I know there are a LOT of people who wait for blu-ray to watch ecchi anime. Having watched the TV airings, here are some thoughts on how the Summer 2015 ecchi season is shaping up so far.
I’ll try to keep this spoiler free and give these reviews in a more generalist sense. I’ll only be commenting on fanservice centric shows with either confirmed nudity or are otherwise ‘likely’ to have it. Keep in mind, this is all just one person’s opinion, and my opinions tend to flip flop a few times throughout a season.
I’ll give a grade (so far) for how I think the show works on an anime level and a second grade on how it works on an erotic level. (The anime score is out of 4 stars, the nosebleed score can be as many as necessary to convey the ero level). The ero score takes all factors into account, but is most influenced by the sheer amount of pointless nudity.
Keep in mind that my ‘anime score’ rating is grading on a curve. I grade them based on a comparison to their nude-ecchi peers, shows like DxD or Queen’s Blade. If I give a show ‘4 stars’, I’m not saying it’s on the same level as the all time classics of mainstream anime fandom, but rather that it’s among the best of the nude-ecchi sub-genre.
JC Staff’s adaptation of the heralded Kangoku Gakuen manga has been arguably the most pleasant surprise of the Summer. For a company that had been afraid of taking things too far for so long, it was a shock to see them relay the manga experience 100% faithfully, all while maintaining the feel of a mainstream anime.
Every scene is at least somewhat interesting, and the storytelling actually got me to care more about Kiyoshi and Chiyo’s clumsy romance than the original manga did. Even though the pacing does feel just a little uneven (the first episode was way too fast, the second episode just right, the third episode too slow), overall the series has done a good job of sucking us into the anime world and caring about the characters, their relationships, and their goals.
The jokes in the manga are hilarious, but the anime version of the same jokes always seem to land with a bit of a glancing blow. Never enough to make you laugh your ass off, but consistently enough to generate light laughter. The execution of this anime is off just a bit, otherwise I’d probably consider it for the highest rating on account of the overall quality of the series. It gets you to laugh, and it gets you to care.
The art quality is lower than usual for JC Staff, and part of that is probably intentional. That said, this really does not feel like a JC Staff show at all, almost like a different company made it and JC Staff slapped their logo on it. But that’s actually a good thing. We wouldn’t want this series to visually resemble Index/Railgun or Zero no Tsukaima , as visually pleasing as those series were. It wouldn’t jive with the gritty weirdness that is Prison School .
The casting seems to be on point, particularly Shizuka Itou as the ultra voluptuous Vice President Meiko and Kana Hanazawa as the shy girl bully Hana Midorikawa. Katsuyuki Konishi is really growing on me as the man with the master plan (to get his limited edition figurines), Takehito Morokuzu.
I’m very happy to report that the service has done the manga justice so far. JC Staff doesn’t shy away from even some of the more intense eroticism such as a sweaty Meiko doing squats over a peephole.
There have already been two nude scenes, and glancing through the manga, we can probably expect a half dozen more before the season is over. The interesting thing will be how JC Staff handles some of the “borderline” nipple sightings from Meiko in the upcoming chapters to be adapted from the manga. The manga clearly indicates that her nipples are peering out from her outfit, but barely draws them. Just enough to let you know they are there. It will be interesting to see how the anime handles that.
To Love-Ru Darkness 2nd
Xebec deserves a lot of credit for making the decision to go 14 episodes. By doing so, it has allowed them to maintain a rate of progression that feels just right.
What has surprised me, and I’ll admit that I didn’t watch a ton of the previous shows censored so maybe I am off base, but it feels like this season is more erotic than the 2012 version was. There seems to be a nude scene every three or four minutes, and rather than just having a nip slip or shower scenes, these moments have a more explicit feel to them, like when Lala accidentally ends up titfucking her own tail.
This makes sense, since the Darkness manga gets more lecherous as it goes along, and the ecchi scenes in volumes 6-12 are more explicit than the opening five volumes used for the first Darkness season back in 2012. It generally feels like the number of nude scenes is up about 50% from the previous installment, including a few minor nude scenes that are anime original.
The bad news about this season so far is that the art quality, specifically how the faces are drawn, is not quite up to the high bar set by the 2012 version. It’s enough of a difference to bother some, but the increased amount of ecchi scenes is enough of an offset for me personally. And in episode four it started to feel like the old faces were making a comeback, so maybe it was just a temporary change at the start of the series.
The story of this series has always been more about setting up the fanservice than anything else, so it’s kind of hard to give a grade that feels fair.
The next episode (five) will feature a great nude scene for Mikan. I’ve given up all hope on this series doing her character justice, but it is an opportunity to surprise us and score points with the fans. Here’s hoping.
Okusama ga Seitokaichou!
There is a lot to like about this offbeat ecchi adaptation.
For starters, the anime takes full advantage of the manga’s appealing character design style and curvaceous qualities. The production values here are better than Triage X and arguably DxD BorN as well. And unlike those shows, the art has stayed 100% consistent in Okusama , an issue that has plagued many nude ecchi series in recent seasons.
We also get some unexpectedly explicit fanservice, with an intimate nipple sucking scene only a few minutes in. It’s not very often that the runner up in the student body presidential election gets to suck on the winner’s tit, and here it happens in the first freaking episode. Episodes two and three would add brief nude scenes as well, all of them courtesy of Ui (the main character).
The original story of this series was created by a female mangaka who spends most of her time making hentai, so right away this isn’t going to have the same kind of feel that most ecchi series would have. This also helps explain the appealing ‘cutesy’ look of the characters as well as their refreshingly non-cliche personalities.
Hayato and Ui make an awkward yet strangely believable odd couple. Both seem like the brainy character archetypes that would never lead a series, instead being banished to supporting roles. So it’s kinda neat to see these kinds of characters taking the spotlight of a series.
This could be one of the better ecchi series of the year. Unfortunately, the material simply can’t be crammed into 8 minute episodes, and this results in a ton of plot jumping with the characters seemingly teleporting from school to the bedroom to school again. It’s all so jarring, it feels more like watching a series of select scenes from the manga rather than watching a cohesive anime. Which is a shame, because the material appears to be pretty good.
You would never expect a masterpiece in 4 minutes per episode, especially not when nearly all of that time is allotted to gratuitous T ‘n A.
Still, for what it is, Bikini Warriors has been a pleasant watch. There is no serious story, really the entire series is a bunch of short parodies on classic JRPG gaming from back in the day. None of the jokes are uproariously funny, but they will probably at least put a smile on your face if you played almost any RPG from the NES/SNES era.
While the nudity level is mildly disappointing considering that Hobby Japan is calling the shots on this one, it’s still fairly early and things can always improve. It also helps that the non-nude service has been some of the best this season. If you love massive cleavage and bikini butts, this show is for you.
The faces on these girls aren’t the best drawn ever, but the artwork on the body shots is a lot better than I would have guessed given the budgetary constraints. Few shows make cleavage look better than Bikini Warriors has.
Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou
It’s really amazing that one of the more extreme ecchi manga in recent memory not only kept all the nude scenes in the anime, but managed to charm even type A viewers in the process. We’ll see how that sentiment holds over when this series becomes an enormous nipplefest on BD, but for now, this series seems to be generally well liked by basically everyone.
That’s not to say that Monster Musume is without flaws, but the charm factor and good vibes of the series help brush those over. In a lot of ways, the ‘feel’ of this series is a bit like Cat Planet Cuties , there’s even a sexy secret service agent to monitor these bombshell visitors to human society.
Though the constant near-murdering of the MC does in fact get tiresome by the third episode, we can’t help but feel emotionally invested in all the monster ladies. We feel for Miia because she was there first and seems to want her ‘Darling’ the most. Centorea is pure-hearted and only intends the best. Papi is eager to make friends and get along with others. Suu is adorably innocent and scores major moe points.
The MC seems dependable and hard-working. And when his eyes aren’t fuzzy circles, he’s actually quite the handsome one himself, which makes it very easy to believe he could have so many beauties chasing after him.
A lot of work is put into the ‘world’ of Monster Musume as well. Though it is done within the invented structure of the anime, there is a great deal of social commentary. It may not be 100% realistic, but you have to give this series credit for actually thinking about what it might be like if monsters integrated into human society.
The end of each episode features an end card that seems pulled straight out of an RPG players guide. It explains the various types of monsters from each sub-race. After a while it actually became the highlight of every episode on an anime level. A lot of thought went into each subspecies, and it actually made for interesting reading.
This show has really helped redefine what a ‘great’ ecchi series feels like in this new era where nude-ecchi has essentially evolved into softcore porn. When you think of the great nude ecchi shows of the past, you mostly think of very old shows like Ranma 1/2 , Tenchi Muyo , or Golden Boy . Those were classic shows first, and sexy shows second. But in recent times the genre has evolved to the point where we evaluate ecchi more for its fap potential than for its iconic nature.
Now as someone who makes compilation videos I am the last person on earth to complain about that standard, but still, there really haven’t been very many mainstream iconic ecchi shows the last few years. And so far, Monster Musume looks well on its way to being one of them.