OK, this particular ‘romantic comedy’ is a real workout, redefining what is meant by ‘comedy’ and how much perversity you are willing to except.
The initial concept for “Recently, My Sister is Unusual” (“Saikin, Imōto no Yōsu ga Chotto Okashiin Da Ga.” “Lately, My Little Sister’s Been Acting A Bit Strange, But.”) is simple enough.
Yūuya Kanzaki (guy at the end) lives with his father, as Mom has been dead for many a year. Suddenly, Dad meets widow Kyoko and before you can say ‘yakisoba’, they get married. Kyoko brings to the family her daughter, Mitsuki (short black hair), who is potentially 16 (they both possibly are. They never say an age, but that’s a usual age for this stuff) and is upset at the recent turn of events. She is cold, stiff and stand-offish from Yuuya. Well, too much is happening too fast for her.
One day, on their way back from school, as they cross a pedestrian bridge, Mitsuki suddenly faints. When she awakes, she discovers she has been possessed by a ghost, the flirtatious Hiyori Kotobuki (can you find the wings? Good!). Here’s the trick: Hiyori was killed near this bridge (and isn’t that always nice to have in a romantic comedy) without professing her love for her ‘big brother’ Yuuya. She has to get to heaven, so she needs to construct these golden steps to get to the gate (no, those wings are as useless as a politician in winter).
The way this is done is by filling this heart meter that resides on a chastity belt that Mitsuki wears and CANNOT TAKE OFF! Every time she does something lustful or salacious or naughty, the gauge fills and another step is created. But there is a problem: if negative thoughts or depressing events occur, they lose steps and if it gets to zero steps, they BOTH die, plunging into the inky depths of hell for all eternity! (Insert laugh track here.)
The 12-run show details the on-going fight between the uptight Mitsuki and the smutty Hiyori in the attempts to have sex with brother or have him fill her…..heart meter!.
The trick is the first two episodes, as that really pushes the perversity envelope. Aside from the fact that the chastity belt is more fetish than anything else, any time we have a chance to really see it, or anything around the general area of her groin, we get:
a) White out
b) Black out
c) Heart out
The last one is a kind of smut sticker to cover her groin area. It looks like a heart with a keyhole in it. Now, in order to get things going, Hiyori engages in a caliber of yuri canoodling, much to Mitsuki chagrin and enjoyment. At times, it feels like a video game, as they have that ‘information bar’ at the bottom, telling you what is going on (without showing it) and the heart meter fills on screen, as you attain your rank and can move on to the next level, or stair treadle.
My real problem came in the second episode. The problem is the belt; it cannot be removed. If she presses the heart locket, it retracts for three minutes to allow for bathroom maneuvers, but that can only be done once an hour, so she has troubles timing things properly and in the second episode, she wets herself (much like Episode One of “Queen’s Blade”). It just gets a bit much.
Adding to this is she sheer amount of face slapping and elbowing and getting shoved into walls and the physical mayhem in all of this. This is one of those shows that if you sat down and talked about it, all the confusion would be cleared up. Fat Chance. Then, if this wasn’t bad enough, an old childhood friend of Yuuya shows up, Yukina Kiritani. Now, that pic does not do her justice, but she has grown from a tomboy to a real woman, sporting a pair of endowments that would make Tokyo University proud. This means we get all the boob jokes you can handle (and you’d better use both hands for it).
It’s just that Mitsuki really does not grow with the situation. Yes, I would potentially be upset in a situation like the one presented, but all she does is grump and grouse. There comes a point where Yuuyu thinks she may be getting a split personality, as Hiyori is cute and cuddly and caring when she is in possession of the body, whereas Mitsuki is mean and sullen and combative.
The other thing is, despite the threat of death, we never see any reduction of the steps. Things move along nicely for Hiyori, but at the expense of Mitsuki’s self-esteem, as almost every episode, we see the belt or her skirt flaring up or flapping away in the breeze. And I have this question to ask, dear friends: when was the last time you forgot to put on underwear? Not that you chose the option or neglected to do the laundry. I mean, it totally slipped your mind. Oh, and the opening credits have all the players holding or fondling or staring at said accoutrement. It’s a weird bird.
Now, what REALLY chaps my lips is the ending…..or lack thereof. What a flaming cop-out! It’s even worse than “Magikano”! Expect a second season.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard approach)
Plot 8 (A tweak on a standard idea)
Pacing 7 (Slows down at the end)
Effectiveness 7 (Too much meanness)
Conclusion 2 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 8 (A similar show would be “Sekirei”)
Overall 7 (A touch less selfishness)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Only three minutes?