asu no yoichi, yet another typical harem anime

Categories: anime


… but that’s not a bad thing.

Asu no Yoichi is unapologetically a stereotypical harem anime, and maybe that’s why I’m enjoying it. It’s not the same as a Toradora that strives for character drama or a Clannad that borders chick flick territory or Tsuyokiss that borders horrible and debacle; Asu no Yoichi is a slam bam thank you ma’am harem anime. It has the same ridiculous premise as any other harem anime: typical overmatched male lead somehow lucks into living with a house of gorgeous girls who fall for him. It’s a tried and true formula in anime.

This series is really an evolutionary hybrid of Love Hina and Kenshin. The overmatched lead is basically Himura Kenshin descending from the woods to learn about the real world, only they don’t teach male female gender relations at his all male and all animal samurai school. So while he is Kenshin in swordsman mode, he’s Urshima Keitaro when he’s around the ladies. That’s Yoichi. De gozaru.

(And, no, there’s nothing phallic with that screenshot de gozaru.)

Besides the typical harem lead, another big part of the harem formula is that the poor guy ends up living with all these haremettes (Love Hina, Girls Bravo, Happy Lesson, Sister Princess, Mahoraba, et al). In this case, it’s a family of four girls (all sisters) who are friends with his family. Of course, they each develop various stages of affection towards Yoichi.

(There’s two underrated forces at work here. First, all the girls are supposedly pure and gentle, yet they don’t need a lot of convincing to have a guy board with them. I think a normal realistic scenario is like Momoiro Sango where the three horny and nubile sisters all eventually jump into the sack with the guy. And, yes, I’m well aware most of my readers have just went, “Fuck blog好き, I’m googling “momoiro sango”. The second force is that all the girls all have different hair and eye color. It’s the Sister Princess theorem: the father is such a player that all the girls have different moms. Honestly, I’d be thrilled if we found out that the father was Hosaka and none of the moms were Haruka. That’s explain why he’s not there– he’s still trying to chase down Haruka. Though it’s kinda implied, even though genetically dubious, that there’s only one mom. Sigh. Logic and anime never work… isn’t that right, Governess Nunnally?)

And, of course, Asu doesn’t skimp on the grand unified harem anime theorem: guy loses balance, unfortunate misunderstand happens, girl A defiled, then girl B gets angry while girls C through Z gasp in the background. While it might be the old trip -> pull down panties or grab a boob -> get ass kicked formula, it works when it works.

Yep… just like Naru and Keitaro. Good times… good times.

(I keep remembering how Love Hina turned out as I write this post… definitely enjoyed how Keitaro became a huge womanizer leaving Naru to tend to the hot springs.)

Much like Love Hina, there’s an angry girl. Ibuki is, unquestionably, the end girl in the Naru role. There’s no ambiguity here. She likes Yoichi, yet can’t reconcile her affections for him due to his outbreaks of typical harem perverted misunderstandings. Three things about Ibuki:

1. She’s a master swordswomen and teaches at her dojo as the assistant master, yet there’s no real master around. Very much like Kaoru in Kenshin, except Ibuki can actually kick ass.

2. Even though Yoichi can easily deflect attacks and overpower anyone who tries to attack him, he is absolutely defenseless when it comes to Ibuki. Even his samurai muscle memory fails when Ibuki comes at him with a wooden practice sword. Warrants mentioning.

3. Everyone calls her the “Violent Girl.” Maybe this is a consequence of how her parents basically abandoned them while they were little kids. Only in anime can parents leave their four grade school kids to fend for themselves without parental supervision without more serious emotional consequences for the girls left behind. I think it’s kinda weird she’s not more violent.

(Dan-kun and Miya-Miya? Mmmm… yes, I miss Bamboo Blade. I miss cracking jokes about Dan-kun’s manliess. I also miss Umisho. I miss their musk.)

Why does Ibuki always get wet when she’s lovely-dovely with Yoichi?

(Maybe I should rephrase that.)

Why is Ibuki always drenched– ah nevermind.

Nice bowling balls.

There’s also the obligatory haremette who has a melonpan complex. This is Ayame, who has the added oneesan complex added to the melonpan complex. She’s trying to be the sassy aloof one, but it’s not working. I think she needs to recast herself as the Jan to Ibuki’s Marcia… except a stabby Jan.

I always enjoy anime more when they mix in another art style. It’s kinda like having a running back who pounds and another who goes east-west.

(In this analogy, Bible Black faces would be the back who can catch passes out of the backfield. Yes, I’m still bitter at the loss of the Bible Black faces from Minami-ke Okaeri. Get ready to see me write this about three hundred more times before it’s all said and done.)

Chihaya is the stereotypical manga artist slash troublemaker. She’s very similar to Ikuyo from Hanaukyo fame. If I just go by anime, the most popular job that Japanese high school students hold is manga-ka. In a distant second, it would be ramen cook. I’m hoping as the series goes on, she becomes more of a seductress– both Ibuki and Ayame are a bit too serious and this needs to be balanced out .I’ve argued before that harem anime is only as good as its haremettes, and Asu no Yoichi has a middling quality. It all depends on if Chihaya and Ayame can grow into real competitors to Ikubi because, right now, it’s like watching Scottie Pippen dunk over Patrick Ewing.

(Random factoid: Chihaya’s seiyuu, Yukari Tamura, is older than all the other sister seiyuus.)

Jailbait Kagome. She’s basically the slave labor of the family– cooks and cleans like Cinderella. She’s kind of a blank personality-wise, but I enjoyed how she helped Yoichi meet Ibuki by hunting for the pair of breasts that most resembled her older sister’s. But unlike Shinobu, Kagome is very meek.

There’s also Tsubasa, a ninja girl from another school, who can’t reach her true power unless she’s embarrassed. I like how all the random ninja girls suddenly appear once Yoichi came to town– like they couldn’t challenge him when he’s up in the mountain. And, yes, Tsubasa works as a ramen cook. Anime is just so predictable, but that’s an enduring quality of it.

(I have to stress that watching this show in 4:3 is huge disappointment and a waste of time. Wait for the HD widescreen format. You won’t regret it. And why are we still getting anime aired in 4:3 first?! What the heck? It’s 2009! Even The Simpsons have gone HD widescreen! One of my platforms when I’m running for Anime Czar is all HD all widescreen anime all the time. 4:3 is evil, and not in a Devil Chiaki evil kind of way.)

And the villain. For whatever reason, there’s a masked man trying to destroy Yoichi. (Off-topic, but for Love Hina, undeniably, the villain was the college entrance exam.) This guy is hilarious on many levels. One, he’s hiding behind a mask. Even if we saw his face, would we know who he was? Would any of the characters know? (Though my current theory is that he’s the girls’ dad.) But why the mask? At least use a more threatening mask.

The second is that he’s apparently some rich and powerful guy. Why is he feuding with a poor loser samurai boy? “Hey, instead of checking up on my mutual funds or going clubbing at Pure, I’m going to browbeat this poor kid.” Shades of Karate Kid III… and, yes, anything that is similar to Karate Kid III can’t be good.

Third is that he manages to find all these random hawt ninja chix0rs– if he’s jealous of Yoichi’s harem, the masked guy almost has one assembled himself. It’s definitely amusing that he has all these ninja high school girls at his disposal, yet he’s still so involved in his unrequited feud with poor Yoichi.

Asu no Yoichi doesn’t break new ground or provoke hard-hitting philosophical discussion, but it’s solid entertainment and satisfies my craving for a low cal harem anime snack. Love Hina fans should definitely check this one out.

19 Responses to “asu no yoichi, yet another typical harem anime”

  1. I would’ve put maid café waitress as the most popular job for anime high schoolers.

  2. I must say the production value is not quite their~de gozaru

    I also find it hard to take Yoichi serious as he spouts ‘de gozaru’ and speaks of samurai ideals and love ~ dattebayo

    Washizu on the other Hand i like as sort of the loser secondary, I love charters who have their own inner mind theater ~ de arimasu

    Sort of Tamaki-esque and has equally grand delusions of grandeur ~ desu desu desu

  3. If you miss Bamboo Blade, pimp this poll for a second season:

    Any of the three options requests for a second season in a different way, you just have to choose one and type a name at the first text box, then hit the button.

  4. yeah it’s pretty typical, but you always need one of these to round off your anime schedule, and it’s gotten me to laugh unlike the anime I had filling its place last season. If every anime was ground breaking and new the ones that do it wouldn’t be special. It’s good to watch something you at least know will work instead of experimenting with really bad ideas.

  5. “And, yes, I’m well aware most of my readers have just went, “Fuck blog好き, I’m googling “momoiro sango”.” – This should go into one of the Top Ten Plays for this site in 2009. And em, excuse me, while I go open another tab for google. ^^

  6. I can’t believe that you forgot Takatsukasa Angela, she’s clearly the most superior of the lot.

  7. >>And, yes, I’m well aware most of my readers have just went, “Fuck blog好き, I’m googling “momoiro sango”.
    And five minutes later have read the first few chapters.

    It’s been pretty enjoyable so far, especially since it’s main competition this season is that Akikan-cabbage. Definately needs more Washizu; he’s like a poor man’s Harima Kenji.

  8. No mention of Wa-san? He’s been getting mad screen time lately. Actually him and Ayame are my favorite characters, I could care less about the Yoichi/Ibuki dynamic.

  9. Actually this series so far has been a far inferior and crappier and more ‘modern harem’ version of Ranma 1/2 (without the transformations).

    Everything about this show screams Ranma 1/2 but vastly crappier.

  10. Needs a busty tsundere maid with long hair, a cosplaying habit, and maybe supersonic dictionary throwing skills or 64+ chain combo kick to round her out.

    But then almost any harem-like how could use one of those.

  11. The best part about the bad guy is that it’s Kamina’s voice doing the role. I’m kinda sad this is only running 12 episodes. As much material as is being added to the show, there’s still plenty of source material left.

  12. I am never going to look at that eyecatch the same way. I saw the note under it, looked back, and couldn’t stop laughing. Curse you…

  13. Ayame’s character design is sooo good…. but I must resist the urge to get another new series! I’m already starting on One Outs today and working my way to the latest episode of Maria Holic in the midst of 15+ series already. ;_;

  14. Ahh, it good to be back on this site. Now what to write…. oh yea, I may suggest a Kitsune’s character in the anime but I may need to check out if it like Love Hina. GOD knows how long I kind of miss this type of series

  15. I too miss Ikamasa-senpai’s antics and Lion-chan being all around cute.

  16. Washizu reminds me wayyyyy too much of Tatewaki Kuno from Ranma 1/2.

    I’m enjoyin’ it though :P.

  17. Watching this series…and currently shipping for two pairs: the main pair and the Toradora-like pair (I ironically hate the actual Toradora pairing through).

  18. I feel proud of the fact that for once I already knew what you were talking about when you referenced Momoiro Sango.

    Also, you’re going to get a kick out of the loli’s “disorder” when it comes up in the anime.

  19. >> It all depends on if Chihaya and Ayame can grow into real competitors to Ikubi

    I hope so. I just got to episode 4, and they’re both a lot more interesting and likeable. It seems like a fun light series so far, so it can be added to my roster.

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