The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Nagasarete Airantou

Title: Nagasarete Airantou
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Company: Feel/Starchild Records
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 5 Apr 2007 – 27 Sep 2007

Synopsis: After running away from his overbearing father, Tohoin Ikuto takes to the sea, where he falls overboard in a raging storm and is abandoned by his ship. When he comes to, after being knocked out by a giant wave, he wakes up on the island of Airantou, which has been cut off from civilization for 130 years. But, the surprising thing about Airantou is that it is entirely inhabited by women… due to an incident a few years ago, there are no men on Airantou… well, one man now that Ikuto has arrived.

The Highlights
Comedy: A harem that’s actually funny… a rarity.
Episodic plots: Remain consistently unpredictable.
Atmosphere: Rightly facetious.
Romance: Goes nowhere.
Ending: Little more than more fluff.
Machi and Anane: Funniest sibling rivalry in anime.

Fluff? Yep. Ridiculous? Certainly. Fun? Ultimately… yes. The concept of a well-written, thought-provoking harem is a bit of a black swan. Sure, it could theoretically exist, but when someone finds one, I’d like to be the first to know. However, there seems to be a certain formula for making harem anime at least entertaining, and the first step to this is avoiding taking itself seriously and just concentrating on being mindless fun. The majority of harem anime are going to be poorly written stories, partly due to the ridiculous nature of their premises, and partly because adding any depth or uniqueness to their characters goes counter to what the standard harem audience wants, so why bother? Just play to your strengths and try to be pointless, but entertaining fun. This is the philosophy Nagasarete Airantou follows, and that’s what makes it bearable and quite entertaining in the end.

Coming into this series expecting deep characters, momentous romances and a plot filled of twists is step one to being disappointed, since this series was never designed to have these things. This is a harem reminiscent of the type that I enjoy, like Girls Bravo and Amenaidayo: episodic, mindless and devoid of ambition. But Nagasarete Airantou isn’t often clichéd, even if it is ridiculous. While it follows the standard formula of episodic adventures, the resolution typically steers clear of the predictable, which evidences a level of wit not generally present in harem anime of this type. The running jokes do tire, but they never actually become frustrating and some, such as the constant antagonism between the sisters, Machi and Ayane, are actually still funny right to the end of the series. But, what works best for this series is that it’s so far removed from anything even resembling reality, that one has to be severely misguided to expect anything even close to serious from this series given its atmosphere. The series reciprocates, knowing it’s facetious, and doesn’t budge from light-hearted mood or allow itself to be corrupted by things like plot or character development… things it’d probably stuff up if it tried anyway. And it’s one of the few harem comedies that isn’t totally driven by fanservice… although it is there, so don’t expect otherwise.

But I do think it is fair to decry it for a total lack of romantic relationship development. The writers were fairly happy to leave Suzu and Ikuto’s relationship to stagnate in the same equilibrium of ‘really close, but not a couple’ for pretty much the entire series after about the third or fourth episode. They were close enough that the next step should have been a triviality, but the choice for a meaningless, irresolute ending was instead made. And while I do contend that the intention of plot-less fun does save this show from becoming a poorly-written melodramatic trainwreck like Shuffle!, I wouldn’t be foolish enough to globally recommend this show since it is, well, brainless.

However, I can safely recommend this to viewers who can and want to turn off their brains for whatever reason. This, I think, is how harem anime should be, not like Shuffle! or Da Capo which try to tackle serious issues but end up trivializing them. This tackles no serious issues, just serious jokes. There’s not introspective character analysis, just antagonistic sisterly “love”. No talk of evil and betrayal, just talking animals. This show made me laugh, and considering it’s a harem anime, that’s a good enough reason for me not to berate it.

The Rating: 6
6/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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