Sayuri YahagiAyana TaketatsuTakuya EguchiSaori Hayami
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2010
Director: Tsuyoshi Nagasawa
Original creator: Akinari Matsuno
Actor: Ayana Taketatsu, Jun Fukuyama, Kana Asumi, Rie Tanaka, Rina Satou, Saori Hayami, Sayaka Ohara, Sayuri Yahagi, Tomokazu Sugita, Tsubasa Yonaga, Yuko Gibu, Aki Nakajima, Asuka Horiguchi, Hiro Nakajima, Hiroaki Tajiri, Kana Kawasumi, Kentaro Yamazaki, Koichi Bando, Kozue Harashima, Nobuaki Kanemitsu, Rica Matsumoto, Ryoko Shiraishi, Shogo Matsui, Shohei Yamaguchi, Susumu Chiba, Takuya Eguchi, Tatsuya Kuramochi, Yuka Matsusaki
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 15 August 2016
It's a bit like Working!! (aka. Wagneria), except that it's a harem anime full of perverts. In other words, the two show are unrecognisably different. However both are based around: (a) an androphobic girl who meets all those scary men with physical violence and yet will become attracted to: (b) a boy with a fetish to horrify normal people and (c) the First Girl He Meets, who's a perfect fit for that fetish.
Plus (d) a cast of whackos.
I enjoyed it.
For once I really do mean "perverted", by the way. Anime fans tend to be use that word as the least bad translation of the word "ecchi", which means "lewd, sexy, indecent, naughty", etc. (It can also just mean "having sex", mind you.) Here, though, everyone in the cast is a sexual deviant or otherwise abnormal. Think of it as Kinky Degenerates: The Anime. Our heroes are:
1. Taro Sado (m) - protagonist and masochist. Inflict pain on him, either physical or mental, and he'll enter a state of near-orgasmic bliss. Roses will bloom. The air will twinkle. It's so extreme that he worries about giving away his secret with a masochistic episode in public (which is quite likely) and wants to be cured.
2. Mio Isurugi (f) - sadist and tsundere. She hasn't actually realised she's a sadist, though. She thinks all those beatings, whippings, etc. are for Taro's own good.
3. Arashiko Yuno (f) - an androphobe who'll pummel any man who touches her. She's also gentle and apologetic, though.
4. Tatsukichi Hayama (m) - in ep.1, I assumed he was trying to find the courage to admit to a gay crush on Taro. Nope, I was wrong. I won't spoil it, but he's hiding a habit that definitely counts as abnormal.
5. Yumi Mamiya (f) - lesbian molester.
6. Michiru Onigawara (f) - fairly normal compared with the others, but she loves taking photos of attractive schoolgirls. She works in a school. She's the nurse. Hmmm. She's probably not dangerous, though, unless you see dark significance in the fact that she's befriended Mio.
7. Noa Hiiragi (f) - underage stalker with a crush. Hmmm. The internet tells me that I'm wrong and that she's supposedly older than Taro, instead only looking pre-pubescent. She's clearly there for lolicon appeal, though.
8. Yukinojou Himura (m) - ...and here's Noa's lolicon. Should probably be arrested, or at least put under 24-hour surveillance. I don't think he's ever done anything, though. He's played entirely for laughs.
9. Shizuka and Tomoko Sado (f) - Taro's sister and mother, both incestuously obsessed with him. They're also shameless and single-minded and will have usually warped any scene in an unacceptable direction within ten seconds. Taro could sodomise a dead sheep every day on the dining table and still be the normal one of the family. No one's ever going to marry him, surely. Who'd choose these in-laws? Normally Shizuka and Tomoko are just cameo characters, but ep.6 gives them larger (i.e. sillier) roles.
10. Mio's fan club. No, really.
11. Taro's boss at his part-time job, who's erotically fixated on manga and anime. His particular favourite is Ruri Hoshino from Martian Successor Nadesico, incidentally, which perhaps also suggests paedophile tendencies.
Is it crass? Not as much as you'd think, actually. Is it funny? Yes, sometimes. I laughed, e.g. at Shizuka and Tomoko. Taro's masochistic ecstasies can be amusing. The Rose of Versailles references in ep.8 made me laugh too, although unfortunately one of the show's funniest sequences is also the finale of its most blatantly absurd episode. Normally this is a real-world show. Everyone's an ordinary person (ahem) and everything we see could really happen except in ep.5. Well, also ep.7, including Noa's magic potion. Plus the hypnosis in ep8, since hypnosis doesn't work like that and you don't learn it from watching TV. Also, of course, on a more mundane level the characterisation as a whole has, um, points of implausibility.
Nonetheless it's basically a real-world show and so ep.5 comes across as batshit. Noa the schoolgirl genius builds a giant robot big enough to crush buildings underfoot and electrocutes Taro to suck out his pervert energy and plunge the entire human race into depravity. However Taro gets a pervert power-up (don't ask) and transforms into SuperPervert with Dragon Ball Z hair. He then has a Super Pervert Super Battle, of course shouting out his attacks during combat. "HE-N-TA-IIIIIIIII!"
"Ludicrous" doesn't begin to cover it, but it's very funny.
Then, on top of that, there's the harem angle. Working!! has an even gender balance and a rather sweet web of romances that's developed over the course of three seasons to a satisfying conclusion. (They're all idiots, but they're lovable idiots.) This show though has lots of girls fancing Taro. If you include his blood relations (although he certainly wouldn't), I think the count is five, plus ambiguous hints from others. Oh dear. Five girls want Taro? Are they total loons? ...okay, yes, that answers that, but even so you'd hardly hold up this aberration as every girl's dream partner. That said, though, it doesn't seem ridiculous while you're watching it (since he's a decent chap underneath the deviancy), while furthermore his fetish makes him more distinctive and funnier than most light novel heroes.
Nonetheless, it's sadly unsurprising when no potential romance comes to fruition. It's in the genre. Harems tend to maintain a balance. You'll get a charming little bit of insight into Girl A... and then next week it's balanced by something equally empathic for Girl B. Mind you, there's a more tragic reason why this story will never end. The original light novels' author died in 2011, leaving an unfinished 12-volume series.
The artwork's pretty horrible, though. The pencils are fine, but the rendering is bad, cheap and computer-drawn.
I liked it. MM! is pronounced "Em Em", by the way, with "M" meaning "masochist". It's charging gleefully into as much potentially offensive material as possible, going over-the-top in all kinds of ways. However it loves its deviants. It's full of fondness towards them. It tells warm, affectionate stories about them that make us fond of them too. It's also more conservative than it looks, with no sex, no orgasms and no nudity. There aren't even any panty shots. It makes a minor art form out of making a point of not showing undergarments. (Except for the last shot of the last episode, as a Merry Christmas as Mio kicks Taro in the head.)
It's not a deep show. It shows us some of the characters' pasts, but there must be more in the light novels about Mio and Taro's backstories. Or if not, there had probably been going to be. As harem shows go, though, paradoxically I'd call it a lot less offensive than many of them. Taro's such a total disaster area as a human being and so blatantly subordinate to all the girls that the show avoids that slightly creepy protagonist-idolatry that its genre can be prone to. It's funny. Hurray for perverts!