No question about it, Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru knows what buttons to push. This is the breakthrough hit of the winter season beyond a doubt – manga sales are skyrocketing and the series performs well in audience surveys and aggregator sites. I totally get that. But the truth is, because there’s a pretty wide gulf between this series and my usual anime tastes, it always has a pretty small margin of error for me. The first six episodes have been a mixed bag for sure – and I’d like to bag this one.
Honestly, more than anything this was like a race to fit as many annoying modern anitropes into 22 minutes as possible. The lame “walk in on a girl in the bathroom” gag. The legal girl who looks like a loli (so you know, it’s all fine). Worst of all “If you don’t X for me I’ll report you to the cops for something you didn’t do” bit. There was a point there when I was pretty close to pulling the plug, honestly. Things did pull back from the ledge after that, thankfully, but if it’s been one step forward and one back so far with this show, this was definitely a couple of steps back.
So yeah, Inui “Juju” Sajuna (Tanezaki Atsumi) is not a character who starts the game on the opposing team’s 5 yard-line for me. I find the tsundere loli archetype (with a side of stalker) to be fingernails on a blackboard, though I’ve heard far worse takes on it than Tanezaki’s (she’s normally a pretty good actor). The biggest gripe I had with all this was how contrived and silly her introduction was. Grandpa lets a stranger in to use the shower, the boy walks in on her, she blackmails him. None of that would happen if it weren’t necessary for the plot, and it wouldn’t be necessary for the plot if the mangaka wasn’t checking off a few boxes. But you can’t argue with the numbers, that’s for sure.
Could Juju grow on me? Sure, it’s possible, and in the big picture my opinion makes zero difference anyway – I’m not the target audience. But if Bisque Doll had pursued that blackmail angle that would have punched my return ticket. Fortunately it backed off that as a straight-up gag, and Juju didn’t push the matter. That said, it seems to me that if Wakana is going to making outfits as an ongoing enterprise he really ought to be getting paid for it – it’s a lot of work and his time has value even if that does conflict with his doormat status. I assume Juju was planning on paying him when she invaded his home, but whether that happens now (I presume the matter will be forgotten about) remains to be seen.
Take Juju out of the picture (I wish) and the ep really wasn’t that bad. Marin falling head-over-heels for Wakana was presented in rather appealing fashion, and we finally got a bit of info about her status above and beyond being the MPDG. Gramps inviting her to eat at his house every day just like that was kind of ridiculous but it’s not like we don’t see such nonsense in anime all the time. Marin and Juju geeking out over their obsession was mostly for the hardcore cosplay crowd but yeah, I’ve been in enough of those conversations about various topics to recognize the authenticity of it.
Maybe the best part of the episode was the anime-in-anime “Princess Lily” magical girl tribute, complete with 4:3 aspect ratio. That was put together with a lot of care, and it showed – it could easily have been a throwaway moment but the anime made it an episode highlight. And the stuff with grandpa was generally OK, too – though I have to ask, is it really normal for high school boys to have a couple pairs of stockings? In any event the jury is still way out on this series for me – it does what it does very well, but it may just be too far removed from my sweet spot for that to matter.