It’s hard to come up with a more offensive concept for a comedy. A prestigious aristocratic girls’ school has problems with its graduates being unready for the outside world in general, and boys in particular. To solve this, they decide to recruit a ‘commoner’ boy from the outside world to serve as an example and to educate the girls. But to protect their innocence, he has to be gay. Our hero isn’t gay, but gets recruited anyway, and it’s quickly too late to back out. So he has to pretend to be gay, under threat of violent castration. And naturally a harem gather round him, including an infantile genius girl who gets naked when working on her equations, and a violent sword wielding girl who gets turned on by this. Do you know what you get with a vile and offensive premise like this? You get a guilty pleasure. I enjoy Shomin Sample, but I kind of hate myself for doing so. Click on the review to read more.
This Week I Have Been Mostly Rewatching...
Rozen Maiden. This is a deceptively good show. On the surface, it seems like so much disposable fluff, with ‘Father’ creating magical dolls, lifelike, diminutive gothic styled porcelain featured characters, which come to life when they forge contracts with those deemed worthy. They have to battle each other, and collect ‘Rosa Mystica’, their opponents’ life forces. When one doll is left standing, she becomes Alice and can be reunited with Father. It feels like a tournament anime for young girl audiences. But there is so much more to Rozen Maiden than that. The doll’s mythology has almost a religious air to it, but more than that, the people that they contract with tend to have issues. And the show’s examination of the protagonist’s social anxiety and withdrawal is heartfelt and sympathetic. Other people have obsessions, some are suffering from loss and grief; it gives the show a psychological depth, and a degree of character drama that exceeds the relative simplicity of the premise.
MVM released Rozen Maiden on DVD back in 2010 in 2 volumes. Here’s my review of volume 2. It subsequently got a complete series release, although currently you can only get it new bundled with the second season, Traumend. It’s well worth it that way, and it was subsequently followed up with an OVA, Ouverture, and a third season, Zuruckspulen, all of which are available from MVM.
Shomin Sample was released on Blu-ray by All the Anime for Funimation in 2018. With the collapse of that arrangement, stock has dried up or been removed from sale. You’re going have to sleuth around to find it, as the US release is locked to Region A.
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