“Down Hill First Love!”
As expected of the likes of XEBEC, the studio that has brought us such timeless classics as To LOVE-Ru, Kanokon, and Ladies versus Butlers!, we’re presented with another series of the suspect persuasion. With that said, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before watching this. As the title suggests, this anime’s premise is based on the concept of masochism, and a heavy case of it at that. Our protagonist, Sado Taro (Fukuyama Jun) is helplessly turned-on from being abused by women, going into a state of pure ecstasy from being dominated. Of course, this trait would be meaningless if we didn’t have our resident sadist to compliment Taro’s disorder, Isurugi Mio (Taketatsu Ayana). With this formula, so begins our journey down the analysis of how a teenage masochistic boy’s mind works.
This episode certainly hit home that this anime will explore all types of niche fetishes, from Taro’s extreme masochism to his friend Hayama Tatsukichi (Satou Rina), who likes to cross dress and finds pleasure in people telling him how pretty he looks as a girl. My first thought was “holy hell what am I watching” but I must admit I found myself being strangely entertained by the fetishes as the episode went on. The many faces that Mio makes are great, going from a seemingly polite ojou-sama to a foul mouthed Yakuza-type character in a span of seconds. Strangely enough, despite her domineering personality, she seems to genuinely find happiness in helping to solve people’s problems. That in itself can be seen as a type of fetish, “Ultra Tsundere” you could say.
What’s really interesting though is that the main characters are not the only ones with fatal flaws, as it appears nearly every character that appeared this episode had some type of weird problem. Taro’s mother and sister, Sado Tomoko (Ohara Sayaka) and Sado Shizuka (Asumi Kana) appear to be a soncon (don’t see that too often) and a brocon, Taro’s school nurse, Onigawara Michiru (Tanaka Rie) appearing to be a sadist herself, and Taro’s classmate Yuno Arashiko (Hayami Saori) either having a fear of men or just seriously hating Taro’s guts to the point that she’ll nearly murder him for touching her. With a cast of characters this fucked up, I can only imagine what kind of sick games and antics we’ll be exposed to during the course of this anime.
The biggest thing going for this show is probably it’s cast of seiyuus, which is surprisingly an all-star team. I hope I’m not the only one who face faltered when they found out freaking Fukuyama Jun is voicing Taro. I certainly wasn’t expecting the voice of Lelouch and Kimihiro to be leading in this anime, but nonetheless it’s definitely a pleasant surprise. It’s also nice to see Satou Rina (MIKOTO-CHWAN) and Hayami Saori leading alongside Jun. Saori will be pretty busy this season, also doing the voices of Agemaki Wako of STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto, Ikaros of Sora no Otoshimono, and Azuki Miho of Bakuman, two of which are also leading roles. And of course I can’t forget Tanaka Rie who is always nice to see even though she’s not in a leading role for this series. Yes, the seiyuu casting of this show is definitely nothing to shake a stick at.
Overall, it appears this show will definitely not be for everybody, or even most people (as if that weren’t obvious enough). The interesting thing about this show thus far is that it’s not what you would really call an “ecchi show”. Despite being animated with the moe-blob art style XEBEC is known for using with it’s more fanservice oriented shows, this pilot had very little in the way of nude girls. However, with the crazy characters and twenty different types of fetishes, this show may be even more of a turn off for ecchi fanservice haters than ecchi fanservice itself. I’ll continue to blog this show as I found the abuse and character flaws to be fairly entertaining, and I just can’t pass up the seiyuu team, but this is definitely not for the more closed-minded anime watcher. As I said before, the strong seiyuu line-up in this show is probably it’s biggest surprise and one of the biggest reasons to watch it, at least if you’re a seiyuu junky.