The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Shuffle! Memories

Title: Shuffle! Memories
Genre: Romance/Drama
Company: SHUFFLE! Media Partners
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 6 Jan 2007 – 24 Mar 2007

Synopsis: Surrounded by girls that are bidding for his hand in marriage, Tsuchimi Rin has his share of hardships. However, each of these girls has a troubled past, and it is up to Rin to help them each overcome their respective plights.

The Highlights
Recaps: Eleven episodes of recap.
Chronology: Completely messed up.
Final episode: Below average for a fanservice episode.
Viewers that would benefit from watching this: None to speak of.

Recaps had their place in the past. Given the obscure timeslots some anime series aired at, and the generally repeat-less nature of Japanese television, it was very easy for Japanese viewers to miss episodes, which is where recap episodes became valuable. However, with the rise of set-top boxes and similar technology, missing an episode of a series one is following is becoming more and more difficult, and recaps are thus becoming less a useful tool and more a nuisance. One recap episode these days is generally considered annoying. Eleven recaps in a row is nigh unforgivable.

The idea behind Shuffle! Memories was to introduce Shuffle! to a free-to-air audience that didn’t have the opportunity to see the original series on pay TV channel WOWOW. However, rather than air the original series in its entirety (most likely they couldn’t due to the explicit nature of the fanservice in Shuffle!), this monstrosity was instead devised, which manages to insult both fans of the original series and the new viewers it was designed to convert. The first eleven episodes are pointless to watch if you’ve seen the original series before, while new viewers would almost certainly get lost in the total lack of chronology and misplaced emphasis that the recaps employ to tell the story. It’s ironic in a sense, since Shuffle! Memories introduces a slew of flawed story-telling techniques into a franchise that didn’t really have many to begin with… the first series of Shuffle! just had a mediocre story.

Many important scenes in Shuffle!’s insipid story are left out here, while some are repeated up to three times, even though they carry no great significance. Numerous episodes which are supposedly about a certain character end up spending most of their time focusing on other characters. The fact that the animation team in the first series was constantly changing with each new arc becomes sorely apparent in this series, as scenes from these different arcs are spliced together, resulting in a visual endeavor that looks uneven. Many of the flaws in Shuffle! are augmented in these recap eps, while all of the impact and atmosphere is close to completely destroyed.

The only new episode comes at the end of the series, in the form of a light fanservice romp designed to add nothing to the story, but even this was incredibly inane. Fanservice romps should deliver on two things – comedy and fanservice, and knowing Shuffle!’s terrible record on comedy, one shouldn’t have great expectations for the former. With that said, the comedy in this final ep was above par for Shuffle!, but that’s not saying a great deal. At the end of the day, there are funnier fanservice titles one could waste their time on.

Shuffle! Memories is a total waste of time for almost all viewers, new or old to the Shuffle! narrative. If you really need to torture yourself, watch Shuffle!. It may be below par, even for a harem series, but at least you’ll walk away from it with your sanity intact. Do yourself a favour and just pretend this series never existed.

The Rating: 1

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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