The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku wo!

Title: Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku wo! aka Mamoru-kun was Blessed by a Goddess!
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Company: ZEXCS
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 6 Oct 2006 – 30 Mar 2007

Synopsis: Yoshimura Mamoru has just transferred to a high school for users of a powerful magic called “Beatrice”.  The most powerful Beatrice user at the school is Takasu Ayako, who also has a reputation for being strong, but frightening.  It’s not more than a couple of minutes after Mamoru enters the school for the first time, when Ayako suddenly asks him out.  Between dealing with a student council filled with quirky people and answering Ayako’s request, Mamoru’s time at his new school isn’t going to be an easy one.

The Highlights
Impact: Paved the way for a truckload of new -dere archetypes.
Comedy: The purely slapstick brand of comedy doesn’t cut it anymore.
Romance: Why is the voluptuous tsundere in love with a shota?
Themes: It’s utterly unconvincing to make a story about “the power of love” when the romance itself makes no sense.

I started watching this anime more than three years ago yet could only bring myself to just finish it recently, which says everything about how invested I was in it.  It was a bad anime then but it’s a worse anime now, not because standards have improved (they haven’t, 2006 was probably the best year for anime last decade) but because expectations have shifted.  Anime has changed.  I’ve changed.  Back then, the question “how crap?” fascinated me.  These days, the answer is usually “too crap to care about”.  That pretty much sums up Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku wo!.

Tsundere-ism was the in thing back then, the latest freak show.  Anime like Tsuyokiss built their gimmicky premises around the entire concept, and so did Mamoru-kun, promoting Ayako as the so called “megadere”, a tsundere whose tenderness and violence would castrate the competition (in much the same way the traditional tsundere castrated male leads in years prior).  The “megadere” promised much yet delivered little, and while it arguably paved the way for a deluge of novel -dere archetypes (eg, yandere, kuudere), Ayako herself was an insignificant footnote in the tsudere chronicle.  When Lucky Star’s Shiraishi complained of the decay and misuse of the definition of the word “tsundere”, this was the sort of character he was essentially talking about.  Ayako isn’t a tsundere in any legitimate sense of the word because her behaviour is too inconsistent… she’s a blushing, smitten moeblob around Mamoru and a sociopathic brute to everyone else (or would be considered such if the type of physical brutality she transgresses against her classmates wasn’t considered a norm in anime comedies).  The very definition of the word tsundere implies an evolution, but what little character development Ayako gets (which, unfortunately, is the most of any character in this series) barely resembles it.

Was there a reason why Ayako fell in love with a shota?  It didn’t seem to be anything more than arbitrary, and when I don’t understand a romantic coupling in literature, I usually get either bored or suspicious.  And, in this case, I was both.  The voluptuous yet well-meaning girl falling for the unremarkable male lead isn’t uncommon in anime, the wish-fulfillment element of this trope is plainly evident… but a shota?  I’m guessing this plays to some sort of fetish that I simply don’t understand (which is strange, because I thought I understood most fetishes that appear in anime, even the ones I don’t indulge in).

The early filler episodes are of almost no consequence, driven by the mostly inane brand of physical comedy that is grating in most really bad anime, but is ramped up here.  Most of it involves Ayako performing super saiyan (sorry, Beatrice) moves on the student council members who, past the president and vice-president, are completely forgettable.  (The only things that really make the vice-president memorable are her bizarre hair and Noto Mamiko voice).  The story, when it finally kicks in after fits and starts, is convoluted and completely bogged down by mandatory exposition.  Ultimately, the story is about the power of love, or some similarly cringe-worthy theme, so expect lots of sappiness… but by this point, I had long stopped caring.  There were moments I enjoyed and a couple of characters that I almost considered thinking about the possibility of liking, but the vast majority of this anime was either corny, pointless or trite.  I vaguely remember enjoying bits of this anime slightly more three years ago.  Today, I’m more surprised I actually watched the whole thing.

The Rating: 3

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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