「馴染みました！入間くん」 (Najimimashita! Iruma-kun)
“You Fit Right in Now, Iruma-kun!”
Mairimashita! Iruma-kun is like an experiment to see if anime can succeed by relying on unrelenting positivity. And the results are clear – yes. Yes, it can. And in this series, it does. The protagonist is ridiculously nice. His best friends love him unreservedly. Good things happen to him because he acts based on his conscience and empathy, and the universe rewards him in payback for all the indignities he suffered in the human world. It’s almost scandalous how well it all works.
All fiction shouldn’t be like this, certainly. But my goodness, I’m glad a series like this exists, and even more that it has the skill to pull this formula off. This finale had pretty much everything you could want from it – another musical number for the irrepressible Valac family. An Eiko appearance and close encounter. Clara and Azz riffing off each other comedically. Iruma-kun being Iruma-kun to the end. And best of all, an announcement after it ended. “It’s all good” couldn’t be more comprehensively correct when applied to any show than it is to Mairimashita! Iruma-kun.
I have to say, that whole “Muffle Wuffle Crackle Bang” sequence had my grinning so relentlessly my face risked injury. Asai Ayaka (who was largely under my radar before Clara) and Kimura Ryouhei are both fantastic in these roles. And Kimura (yes I know I go on and on, but he really is that good) in unhinged mode as Azz tries to figure out what kind of recipe this is was worth the price of admission alone (never mind the fish phobia bit). And then the “Love” number. How heartwarming are the Valacs, seriously? It should be saccharine but it’s not somehow – it comes off as very real.
Iruma’s solution to the great rivalry? Simple – “better together”. It’s a classic Iruma move – he’s like the bizarro King Solomon. The thing about Iruma is, you don’t get annoyed at his relentless niceness because it’s so genuine (and Murase Ayumu sells it beautifully). And you don’t get annoyed at his reversal of fortune because it’s so richly deserved. There are certainly larger plot twists still to play out here, as the cliffhanger ending suggests – but Iruma-kun is always going to be Iruma-kun. And really – why would anyone want that to change?
Yes, I plan on blogging the second season in 2021. And I do regret dropping this series, as much as any I have since Ronja. And that’s in spite of the fact that for all the reasons stated above, it’s a mighty difficult series to write about. In the end though, Mairimiashita! Iruma-kun is so good at what it does – and so spectacularly positive an experience – that I simply don’t want to ignore it. If the anime world still has room for a series like this to be popular, then all hope is not lost. And that’s surely a fitting tribute.