The ecchi aspects do justice to the original, and the story seems to resonate well in anime form. If the first episode is any indication, this will be yet another quality effort by Xebec.
The episode opens with a brief flash foward prologue which shows that at some point in the future Yuuna will vanish and the MC will be distressed about it. The brief scene features a few fanservicey shots and also some flashbacks from the OVA.
Rest of episode
Next episode teaser
Nipple sightings in relevant source material chapters:
Oddly enough, the one shot to show nipples in the corresponding manga chapters didn’t get animated. But by the looks of it there’s a few anime original nipple sightings Xebec threw in to compensate.
The first episode was a pleasant surprise visually. The art and animation quality was actually better than the OVA. There was a lot more movement and very few frames looked awkward. The coloring definitely falls short of the early Queen’s Blade seasons or To Love-Ru Darkness (2012), but this might be the best ecchi production values since then.
The story was also a pleasant surprise. It’s not deep, but it does just enough to get us to feel like the two main characters are three dimensional and likable. Already one episode in and I’m already thinking of them as a couple, which is pretty cool. You could make the anime just about them and it would actually be solidly watchable along the lines of a lighthearted version of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia.
In particular I thought the main character (Kogarashi Fuyuzora) was done well. His emotions and actions are kind of in that ideal zone where he’s not emo and he’s not a spaz and he’s not boring. He’s also got a bit of a backstory as a hard luck kid with no family, which I’m guessing will be forgotten eventually, but it works well in making him feel relatable as we are introduced to him. He’s a hard worker with a good attitude who came from a tough background but isn’t an annoying do-gooder who lives by corny cliches. He’s not my favorite harem master, but by ‘herbivorous’ harem master standards he’s almost ideal. I already like him a lot.
The airheaded titular character Yuuna was a lot less annoying than I was expecting. She has actual goals for us to empathize with and comes across as a sweet person. While there are no direct ‘sparks’ of romance between her and Kogarashi, there is a nice subtlety to their relationship which suggests a low-key romance. Yuuna depends on Kogarashi to keep her safe from exorcists and friendless, family-free Kogarashi values her company and appreciates that her haunting the hot springs allows him to live there almost for free. Both are lonely souls that fill a void for one another.
There’s actually a line in there where Yuuna-san tears up and begs Kogarashi to stay poverty-stricken forever so that he’ll never be able to afford living somewhere else. I think it was meant as a joke original manga, but in the anime there’s some genuine emotional resonance to it. You can feel that these characters need each other. To give that kind of emotional resonance in the very first episode is impressive, especially when considering the genre this show belongs to.
Of course, the villain of the week just kind of appears and leaves in like 4 minutes. And the side cast of harem characters feels more like a troupe than a group of interesting and independent individuals. But that’s fine, we know exactly what kind of anime this is and why those characters exist. The fact that the two main characters have depth to them is enough, and more than I was expecting.
Content wise, there’s a lot of fanservice this week, but there’s only one nipple sighting in the corroborating manga material and it didn’t even make it into the episode oddly. There’s a couple shots that look likely to add some anime original nudity which would be cool. Normally Xebec tends to adapt manga very directly and only goes the extra mile on rare occasion, but this first episode appears to be a slight exception.
Overall the service here was still very good, and it will only get better and better as the series moves along.
I know I’m generally positive about ecchi shows, so maybe my praise doesn’t mean as much. But that said, this show has exceeded my expectations so far. I’m not sure if it will be a big enough hit for a second season, but based on the way it’s started, it deserves to be.