Taro Sado can't control his masochism (so shouldn't he be Taro Maso?), so he goes to the head of the Second Volunteer Club, Mio Isurugi, for help. It turns out that Mio certainly enjoys helping Taro- maybe too much.
SOMEBODY had to review this terrible tale of super tsunderes, so here goes:
An old acquaintance of mine once told me that when she first saw Mr. Hankey on the show South Park, she couldn't believe what she was seeing. You'll have a similar reaction to MM!, and not just because this show is, metaphorically, what Mr. Hankey was, literally. The idea behind this show seems to have been to see how perverted one could make a show without any actual sex or graphic nudity (though there's plenty of fanservice, of course.)
Our hero (?) Taro is actually a pretty normal guy except when he's either being beaten up by a girl, or CONTEMPLATING being beaten up by a girl, so he actually acts normal maybe 20% of the time. As for the other 80%- well, there are actually funny ways to depict ecstasy (Snuffles the dog receiving a dog biscuit in the old Quick Draw McGraw cartoons comes to mind), but Taro's ecstasy is so hideously over-the-top that it shames, degrades, and humiliates the show's audience as much as it does HIM, and that's not good, since some of the viewers might be curious innocents who just wandered in rather than hardcore masochists themselves. In fact, I'd bet a true masochist would be embarrassed by Taro. Taro's pleasure will hurt YOU much more than it hurts HIM. Trust me on this.
Most of Taro's torture is administered by Mio, the girl who's supposedly trying to "cure" him. Her various schemes to eliminate his masochism all seem rather poorly thought out, and many of them involve escalating the abuse of Taro to even higher levels, which would seem to only be feeding his problem, but there's a gleam in her eyes when she's at work on him. She's blonde, has an enormous black hair ribbon apparently meant to suggest cosplay rabbit ears, and spends most of her time chasing Taro with a baseball bat. (Mio's not an especially imaginative domina trix; her approach is rather like Dokuro-Chan's, but thankfully without the spikes. It may even hurt you to think about things like this too much, so please don't.)
There's a tradition in anime where the male hero is presented with the choice between an exotic/dangerous girl, versus a "sensible"/childhood friend/"girl next door". The latter is typically Sweet, Demure, and Dull (henceforth abbreviated SDD), so the show typically has to load the dice as much as possible to give her an even chance. (For example, it's abundantly clear that Rito in To Love Ru prefers Haruna to Lala, but WHY???) Sometimes the SDD girl is made somewhat more appealing by being given big breasts (and MM! has exercised that option), but the problem here is that Taro isn't likely to find ANY girl appealing who isn't sadistic. So with Mio being the "exotic/dangerous" girl, Taro's other choice is Arashiko Yuno, who IS Sweet, Demure, and Dull- but automatically physically attacks any male who lays a hand on her. Her reaction is because of trauma caused by an abusive would-be lover, which is a serious subject that somehow gets cheapened by appearing in a show that is otherwise- well, a pile of Mr. Hankey. Yuno's violent reaction to men is what originally led to Taro's discovery of his own masochism, but she finally decides she actually LIKES Taro, even though she can't help beating him to a pulp every time he touches her. So Taro can get the kind of attention he craves from either girl, but if he ever plans to start a family with one of them, I think he'd stand a much better chance with Mio. Just sayin'.
The rest of the cast includes Taro's best friend Tatsukichi- I won't spoil things too much, and will just say that like the rest of the cast he has a personality issue, though his is less annoying than most of the others, and is occasionally even useful. Taro's boss at work also has a fetish, though it's more goofy than offensive. We have Yumi Mamiya, who has a yuri thing for Yuno and thus hates Taro, but if she's willing to beat him up, it's all the same to him. Still, her character seemed unnecessary to the show, as did that of the school nurse, Michiru Onigawa, who, as she says, just likes to take pictures.
MUCH more blatantly offensive were Taro's mom Tomoko and sis Shizuka, who BOTH want to get Taro in the sack, and are not at all subtle about it. OK, bro-con in anime is hardly news to me, but son-con was something I hadn't seen before. I could have lived quite happily NEVER seeing it, to tell the truth, and may never live as happily again after having done so.
Finally there's Noa Hiragi, whose antics occasionally actually amused me. She's a loli scientific genius whose first appearance results in Taro becoming a Dragonball-type superhero, complete with the appropriate hair (good sight gag.) I've always had a soft spot for sudden segues into genre parodies; the Transformers parody in Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt can still make me laugh. In a later episode, Noa wants to "play house" with Taro and Yuno. (She IS a loli, after all, and invents a house for this purpose.) The general conception of that segment, and some of the lines, were kind of fun for a while. That's two scenes I actually liked in the series- exactly as many as I liked in Dokuro-Chan and Girls Bravo. As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day (without making any effort to be at all.)
The opening and closing songs were like Taro's eruptions of masochistic ecstasy- frenetic, crude, profane, tasteless, and ultimately pointless and hollow.
Incest played for laughs- including breaking one taboo that's rarely broken- and Taro's nightmarishly excessive spasms of 'enjoyment' are the worst things here, but there's plenty to offend everyone (which seems to be the point), though rather little that's actually entertaining. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: It's as close to H as one can come without actual sex or nudity. Adults only, please.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream, courtesy of the Anime Network.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
MM! © 2010 Akinari Matsuno/Media Factory/MM! Project
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