First Impressions: R-15

OP: 「マジヤバもーそうLOVE♥」 (Maji Yaba Mousou LOVE ♥) by R-15 (合田彩, 福原由莉奈, 柏山奈々美, 小松真奈, 積田かよ子, 村上まどか, 村井理沙子, 月宮みどり) (Gouda Aya, Fukuhara Yurina, Kashiyama Nanami, Komatsu Mana, Tsumita Kayako, Murakami Madoka, Murai Risako, Tsukimiya Midori)

FYI, this intro is “simulcast”, as I’m also doing a first impressions post for RC on this series. Without further ado, on to R-15

Going in, I would say my highest expectation for R-15 is that it would be a guilty pleasure. And after one episode, I can safely say that expectation was met, and possibly exceeded.

Make no mistake, I do feel guilty. Very guilty. But dammit, I liked it – maybe even really liked it. AIC is not a crap studio, so you knew it wasn’t going to look half-bad. But what surprised me given the premise and the fact that director Nawa Munenori has been a paragon of the mediocre (and worse) was that I thought it was quite funny. The dialogue was snappy and the episode was sharp overall.

I’ll assume that much of the credit goes to Fushimi Hiroyuki’s light novels for that. It’s a premise that was so offensively stupid and preposterous that I thought it might just be interesting if the anime fully bought into it – a first-year high school boy is a superstar porn writer and enters an academy full of geniuses from all walks of life. And fortunately it appears AIC is pot-committed here, fully embracing everything that’s bizarre and stupid in that conceit.

Inspiration Academy is graced by a cast of characters that look like anime cliches in a funhouse mirror. Besides our hero/porn writer Akutagawa Taketo (Goda Aya) we have his best friend Ritsu, a maths genius who might be warm for Taketo’s form. We have a cheerleading genius, an inventing genius (whose talent seems to run towards blowing Taketo up with missiles). An ojou-sama and yuri freak with her own followers and servants. Even an announcing genius doing the narration. And then there’s Narukara Fukune (Fukuhara Yurina) the clarinet prodigy and the object of Taketo’s romantic (not sexual) fantasies. All of these characters are designed in a perversely cute manner, the girls all lolis and the boys shotas, as if to further play up just how wrong the very idea of the series is.

A lot of the humor in the premiere comes from Taketo’s ability to lapse into a kind of erotic trance, composing preposterous strands of pornographic prose on whatever material happens to be handy as drool dribbles from the corner of his mouth. It’s a dumb gag and repeated numerous times, but it actually had me laughing, not least because the stuff he composes is so theatrically florid. It also amused me that when he goes into his creative state where Fukune is concerned, it’s not porn that he composes but sonnets of juvenile romantic adoration. This pisses off the photographer from the newspaper circle Raika (Komatsu Mana) who takes great joy in goading Taketo into his erotic coma.

To be blunt, this is not something you’ll watch and ask “Why isn’t this on NoitaminA?” There are no Peabody Awards or Nobel Prizes on the way. It’s gloriously dumb, highly sexualized and not all worth the time of anyone with a sense of decency. But sometimes dumb entertainment can be kind of smart, too, and I think R-15 achieves that. Taketo is surrounded by sadistic girls an loathed as a pervert by the one he likes, so if this degenerates into a load of abusive humor at his expense that could get old quickly. But there’s some room for clever and even genuine development as he tries to overcome his dark side and prove himself to Fukune. And based on what I’ve seen so far, the humor mostly works, occasionally in spectacular fashion. “Why am I writing a light novel?!” is a line that, in context, struck me as hilarious. And the insane wrongness of the preview voice-over just as much.

So there it is – I liked R-15. Please don’t judge me too harshly for it. I can’t say for sure I won’t get tired of it quickly, but all in all the first ep brought me a good deal more amusement that I’d dared to hope.

ED: 「HIRAMEKI!ピース(≧▽≦)v」 (HIRAMEKI! Peace! (≧▽≦)v) by R-15 (合田彩, 福原由莉奈, 柏山奈々美, 小松真奈, 積田かよ子, 村上まどか, 村井理沙子, 月宮みどり) (Gouda Aya, Fukuhara Yurina, Kashiyama Nanami, Komatsu Mana, Tsumita Kayako, Murakami Madoka, Murai Risako, Tsukimiya Midori)

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5 comments

  1. l

    Usually whenever this sort of anime come out, i will only watch the uncensored version. Because there no point in watching censored version of it (e.x ochinko). This however actually exceeded my expectation and for the first time i actually consider of watching this without waiting for the uncensored version. This could be a hidden gem.

  2. S

    Are you going to be blogging this in LiA? 😀

  3. @Seishun Ootko

    I think I might just. I really liked the premiere and I'll blog at least one more ep – I just want to make sure I don't get sick of it quickly.

    Ikaze – it's hard to wait when you consider blogging a series, but I sometimes watch the uncensored later. Hidden gem? Could be!

  4. A

    I don't know, Enzo. Your really giving me mixed signals here. This post and you comments on AS say that you liked it, but then I read this:

    ''It's gloriously dumb, highly sexualized and not all worth the time of anyone with a sense of decency''

    It's telling me to stay away. So is this so bad its great kind of episode? Is it similar to say Azazel-san where it employees gross humor as it's source with shocking elements to make it more edge than the rest of the pack?

  5. @Arabesque

    No no, I really do like it Arabesque and I think you should watch it. That comment was meant to be ironic, really.

    Make no mistake, it's crude. But I think most people are missing the point, which is that the fanservice is part of the joke – not the point of the series. I can't compare it to anything except maybe Mitsudomoe, a little. And also it seems like Vexx and Kaoru Chujo liked it too, so it isn't just me!

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