(12ish episodes ?)
What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a generic dating sim visual novel… OR IS IT ?
Kazami isn’t exactly your generic dating sim protagonist. An orphan in unspecified circumstances, he’s in the employ of some secret governmental agency, in what looks very much like hitman-style jobs. He’s asked to be able to live a “normal school life” in his downtime, so his bosses send him to this elite academy… with only five other students.
Much of the humour comes from his deadpan bafflement at this bunch of girls acting out the classic dating sim archetypes :
– Sachi, the doormat who’s been tricked into wearing a maid uniform ;
– Makina, the foreign-looking kid ;
– Michiru, the tsundere who struggles under his heavy trolling ;
– Amane, who has no qualms about him walking in on her as she’s half-naked (hey, that’s his room !), and is vying to become a big-sister figure ;
– and Yumiko, the aloof girl that will totally cut you if you get too close.
Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing how they try to act so stereotypically, and he’s not above making a bit of fun out of them (especially Michiru). But this is a thoroughly weird setup, and his paranoid constant vigilance looks more and more appropriate as time goes by.
Like, how exactly did Amane enter his room ? Did she pick the lock ? Why are several of them mumbling about having identifying him ? Are those bombs Sachi is making in her room ? And in that light, Yumiko’s “I will cut you” antics take a more sinister look…
Is it still paranoia if they’re really out to get you ?
For some reason, the whole thing is shot in a widescreen aspect ratio. Well, whatever. Anyway, this seems to be drowning in budget, as the camera keeps moving around in fancy ways to stray from the cliché visual novel shot (you know the one), although it still shows up a lot anyway. (Amusingly, the girls often act out cliché “quirks” as though the camera was stuck to Kazami’s viewpoint.) There’s quite some scenery porn, too.
And, well, the camera also finds a way to show off repeatedly the panties of each and every girl, because dating sim adaptation. And there’s Amane’s half-naked scene, of course. (Ah, convenient bulbs of light…)
Usually, it’s a bad sign for a harem romance show if I find every possible option creepy and/or unlikeable. This show achieves the remarkable feat of turning that around and morphing into a thriller where the protagonist will need to fight for his dear life. It helps that Kazami (the always impeccable Takahiro Sakurai) does have charisma and a personality, which is more than 95% of dating sim protagonist. We do root for him, despite his being a paranoid jerk with much blood on his hand.
I have to admit I was fooled : this really looked like a generic dating sim adaptationwith crappy cliché girls who can barely read their script. I was entertaining the thought that the whole thing was a prank on him, but as a joke, not as the actual premise. Have a cookie, show, you were clever enough to get my attention.
Don’t waste it, though ; you’re still on a thin line for those gratuitous panty shots. So get to the point and don’t try to have your cake too much while eating it.