MM is the harrowing story of a man plagued by masochism who attempts to overcome his love of pain through the help of a girl two years older who runs a club that grants wishes. Together with this lovely female companion he embarks on an epic quest through the streets of Tokyo in an attempt to cure himself. Along the way he meets a girl who has a severe dislike for men and hits any man who touches her and they fall in love. It both touches your heart and warms your body with its realistic portrayals of masochism, androphobia, and human relationships.
No, I’m just screwing with you. You can only wish for an anime that good when watching this giant pile of mediocre donkey droppings. You may notice how lately I’ve been reviewing romantic comedies in the small hope I’ll find something with a decent romance, funny comedy, and likeable characters. Okay, I’m looking for something like Toradora.
This is no Toradora though. Instead it is a typically boring, rarely funny, and overly cliché anime with one redeeming characteristic. It’s kind of like Baka and Test, but not the funny first season. More like the drab, underwhelming second season.
MM! has a fairly basic make-up. A guy named Tarou Sado (Teeheehee, sadomasochism) is a total masochist and gets off to when girls beat him up and violently attempt to kill him. To cure this he goes to the Second Volunteer Club where he meets a tiny, feisty girl named Mio Isurugi. He also reacquaints himself with the girl who originally started his masochistic ways, Arashiko Yuuno. She has androphobia and beats on men who touch her, due to a near rape by a male student in her middle school years. I likened her to Lisbeth Salander, though a much, much, much more shallow version (if you don’t know who Lisbeth is, please read a book). There’s also a cross dressing friend and a loli inventor girl with no friends. But that’s not too important.
What’s more important is how Mio goes about attempting to cure Tarou’s masochism. This is the major problem with the whole show for me. We see that Tarou, unlike real people, does not have a limit to how much pain he can take. He enjoys his genitals being thoroughly destroyed, he enjoys his face getting rearranged, he enjoys eating bad food made by a girl. This guy must be like Superman or something, because he takes more pain than anyone should possibly be able to. And Mio doesn’t appear to understand that he likes it, and I guess she thinks she will eventually get him to reach a limit or something. She continually beats him and does terrible things to him but he enjoys it all. So it’s not working, maybe you should try something else?
I mean, she does. We have the classic hypnotism episode that goes in directions I wish it hadn’t. Maybe I’m just not used to crossdressing/gay humor. But I didn’t find it funny as much as I did disturbing.
So is there really a story? Can I stop this long tirade here and quit with the complaining? NO! There are two rather random episodes. One introduces the obligatory loli character, Noa. She’s an inventor and has no friends. So, she decides to invent a machine that will turn everyone in the world into perverts.
On top of that being idiotic and not even funny (maybe when I was fourteen I would have laughed my ass off but at this point in my life I find that to just be a lame excuse for a laugh) it turns into some sort of Kamen Rider/Dragon Ball Z referencing fight that is so ridiculous. I know it’s a cartoon, and I need to suspend my belief in reality, but it’s just so inconsistent with the rest of the show. The episode just felt like it didn’t belong. It came out of nowhere, it did nothing but introduce our little inventor, and it just wasn’t funny.
The problem with pretty much every episode minus maybe two or three is that it has no far-reaching consequences, does nothing to progress the story or build the characters, and this isn’t a straight up comedy. We’ve seen before that you can mix a good plot with good characters and some comedy elements. The problem here is that whatever romance is developing is undefined. Especially toward the end when you wonder whether there is a love triangle going on or Tarou likes only one girl.
I complained about this with Baka and Test and will do it here too. DEFINE THE ROMANCE! The last episode wasn’t even a good last episode, it felt like it belonged mid-way through the series. The episode before that was the only time anyone came out with their true feelings and Tarou forgets about it before he can act upon this. Thus, we’re left with what feels like an incomplete anime. Maybe they were expecting a second season?
And yes, I know it’s based off of a light novel series. But the least that we can get is a clear ending. Just admitting feelings is all I ask. It is not a romantic comedy if there is not a romance developed and defined at the end.
Now that I’ve raged over nothing, let’s talk about the animation.
It’s good. Characters and backgrounds are colorful. I especially liked the girls school uniform, it was purty. As far as smoothness goes, it’s alright in that respect. Otherwise not much to complain about.
As far as sound goes, the opening is pretty bad. Never have I heard truer words in an opening theme song than “Oh my God is Jesus Christ”. Why do the Japanese try to speak English and fail miserably? It’s like the song from Clannad, just listening to the lyrics is laughable. I mean, they make more sense than the lyrics to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, but are still awful. The ending song is not bad as much as mediocre. Music during the show is once again mediocre. Nothing that evokes emotions or you want to put on your IPod. Character’s voices are all lovely.
And while on the subject of characters, they are all fairly underdeveloped and boring. Tarou is nothing more than an oblivious teenage guy with an issue that needs to be fixed. He doesn’t seem to have any emotions besides pleasure and fear, though sometimes he does exhibit some sentimentality that could have developed his character if there had been more moments like it. Mio is like a combination of Haruhi Suzumiya and Taiga Aisaka. She believes herself a god and is a feisty little high schooler. Yuuno is the only character of any worth, though not much. She has a defined background and a reason for being the way she is, and she is the only character that seems to exhibit any kind of emotions.
All the minor characters fit their roles as either: A.)Useless or B.) Useless but for fan service. Michiru the photographer/nurse, Noa, Tarou’s mom and sister. They all seem to just be there for fan service and maybe to create some stupid plot device. One of these is the fact that Tarou’s mom and sister are fighting over Tarou because they both love him in a creepy way. Now, the sister thing I’ve kind of gotten used to, it seems to be used in comedies a lot. But the mom wanting to marry her own son? What? What about Tarou’s father? Maybe that could have used some explaining.
The only character I found to be funny was Tarou’s manager at the convenience store. He loves his body pillow and at one point has an action figure he carries around and asks what he should buy. That was funny for some sort of psychotic reason. Otherwise, the characters are all cardboard cut outs and unexciting.
I wanted to like MM!. I wanted to like Mio, who I found to be absolutely adorable. I wanted to laugh and revel in the sheer craziness. But I couldn’t. Or more precisely, I rarely could. MM! has so many conventional plot devices (club goes out to do something), characters (Mio, Noa), and settings (the obligatory beach and school festival episodes) that it just feels like it stitched together other anime in a caricature of what a romantic comedy should be.
MM!’s only redeeming factor is that it has pretty animation.
Overall, if I had the choice between ripping out my eyeballs with serrated spoons coated in poison while simultaneously being burned alive, and watching MM!, I’d probably tentatively choose watching MM!. But if I did not have to choose in such extreme circumstances, then I would not watch MM!. It’s mediocrity at its absolute finest.
MM! gets a 4/10.