OP: 「永遠ラビリンス」 (Eien Labirinsu) by Yuuki Aoi
「やっ、そんなに広げないで下さい…」 (Ya, Sonna ni Hirogenaide Kudasai…)
“No, Don’t Open It So Wide Please…”
And so fall’s most provocative contender enters the arena. Heading in I think we all knew Shobitch (because long names hurt the fingers) would be crazy, although the full extent of its depravity was an enticing unknown as hinted to by the ever trusty RC preview. Seitokai Yakuindomo humour, Shimoneta fan service, a mix of both? No damn idea, but with dirty humour you at least have a guideline for what to expect (i.e. sex). The main issue with these shows of course is their execution, and so far unfortunately, Shobitch misses this mark more often than it hits it.
Right off the bat Shobitch certainly doesn’t hide what it’s about: sex. Well harems and sis-con fantasies too, but we’ll get to that in a moment. We start with the usual beta in Haruka (Ichiki Mitsuhiro) crushing hard on the smart and stunning class rep Akiho (Yuuki Aoi), only to ask her out…and wind up with a new girlfriend? Big red flag if I ever saw one: beta boy never gets the girl. It’s a good setup though for revealing Akiho’s own blunt naivety, as the girl decides the only way to keep lover boy around is by meeting any and all sexual fantasies. All of them. Great environment for making funnies if there was ever one, even if the humour in practice sort of fell flat. I’m not exactly sure what the problem was, but most of the jokes involving just Akiho and Haruka lacked the “oomph” you get from similar situations in say Seitokai Yakuindomo—they were not as funny as they were try hard. Part of the issue too is how much better the jokes worked once big sister Shizuku (Takeda Tago Rarisa) entered the picture, with her extroverted spunk and plentiful smirk faces (otherwise known as best girl material) making a lot of the subsequent comedy actually funny in comparison. This may be down to Akiho’s rather bland personality at the moment (she’s guaranteed to develop as the show progresses), but it’s a little concerning having her main competition already coming across as the better choice. After all Akiho may have found the power of sis-con indulgence, but Shizuku already has her own answer for that.
This matter of course factors directly into Shobitch’s main theme, which very much is harem shenanigans. Any astute viewer should already know what’s coming, between best girl Shizuku’s not so inconspicuous crush on beta boy (don’t deny, you know it’s there) and the OP/ED teasing of several additional girls for our viewing pleasure. We already know of the actual sister Kanata for example, but I imagine she is only the tip of the trope-filled iceberg for what Shobitch truly has planned. With a strong focus on everything sexual the situations will basically write themselves, however as mentioned previously the primary concern is how well the humour actually works. If the show sticks to the antics of this episode it will definitely not get far, as a boring comedy is a thoroughly un-entertaining comedy and quickly becomes a chore to watch. Shobitch needs its jokes to start performing if it’s to be something more, which is certainly possible if the rest of the cast (and Akiho herself) can rise to the occasion and make up for lost time. No guarantee of course, but I’m an optimistic thinker with a thing for dirty humour. I want this show to succeed.
While definitely not the most impressive of introductions, Shobitch has time and all the pieces needed to improve—provided it can get its comedic feet under it. If Shobitch can find its inner jokester and give us an outrageous cast to work with, there’s nothing stopping it from being one of this season’s big surprises. The only question now is if it’s capable of rising (heh) to the occasion.
ED: 「恋のヒミツ」 (Koi no Himitsu) by pua:re