Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

29 October 2015: It turns out Inou-Battle is a pretty successful harem comedy

Tomoyo and Jurai

I put Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace) on hold halfway through the autumn 2014 season to watch different shows, but I came back to it and finished it off a year later. There wasn't anything particularly bad about the series when I put it on the shelf last year, except I felt it was a rather unremarkable effort by Studio Trigger, a company better known for KILL la KILL and the Little Witch Academia movies. But now that I've finished Inou-Battle, I believe it is a excellent show—not relative to anime in general, mind you—relative to other harem comedies. You see, harem comedies tend to be mediocre at best and typically cursed with one or both of the following typical flaws: (1) Uninteresting harem candidates, or (2) an unlikable male lead.

Go on, Hatako, curse the bitch out.

The first of these flaws tends not to be too problematic. Harem comedy girls are so frequently cookie-cutter stereotypes that they're basically anime layups. Considering that the Best Girl (Kudou Mirei) spends most of the show riding the pine, Inou-Battle still manages a charismatic menagerie of runners-up, including a soft-spoken Girl Next Door who launches into an astonishingly epic rant at one point. Although I can't speak for all viewers, I don't feel as if I need any of the girls to "win." Typically, it's an odious male lead who inspires this view—a male protagonist so despicable that I want him to enjoy only misfortune—but in this case, it's because the show doesn't really present itself as a competition, even though Andou Jurai is one of those rare decent sort of fellows instead of yet another Potato.

Jurai, Mirei, and Tomoyo
She had it coming.

I loathe most harem comedy leads (arguably, I loathe most male anime protagonists in general) and frequently lament that Potato-kun is doing his best to ruin his show for me. It's as if writers feel male anime leads must be detestable losers as a rule. Aside from the occasional all right guy, such as Saotome Kazuya from Hand Maid May, most of the time he's some schmuck such as Tachibana Jun'ichi from Amagami SS. Surprisingly, Jurai is an okay dude, despite being deeply invested in that chuunibyou nonsense at the heart of the show. At a minimum, I can respect his solution to the crisis at the end of the series. Even if it's not enough to answer critics who insist every show by Studio Trigger should be KILL la KILL-esque, it's at least enough to argue even a harem comedy can work out pretty well with Studio Trigger at the helm.

«« If you're not watching 35th Platoon for Ueda Reina, I can only assume you're watching it for Itou Kanae
I'm not sure if Saekano succeeds because of its source material or in spite of it »»

Related Posts