「真剣で私にかかってきなさい!!」 (Maji de Watashi ni Kakatte Kinasai!!)
“Come at Me Seriously!!”
Rather than a premiere, the first episode of Majikoi looked like a finale. They skipped opening sequence, featured nonstop action for a good twenty minutes, and ended off with scrolling credits in the sunset. The character introductions came at a feverish pace starting with the five main heroines — Kawakami Momoyo (Asakawa Yuu), Kawakami Kazuko (Tomonaga Akane), Shiina Miyako (Hyousei), Mayuzumi Yukie (Gotou Yuuko), Christiane Friedrich (Itou Shizuka) — and even went on to feature the likes of Kuki Ageha (Matsui Naoko) from Minato Soft’s other adult visual novel, Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de — something that I thought would’ve been saved for later. In effect, this came off as more of a pilot episode than a premiere, where studio Lerche was demonstrating exactly what they’re capable of in hope of snagging this adaptation. They definitely impressed on several fronts, particularly with the visuals and animation that looked a lot better than I expected. The frantic progression during the all-out battle between Class S and Class F was a little hard to follow, especially for those who haven’t played the game (myself included), but fit the idea that this is a pilot episode animating the “meatier” parts of Majikoi.
The other possibility is that this really is the finale and the producers have opted for a cold open. Considering how I didn’t think much of this adaptation originally and how I’m now somewhat intrigued now, I can say first-hand that it worked well in grabbing my interest if that’s the case. Even if I can’t fully comprehend everything that’s going on because of the overwhelming number of characters introduced, it’s still really easy for me to enjoy the action and see how Class F is going to pull an upset on Class S, thanks to our main protagonist/tactician, Naoe Yamato (Kamiya Hiroshi). We’re also given indirect introductions to his close friends, Kazama Shouichi (Konishi Katsuyuki), Morooka Takuya (Suzumura Kenichi), Shimazu Gakuto (Kusao Takeshi), and transforming robot Cookie (original form: Ogata Megumi / second form: Fukuyama Jun), whom I was able to quickly identify having done my research into this series. At the same time, there was a little bit of build-up slipped in via the flashbacks, where Yamato confessed to Momoya and is trying to get her to go out with him by proving his worth, so it wasn’t like this episode was completely jarring to watch. The battle itself was similar to the non-lethal competitive war-game seen in DOG DAYS, crossed with the class division by grades seen in Bakatest, so it was pretty easy to take at face value too.
The real question is where things go from here. Of all the series I researched for the Fall 2011 Preview, Majikoi was one of the titles that I had some of the least knowledge about. Suffice to say, it’s already surprised me in a few ways from a story standpoint, as have some of the support cast from Class S — Kuki Hideo (Nakamura Yuuichi), Fushikawa Kokoro (Mizuhashi Kaori), Margit Eberbach (Mizusawa Kei), Oshitari Azumi (Ashiro Megu), Aoi Touma (Yusa Kouji), Sakakibara Koyuki (Hitomi), and Inoue Jun (Sugita Tomokazu). The series features quite a cast to say the least, and they’ve even tossed in Matsunaga Tsubame (Nagatsuma Juri) from the visual novel’s sequel, Majikoi S. Again, if this is a cold open to the series, it definitely worked in piquing my interest. I’m quite curious to see how the high school side of things play out now that I’ve gotten an in-your-face, over-the-top introduction to the cast. In all likelihood, I’ll be quietly following this series too. Seriously.