Okay, it’s been a while since I reviewed a full anime. This one is fairly recent (started and finished during the winter season). I have to admit, before the winter season started I didn’t really care for this show. The initial description sounded kinda trashy to me. But then I watched it and instantly fell in love. I’m not going to say you’re going to like it as much as I did, but I think it illustrates that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover at least. Anyway, let’s get the basic info out of the way. … Just as a note, don’t read the wiki. Spoilers galore. Anyway, the anime ran from January to March of 2012, and was done by David Production. I’ve never heard of David Production, but looking them up they’ve worked for a few popular series (Geass R2 and Soul Eater) though they haven’t had main production experience for very much. I’ve seen Ristorante Paradiso, which they’ve done, and I don’t really have any problems with any production style or whatnot they have. Anyway, let’s delve into the meat of this show.
Okay, to start. This is a romance/comedy/drama/slice of life show. There’s a little bit of all of those elements, though if you really pushed me I’d call it… A romance? Only because that’s what the climax is centered on. The main character is Shirakiin Ririchiyo, and she’s an honored daughter of a proud and powerful family. The twist? She’s a demon. Or, rather, the descendant of one. I’m not 100% sure how it works, but it seems like throughout certain families, demonic traits are inherited by family members down the line, though it seems as if only one member of the family can inherit those traits at a time. Anyway, due to her heritage, she’s lived a rather sheltered life through her childhood. However, as the show starts, she is seen moving into a new apartment with several other people. Of course, her family wouldn’t let her live in a normal apartment by herself, so she lives in a special complex called Maison de Ayakashi, which I think means Mansion for Demons or whatever. Needless to say, she lives with a bunch of people that are kind of like her, in that they’re demons or have demonic traits. As if that’s not enough, she’s also assigned a bodyguard. For some reason Japan likes to call them SS, or Secret Service, but one is assigned to guard Ririchiyo. His name is Miketsukami Soushi, and he’s totally obsessed with Ririchiyo for mysterious reasons. Anyway, the plot is more or less about Ririchiyo trying to integrate with society normally (she has a bit of a personality problem) and the general antics she and the rest of Maison de Ayakashi get up to, along with her relationship to her bodyguard.
Now for the characters. There’s the two obvious, of course, Shirakiin Ririchiyo and Miketsukami Soushi. They’re the main characters. Ririchiyo has really awkward personality and isn’t very good at acting correctly in social situations. She gives off the appearance of looking down on others, and is in general not very true to her own feelings. Over the course of the series, she manages to change little by little, though that personality still dominates the core of whatever actions she takes. I’ll be honest, she’s a ridiculously adorable character. A major part of that is her character design, but her personality works in crazy ways and it’s great to watch. While on the outside she seems cold and haughty, on the inside she often worries and panics about what that attitude does to the people around her. Watching that dichotomy is pretty entertaining. Soushi on the other hand is a bit more one-track. He’s a demon himself, of course, and is totally obsessed with Ririchiyo. Not particularly in a romantic sense, really (though that kind of develops) but more in a stalker-ish sense. At the end of the last episode, you see his closet and it’s just blanketed in pictures of Ririchiyo. Besides being creepy and totally stalkerish, it’s kind of funny. But that’s really his personality at its core. While the show does hint at a deeper aspect to his thoughts from time to time, everything he does is pretty much related to Ririchiyo. I will say that the episode about his past was a bit odd. It reminded me of one of David Production’s earlier works, Ristorante Paradiso, actually. Interesting parallel to draw.
Anyway, some of the other characters. I’ll just cover the three I feel are most important. Starting with Roromiya Karuta. She, like Ririchiyo, is totally adorable, and that has a little bit to do with her character design, though her personality helps. She’s another bodyguard, assigned to Shoukiin Kagerou (I’ll get to him later), though her ward isn’t around very often in the anime. Her personality is pretty simple. She’s kind of lazy, soft-spoken, and likes to eat. A lot. In fact I would say out of any 2 second voice clip you could find of her character, odds are she’s probably talking about food or something related. And of course, she’s a demon too. She also shares a special relationship with the next character I’ll cover… Watanuki Banri. He’s a resident of the complex, and totally is in love with Karuta. They’re childhood friends, and it seems Karuta is kind of oblivious to his feelings. Besides that, Banri is also a demon, a raccoon spirit to be exact. His personality is generally combative and competitive, though he definitely has a soft spot for Karuta. Lastly, but probably most importantly is Shoukiin Kagerou. He’s technically Ririchiyo’s fiancee, though he’s not around the mansion very often. He’s a loud and boisterous kind of guy, and happens to be friends with both Banri (well, kind of) and Soushi from childhood. He has some sort of obsession with S&M play, and classifies nearly everything he sees as either a sadist or a masochist. It’s actually really funny. Anyway those are pretty much the main characters in a nutshell. There are a few more than that, of course.
As for the art, I’m a huge fan. It’s clean, and well-done I think. But most impressive to me are the character designs. Well, the girls, anyway. Both Ririchiyo and Karuta have adorable designs and a whole lot of fanservice throughout the series. Honestly, if you looked at some of the promotional material for this series, you’d think it was more tailored towards female fanservice… That is, cute guys and stuff. And I guess there’s a fair deal of that, but there’s also a lot of male fanservice, and it’s some good stuff, haha. Normally I’m not totally into that kind of stuff, but Ririchiyo and Karuta are pretty cute. Of course, the other character designs are pretty good too. Soushi has that neat heterochromia thing going on, and Kagerou has that Char thing going on. Insofar as the animation is concerned, well, that’s nothing special. There’s not very much to animate. I guess there’s a scant few fight/action-y scenes, and those look… Alright, I suppose. Overall the animation is pretty mediocre.
And the music. It’s honestly the least impressive part of the show. The BGM is utterly forgettable, and I really dislike the opening theme. The opening theme is Nirvana by mucc, who I’ve never heard of and can’t really say I care for. On the bright side (and the only saving grace, musically), there are several ending themes, and I enjoyed two of them. Each of the ending themes are supposed to parallel a different character from the show, and they reflect the characters pretty well. The two that were alright were the songs for Karuta and Kagerou. Even still, it’s more because the songs are funny and have a neat accompanying animation. Otherwise, the music isn’t really that good, unfortunately.