So today I shall be reviewing Shuffle! I ended up watching this anime when I was in a very bored phase, so I was watching lots of random anime. This one turned out rather unexpectedly for me.
Shuffle! takes place in a world where Gods and Demons coexist together with Humans after a portal opens. Rin is a normal young high school student, spending his days living peacefully with his childhood friend Kaede. Unexpectedly, one day the King of Gods, the King of Demons and their families move into be Rin’s next door neighbors. Apparently the daughter of the Gods, Sia, and the daughter of the demons, Nerine, are both deeply in love with Rin after having met him in the past. Along with his playful friendship with upperclassmen Asa, he ends up having to live in a harem environment, which only expands when he takes in Primula.
Based on the eroge by Navel, you predict this will be your typical harem flick with lots of fanservice and to be fair that is exactly what you get. In essence the anime is split into character arcs, after their introduction Rin ends up exploring and dealing with the past of each of the girls one after the other, giving each and every one of them time to be the center of attention. For the first three it’s pretty standard as far as fantasy plots go, but when it gets the the human girls it suddenly takes a very dark and, for me, unexpected twist in genre focus. The twist only gets more unexpected when the anime actually ends, properly, like no open ended harem ending…the dude actually picks a girl. I really did not see that coming either.
The characters are perfectly created for generic transference.
Rin-The main hero, a hopelessly indecisive boy who’s desire to make everybody happy always backfires. He has a dark past that he more or less repressed to normalise his life.
Kaede-The cheerful childhood friend of Rin who obsessively cares for his every need. Despite Rin’s attempts to get her to focus about her own needs he never makes much progress because of his own inhibitions.
Asa-Asa is Rin’s senior, who compensates for her physical fragility with an endless pit of energy. She’s the most genuine of the characters, but hides several secrets behind her energetic facade.
Sia-Sia is the princess of the God world and is externally a straight forward and direct cheerful girl. She is easily embarrassed by her father, and is occasionally seen having debates with herself in the mirror.
Nerine-Nerine is a shy and reserved girl with a high capacity for magic, which can often get out of hand when Rin is in trouble. She takes to opposite approach to Rin as Sia, which almost leaves her out of the race.
Primula-Primula is a shy and young girl that searched from Rin after hearing about him, she falls in love with him also albeit differently from the others.
To be honest I’m not sure I can recommend Shuffle! as it’s generally a mediocre anime with some good fan service and a plot that doesn’t know where it wants to go. It’s really one that you have to watch and work out for yourself. I’ve tried to avoid spoiling the direction the plot goes in as much as possible while still evaluating the anime. Though to be fair I did enjoy the anime as one to watch for the sake of it, and I did give it a 7 out of 10.
I think this line sums up how the anime will feel towards you.
“I’m not asking you to love me. No, actually, please don’t love me.”