Ladies versus Butlers! – 01
「ぼーいｘれでぃ」 (Booi x Redi)
“Boy versus Lady”
What do you get when you put the director, character designer, studio, broadcast station, and leading seiyuu behind Kanokon together again? Ladies versus Butlers (…apparently). Here, we get an early special premiere before the series’ official start in January and it looks like Xebec and AT-X will focus a fair bit on the service side again, albeit not nearly as much as before.
Of course, one could easily argue against that when our male protagonist/newly enrolled student Hino Akiharu (Okitsu Kazuyuki) gropes three girls, has one strip for him, and another sit on his face, all in the first episode. Naturally, this is all just one big misunderstanding after another, but the screams of “hentai”, “lolicon”, and “chikan” still resound loud and clear. As for a little bit of background info on how we got there, the story takes place at the prestigious Hakureiryou Academy 「白麗陵学院」, where there are two departments for its students. In the upper department known as Jouikuka 「上育科」, girls from wealthy families get trained on how to be a lady. In the lower department known as Juuikuka 「従育科」 (short for “Servant Training Department”), commoners get trained to be maids and butlers.
After being admitted to the lower department, Akiharu has the unfortunate pleasure of running into Cernia Iori Flameheart (Nakahara Mai) on his first day at school. Unbeknownst to him, Cernia’s been complaining to our other female lead, Saikyou Tomomi (Kawasumi Ayako) about how bored she is everyday, so she decides to call him out as a suspicious person. Unamused, Akiharu ridicules her by saying he doesn’t have time to play mystery games with her blond drill head. Being a prideful student of the upper department, Cernia is insulted and decides to lash out at him. One thing leads to another and Akiharu’s on top of Cernia and groping her breast. Humorously enough, he doesn’t let go until she eventually comes to, leading us to an all-out chase across campus.
In the process, Akiharu causes girls around him to faint, suffocates the loli high schooler Oosawa Mimina (Hidaka Rina), spills tea on a girl and causes her to strip, and gets suffocated by the clumsy maid Shikikagami Sanae (Koshimizu Ami). Things aren’t put to rest until Akiharu runs into Tomomi, who’s been instructed to show him around the school. In front of the angry mob, Tomomi’s able to get them to overlook the incident as ladies, and force Cernia to let it slide by making her unable to admit she got groped. Akiharu however isn’t completely off the hook, as Tomomi reveals to everyone that his childhood dream was to became a beautiful BRIDE and live a happy life, making him realize that she’s the Suzuhashi Tomomi (now Saikyou Tomomi) that tormented him when he was younger.
To put it bluntly, this premiere episode was very much in-your-face with the sheer number of characters featured and the relatively high fan-service. In the latter case, it’s still nowhere near the level of Kanokon yet, but I can’t help but feel things will venture that way when you consider the people involved. The character designs alone make me think as such, thanks to the implicit ecchi association I have with them now. While there was some heavy censoring in this early broadcast, this may change when AT-X re-airs this first episode on January 5th. That said, there was no opening or ending themes included here either.
Story-wise, it appears to be your run-of-the-mill ecchi harem comedy, which is pretty hit and miss. It’s hard to say whether this will turn out to be a Sora no Otoshimono or even entertaining for that matter, but I’m not exactly taken in by this first showing. I have nothing against the character designs or somewhat bland style (much like in Kanokon), so it’s really up to the humour and how heavily they rely on the service. Preferably, it’ll be more laughs than breasts, though I have my doubts.
The main appeal for me so far is the cast. Kawasumi Ayako reprises the lead female role as Tomomi here, but we have Nakahara Mai playing the tsundere Cernia. To compliment them, there’s Kugimiya Rie as a butler who I suspect is a girl, Ise Mariya as the school director who’s into BL games, and Koshimizu Ami as the clumsy maid like I’ve never heard her before. I know it’s not a lot to go on for now, but the cast will have me checking back for at least a few episodes to see where this adaptation is headed. If it ends up being a completely ecchi-filled affair, I may continue watching it, but don’t plan to continue writing about it just for potential shock value.