This is review number three hundred and eighty. This anime is part of the Summer 2014 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Rurumo Majomoji. It’s a twelve episode anime about a lot of girls in bras and panties, and there is some magic here or whatever. Let’s just read on.
The anime follows a guy named Kouta Shibaki. He has garnered the reputation of being the most perverted guy in school, and he’s having a tough life because of it. One day, he discovers a book at the library that can summon witches. He tried it out, and a witch appeared. This witch can grant any wish he desires, and this entails the unusual life Kouta is about to enjoy.
Taking the Pants Off
I enjoyed the hell out of this anime, but I don’t really know why. As of this writing, I just recently finished the show and I am honestly a bit stumped. I must admit though that I smiled when I first saw the anime. “This is JC Staff”, I honestly said to myself. To those that are too young to know, JC Staff knows how to do one genre justice: School life. At their peak, back in the early 2000s, JC showcased a lot of romance anime and ecchi shows. These shows occur at a school setting, and JC Staff always has a knack for doing pleasant school shows really well. In fact, that’s what they were known for. A lot of their shows center around characters just enjoying their time in school, and it’s actually something I sorely missed now that the anime landscape has changed. I always have this indescribable feeling of bliss whenever I watch a JC Staff show. Honey and Clover, Toradora and even Shakugan no Shana would me leave smiling after I finish watching them. I only understood it recently, but it’s because JC Staff knows what to present in their shows. Rurumo Majimoji’s first few minutes gave me back that nostalgic smile, and I soon realized JC Staff is finally back. I begrudgingly became a reviewer at the time JC Staff was in a weird decline, and they really only pick things back up in 2013. Sure, the studio had solid school life shows like Kimi to Boku and Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, but it didn’t feel the same. It was lacking a bit, and some things were forced. It wasn’t the JC Staff that I grew up with. They can make me smile with even a low budget show like Kare Kano, so I just know when something isn’t right. Thankfully, JC Staff is back. No more awkward shows like Witch Craft Works. I just know, being a big fan, “this is JC Staff”.
Isn’t that a cool way to open this review? Still, this show is a bit hard to describe. It’s a supernatural ecchi show, but it’s also a comedy anime. The tricky part is that the genres mix and play in some of the episodes. A journey to fulfill ones libido can be achieved through magic that’ll result in a comedic moment, but it’ll end with a soft hearted conclusion between the characters. It’s a really good show, but it’ll be hard to properly review it.
Let’s start with the premise. It’s about a perverted guy named Kouta using a magic book to summon a witch. He summoned this adorable witch:
But he forgot the rule of equivalent exchange, and this adorable witch now wants his life. He managed to escape out of the contract he made, but the witch came back. She handed him a ticket book, and she instructs him to use it if he wants something. This is for her training as a witch, and Kouta happily complied. It’s later revealed though that he will die when the tickets are all used up. The adorable witch isn’t aware of this fact though, and Kouta decided to not tell her but also vowed never to use the tickets.
This is the premise the show starts out with, but it soon expands and even drops this halfway through. It’s important to note that this anime is a character driven show. It’s a comedy anime, but it’s one of those rare shows that actually have a story. This is used to develop and flesh out the characters. Most comedy shows, like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki, creates a situation for the characters to be funny in. For this anime, the situation is used to actually develop the characters and strengthen the relationships between them. It’s a refreshing show, since comedy is admittedly a very confined genre. Story is often nonexistent, and the characters remain as-is to ensure the comedy is untouched. It’s not a bad thing, since the goal is to make the audience laugh. Once upon a time though, you can actually have a story in your comedy shows. I think the main characters, Kouta and Rurumo, were introduced in a wonderful manner in just two episodes. No exposition is given out as well. The character development is told through the situational gags and how they relate to other characters. It’s a brilliant approach, since the anime can steadily grow without becoming stale and repetitive. These are often two things comedy shows tend to fall into. It’s a normal thing when you don’t have a story to tell.
This anime isn’t just a comedy show though. It’s also an Ecchi show, and this genre is even more restrictive than the comedy. First of all, it’s all about boobs and assess. Ecchi is just juvenile and perverted by nature, so there is very little room for stuff like story and character development. This anime is loaded with things like this:
So it can be a bit hard to take the genre seriously. The character driven nature of the show seemingly balances things out though. Nothing stays perverted for too long in this anime. There is actually a direction for some of its perverted scenes. The image above with the bra actually ends with Kouta going all soft after hearing that the bra is a sentimental item for the girl. The anime sets up the joke, but it’ll often change gears at the last minute. It’s a very genius thing to do, because the Ecchi is presented but Kouta’s character as a good natured pervert comes through in the end. There’s something genius about a character driven Ecchi-Comedy that I really admire. Seriously, more shows should do this. I remember that Sakamoto desu ga actually tried to achieve the same result this anime did. It tried to focus on the school life aspect, but Sakamoto ended up being forced. It was actually hard to transition from one character perspective to an entire class, but it can apparently be done successfully. Rurumo Majimoji can do this with ease.
I love how certain episodes would solely focus on Kouta or Rurumo, but it’ll end with a big cast now involved in the story. For example, Rurumo’s adventure riding a train would involve interacting with a bunch of characters. They’d help her out, and Rurumo’s interaction with them often serves as a comedic piece for the show. The episode would often end though with Rurumo’s personal conflict being spotlighted, and a resolution is met to a satisfying degree. This is where the School Life aspect of the anime shines beautifully. It’s able to involve a lot of characters, and it can really bring out the charm of being in a school. We have different characters interacting, but the vibrant nature of their friendship and their close relationships would accentuate how special the place is. This can easily turn into a clusterf*ck with littered plot points, but the anime is able to polish things up really neatly. Nothing is messy, and the large group is actually a welcomed thing. In fact, you’ll soon look forward to which character is going to be introduced next. After realizing how each character brings a different tone to the show, it can be refreshing to see them all come together and, really, just talk and be friendly with each other. This also covers one of the annoying aspects of an Ecchi Comedy: the undying clichés.
I was honestly a bit insulted that this anime had a beach episode, a hot spring episode and a New Year’s Eve episode. Really? We’re going there? Honestly, marshmallow shows killed the appeal of these clichéd episodes for me. I really rolled my eyes when I saw it in this anime, but these episodes were actually great standouts. The large cast and their bright interactions actually made the entire experience pretty wonderful. Can you image? A beach episode that is actually enjoyable in a non-perverted way? That’s like looking at a dirty magazine to read the fan letters. It’s insane, but the show somehow pulled it off. You’ll be eagerly waiting what this character would do and how the others would react, and it actually works out in the end. I do believe undying cliché episodes were actually meant to be a device to showcase the relationships of the characters, but it somehow transformed into an exercise of laziness. Most studios use it as an easy pass to just deliver fan service and disgrace us all for it. It’s not really a bad thing, since transformations are a sign that the industry is alive. Magical girls were meant to be for little girls, but a few of them now cater to sad lonely men who are into dangerously little girls. Light novels used to be thought provoking, and now they’re just….really, really bad. Don’t get me started on marshmallow shows. These shows will never go away now, especially since KyoAni is dedicated solely on delivering fluff. Anyways, cliché has a place on anime but this is really the only time that I actually enjoyed them.
This anime isn’t perfect though. The bloated cast is also a weakness. First of all, comedy shows use it to bulk up their episodes. It’s easier to introduce nine or ten characters than to develop a cohesive story. The initial premise of the show actually vanished half-way through, and the anime just focused on introducing one character after the other. They did it smart by having these new characters interact with the main characters, but it’s still a lazy approach. Eventually, a clusterf*ck does happen where various things are forgotten, but they’d reappear out of convenience later on. Things like Kouta being in the supernatural club, being dubbed the most perverted guy in school and girls avoiding him, Rurumo’s witch training, Kouta being forced to use the tickets from time to time are just some of the things the anime would drop then re-use later on. If it isn’t related to a character, then the show would use it out of leisure. It’s not really a bad thing, since the focus is on the characters and not the story. Still, it can be distracting at times. There are certain characters you’ll forget because they belong in one plot point, and the show has dropped it for a while. I suck at recognizing characters, but I honestly forgot that Kouta’s classmate buddies and his friends at the supernatural club are different people. There were too many things to track that I forgot those set of characters are different from each other. I was like “oh yeah, one of them like pork buns”, but I only realized it ten episodes in. Again, it’s not a bad thing since cohesion does still exist in the way the characters are developed.
One of the things I really liked about this anime is the way it fleshes out Rurumo. She is a clumsy girl with a strong conviction, but she really developed into a much more impressive character. The wonderful thing is that you can actually see her transform in each episode. From the way she interacts with the other characters, you can feel the growth happening. It is outstanding, since very little exposition is given in the anime. Some things are just established with the way the characters act and talk to one another. The previous anime I reviewed even f*cked up simple exposition dumps, so I just enjoy the hell out of an anime that “show and not tell”. Her growth from a girl that would say “thank you” by covering her face to a more enjoyable character is really one of the highlights of the show. A lot of characters benefit from the character driven nature of the show. Kouta benefits from this as well. While he does keep his perverted nature to comply with the Ecchi-Comedy elements of the anime, there are certain times where you’ll smile because you can genuinely relate with the character. I love the way he smiles, and it just tells you a lot about him. No dialogue is needed, because he is a simple character. The anime has smart ways to make him standout though, and I find it really impressive.
The side characters are smartly presented as well. While they do have their quirks, the large cast does show growth too. No one is left behind, and characters develop in such a simple but effective manner. Flashbacks are smartly employed, and their relationship with other characters shapes their identity. Some of them are also pretty clichéd, like the undying tsundere character, but they still function in the show in a really entertaining way. You won’t be pigeonholed into thinking this character is just a tsundere. No, she grows out of her stereotype into something that fits the casual school life nature of the show. I kid you not, there is a notice-me-senpai character in this anime, and it’s not done in any clichéd manner. It’s a notice-me-senpai character that will actually grow on you. This anime is just smart like that.
JC Staff delivered this anime, and I love them for that. I hope that they nail more school life anime like this one, because I really want to review them all. This studio is one of the big reasons why I wanted to review anime. Their shows are just easy to love, and they’re seemingly presented in an effortless manner. I want more people to love JC Staff, because they are just that good of a studio. I’ve seen them delivered bad anime, but I notice they’re continuing on producing solid hits now. I cannot wait till I get to review Prison School. It’s going to be a fun time for me. This is Chikara Sakurai’s first directorial work, and it’s a pretty solid one. He has done some assistant directing, but this is his first big one. He did a really great job, because it’s hard to do a character driven show. Even if the manga does it seamlessly, the adaptation can turn awry at times. Psychic Detective Yakumo is supposed to be character driven as well, but the anime turned into a giant trash bag of mango pulp. It takes talent to really bring out the manga’s charm, and Chikara does a good job here. This is a really complicated anime to pull off, but Chikara really knew what he was doing. I hope he direct more engaging shows like this one, because it’s rare to see a talented director nail it the first time. Here’s hoping he gets to showcase his magic on more anime in the future.
Sight and Sound
Wataru Watanabe is the author of Yowamushi Pedal, and he also created Rurumo Majimoji. In terms of character design, his style is a little bit weird. Characters have big heads and little bodies, but it’s not really bad to look at. Despite having no template for characters, his manga is still wonderfully presented. The one thing I noticed is that the pacing of the manga is really fast. The speed is really comedic, and the timing is pretty on point. The way the anime adapted it is really spot on, but the manga is pretty energetic on its own. Kouta is presented as this energetic little thing that does different poses in each panel, and it’s just crazy to look at. This is balanced out by Rurumo’s stoic design. The inking and the fixed face are just amazing. You can tell she is a kuudere just from the design. Again, the design is a bit cartoonish but the proportions are still pretty great to look at. The Ecchi is delivered in a really smart manner, because the bodies are still nicely detailed. The poses are nicely drawn, and the emphasis on the boobs or assess are still nicely presented. This is all done without breaking the fast pace of the manga, so Wataru is a really incredible storyteller. You can tell he can pace with ease, and it must be because of how his first work is a sports manga. Anyways, the design does grow on you. Each character has a unique look, and they still shine in the little details. Nothing is taken for granted, and the presentation is really unique. I’m amazed the anime is even able to capture Wataru’s vision, since it is a very complicated approach to telling a story.
Animation is pretty great though. The different panels of the manga are nicely presented in this anime, and some are even presented in a clearer manner. Chikara really understood Wataru’s intention and he really went for it. The fast pace of the manga is nicely captured, but the slow moments are also nicely emphasized. The aesthetics is even a nice touch, since the colored pages of the manga has the same faded color palette. The anime went as far as to capture the colors Wataru had in his manga, and its little details like this that I love in a well-adapted anime. In terms of animation, I do believe you just have to look at Kouta’s energetic movements to see how great the quality is. Along with the different camera angles and still shots, the animation really makes the entire experience unique. The school setting is alive with how the animation is able to juggle the large cast, and it’s able to make each character stand out. I personally love how Rurumo is presented. Her shy moments are so smartly presented, because the camera often zooms in those scenes. Half her face is seen and she’d often be blushing in them. Even the way she gazes is just incredible, since the “show not tell” appeal of the anime is carried in the animation (obviously). So much can be known with just the animation, without the characters even needing to add dialogue in the scene. This is a hard thing to do, but this anime does it with ease. The mood of certain scenes is nicely implemented, and the emotion of the characters is carried out properly in important moments.
This scene is particularly impressive:
The mood, the emotion and the relationship of the characters are told simply through the animation. There’s very little dialogue. I didn’t notice the music, but this scene still stands out. I honestly never thought the anime even had this in it. This scene is just so out of left field. Good gawd.
The anime’s OP is “Seiippai, Tsutaetai!” by Suzuko Mimori. This is an adorable song about someone trying their best to express their feelings. It’s a song I can personally relate to, since I know this really timid girl that kinda fits the song’s intentions. It’s also about Rurumo, and it’s a really cute song. Her VA also sung it, so there’s a nice novelty here. The song itself is really good though, and I just love how it captures the anime’s spirit. The OP sequence is amazing. It introduces all the characters, so use it as a guide when you’re confused with some of them, and it features the incredible animation of the show. Kouta’s caring character and Rurumo’s shy personality is captured in this adorable OP sequence. It’s honestly one of my favorites, and it’s up there with Boku wa Minna Kawaisou’s OP in terms of how it captures the beautiful parts of the anime.
The anime’s ED is “Futari no Chronostasis” by Yurika Endou. It’s another cute song that relates to Rurumo. It’s also about someone trying their best in hopes of thanking the person special to them, and I just love the honesty of the song. I just feel right. The rhythm isn’t that memorable, but I think the lyrics really hit it home for me. The ED sequence features Rurumo riding a bike and Kouta is teaching her how to properly ride one. It’s a cute ED, since there is a story here. It also makes me smile, since the sequence does feel like a piece of the actual anime. I like it a lot because the characters are totally represented without any dialogue. This is a trait the anime brilliantly possesses, and the ED has it as well.
8/10 “It’s a strong character driven show with a top notch anime experience to present.”
This is a really great anime. The characters are strong, and the genres are represented strongly. The Ecchi, Comedy and School Life elements all standout beautifully, and none of its clichés drag the entire experience down. The story is a bit shoddy, and there are some weak points if you nitpick. Still, the characters grow on you, their interaction is vibrant and the clichés are served in a very interesting manner. I’m sure the first episode will hook you, and just enjoy it from there. I highly recommend it.