Ok, in a comment that got away from me rather badly, I kicked around one of the things that was bugging me about GSNK (I refuse to type that entire title… has anyone come up with a shorter one?). Unfortunately, after saying it wasn’t the major thing that bothered me, I spent a lot of time harping on the plot. To wit:
…Reika’s introduction isn’t a plot twist, it’s a plot necessity. She’s got to be there to perform her stated task of “keeping anything immoral from happening.”
If Reika weren’t there, the story might have about four episodes to it. One of two things would happen:
- Eventually Shungo would crack before Mayu gets control of her powers. In that case, either he dies, or it turns out he’s really immune.
- Eventually Mayu gets full control of her powers, at least around Shungo. In that case, she either decides “why knock a known quantity?” (He’s already defended her several times) and deliberately targets Shungo for seduction, or she moves on to go do whatever succubi do.
Both scenarios ignore the “childhood friends” question, because that could potentially be a byplay or a complete second story arc, as could the “what are Shungo and Ryoko?” question.
Reika exists to keep the primaries apart, because a jealous competitor is so much better as a chaperone than a sister with a camera. Reika will be the agitator that actively keeps anything from being resolved. I expect 1-2 more episodes introducing people we see in the OP (Ep. 3 looks like the other girls in the school), and then it’s going to settle into a rut. (Argh!) Just another fanservice-fest (sans panties) with absurd sexual situations. Attractive as Mayu may be, I don’t find that overly interesting.
Now that’s true as far as it goes, but I had to stop at one line hinting what I do find interesting. To be blunt: I’m looking for another Hanayuko Maid Team La Verite. What made that show work wasn’t just the story arc over the last few episodes, but the characters themselves. Taro was only briefly overwhelmed by “inheriting” the huge fortune from his grandfather, and got his feet back under him quickly. A very centered person, he may not have known what he wanted to be, but he knew “rich pervert kid” wasn’t it. The secondary characters were also interesting and complex, and sometimes even contradictory. As a result, when the final story arc began, we understood them, we felt for them, and we understood why they supported Taro at great risk to themselves.
I don’t get that vibe from GSNK. At all. So far, there’s no hint that Ryoko and Mikihiru are operating to any sort of plan in how they torture Shungo with Mayu. I could forgive that, and just assume that there is a plan to be revealed, but for one thing: the writers can’t keep from violating their characters’ consistency. Mayu goes from cute and clumsy to cute and clumsy airhead on a dime. For no reason other than it was funny, she spaces out and starts unintentionally insulting Reika. She’s afraid of men, but she cuddles up to Shungo in his sleep. She knows she’s a succubus and needs to control her ability to attract men, but she practically dry-humps Shungo in gratitude for rescuing her. Then she turns all shy and timid again. I could roll with one or two things, but as I said before, she’s being used as a blank wall, and the writers are hanging whatever they want on her for the comedy effect.
Shungo is at least halfway believable as the guy in the middle of the hormone storm, but what’s with Reika? She gets the same treatment; going from tsuntsun to deredere and back in a flash. She just isn’t going to cut it as “rich heiress,” because getting violent isn’t a solution in the boardroom. (I said BOARD room, not BED room! Get yer mind outta the gutter.) The way Ryoko and Mikihiru pull very transparent con jobs and blackmail her is just absurd. The idiot had better find a smart husband, or she’ll get swindled out of the family fortune about five minutes after inheriting it. (Where’s Kuriko Kazetsubaki when you need her, to teach some lessons?)
He is My Master is another series that was better than I expected, based on the strength of the character I least expected to be in control, Mitsuki. And that’s my real problem with this series so far: weak characterization. I hope the writers get a grip, but so far, I’ve not seen any indication of it.
And that’s enough about Mayu and company… Renta Magica #2 is done and I want to see if it is going to be the sleeper hit or not. Later!