Tomoya Aki, Megumi Katou, Eriri Spencer Sawamura, Utaha Kasumigaoka and Tomoya's cousin Michiru Hyoudou (all members of a doujin circle called Blessing Software) go out location scouting for their project, a video game. As Eriri attempts to get Megumi to act out a scenario for the main heroine, Utaha lures Tomoya away and forces him to act out a romantic scenario with her.
Before deciding whether or not you want to watch Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, you need to realize that this episode is a parody. It isn't meant to be taken seriously. I mean the title of the episode is Fan Service of Youth and Love, there's no point in complaining about the excessive amount of fan service. You shouldn't believe that the series is going to be like this, the writers were very well aware of their actions. They wanted to make a parody and that's what they did. Do not factor in the fan service in your consideration of whether or not you want to
watch the show. On the other hand, the plot, the sound, the art, and the characters are fair game.
Basically, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata is a story about an otaku named Aki, Tomoya who managed to convince 4 girls to join his doujin circle and create a dating sim. It's not completely unique, but it has promise. If the ecchi tag does carry on to the series, then it will lose a lot of it's potential, but for now, I'll presume it's not going to be that excessive. The fan service of this episode wasn't utter trash though. Seeing as how that's what they were going for, the fan service was certainly pleasing to the eyes.
As a whole, it might not be as light-hearted as this prologue depicts it to be, which would definitely make it more interesting. I'm not saying it's light-hearted atmosphere is bad though. The comedy was indeed pleasant. I'm a sucker for parodies, so I found the characters' comments about the anime industry to be hilarious.
In short, the plot isn't crazy unique and interesting, but it's enough to hold my attention. As for the episode, I had a good time. I know they wanted as much fan service as possible, so I took it for what it was and enjoyed it rather than bashing on the abundance of it. Also it's self aware comedy was humorous and the romantic hints served as a nice way to show how big romance is going to be in the show.
The art has its moments where there's a drop in quality, but besides that, the art is stunning. The character designs are neat, the backgrounds are beautiful, and minor things such as laptops are detailed.
The opening and ending are good. I like the voices too. The only problem with the sound that I see people having, is the voice of the protagonist. It's minuscule, but I know many people are tired of hearing Kirito's voice. His voice is basically the same for most of his roles, so I could see people being rather annoyed. I doubt his voice would have a big effect on how you feel about the show though. I just felt the need to point it out.
The characters are a hit or miss. Personally, I didn't mind them, but you might. We have your typical harem protagonist, the cool beauty, the tsundere childhood friend, the tomboy, and the shy girl. As you can see, they're pretty standard. I think you'll either like them or feel indifferent. Yeah, they don't really offer anything new, but as of right now, I don't think any of them are annoying enough to make you not want to watch the rest of the series. Who knows? One of them just might become one of your favorite characters.
All in all, this was a good prologue. We know now the plot has its merits, both, the art and sound are good, and the characters don't entirely rub you in the wrong way. There was a ton of fan service, but the real series might just have little to no fan service and it was delightful considering that the episode is again, a parody. As for the self aware and parody aspect of the show, it's something I hope to see more of.
I'd just like to say one last time that please don't let the events of this episode take total control of your decision to watch to this show. I doubt the actual thing will be as ecchi as this. Just please think about the story, the art, the sound, & the characters, and disregard the fan service.
Whatever about the actual series, this is entirely skippable unless you're big into fanservice. With the 4th wall broken immediately (concurrent with a bathing scene) it comes off as smug and self-aware in the worst way. It pretends to parody excessive fanservice and harem tropes as an excuse to regurgitate same for 20 minutes. I highly recommend you don't bother.
How you view episode 0 of Saekano can go either one of two ways. A lot of it has to do with whether:
A) You have read the manga and are familiar with most of the characters and their personalities. In which case, you probably made more sense of this episode than those who didn't. You probably thought it was a decent watch.
B) You haven't read the manga/light novel and don't really understand the context of this episode (I don't blame you). All you can see are fan-service filled scenes with no real plot or story introduced. Probably just another cookie cutter harem. That's totally fine
because for what its worth, that's really what this whole episode was about. What you shouldn't do though, is think that the rest of this series will follow this trend. Here's why you should consider watching at least a couple more episodes:
Assuming that the anime follows the plot of the manga/light novel, I can safely assure you guys that this will probably be the last time that fanservice of this magnitude is shown. There's definitely a lot more to this series than tits. Whether you take that as a good or bad thing is up to you. In other words, DO NOT LET THIS EPISODE REFLECT WHETHER OR NOT YOU WATCH THE REST OF THE SERIES.
At this point, it really is impossible to give the series a fair score for story, it's only been one episode. It's obviously lacking in that department and probably not reflective of the main plot like I mentioned earlier. That aside, everything else seems to be decent. The art, while seemingly higher in quality when compared to other generic harems, hides its flaws better than most. Lots of consistency issues as well as a messload of still-frames (although they were nicely done) make it hard to fully enjoy the character art, which wasn't bad at all.
Sound was decent for the most part as well. VA performance was good overall bar Eriri's seiyuu, who didn't have a particularly strong showing this time around. Furthermore, there's the fucking king of harems Matsuoka voicing the MC, what more do you need? Not to mention the OP and ED are super fucking catchy.
Character-wise, there's not much to be said. They're nothing special. The only character that may have slightly deviated from your typical harem character archetypes was Katou. She literally gives 0 fucks about everything. The manga depicts these characters slightly differently compared to what we've seen thus far in the anime, so hopefully A1 can redeem themselves in the upcoming episodes.
I'm giving this review a 6 as an objective score for THIS EPISODE ONLY. This does NOT reflect how I feel towards the series as a whole. This is mostly because we don't know how the actual series will play out but also from what I have read in the manga, Saekano has a lot more to offer that hasn't been shown yet. If you're a fan of romcoms, I highly recommend staying tuned for at least the next 3 episodes.
The start of a new year is a rough period for pop culture in general. Nevertheless, anime as a whole suffers the worst of the brunt because -barring the occasional film release – the output from that field is updated only once every three months and thus if something sucks in January, chances are it’s going to suck the next month and even worse the month after that. And that still remains true in regards to Winter Anime 2014, which admittedly is in the pre-Death Parade stage so I’m not ready to write it off just yet, because Christ, it’s like most of the premieres
that have been coming out aren’t even trying to create an interesting hook. Hell, I doubt they even know what the definition is.
But with all that said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a worse and more agonizingly painful hook to a show than Saenai Heroine, A-1 Picture’s newest contribution to the noitamina timeslot which goes out of its way to provide further proof that not only are they an incompetent studio run by lobotomized monkeys, but that Japan as a whole has been looking at the section of pop culture that Joss Whedon has popularized and going “gotta get me some of that”. Or to put it in more simpler terms, “the first episode wasn’t very good”.
It should be noted before I begin talking about this thing that if you look up Saenai Heroine on Crunchyroll at the time of this writing, you’ll notice that the number of the episode currently out is “0”, which makes the name for the episode’s MAL thread kinda hilarious. That’s because this episode is a prologue – or to be more accurate, a flash-forward of what’s to come because it occurs after all the characters are introduced. Oh, did I say characters? I meant “agonizingly boring cardboard cutouts whose sole existence is to spout ‘witty insights about the anime industry and pop culture that quite frankly make me want to dial Whedon’s number just so he can save me”. It’s like watching Eroge! H mo Game mo Kaihatsu Zanmai except without the pleasure of watching a girl wearing a gimp suit whilst (censored because you don’t want to know).
Not helping at all is the fact that airs on the same day as PA Works’ own show regarding the same subject matter. I can only fear the “probably fatal” tonal backlash caused by watching this atrocity within the same timespan, because whilst I have problems with telling me basic facts about the animation industry like you’re an even unfunnier version of the first season of Parks and Rec, there should be a law against dishing out criticisms that I’m already aware of whilst you’re indulging in the very thing you’re criticizing. Not only does every single joke consist of doing a bad fanservice cliche and pointing out you’re doing said cliche, but the entire plot revolves around that joke to the point that it’s impossible to ignore.
The main male character is a loser male nerd that exists solely to do the things male anime nerds whilst saying “look at him doing nerd things”. The female characters are the same in regards to harem stereotypes complete with a voyeuristic unseen cameraman perving on their naked bodies in the hot spring whilst they talk about how awful harem shows are. Funny how these bad anime cliches made it into this bad anime, and yet for all your self-aware nature, you don’t seem to be aware of what’s happening in your own show, isn’t it, Saenai Heroine. Let me guess, Sunset Overdrive was the writer’s favorite game of the year?
And before people point out that it’s supposed to be a parody of bad fanservice-y light novel adaptations and such, let me point you to the existence of Epic Movie as a prime example that just because you’re taking the piss out of something doesn’t mean you can’t do it poorly. From what I’ve been told, parodies are supposed to be clever. They’re supposed to highlight it subject matter in a way you didn’t realize before. And for good measure, parodies are supposed to be funny.
Being purposefully bad in order to tribute/criticize a genre, as well as to personally get me to laugh, only works if you’re self-referential whilst toeing the line in regards to being completely serious, and Saenai Heroine won’t even give me a chance to believe that theory. Not only does it refuse to take itself seriously, it blatantly stated that fact out before the first minute was up and shockingly continue to increase said blatancy as it was going on, which is kind of impressive in a way. Combine that with the fact that the animation is lifelessly flat to the point that it’s boring to look at, and you’d have better luck trying to convince me that Fractale was post-modern. It wasn’t, because what it was taking seriously was unimaginative as hell, but it’s a start.
I didn’t finish Saenai Heroine: Episode 0 because in addition to being insulting, aggressively dull, and consistent in finding a way to increase those traits with every single frame, the anime decided to pull that old “rape is funny as long as it’s female on male” trope and have the main dude narrate the entire premise despite the fact that the visuals and actual events had very little to do with the monologue at the same time a little into the second half after a game of ping pong that was so lifeless it made me want to watch, well, Ping Pong again. I’m sorry, but if you’re not even going to present your terrible show properly then what exactly am I watching you for? Oh, you’re going to insult me for it now, Saenai Heroine? I’m ashamed enough to even be watching you in the first place!
I did skip ahead to the ending to see how the prologue would end, and it was basically the final straw in declaring this piece of trash one of the most worthless anime I’ve seen in my life. Without giving anything way, let’s just say that of all the things it plays straight with an honest face, it has to be that bullshit “we’re all friends in the end” ending. So basically, the show couldn’t even fully commit to its shameless ways. What good is it then?