Panty shots, magical girls, cats who transform into lolis, Hiro Shimono ecchi dudes, disciplinary committee Nazis with armbands – Majimoji Rurumo is pretty much your one-stop shop for retro-styled anime comedy. There’s not an ounce of self-importance or irony to this series, which for me is one of the main reasons why it works as well as it does. If this were a modern show trying to be clever by being old-school in a hipster way, it would be insufferable. But happily, that couldn’t be further from the reality.
It is indeed the disciplinary committee that steps into the limelight this week, led by Inoue Sumiko (Ishigami Shizuka). They’re cut from the classic cloth, the head girl with a crush on the male lead and her two sidekicks. Their mission, naturally, is to put a stop to the harmless (in fact I’d say even better than harmless – wouldn’t you want the guys to have a way to let off steam without anyone getting hurt?) lending library of eroticism that Hentai Shibaki has been running. It’s a pretty stock plot, but nice little touches like the committee’s guitar-riff theme and the general comic timing make it work.
Adding much of the spice this time around is Chiro deciding to come to school to check up on Rurumo, who she believes is feeling sick because of trouble at work (in fact Rurumo has been reading medical textbooks because she’s worried about Shiba, who’s lamenting the threat to his porn stash). Because cats in the caff is a definite no-no she reveals that she can use magic to transform into a human girl for 15 minutes (the latter she doesn’t announce until she changes back). Because Chiro naturally transforms into a nude girl, Shiba really gets put through the ringer, especially as Chrio has the attention span of a cat turned into a girl with an eye for fashion and a yen to show it off. This is again a subplot that’s as comfortable as an old shoe, but it has a lot of simple charm – and frankly Fukuen Masato is a genius at this sort of comic material.
Maybe there wasn’t as much Rurumo in this ep as one might like, but the supporting cast and situation comedy are good enough here that Majimoji Rurumo really doesn’t suffer for it. It’s just pleasant screwball comedy with a little fanservice, but we get so little of that these days that’s completely free of pretense that I really appreciate the experience. In a funny sort of way this reminds me of a less raunchy – well, one hell of a lot less raunchy – To LOVE-Ru. It’s nowhere near as ecchi and nowhere near as outrageous, and the humor has considerably less of a hard edge to it, but there is a certain lack of artifice and even sweetness (yes, I said it) that’s common to both. I’m sure Majimoji Rurumo isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of painkilling tea (yes, that was foreshadowing all right) but I find it a very pleasing brew.