Beautiful work on this piece.
I'll be refereing to the English Dub for this review.
Please keep in mind that this is a review, so there may be a spoiler or two. I'll do my best to highlight (so you look away!), but I can't cover everything!
Let's start with the story. We have Rin, an average highschool guy, easily relatable to many of the young men and women who watch anime today. He's a come as you go character. The fact that he's so relatable I believe is what draws such an audience to appreciate him as a person.
The series revolves around Rin as Sia and Nerine (Princesses of the Gods and Demons respectively) try to earn his love. However the love triangle becomes a complex with Rin's other admirers, Kaede and Asa as they start to open their emotions to him.
Let's pause here and look at the values of each of the 4 main girls.
She's the outspoken fun character. You could almost compare her to the "party girls" from most modern highschools. She's a poor student, but she just loves having fun.
The artists have Sia depicted with long red hair, which is to represent the beauty of women, along with the firey power of the gods.
The blue haired demon princess is a sweetheart. She's quiet and soft spoken. Someone who appears to have it all figured out in her academics, but unlike Sia, her social standing is a little lacking. She's self conscious about her bathing suits, and she's a poor cook. Nerine's blue hair has the calming sensation you get from other blue scenery like the ocean or the sky. It gives the relaxed and chilling feeling, relatable to the solemn powers of the demons?
I thought they overdid it with Kaede when I first saw her. She's like a Japanese maid the way she dresses, but even more so in the way she acts. She's by far the closest character to Rin, and there's an obvious connection she feels between the two of them.
Multiple times you hear that she's the "hottest girl in the school" which normally would be odd, for the sweet and caring type (come on, we've all been to highschool.). She also has the most natural hair colour of the four girls (orange).
The idea of having the hottest girl in the school being so sweet and nice is totally a farce, but by making it real in this series, I believe a lot of viewers became attached to her.
So, my favorite colour is green. Its the colour of vegetation which represents life and rebirth and all that happy stuff. I don't think there is any better of a description to Asa. She has it all.
So based on these brief descriptions, where do you think Rin's heart would go?
Imagine a tug-a-war with Rin in the middle and each of these girls pulling from opposite sides. The story was very episodal in the way he spends time with virtually one girl at an instance. In most cases you'd have jealousy building in each of the girls' rivals, and don't get me wrong because there was definitely a scene or two where we get to see the power envy can have on a person, but what was interesting was that the girls became good friends, to the point that they took each others' feelings into regard.
I appreciated that, but at the same time, its so extrememly unrealistic. Bittersweet I'd say.
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The best scenes of the anime came after Rin did choose his love interest. The psychological damage it caused Kaede was so imense, and believable that it left me with a filthy feeling on the inside. The story had really come to life, and its a pity that they could not have had the same type of storyboard throughout the series, rather than just near the end.
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When I see an animation, I like it to be smooth and everything must be proportional. The best animes I've seen have had the animation done so vividly that its nearly imossible to notice any flaws, thus we are left to focus on the story, and the characters.
My only complaint during Shuffle! were the fan clubs. I'm talking about the KKK, SSS, etc. They just made the show look stupid. Entirely unrealistic especially how the girls found it normal. Even celebraties don't have that many people chasing them around.
Can't really say much about the sound. Voices and dubbing was done exceptionally. Its a shame that there was very little artistic music. I mean, the music fit very well with the sound effects and the scenes, but I suppose the best image would be that of a pop song. After a while, its all the same thing.
The opening song, "You" by Yuria though, was wonderful! Best way to start off a show is with good music!
I suppose we've already talked about characters above. I think the minor characters fit their roles wonderfully. We could tell that they weren't as important by their natural or dull hair colour (with the exception of Kareha) which I think was a nice touch. However each of the minor characters were very well rounded.
I have no complaints with any of the characters.
So that about wraps up my review for Shuffle!. Final verdict? I'd say its definitely one that you should watch if you ever are presented the opportunity.