Anime that accomplish little more than provide an excuse to string together amusing sight gags could probably be considered a pillar of the industry. Muteki Kanban Musume does not stand out in this category due to its unoriginality, but it has an infectious energy and shamelessly performs its running gags in an admirable fashion. Of course, it helps that there's little plot to get in the way.
Muteki Kanban Musume is entirely episodic, so there really is no "story" per se. Each episode outlines two loosely related but standalone incidents occurring in the Hanamimachi Shopping Arcade and centered around the antics of poster girl Miki Onimaru, which gives the series its overall relaxed feel despite the frantic action in each vignette. The lack of real development in the series prevents any seriousness from interfering with its comedy and proves a fair trade for the show's resultant predictability. Muteki Kanban Musume's singular devotion to its purpose (entertainment above all else) makes the show painless and easy watching.
However, in the place of a bland and predictable final installment, the show delivers episode 12 as a punch line. This funny twist alone deserves 3 points in my book for introducing continuity at the 11th hour when no one expects it.
Here, the series gets the job done. While Muteki Kanban Musume never delivers any jaw-dropping moments, the visuals remain nimble enough to keep up with the sight gags, and the fight scenes show enough quality to deserve central billing in most episodes (albeit with occasional lazy stills or recycled segments). The show ably executes each of its parody sketches (see the Super Sentai parody, and the Shoujo-ish bits in the final episode for standout examples) and the animators manage to capture the overall camp of the series as a whole.
This show is over the top and the voice cast is along for the ride. Miki Onimaru's seiyuu, Hitomi Nabatame, performs gloriously, shouting nearly the entire time while still managing to deliver her lines with excellent comic timing; playing across from the heroine, Ami Koshimizu turns in a surprisingly nuanced performance as bakery's poster girl Megumi Kannazuki. Following the example set by the two leads, the rest of the cast attacks the script, no matter how absurd, with admirable gusto and their energy really sells every scene. Among an otherwise uninteresting musical score, only the OP stands ou. Its epic sweep starkly and humorously contrasts the mundane (unrealistic and violent, but mundane) plot-lines of each episode.
Your enjoyment of Muteki Kanban Musume either lives or dies on how you feel about the characters, because each episode solely consists of character driven humor set in motion by Miki's over eagerness to solve every problem through violence. However, everyone in the Arcade has a second side to his or her character. Miki has both a heart of gold and a penchant for violence. Ohta, the grocer, is both the most normal shopkeeper of the bunch and a devout Super Sentai fanboy. Nishiyama, an odd-jobbing street tough who lives only to fight Miki in one-on-one combat, proves to be a disciplined and responsible worker who ends his sentences in the super-cute "nya". And that's only part of the cast. Each character has a role to play in the show in addition to the Hanamimachi community, and each character's secondary quirk contrasts his or her more overt role for maximum comedic effect.
I offer this rating with a fair sized caveat: If you're looking for intelligent, boundary pushing anime, you're not going to find it here. This series performs admirably within itself, and is at once totally predictable and fairly funny. While Muteki Kanban Musume never quite reaches the sublime comedic heights that other random slice of life anime have achieved, each episode managed to set off at least one giggle fit. If you're looking for a good palate cleanser between bouts with more serious anime, you will find this show refreshingly straightforward, funny, and pleasantly familiar.
Miki is a psychotic mascot, waitress and delivery girl who works at her equally as frightening mother's ramen shop. Both survivor and instigator of years of ruthless, no-holds-barred domestic violence, Miki has a capacity for destruction usually found only in people with things like "the Impaler" added to their name. Yet, she also has a kind side to her and is often found going implausible distances out of her way to rescue both proverbial and literal lost kittens, though some malignant souls might misconstrue this as merely ditching her work...
These days I load up on comedy, slice-of-life, and horror shows, but I'll watch almost anything that sports a good voice cast, an interesting story, or looks particularly pretty. I tend to relate anime I review to other shows I've seen, because that's just how my mind works. Whether my warped view on a particular show totally misses the mark or you believe I've hit the nail on the head, I'd love to hear from you and welcome feedback and intelligent discussion of just how wrong I might be.