Number of Episodes: 13
Production Company: Sunrise
Brief Overview: Teenager Sakura Ichiko has been blessed will all sorts of good fortune. She's wealthy, beautiful, and busty, but her luck in life comes at a price - she's sucking the good fortune from others. A god of misfortune is sent to Earth to set things right, but Sakura won't let her without putting up a fight.
Episode 1 Summary: Sakura Ichiko has been living a charmed life. She's filthy rich, smoking hot, and surrounded by admirers wherever she goes. Her fortune is so balanced in her favor that the gods have taken notice, and a god of misfortune named Momiji is sent to earth to help correct this grave imbalance.
Momiji has her work cut out for her, since Sakura is in no way willing to take her fate sitting down. Her level of fortune is so high that she manages to escape all of Momiji's attempts to drain her luck away, but when her beloved butler falls ill, Sakura makes a sacrifice to save his life. Luckily(?) her fortune comes pouring back afterwards, and Momiji takes up residence with her so that she can keep constant tabs on her fortune level.
Thoughts: Prior to this season, I'd considered this series to be something of a wild card. Promos revealed a strong breast-focus which, as you know, is not really my thing, but its concept seemed pretty amusing and its animation at least gave the impression of enthusiasm, if not fluidity. The reality is that there are some elements of the first episode that strike me as being a little problematic for my tastes, but the episode's fast pace and penchant for clever sight gags make it amusing enough that its worst points aren't quite as glaring.
There's no delicate way to put this, so I'll just come out and say it: there's really no way that this could have been written by anyone other than a man. I realize that sounds prejudiced, but hear me out. It's not exactly the breast fetishization that's tipped me off (or the fact that I checked Wikipedia and found that, yes, the original story is written by a man), it's the fact that Sakura's attitude towards her own breasts seems based on a very heterosexual male point-of-view. I feel like only that type of person would put so much emphasis on Sakura's F-cup breasts being a fortunate component of her life would be someone who's never had to navigate life with assets like that. This isn't to say that people of all shapes can't be happy with how they look, but as someone with a fairly-average frame, I still struggle with consequences like back soreness and chest tenderness, never mind trying to find a bra that fits well. Sakura's attitude would suggest that her breast size is just another weapon in her arsenal, but that type of reaction seems unrealistic to me. Ditto the fact that Sakura has a classroom full of male stalkers who shower her with gifts all the time. That is a fantasy that would make for a very dark, uncomfortable reality.
There's a lot of banter between the characters that involves their disparate chest sizes, which as many people know is something that doesn't amuse me. It's not insult comedy in general that I find bothersome, but there are definitely ways to go about it that don't reduce people to the state of their body parts (things that they can't change without a great deal of trouble).
On the upside, the show is also jam-packed full of sight gags and parody humor, which amused me as someone who's familiar with a great deal of anime. There's a pretty blatant Medaka Box parody early on, and I noticed a reference to Dragon Ball Z in there somewhere, among other things. I imagine that this would be the type of show worth watching more than once, the first time for comprehension, the second to see all the little bits and pieces buried amongst the background imagery.
This series seems like it could be pretty entertaining. The first episode has a heavy dose of humor that's offset by a welcome (and a bit unexpected) helping of sentimentalism that at least serves to make it seem a little less shallow than it actually is. There are definitely a few elements that might get tiresome after a while, but I'm sort of hoping that this will be able to remain a guilty pleasure rather than something I'd feel genuinely guilty for watching.
Follow-up Episodes (2-4): Sakura meets a wandering monk who offers to help her shake her misfortune-god-based issues, but he brings with him a whole other set of problems (including, but not limited to, his own perversions). Sakura attempts to make a few inroads in her quest to share her happiness, and while some of these don't go as planned, she does have some successes. Feeling thwarted, Momiji enlists the help of Momo'o, a dog god with a masochism fetish. Momo'o transforms into a Chihuahua in order to infiltrate Sakura's home, but finds that she's not quite the terrible person that Momiji made her out to be.
"If you don't have breasts, I don't see you as being a woman." This quote from the wandering Buddhist monk sums up the major problem I have with this series. For all its attempts at sentimentality (some of which are actually successful), it continues to undermine its good qualities by spending too much energy on (occasionally hateful) boob jokes. The antagonistic relationship between Sakura and Momiji is expressed through breast-related commentary so frequently that it becomes predictable and tiresome quickly. It becomes so pervasive at certain points during these episodes that it overshadows many of the fun visual parodies that dot the narrative. This reduction of the characters down to sets of breasts lacks the finesse of the humor series I prefer to watch.
This may not be a huge problem for some, but I have a very difficult time enjoying a series when all the characters are unlikeable jerks. Despite a couple of attempts to humanize her, Sakura is primarily haughty and unapologetic about her gifts. Momiji is, as a result of her existence I suppose, negative and manipulative. The monk is sexual harassment on two legs (and how about that racist stereotype of the sex-crazed Black man? Ugh). Momo'o is used primarily to make fun of other people's legitimate sexual fetishes in a profoundly immature way. I'm not trying to suggest that every character in every series be an upstanding individual, but none of these characters are sympathetic and I have a difficult time caring about what happens to any of them.
I don't really have a whole lot else to say about the series itself, beyond its swift drop in quality and pubescent sense of humor, but it did give me an opportunity to give Funimation's streaming service another go. I'm a paid subscriber to their service, but had been having quite a bit of trouble getting their website to work properly in spite of that. The loading speed of the site has gotten much better since my frustrating attempts to struggle through some episodes of Jormungand a few months ago. The site has also been doing a better job of keeping me logged in, whereas before it would tend to log me out according to its whims. Funimation also released a Roku streaming app within the past couple of months, which works just about as well as Crunchyroll's app, with the added bonus of being able to choose your video quality (which is generally very nice). If Funimation were actually simulcasting something I wanted to watch, I would certainly have fewer misgivings about trying to use their services to do so. As it stands, the app and website are probably most valuable as an access point to the company's vast library of series, many of which are available to stream in both subtitled and dubbed form.
I've been hearing a lot of chatter about this series online, and so I was curious to finally watch a bit of it. Unfortunately, I found its overall quality to be vastly overrated and misinterpreted, with many of its components downright insulting to me as a viewer. I'm a big fan of parody humor, and I'm glad to say that I recognized most of the references that cropped-up over the few episodes I watched, but these fun moments became overshadowed by the spiteful interactions between the two main characters. Other fans may be able to enjoy the fast-paced wackiness more effectively than I can, but I found even just a few episodes of this show to be a chore.
- There are some amusing references to other anime properties, including things like Doraemon, Princess Mononoke, and Lupin III.
- When the series wants to be, it can be effectively sentimental.
- There are far too many breast jokes and other forms of sexual harassment that's meant to pass as humor.
- All of the characters are really hateful creatures that are painful to watch.
Recommended? I was thoroughly unimpressed by what the show had to offer. With a refocused sense of humor it could really be improved, but it seems thoroughly entrenched in the realm of breasts and bad slapstick as it is.