「その願いは叶えないでくれ, と強く願った. だが願いは叶えられた.」 (Sono Negai wa Kanaenaide Kure, to Tsuyoku Negatta. Daga Negai wa Kanaerareta.)
“I Hoped Against Hope the Wish Would Not Be Granted. But It Totally Was.”
For the season finale of Summer’s greatest mom-themed isekai, we conclude the tower dungeon arc that had filled in the last quarter of the show with the party facing off against Amante, the first pillar of Ribele, and One Million Mamakos. While it leaves the door open for more to follow and has a more abrupt conclusion to its storyline, it was a nice way to wrap up the show with a tightly-knit bow that emphasizes just how far Masato had come since the beginning.
The final stretch of the tower wasn’t as eventful with what was left of the last two floors. The party’s first challenge was facing a myriad of their own mothers, who were tricking them into falling into traps within the labyrinth they had to leave. This wouldn’t have been interesting if it weren’t for the awkward response that Porta had when she had to recount what trials she faced in her side of the labyrinth since we have yet to see who her mom was. But since this is for another point in time in the plot, this is pushed aside in favor of using their battle with Amante to reinforce Masato’s views about his mother. Amante is the only main adversary to Masato to fully confront his feelings of impotence when his opportunity to have a big isekai harem adventure on his own is interrupted by Mamako stealing the spotlight away from him at any given moment. But whereas Episode 01 Masato would have been more tempted to join her in Ribele, he progressed further enough into his time with Mamako, Medhi, Porta, and Wise that the trials and tribulations he’s faced with him are more than enough to give him a worthwhile adventure and help repair his relationship with his mom at the same time. It might have been a message that was reinforced during a number of fights that Masato has been involved with, but the adventure he’s been on up until now has given him a more positive impression on his mom in spite of her clingy personality.
Once everything concludes and Amante’s plan is thwarted when Masato impulsively shouts out the joke wish to be granted enough fresh eggs for everyone in the party, we’re given a preview of what’s to come for the series. The season ends with Shirase giving Mamako’s party a task to take down Ribele after letting them know that there are four key members of the guild, including Amante. From there, the show ends abruptly as they head off to complete the mission at hand. But because there needed to be a moment that left us at a higher note, Masato and Mamako have time to reflect on the progress they’ve made along the way. Reflecting on the words Masato had said in the tower, Mamako is excited about how he wanted to continue adventuring with her. He might still want to be in the spotlight, but Masato’s interest in adventuring more with Mamako does help conclude the series on a positive note for the two of them.
Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Nikai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desuka? thrives on being a show that fully embraces the absurdity of its main premise yet also attempts to extend its reach beyond being the cheap, gimmicky cash-in on the isekai trend that it could have been. The anime shows an admirable amount of ambition in how much it work around its limitations to not wear out the welcome behind the novelty of a pseudo-incestuous romp through another world with an attractive mom by tackling multiple topics beyond its core concept. The anime’s tongue-in-cheek and self-aware sense of humor helps to make jokes centered around parodying MMORPGs stick their landing. Because it’s heavily invested in its video game setting, it has the liberty to poke fun at modern gaming mechanics such as incentivizing gamers to spend more by giving them powerful weapons in the beginning that will quickly be power-crept, the bad civilization that is gacha, and the grind that comes with gaining any meaningful stat increases. The anime is made all the more comical when you take into account the poor quality of the game as an explanation as to why there is an abundance of game-breaking glitches, overpowered weapons, and slapped-together placeholder NPCs in the game.
The anime also benefits from having such a likable cast that makes their interactions with the video game all the more interesting. Masato’s goal of using the game as his way to empower himself without his mom’s help is an admirable, albeit futile mission. While the show has fun giving him outraged and disappointed reactions to each of Mamako’s latest decisions, it does allow him to embrace his mother’s love as proof that she does care for him. Mamako might not be the ideal mother due to her clingy fixation on her son, but she is also a shining ball of positivity that does evoke the image of the perfect motherly figure, aiming to do the best she can to be accommodating for her son, friends, and guests. Her greatest strength isn’t entirely within her OP weapons as the shades of her personality we see are very amusing such as her own experiences with video games, her reaction towards another motherly woman vying to be a part of Masato’s party, how quickly she accepts dressing in questionable outfits or performing maid-magic on her food, and the temptation she gets on buying meaningless items from a door-to-door salesman. Their party is also amusing with Wise’s tsundere charms being overshadowed by the disadvantages that her costly magic and her interactions with magic-blocking force-fields give her. Porta acts as the item-gatherer and potion-crafter, but in all actuality, she’s a shining beacon of hope in this god-forsaken video game, offering a wide grin, full support, and undying optimism no matter where she goes. The party’s latest member Medhi is a fun addition to the group as her elegant appeal is undercut with her biting wit and rapier tongue that verbally decimates anyone where they stand. One of the best characters is the game’s administrator Shirase, who Arai Satomi gives a boisterous, spunky, and dead-pan demeanor while she warns the party of the game’s many glitches and death traps.
At the same time, the tone shifts towards a serious side are more than welcome as they fit well within the theme of motherly love and the different connections between a mother and their child. As goofy and hilarious as the show can be, it is also poignant when the issues between children and their mothers aren’t as simple to resolve as making your child feel guilty. The wonderful thing about the game-centric focus is how Masato and Mamako’s adversaries aren’t your standard monsters or masterminds, but rather the issues that arise when the game is completely broken by a mother who abuses the shoddy game design to further diminish their relationships with their children. The conflicts that Wise and Medhi have with their mothers end up being surprisingly deep because the show acknowledges the difficulty of being both the mother and the child in these particular relationships. It can be hard to live up to being the ideal parent and far more tempting to lose your way by indulging the easiest solutions, but said solutions can create a toxic environment for their children, ultimately bringing about circumstances that cause Wise and Medhi to grow disgusted and enraged by their mothers. Not as much attention is given to Masato and Mamako as the latter never finds it within herself to let her son breathe and be his own person, but it doesn’t devalue how fascinating the anime can get when you are wondering how Wise’s mother or Medhimama would end up changing for the best with everything they have done to their children beforehand.
There are many factors that go against this anime being 100% perfect, however. While efforts to make Mamako look captivating in multiple outfits ranging from elegant to unsavory were successful, the artwork did leave a lot to be desired with how polished the series could have looked. Pochi’s original character designs do lend to a polished and appealing aesthetic for its cast, especially their eyes, but it is hard to overlook how the animation lacked the detail and fluidity that would make it so that the character art wasn’t trying to fully compensate for some of the less appealing animation in the series. Around the half-way point in the series, there was also the issue of lingering too long on specific arcs so that we were stuck with storylines that overstayed their welcome and repeated the same jokes and ideas from the previous episode aside from the one or two events needed to advance the plot. It was rough to see more than one episode about Medhimama trying to cheat her way into letting Medhi win an event that Mamako would ultimately win or the party making their way around a tower while Amante’s plans continued to backfire on her. It may be asymptomatic of the light-novel nature of the series as you’re bound to have books that focus extensively on Medhi or Amante’s mother issues. But when the first half paced out both Masato dealing with Mamako’s eccentricities in the game and Wise fighting against her mother relatively well within four episodes, it does feel disappointing that it ended up taking the same amount of episodes just to finish the standalone arcs for Medhi or Amante. Episodes 06-07 and 10-11 could have easily been merged together while trimming some of the fluff that padded them out. It is understandable if there wasn’t enough material to be able to fully add more content to them, but it is a bit of a letdown to spend four episodes stuck in the academy or the tower when the previous episodes were far more expansive in fleshing out the game’s universe.
Aside from some animation or pacing hiccups though, Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Nikai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desuka? is still some of the best fun that the isekai genre has given us this year. The irresistible appeal of its alluring mother Mamako is further bolstered by its witty game-related humor and surprisingly meaningful commentary on parenthood that make following the series all the more worthwhile. It might take longer to get more material from the light novels and the show did end without being able to resolve Amante’s hatred of mothers or Ribele’s warpath against the moms of the universe, but it would be exciting to see more of what this series has to offer. I’m looking forward to how the series continues, what they do with the world of Mommalia, and how the characters reach their ideal goals with future installments.