First of all, let me say that I know this review is biased and reactionary. However, sometimes I think there should be reviews out there like this sometimes so that people know ahead of time what they are getting themselves into. The next problem with this review will be explaining why my overall rating doesn't average out with the others, without spoiling the ending. I'm going to try to do this without spoilers, but I know I won't be able to completely avoid it; I won't tell you exactly what happens and how it happens, but you will probably end up learning some clues as to how it ends. (For example, we all know a Shakespearean tragedy ends with the main characters dying; it's never a "and they lived happily-ever-after ending, but until we read the play we don't know how they die.) Therefore, if you don't want any hints at all about how this show ends, stop here, don't read any further, because I'm not promising anything!
The overall story really was good! Honestly, if the show had ended about 9 minutes and 16 seconds earlier than it did, so about 14 minutes and 9 seconds into the last episode, I would be writing a review about how it was a pretty good show! But it didn't end there, and in the last 9 minutes of the show (including the ending song), in my opinion.
I have watched this show as it aired, watching it pretty much every Saturday morning on Crunchyroll, and the story line was good enough to keep me coming back week after week. It pissed me off now-and-again, but usually redeemed itself (except the ending). While it had the essence of the typical harem, it still felt different from some other shows I've watched.
What intrigued me most about the story, was I changed who I was cheering for partway through, which is not typical of me! The only other time something like this has happened was with Kimikiss Pure Rouge. This may have had more to do with the characters and their development, but I think the story played a huge part too!
The show was funny and pleasureable to watch most of the time, but it wasn't the most creative plot ever. After my switch part way through, I had an idea as to how I really wanted it to end, and I was watching, enjoying the occassional laugh while waiting to see how/if they brought it to that conclusion. I was also interested to see if they would manage to change my mind again!
Like I've said, it was a really good story and I enjoyed the show until the very end!
I usually really only notice the animation and sound if they're either REALLY good, or REALLY bad! The animation was fine, not KyoAni quality (my favorite studio), not P.A. Works quality either, but I still enjoyed it. They did do a good job in using not just color pallete but also things like line harshness and stuff in the character designs to help complement the character's perceived personality. Chiwa was always bright and straightforward, Masuzu fluctuated back and forth between soft and harsh, just like her character. They were all drawn very well.
As for sound, nothing really stuck out. As I'm writing this, I can't really think of what the typical sound track in an episode sounded like. However, I do know that I found the opening and ending to be a little more annoying than most and would always skip over it!
Here's where I really might spoil things a bit! When the show first started, I really didn't like Masuzu at all! In fact, I almost hated her for "stealing" Eita from Chiwa! Then slowly over time as we really got to know Masuzu and Eita, I started to get a little unsure of my choice. Masuzu has amazing character development! It is so subtle but she does grow quite a bit! She has this act that she puts on, and it's so good that most of the time, she believes it herself, but as the show goes on, we see her faulter in little tiny ways here and there as time goes on; a smile instead of a smirk, the briefest moment of the lightest blushing, the quick passing of showing that she's feeling dejected. It's all so subtle. I flat out laughed when they talked about A-chan being a tsundre; because while A-chan is the stereotypical tsundre through and through! Masuzu is her own type of tsundre that is actually almost more intense than A-chan in my opinion. Masuzu is the tsundre who is in almost complete control of the visible appearance of her emotions, but you can tell that the confusion is going on under the surface. She doesn't genuinely get super excited and lovey-dovey and then turn around and act like she hates Eita most of the time. She pretends and for part of the show honestly believes she doesn't like Eita at all, but then as time goes on, you can tell it's a complex form or self-denial. Basically, she is just a super awesome and complex character!
Other than Masuzu, I liked Eita as he wasn't the stereotypical super easily embarrassed, and easily swayed male character in a harem. His character development was much like Masuzu's. He would stand up and be genuinely kind to the girls, but wouldn't be over heroic either. He was just a really nice balance. His speech in the last episode was my favorite.
Next would be Chiwa the next door neighbor and childhood friend! Originally, I wanted it to end with Eita and Chiwa together, I liked Chiwa. I still like Chiwa, but she was able to grow in a way that allowed her to make some strong female friendships, other than that though, Chiwa didn't have a lot of character development. She was a great character for Masuzu to play off of, and helped bring out different sides of Eita, but in the end, I ended up feeling that Chiwa would be fine without Eita, because the two will always be best friends, but Masuzu needed him.
As for the other two girls, honestly, I think the show would've been fine without them. I saw them as just more characters getting in the way of the ending I wanted to see! They did help add something things to the plot and character development, but honestly, they were a little annoying.
Hime bugged me, not because she had delusions or eigth-grader syndrome (to steal from Chuunibyou), but honestly because that part of her character felt lukewarm. I just watched Chuunibyou before this show, and if Hime had been like Rikka, or Rikka's side-kick (blanking on her name), I wouldn't have found her quite as annoying, but it was her reserved quiteness that just bugged me!
Then A-chan annoyed me too! I don't find tsundre characters annoying usually, well, they annoy me because I yell at them to make up their mind, but I'm not usually annoyed as in they need to just leave the show. I loved Zero no Tsukaima and Toradora, but A-chan just pissed me off! Her thing about the marriage license was just stupid! I was like really, get over it! That was kindergarten for goodness sake, how stupid can you be! She was good when she was being a friend to Chiwa and Hime, but other than that I just wanted her to leave!
Normally, I wouldn't be this biased about a show based simply on the ending, but looking back, I put up with a lot of stuff that annoyed me as I watched from week to week, that I was putting up with in hopes that I would get to see the ending I wanted. I wanted Masuzu and Eita to both realize that in course of their fake relationship, they had fallen in love; and then I wanted all of the other girls to realize that while it may have started out fake between Masuzu and Eita, that in the end those two are right for each other because they actually fully understand one another and still love each other. None of the other girls truly understood Eita. I wanted them to realize this and realize that their love for Eita was a puppy-love crush; Chiwa's might not have been quite as superficial as puppy-love, but it wasn't as complex and fully understanding as Masuzu's, and the other two were just stupid, it wasn't real love at all, it was infatuation that had been built up in their minds over time! I wanted everyone to realize all of this and then for Masuzu and Eita to end happily-ever-after! But, no the other girls remain true to their stupid infatuation to the very end, and we get a stupid wishy-washy harem ending!
On Crunchyroll, they list one of the genres as shoujo, but I really don't get it! Maybe I'm different from all of the other girls in the world (although I've always considered myself fairly typical), but who wants to end up as a member of a harem? And who likes seeing or imaging/day-dreaming about guys that can NOT 100% commit to only ONE girl, and commit on a level that all other girls back the f*** off! I certainly don't! To me, that seems more like a guy's fantasy! I think the only harem that hasn't bugged me was Clannad and that's because Tomoya's heart was always pure, and the other girls backed off once they realized he was truly in love with Nagisa.
But, seriously, what girl day-dreams about ending up in a situation even remotely like the one in this story? What girl doesn't want a happily-ever-after? What girl wants someone with a superficial infatuation to have any possible chance of winning over a girl who is growing and falling in true love with the guy, and the guy is doing the same? Eita definitely didn't have any true feelings for Hime or A-chan, I don't know how they couldn't tell he was almost patronizing them! If their feelings had been remotely real, they would've realized it. Chiwa would sometimes call Eita on the carpet for patronizing her. Chiwa was the only other person it would've be slightly okay for Eita to be with, and normally I root for the childhood friend, but in this case, I changed my mind because her love wasn't real either. To the very end, she kept thinking that if she grew more in the chest and butt, that she could win Eita back, how stupid can you be? Eita does not love Masuzu for her figure, and even if you changed, if you truly loved him, you would want him to fall in love with you for other reasons!
So, that is why this anime gets a 4 out of 10 at the very end! So, that I don't feel like I've completely wasted my time, I will probably try to forget about this show and/or pretend it ended before the last 9 minutes! Harem endings suck!