Harem anime shows are frequently like Marmite – you either love or hate them; there is no middle ground. The lingering bitter aftertaste of DearS and Ichigo 100% had sufficiently raised my skepticism of the harem genre, giving expectations that Shuffle! would be another droll fap-fest for the ecchi loving sheeple. I was taken gently by the hand to witness an alluring love pentagle unfold before my eyes. Featuring a plethora of panty shots and packed to the rafters with romantic drama, the series ultimately offers 24 episodes of illicit pleasure.
“It’s based on an eroge”, thinks I. “It’s going to be mindless bimbos throwing themselves at an otaku loser”. Setting the scene in the first episode, Shuffle! certainly follows the tried and tested recipe of the typical harem; introducing Rin as the inevitable lucky boy that the girls worship, his one woman devotee soon accrues company. Things become a little stranger as Nerine and Sia are brought in as the princesses of the demon and god realms – and they are both intent on marrying the clueless boy. Sadly, this otherworldly aspect is used as a rather convoluted plotline that didn’t sit comfortably in the overall high school romance. However the show pulls itself back together by focusing on each female and gathering momentum via small arcs that succinctly explain the motives and reasoning for their undying feelings towards Rin. But what is this? The human side of these people giving emotional attachment to characters in an ecchi show? Unheard of!
My initial gripe with the show was that the girls appeared strangely cool about all sharing the same guy. My complaint is swiftly addressed in the second half as jealousy takes hold of one female, and the shock fallout as she goes postal certainly makes the viewer sit up to pay attention. What makes Shuffle! so different to other shows in the same genre is the fearless use of realistic and dark feelings; if we’re honest here, females are fearsome creatures that can unleash their hellcat side when faced with competition.
Ecchi anime rarely comes with a convincing storyline, and Shuffle! sits on the fence in the matter. On one hand, the romance, personalities and reactions are believable and watchable; on the other, the demonic Yggdrasil project is a little bit silly and permeates into too much of the story. There are other, more creative ways, to write a backstory and give a girl a mystery illness without resorting to wishy-washy fantasy. Ignoring the minor craziness, the score would have been much higher, and the stark contrast between the first and second halves of the show done seamlessly. The brief moments of fan service fit well into the overall ambiance, raising naughty smirks as virgin crotches "accidentally" press themselves against Rin's face for the umpteenth time. It never intends to be a high brow, intellectual series, but Shuffle! certainly manages to surprise those viewers only out for a bit of fun.
With the artists seeming to work on a shift pattern, the standout moments of animated brilliance are tarnished by those built on pure ugliness. The first few episodes feature poorly proportioned characters with misshapen faces loosely tacked on to drab, lifeless backdrops. This is in stark contrast to the allure of lovingly sketched faces during emotional scenes, and the glistening presence of spectacular ample breasts. And not just boobs – Shuffle! breaks the censorship mould and tops the mammary mountains with perfect pink nipples. Then again, most eroge fans look for the visual quality of the fan-service, and the panties and underwear featured in the lingerie shopping episode is certainly varied and tantalisingly sexy.
Accompanying the opening credits, the typically romantic tune will stay with you long after watching. As someone who usually dislikes this kind of audio assault, I surprisingly found myself humming along with the melody each time. Although the closing track isn’t as memorable or impressive, the emotional lullaby fits the tone of Shuffle! very well.
DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW DUBBED. Now that we have the formalities out of the way, the Japanese voice acting is excellent. Rin’s rich, syrupy tones will have any right-minded female turn weak at the knees, as the vocal talents of Haruhi Suzumiya’s Kyon are put to use once more. High pitched girlyness suits Kaede and Sia, whilst loli-idol Primula's performance is much more reserved, verging on comically robotic, which fits her character perfectly. Even buxom Beni-sensei delivers a deep feminine growl that will set most groins a stirring.
Packed to the rafters with cliché female love interests, the show even provides colour coordinated hair to make your favourite buxom babe easier to identify. Although initially lacking in depth, there is something to the diverse group of females that gives them a magnetic attraction and appeal to most panty-hungry perverts. From the lolicon’s dream to the cleavage-tastic teacher, Shuffle! also manages to cover the shy “childhood friend” and "back slapping tsundere" fetishes. Playing the part of the typical harem, the female cast step it up a gear as jealousy, anger and dark histories creep into the fray and each character develops through their own mini-arc. Cute girlishness is tossed by the wayside as the show unleashes a no-holds barred bitch-fight.
But wait, not only do we have seven stereotyped females to choose from, but act now, and you’ll also receive the clueless male protagonist for half price! My dislike of harem shows usually stem from a feckless guy who wouldn’t have a chance of bedding one female in the real world, let alone six or seven. Breaking the mould, Rin Tsuchimi is a genuinely nice guy who easily deserves the company of girls who would drop their panties for him. With a sensitive and understanding side, his unassuming attitude is often exploited by Asa-sempai as she whips out her boobs to take perverse pleasure in grossly embarrassing the object of her affections.
Personally rating the show a little higher, I have taken into consideration that many people may be turned off by the fearless leap this little harem show takes into darker waters. Even though certain aspects of the plot are spread a little thinly in places, the characters and drama more than make up for the failings. Definitely one of the best ecchi-romance shows available at the moment, it is nice to see a relationship actually blossom, instead of the usual eroge cop-outs that concludes with an unsatisfactory slump. Now, if only there was a real life Rin to fawn over, my life would be complete.
Shuffle! a story of a boy who is faced with 5 girls ranging from the daemon world human world and world of the gods. Which one will he choose?
The Shuffle! Story follows a boy named Rin and his struggle to choose a girl out of five who are in love with him. The story is well put together having the ability to put tragedy and comedy all in one and make a harem that in my opinion if a girl wouldn't feel uncomfortable watching. Story gets an 8/10 from me.
Shuffles animation is well put together and not once did I feel that the animation was sped through and skipped over. Scenery is great and each and every character is developed very well in the arts scence and makes it very easy to keep you stuck on the characters and makes it hard for you to decide which girl you would personally choose.Earns it an easy 8/10.
Watching this series in English dub. I can say each and every member of the caste fitted their character perfectly and I could have asked for a better cast and the intro and outro music worked great. When introducing title names when it was a happy episode the music reminded me of Mario part 7 music the cruise one. Getting in another 8/10.
What could I say about the characters. Each and every character was developed great and had everything from the good to the bad put in their and supporting characters weren't boring and were very easy to enjoy each character held their own personality and overall held their own in the series. Yes again another 8/10.
Overall this series was great. The only warning I have is their is occasionally nudity but its not overdone and the series is just so great it makes it easy to get over. Definitely one to add to your collection. For those math geniuses out there the series earns a average 8/10 from me.
The first time I saw Shuffle! I was enamored of it, several years later after browsing my Netflix options I found they had the show available for streaming and figured what the heck. Several other shows I've found the same way, having watched them again, did stand the test of time and English conversion, will this one follow suit? Sadly, the answer to that question, from my perspective, is not really.
Originally I remembered this story as endearing, funny, and interesting to watch. What I got was a ton of over used anime plot devices and tired character clichés. I had at one point thought of this as original since Shuffle! quite possibly was one of the first shows to present these to me at the time but now it's old hat. To be fair, I did still enjoy the show to some degree but had I watched this at a later date my rating would have been average at best. I do not plan to remove my original score however since that's what I felt at the time I saw it the first time, it's just seeing it again truly fell short of that mark.
Again, before hand I loved the show for it's richness in color and great character designs, now it just falls to slightly above average quality having been spoiled by shows which would be insulting to to compare against Shuffle! That is in not way meaning that it's bad artwork, it's just that I have higher standards now than I did back then. It is still a great visual piece of work and is worthy of your consideration on this alone.
As always, I care little for nor against the sounds in any anime unless it's specifically about music. This neither detracted nor added to the show in my opinion so it gets my standard average marks.
The other facet of the show that does stand out and at the time I had a much higher opinion of this than I do now. Looking on all the characters I had originally loved I find myself wondering what I was thinking. Essentially all the prospective girls has some sort of serious mental issue in my book. Now, admittedly two of them have good reasons for it but that doesn't exactly excuse the fact that were I to be confronted with any of them I'd be a bit... worried for my well being. I can say that this does lend a bit of realism to a genre rife with unlikely or down right unbelievable characters which of course are found here too but I have to admit to some degree this did actually enrich the show rather than detract from it.
I said this before, the second time around the show didn't stand up to it's original viewing but that in no way really means it's not worth watching at least once. If you're a fan of the genre in general this especially goes for you. The main point being that the English dub in this case probably wasn't as good/true translation as was some 3rd party sub. The voice acting in the English dub was also a little on the forced side but since I'm no real judge as to what over acting in Japanese would sound like I can't really say for sure that it isn't as well.
To summarize, Shuffle! is well worth watching at most once, and preferably in the subbed version over the current dubbed.
Great love story, lots of twists, mystery and some heart hurting moments.Really a good watch, just wish it was a bit longer and there were OVAs which the protagonist would date all the other females.
The music, especially the song played in episode 23 at the hospital, was pretty good.
If you're into romance and a bit of ecchi, this is the anime for you.If you like this type of romance anime, make sure to check out Kanon!
I will start by saying, i will be very careful to include as little spoilers as possible!
Shuffle in terms of its main theme is a very stereotypical, almost exaggeration of the school life harem genre in one sense, and totally different in another. The main basis of the show revolves around a guy who has loads of girls all over him, and has to make a choice. However a main difference from other similar shows, is that the male lead moves far away from the more common cynical antisocial nerd, or the delinquent and instead has a male lead who is smart, handsome and fairly popular. Like many other harem, It also combines a lot of super natural elements in the story.
From the very start of the show the Rin Tsuchimi is woken up by a cute girl who does everything for him.Throughout his daily routine in the first episode you continue to watch this guys ego massaged by girls, and not much else. This is very repetitive and predictable to the point that potential viewers might switch off, or keep watching soley with the hope of more boobs and panty shots in mind. The ones who keep watching however, will be pleasantly surprised to find a rather moving and emotional storyline. As it continues, the show develops well, and you get an explanation as to why all the girls are after Rin, rather than believing he's supposed to have some aura around him girls can't resist, which would be annoying and impossible to relate to. There's also lots of twists and turns which especially towards the second half of the story, will keep you gripped to the end if you've made it that far. Another aspect i really liked, without giving anything away,is how an actual relationship forms towards the end, without it being too predictable Who he'll go for. Towards the end also, were quite a few tear jerking moments that i expect will make some viewers cry.
Shuffle is one of the better looking animes iv'e seen. There's nothing amazing, but all of the characters, particularly the girls(and their boobs)are drawn very nicely. It's also nice to see how distinctly different they all look from each other thanks to their very varying and vibrant coloured hair.The backgrounds aren't amazing but aren't terrible either. The biggest dissapointment in this area, is the lack of consistency. One scene will look great, the next will look a lot worse. This is hardly unusual in anime however, and there's more to like than dislike here.
Overall pretty good. All of the tunes fit the mood perfectly, and most musically minded people will have at least one or two tunes which will stick in their mind. All of the voice acting if your watching the dub, is pretty good too, except Primula who for some reason they've decided to give a bizzare accent which comes and goes depending on the scene.
Very stereotypical for this type of show in almost every area. In terms of the female lead, we have the dependable and kind childhood friend, The sexually overt tomboy, the fiery redhead, the quiet humble one and the naive childlike young one. The very generic character structure continues with the Sexy TILF(like MILF except teacher for anyone who doesn't know the phrase) the chauvinistic sexually frustrated jealous friend who tries too hard, and the few impossibly kind mom's.However there all very likeable and have their place. In other words, there's no 'non- characters' who have no purpose in the show.
Overall I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes haranime and in fact anyone who enjoys romance anime of any type. I also think its a great show to watch as an introduction to the genre, as it's very easy to follow, and emotional enough to keep you hooked but not so emotional that nearly all of the viewers will be close to tears(unlike a few others). I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is unmoved by romance in stories, or anyone who's watched a lot of anime and hasn't liked the romance, but that pretty much goes without saying, and I doubt they'd even be reading this review .