Rating systems are always odd, as it is someone else’s opinion as to what that threshold is between being a child and being an adult (of sorts). It also varies by country so what is OK for one land is verboten in another. I bring this up, as this is kind of the plot of “R-15”.
Now, in the US, an “R”-rated film means you need an adult to come with you if you are 16 or younger. In Japan, that’s age 15. The tale revolves around Taketo Akutagawa (that guy in the middle-ish). He writes erotic fiction. He is a student at Inspiration Academy Private High School, where everyone is a genius at something and his tales are a marvel to behold. But this has labeled him a pervert. In fact, his name is a Japanese pun, which can also mean ‘river of garbage’; how some people view his output.
He also works for the school newspaper, which creates a ton of opportunities and a ton of problems. He can be inspired at any moment and his hand takes over, producing an unstoppable torrent of hot, sordid tales. But he wants people to appreciate him for who he is, not what he does. Well, you write smut smack, what do you expect? The series looks at him trying to make friends with parts of the female student body with often hilarious results and how things go badly askew.
At its core, it is still a high school rom-com and all the wild and wacky predicaments they find themselves embroiled in. Some of it is of his own doing (Taketo suffers from Writer’s Block and has to be imprisoned for his own good); others are external forces that prove to be infernal (Kurumi, the newspaper editor, gives Taketo a suit that makes him invisible and cuts him loose in the girl’s dorm. Well, what do you think goes wrong?)
It’s just I got the feeling that we hated him for being a pervert but we go out of our way to make certain he can fully embrace things perverted. Yet, for all the grief he has to endure for his writing, those stories are rather tame. More something that might induce a blush in a fair maiden than anything more jaw-dropping.
Taketo’s goal is far simpler: to be the Greatest Writer of All Time. Uh…..not writing what you’re writing, dude. The series does follow my 4-4-4 arc: the first four episodes introduce the characters, the second four has complicated problems that aren’t all that complicated, the last four have the actual plot shows up and we get our story. There is a deliciously pointless OVA that appears to function more to bring it to a 13 episode run than anything else.
It’s a slight show. It’s not terrible, but I have seen this done better. It is, at best, a middling show about middling people doing middling things. Perhaps if there was a greater degree of salaciousness, or that Taketo really struggled with his desire to compose serious literature, but it slides into perversity rather quickly. That might have been both funnier and poignant. He doesn’t WANT to write this stuff, but a writer’s gotta write. Just an idea.
Binging? To binge or not to binge? It’s just that the sameness of what he is trying to do or not do comes through and it feels like he is spinning his wheels, so binging may not help things and it might hurt, as he seems trapped by the fates about his fate.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard standardness)
Plot 7 (Could have been more)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 7 (Needed more real struggles)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 5 (Not much is gained by it)
Overall 7 (Running in place)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I am the best in what I do.