That I didn’t hate the first episode of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei probably speaks to the fact that it’s pretty good at what it does as much as anything could. When you have both an annoying older sister and younger sister (remember, you can spell “I’m out of ideas” without “imouto”) you’re starting from a pretty deep hole. When you add in that agonizing, fingernails-on-blackboard loli affectation voice-acting, you’re pretty much up to your neck. But in truth, there was some decent stuff here.
In truth, this seems pretty close to a cute girls being cute show with one male character who has the personality of a door frame. Yeah Mitsumine Hakuya seems like a decent guy, but he’s still completely without charisma or presence as written. That makes the casting of Hatano Waturu either perfect or the worst possible choice, and I’m not sure which. Hatano likewise has the magnetism of a piece of furniture, so I suppose he’s suited to the role – but I wonder if you might have been better served to get an actor who has at least a little presence to offset the inherent flatlining of the character.
The rest of Mikakunin is likewise is a mixed bag for me. The story is hardly original – a girl named Yonomori Kobeni (Terui Haruka) finds out on her 16th birthday that her Grandfather has promised her hand in marriage to the aforementioned Hakuya, and he and his little sister Mashiro (Yoshida Yuri, who should be severely fined for her performance) move in with Kobeni and her older sister Benio (Matsui Eriko). Benio is very nearly as much a lucky bag full of annoying tropes as the imouto is – she’s a siscon, a lolicon, and either hates males generally or just Hakuya specifically for “stealing” her beloved younger sister.
As I read that, it truly does sound awful – but the end result isn’t awful, at least not when Mashiro isn’t speaking. It’s shameless, practically begging for Blu-ray sales by playing up every trendy cliche in the deck – something like a cross between Non Non Biyori and Oreimo. But what saves the show so far is a quite interesting and unusual art style (with excellent character designs by Kikuchi Ai – who’s a pro at unusual looking anime) and the fact that it seems to have a pretty good heart under the three inches of pancake makeup in tropes slathered all over it. Hakuya does, as stated, seem like a decent guy. His sister does seem to love him, despite treating him as an idiot. And Kobeni herself – while prone to snits and petulance not unusual for a 16 year-old girl – is generally responsible and level-headed. When she’s not (quite understandably) raging over the unfairness of what’s just been dumped on her, she realizes that none of it is Hakuya’s fault and that this is probably even harder for him than it is for her. Those are the premiere’s best moments.
My honest guess at this point is that Mashiro – who’s seemingly not going away as a main character – is a deal-breaker for me. If she weren’t around I think it’s very possible the good things in Mikakunin would be enough to transcend the formula elements and make it a pleasing show to follow. I will indeed give it a couple more weeks to grow on me, but as far as making the grade I suspect it just pushes a few too many of my buttons. If this is the sort of show you like, though, I would think Mikakunin would be a keeper – it has more to recommend it than most of its stable-mates.