This is not harem. This is raging steroid harem. 

A Romantic Comedy Where the Childhood Friend Absolutely Will Not Lose. Sigh. I do not like this kind of show. The girls are all over the guy all the time. There’s only one worse kind of harem, and that’s the boob show kind where the girls are also all over the guy. OsaMake’s harem display is as bad as the thing that shall not be named, just without the…you know.

That affects my entire view of this show. Because if it wasn’t for that and the dismal writing to go along with it, I’d find this show high quality. The voice cast is top tier. The artwork is spectacular. The characters themselves have potential, but because of the poor writing, they never amount to much. So basically this show has a mega cast with nice artwork, and everything else is terrible. I found myself forcing myself to watch this every week during Spring 2021, choking back the laughter at the idiotic dullness of it all as I watched each new episode. I don’t recommend it.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 4

The voice actors that were chosen are among the best. I presume this was a highly successful LN and manga, and therefore the anime got a big budget. And the studio did not disappoint on the cast! 

Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito, SAO; Bell Cranel, DanMachi; Fuutarou, The Quintessential Quintuplets; Inosuke, Demon Slayer) plays Suehara Maru. He does a great job as always, despite a poor script to work with. Sueharu the character is actually really annoying though. He’s the clueless girl magnet. He’s not even funny about it like the infamous Naoya (Girlfriend, Girlfriend). He acts dumb about the whole situation the entire show. It’s really bad.

The childhood friend Kuroha Shida is played by none other than the great Inori Minase, of emminent fame as Rem (Re:Zero), Mari Tamaki (A Place Further than the Universe), and she shared casting with Matsuoka-san in DanMachi (Hestia) and The Quintessential Quintuplets (Itsuki). Though she puts on the less appealing (in my opinion) cutesy tone in this show, her clear voice is as powerful and attention-commanding as always. Shida herself is also annoying, always employing these odd schemes and trying to be near Sueharu all the time, all while being too embarrassed to state her feelings out loud. She’s a mild form of a tsundere, and it gets old really fast. If it weren’t for Minase-san’s voice acting, she’d be intolerable.

I was drawn the most to Kachi, the high school novelist that Sueharu falls in love with. She was strong outwardly, imposing in manner and appearance. Unfortunately she too fell into the pattern of schemes and shameless pursuit of Sueharu just as Shida did, and it became really tiresome. She had the best romantic moments with Sueharu though. Shida’s were close, partly because of Minase-san’s voice I’m sure, but I think Kachi had the slight edge in nice romance moments. Ayane Sakura (also The Quintessential Quintuplets, as Yotsuba surprisingly enough; also well known for MHA as Ochaco Uraraka; AoT as the hated Gabi Braun; recently as Saki in Girlfriend, Girlfriend; and as Prinz Eugen in the infamous game Azur Lane) is one of the most versatile VAs out there right now (2021), and she does a nice job with this character. She has a really pretty name by the way.

Look son, a dumbass!

I do not like Momo. Hardcore imouto type, right down to the cringy cutesy voice. I don’t know how Saori Ounishi plays Ais from DanMachi, but apparently these two characters have the same voice. Anyway, I can’t stand the pushy imouto loli type with the teeny tiny voice that creeps all over you and makes you cringe. 

Everyone else is a side character, and hopelessly uninteresting at that. Except Rena: everybody wanted to be Rena’s broom for a while there. Anyway. She’s kind of a fun character, the energetic type who will get up really close to your face every now and then and say something weird and funny. There was a while where each week I’d look forward to seeing her latest antic, then she disappeared into the madness a little bit. I hope we see more of her. Oh yeah, we’re doomed to another season of this show most likely. Here’s hoping for more Rena at least.

I did recognize the black versus white thing that was going on with “Kuroha” and “Shirokusa,” but I found this confusing, as it gave me no clue about anything happening within the show. It didn’t seem to relate to anything. Maybe it doesn’t. Confusing.

I do not like this kind of harem. I do not like the girls fawning, falling all over, basing their lives around, the main harem protagonist. These female characters lose all their individual charm by doing so. This will always happen in harem, but the characters aren’t always so heavily impacted. Think High School DxD, where the girls’ personalities (and everything else) are easy to remember individually. There are other examples, but you get the idea. There’s okay harem and then there’s bad harem, and the bad harem has a lot of types in it. These characters fall into that latter category unfortunately. Despite a great cast, this show is hard to watch partly because of how blah these characters ended up being.

Artwork

Rating: 8

Big positives all around. Not super exciting or enthralling like some I’ve seen, but still very good and very beautiful.

One big positive I noted in my research is how similar the anime artwork is to the manga. I know anime adaptations vary by degree from their manga source, but this is pretty similar. That makes sense; doubtless this was a very successful printed publication, so it follows that the artwork should closely resemble that source, in hopes that the anime would experience the same accolades for its visuals.

The girls are young, and they look it. That makes it a bit harder for the mature audience (me) to attach themselves to these girls. They don’t quite tug on the heartstrings like they could, in other words. But Shida, Kachi, and Rena are all very pretty. Shida has a bit too much of the imouto appearance for my liking, but her design is still very pretty. Kachi is the most mature looking, and she definitely is the most beautiful. Rena has her personality and her…yeah never mind, you get the idea. Broom.

The girls are the prettiest, but everyone has really pretty artwork. The eyes here are very glassy and very expressive and very large (on the girls, smaller on boys as usual), while fortunately avoiding entering the Clannad realm. Everything is very glossy actually, hair and eyes and glass and water all reflecting lots of light. It’s all very shiny and pretty, a visual treat for all viewers.

And colorful! I like this two-tone eye thing that’s becoming slightly more prevalent recently. Kachi’s purple to orangish-red eye tones are astounding, and Shida’s purple to purplish-pink tone is really pretty. I do not care for Momo at all, but how about those green tones in her eyes? That’s quite something. Wasted on this unpleasant character in my opinion; some of you won’t like me for that. But you know I really like the eye styles if I’m complimenting a boy’s eyes. Sueharu has some of the best blue eyes you’ll ever see on an anime male. He has less of a two-tone than simply ordinary darkening, but it’s pronounced and very effective visually. At least I can understand why the girls would like him for that reason!

The artwork is the best thing about this show. From the bright colors to the glossy finish and the pretty eyes, this show is visually very attractive and a pleasure to watch. I just wish it wasn’t wasted on such a blah harem show otherwise!

Story

Rating: 2

The only thing I’m giving this story credit for is the creativity of the writers coming up with these schemes the girls hatch and all the complex and chaotic confusion that they create within the myriad of misunderstandings in this story. It was only the barest minimum of creativity, as the schemes aren’t very imaginative, but it’s better than I could do, so I must give them that.

But whatever the input, the result is a disaster. One hair-brained scheme after another by one girl or the other, or by some unrelated party, trying to push or pull Sueharu towards one of the girls or into resuming his acting career, etc. It’s very tiresome, and is neither very engaging or very funny. It’s not entertaining.

And it’s very cookie-cutter, typical. Girls fawn over guy, compete for him in odd ways, which results in misunderstandings between them and their amorous target, whereupon they get all bent out of shape and blame everything on the amorous target, but of course never relenting in their undying love for this hapless person. And there’s a beach episode. It’s so old I could’ve written that sentence for any number of shows like this.

Rena Asagi. She would’ve taken over this show if the writers didn’t limit her screen time so much.

The backstory that’s supposed to be heartfelt isn’t. How much sympathy can one have for a successful child actor who just couldn’t do it anymore because of this-that-or-the-other? For one thing, it isn’t relatable. How many of us are child actors? But add to that the fact that if any of us were successful child actors we’d probably be pretty much set for life financially (as Sueharu probably is) instead of not set for life financially as most of us probably are, so our sympathy pretty much exits stage right. How come he gets to bitch about it and have girls fawn over him in tearful sympathy? Sure the story is a little sad when Sueharu finally confronts that part of his past, but not that much. And anybody would have some sympathy with someone who lost their mother, successful child actor or not, but the feelings aren’t strong here for whatever reason. Although possibly because when Sueharu’s confronting that past it’s at the prompting of Momo, who’s shamelessly using this emotional trauma in Sueharu to increase his attachment to her. Yeah, Momo. I don’t like her.

And then at the end they spend several episodes making a movie or something? I was honestly completely lost at that point. Documentary, movie, I don’t know. It was so poorly explained and so confusing, and it kept appearing and disappearing within episodes, I didn’t know what they were trying to do other than the fact that it had something to do with Sueharu’s career again. If only everyone around us was so helpful in moving us along our path in life. Sueharu’s got people promoting his career (where he will become even more financially set for life) and he’s a got a full bedroom to go along with it. The bastard.

The dialogue is atrocious. I couldn’t believe the things the writers were making these great VAs say. It was so dully unremarkable and overly dramatic at the same time. It was a bad combination, and it made me want to press the power button. I didn’t know whether to swallow hard at the cringe or burst out laughing in disbelief. Shida decides to be his “childhood girlfriend;” what the hell does that mean? Like many things in the story part of this anime, the dialogue was so idiotically bad at times I couldn’t stand it!

Overall: 4

Good artwork saves this one from a sub 3 rating. It’s that bad. Partly it’s made worse by the fact that these great VAs are here, and so I expect better. There’s only so much even they can do with this ridiculous display. I felt sorry for them. But it’s bad enough without the disappointed-expectations impact. So yeah, if it wasn’t for the artwork this show wouldn’t get any credit from me at all.

Can you believe this didn’t come to a conclusion? As in, we might have to endure more of this? The LN and manga are still going last I checked. Maybe this is one of those shows that’s better as print media. Occasionally you see anime like that, and even vice versa. But regardless, it’s very likely we end up getting a second season of this. I really hope it improves. I’ll watch it because I’ll watch anything once I’ve started (with the boundary drawn at the H-line), but I sincerely hope we get a better set of storylines and dialogue. And more Rena.

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