Toradora! for the 18+ crowd
MM! is a terrific ech com. And in short, it's because this series does everything an ech com should do. MM! certainly doesn't take itself too seriously. The premise of the story is absolutely ridiculous. The characters cover pretty much every ech com archetype you can think of: a masochist, a sadist, an androphobic, a loli supergenius, a gender bender, you name it! Not only that, but these characters really play their rolls quite impressively. There is a ton of laugh out loud interplay particularly between Mio (the sadist) and Tarou (the masochist). And let me just put it out there, I'd like to see who would win in a fight between Mio and Taiga (from Toradora! that is). As Lee Corso would put, "closer than the experts' think" (it's bowl season baby!). Moving along, there's also a great use of parody in this series. Particularly, the DBZ parody is absolutely hilarious. But MM! isn't just a great ech com, it's really a great anime period. And the reason why is that the background love story is actually pretty good. It's a classic triangle romance between Mio, Tarou, and Arashiko (the androphobic, yes quite ironic). There's an interesting contrast in Tarou's relationship with Mio and Arashiko. Arashiko is fairly open with her feelings, but is too shy to admit them to Tarou because of the fact that of course she is afraid of men. Mio on the other hand keeps her feelings concealed in order to maintain her power over Tarou. The last thing I'd like to bring up because it's something that bothered me with a lot of the Fall season anime is that the ending is very appropriate and satisfying despite the fact that there should certainly be a 2nd season. Now let me go on my mini-rant here. Just because an anime is going to have multiple seasons doesn't mean that each intermittent season shouldn't have a true ending. There should be either a minor conflict resolution or a climactic event or anything that indicates either end of season or shift to new season. And where most of the Fall season anime fell flat, MM! does this exactly right. There's enough of a heartwarming moment to make the viewer feel satisfied with what has transpired so far and at the same time look forward to what's yet to come. So in closing, I said all these good things about MM! so why no a higher overall score? Well, for the most part it's because I see it as bad practice to give something a really high score when the series is incomplete. And the ending wasn't actually great, just ok. Also, I can understand that the whole theme of MM! can be a a bit risqué for some people so in fairness I factor that in too. So, all in all, 7.5 out of 10 is my score. It's a substantial drop from my original score as unfortunately I no longer believe the series will be continued (see update).
So sad news for those who haven't already heard, Akinari Matsuno who wrote the MM! light novel has passed away. We can only hope someone carries on his legacy and that eventually a 2nd season of the anime will be produced. RIP