stop. Popular fads and crazes are brought in too. The show's mildly harem-ish, but only in a reflex kind of way that's being undermined by the weirdness and gender-bending. The only person actually in love with Souji is Aika (well hidden), although let's not forget the lesbian supervillain stalker.
Whoops, nearly forgot. I love the opening title sequence too, especially the piano moment.
This show is taking a magnificently silly idea and exploring it seriously. A bubbleheaded premise is being turned into the foundation for well-developed themes, fairly interesting characters and a solid storyline. I think that's wonderful.