A round of applause for a successful season.
Expectations were not terribly high going into YuShibu. In the season preview we gave it a moderate expectation level, thinking it would at least end up as servicable fanservice show. After having watched the entire season, here’s my final summation: It was that and also more. YuShibu is a show with a surprisingly earnest plot, and it had exquisitely animated fanservice as well.
I think the first episode dialed up the fanservice too much. Partially this was due to needing to “reveal” that Fino was a girl – as if everyone but Raul hadn’t already figured that out – but I think asread was also trying to secure their audience by front-loading the fanservice. Fine, fair enough; that’s probably a good business strategy, but it made some who prize story over service drop the show. I wouldn’t blame you if you did, but you may find you missed out.
Make no mistake, the fanservice never disappeared. If the sight of bouncing breasts sends you into fits of anger, then you’ll probably never like this show, you monster. Past that is a real story though, and one driven by the characters.
Main character Raul’s feelings of depression at having to abandon his dream and become a wage slave were very authentic; I can’t help but think back to the times I’ve had to do just that, and I imagine creator Sakyou-sensei and the staff at asread were drawing from some of their own experiences. Raul is joined in his frustration by his former teammates Airi, Blaze, and Klein, and the different ways each of them deal with their sundered dreams were imminently believable.
Then there’s Fino. She’s the emotional center of the series. In her naivety she envisions a future better than the frightening past perpetuated by her father, and surprise of surprises, we actually slip into a plot based on real world economic theories such as the use of war as economic stimulus and developing a former enemy (in this case, the demon world) into new markets. And the characters are driving this story all along, without any of it seeming forced.
It doesn’t hurt that there’s a fairly large cast of comrades all around Raul and Fino, and while most of them are women – and beautiful ones at that – only three show any interest in Raul, and only two feel like serious contenders. It’s a harem show but not really, because it doesn’t spend much time indulging in harem antics when there are economic plots and character conflicts to delve into.
Not all is perfect, of course. I’m not fond of how it feels like an unmitigated endorsement of rampant consumerism, though I’m weird about that, so it may not bother you. There’s also a fair amount of angst from the former heroes, but I’m willing to let that slide because being forced to give up your dreams is kind of a big deal, and they all do take action to correct it rather than just whining, even if not all their choices are good. There’s also a fun (and entirely believable) revelation in the penultimate episode that utterly crushes Raul’s former dreams even as it exposes the hypocrisy of his opponents, which I very much enjoyed. His laugh there almost hurt. But I’ve slipped back into talking about what I liked, haven’t I? Which says something right there.
tl;dr – This could have been a silly fanservice comedy and I probably would have watched the whole thing. It was that and more. Will it crack your Top 10 shows of 2013? Perhaps not. But if you like well-animated fanservice and enjoy a good plot along with it, you could do much worse than Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku o Ketsui Shimashita. Just don’t try to remember its long-ass name. Seriously Japan, cut it out. If you’re always abbreviating the title then you’re doing it wrong, even if the story inside is done right.