Some Possibly Reckless Generalizations Based On Three Episodes of “Maburaho”

My roommate, having exhausted some of the current shows this season, was looking for some other anime to watch. Some time ago, when we were trawling through the anime section of Best Buy, I saw Maburaho and suggested that he might like it. Well, last night, we decided to finally check out the first three episodes. Here are some observations.

  • This feels more like Love Hina as a harem show than, say, a more “modern” example like Baka Test.
  • Why are “main girls” so often pink-haired? It’s true here, and in Zero no Tsukaima, Baka Test, Rosario + Vampire…the list goes on.
  • I was still relatively new to anime in 2003, which is when this show was released. I remember that it was considered extremely racy for its time. Now, in the Kanokon-Queens Blade-Seikon no Quasar age it looks rather tame.
  • The only little sister-like character we encountered so far (episode 3) was not really fetishized. The imouto loli lovin’ hadn’t quite begun yet at all.
  • There was a startling amount of plot accomplished in the first episode, more than I expected. Not that it’s a good plot, mind you–it’s as full of holes as any show of its ilk–but until the mindless haremette chasing begins in the second half it felt kinda, well, meaty. In both senses of the word.
  • The pacing seemed a bit slower, almost limp by today’s standards. Or was it unusually slow for its time too?
  • It’s a testament to how things change so fast these days that a show that is merely seven years old already feels like it comes from another time: before Haruhi, before the wholesale moe takeover, etc. Though of course the formula is pretty well in place.

We watched some Rosario + Vampire after that, and in the space of five years, the animation quality, the action styles, and even the introduction of snarky self-referential humor: all were in place for a “current” anime.

Now I’m told that this show becomes a lot more than just a harem comedy later on. I’m not sure I’m interested enough to check it out further, but the experience was instructive. Or, I could be generalizing irresponsibly based on a tiny sample size. What do you think?

8 thoughts on “Some Possibly Reckless Generalizations Based On Three Episodes of “Maburaho””

  1. I watched that show and I really liked it! It’s just that I can’t remember much about it now. It feels like it sits between Ai Yori Aoishi and one of those modern stuff.

  2. I love Maburaho! A lot of moé! Interesting to see Haves and Have-nots financial asset is based on magic. And, females choose mate based on his gene, very eugenic. So the perfect pickup line for poor otaku is “Hey! My ancestors were business tycoons. So your children will be rich.” “Our offsprings will be the richest people on earth. So, mate me baby!” This will surely de-otakunize a lot of hetare.

  3. I agree with the observation that Maburaho is really tame by today’s standards. The limits of ecchi genres have been pushed constantly throughout the years, and not in an especially tasteful way either.

  4. I just recently bought it from bestbuy too, and so far I have watched about half the series. Its funny and light, and the whole gene thing I thinks is a great idea.

  5. Mike C: thanks. Hey, it’s been a while since we saw something together so whatever works, man.

    Ray: you know Ai Yori Aoshi also came to mind too, what with the whole “I’m your wife” deal, though in that one nothing ever really comes between the guy and the main girl.

    M. LaMoe: class differences are always fascinating to me in fiction. That’s why I sometimes like watching British shows, since Britain’s class system was far stronger and more obvious than in the US, and I see something similar in Japan. You can see it in the forms of address and the obsession with test scores in Baka to Test, and I guess here, your whole life is practically boiled down to a number. And with social status does come, um, mating opportunities in most cultures.

    kadian1364: how can they be tastefully pushed? :) But of course if you look at the world of anime movies or OVAs, certain lines were crossed long ago. I speak of TV shows, even those that are shown on late night satellite channels. Kanokon, I think, was a turning point.

    causmicman: I think the whole “I want your genes” thing is, at least, refreshingly honest and non-romantic for a change. It does kind of reduce this sort of scenario to its most fundamental elements: hormones and the evolutionary desire for successful offspring. The idea that harem shows traffic in anything like romance is at last exploded! Hmm….maybe this is more meta than I thought.

    AstroNerdBoy: I just might, though I would like to see the characters at least change a little bit. Or at least be really funny.

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