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First-episode Survey of Apparent-Fanservice Central

Tried an episode each of three different series, all of which looked silly and fanservice-y based on the box. Two of three didn’t end up being what I expected.

School Rumble: Drastically less fanservice-y than it looks, and also less Rumble-y so far. I do like the idea—dumb girl is smitten by clueless, apathetic guy that she can’t work up the guts to talk to, and raging punk delinquent is smitten by the girl and tires to go straight for her. Touch of the goofier bits of GTO, some generic schoolyard comedy, and at least passably amusing. Also a secondary character who looks and is like what Maria of Maria+Holic is pretending to be. Not lighting my fire, but enough amusing potential to watch some more of at some point.

Hanaukyo Maid Team: Every bit as fanservice-y as it looks—Emma, this is not. Basically 25 minutes straight of leering, drooling maid fanservice (maidservice?) with some violins at the end. Concept is that random orphaned nice kid gets taken in by his (apparently) insane and insanely wealthy grandfather, who skips town and leaves everything to the kid before the opening credits. Kid ends up living in a giant house stuffed wall-to-wall with maids, ranging from the demure, completely-clothed Belldandy clone he likes to the team of bathers and the three bed-warmers, who are every bit as sleazy as they sound. All the subtlety of a jackhammer, and already got to the random weapon that strips maids in the first episode, among other things. Huge variety of pretty character designs, at least, and there is a pretty funny mad scientist-maid. The slight hints of grandpa being some sort of evil mastermind (not to mention a massive perv based on his employees) means it’s probably going somewhere weird eventually, but it’d have to do something pretty spectacular to warrant wasting any more time on.

Nerima Daikon Brothers: Holy crap, what is with this series?! Not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t Excel Saga and Weird Al get together to do a much dirtier, much gayer, musical take on the Blues Brothers. Seriously—it’s a musical, it’s a giant Blues Brothers reference, and the title of the opener looks like one of those sounds-like-dirty-innuendo-but-is-actually-innocent titles but turns out to be the exact opposite. Should have known when I saw Nabeshin’s name on it (you know, the Excel Saga ‘fro guy) it would be way, way crazier than it looks, which is already pretty crazy. He and his J-fro also make an in-series appearance as the shadowy dispenser of rocket launchers (and friend of Blues Penguins—he’s obvious got a thing for cute mascots that at least some of the main characters want to eat, though this penguin seems in a lot less danger than Menchi). The show’s technically about some poor radish farmers who have a fanless blues band and are trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to use their heroic, heavy-weapon-equipped alter-egos to come up with the money to become famous. I think. Regardless, the combination of cracked musical numbers, way cracked humor, and “Why are you not cutting away?!” horrors (the image of an alien violating the villain in the background of the preview is burned into my mind) is… well, kind of spectacular. And dumbfounding.

No idea where it’s going, but if it can keep me laughing even a quarter as hard as I was during the first episode it’s guaranteed itself a place on anime night.

In other news, very much enjoying Maria+Holic as of the halfway point. I’m pretty sure some of the more subtle jokes would work better if it didn’t have the… malleable visual reality of Zetsubo Sensei, but they’re still funny and a lot of the more random stuff is hilarious. Also love the character designs—beautiful, even through the crazy visuals. Some of the best little bits recently are a malaprop of copy-writer as copy-rider (leading to a quick shot of the protagonist speeding along on a copy machine), and the admonition that “All video game systems are prohibited. (Except the Virtual Boy.)” …because it’s tragic. As a geek and product of the ’80s, that had me laughing very hard, anyway. The music-video-style intro (and the intro theme itself) is also spectacular. The wacky 8-bit outro is nice, too—has adjusted visuals to match the content of every episode. The post-logues after the credits are funny, and the post-post-logue after that is random goodness akin to the 2nd season of Zetsubo Sensei.

Here’s that opening, courtesy Media Factory (the animation studio) getting their YouTube on: