For the past twelve weeks, I have been struggling with Mayoi Neko Overrun! I came into this series with a strong bias against harem anime. Still, being such a huge fan of Peco and Sono Hanabira, I wanted to support Peco by giving Mayoi Neko a chance. I gave it a chance. Actually, I gave it a dozen chances because of my undying determination not to drop any series. Unfortunately, it disappointed me with every episode.
First, though, here are some points about Mayoi Neko that I forgive. Although I hate the usual indecisive boring male lead, knowing harem anime, I expect such a personality. I also do not mind the misleading title and lack of actual cats (which might have made this more painless). Further, I can even forgive that it offers nothing new to an often stale genre. I actually enjoy watching the familiar tropes.
However, even though I could forgive those flaws, I cannot overlook the other blatant faults. The three major things I hope for in Mayoi Neko are humor, cute romance, and lovable characters. This anime has none of those.
The humor of Mayoi Neko consists of a mix of ridiculous fan service situations and inside jokes on otaku culture. While I am fine with absurd fan service (after all, I do love Queen’s Blade and Strike Witches), Mayoi Neko’s fan service just seems cheap. Granted, it is incorporated well in the earlier episodes. For example, waking up to striped pantsu does make me smile. However, by the later episodes, I am completely bored by the overboard and over-beaten comedy. There is even a whole arc devoted to a battle between bloomers and spats. It may sound great, but not when it spans two whole episodes. Mayoi Neko takes a potentially amusing fan service situation, drags it out, bores us, and then forgets to deliver the punch line.
The other angle the humor takes is using otaku inside jokes. Desperately hoping to be our buddies, the series forcefully winks at the audience with its shimapan and moe references. There is even a full episode that parodies the clichés of mecha anime. The irony…
The romance is inconsistent and directionless. As early as the third episode, the tsundere Fumino confesses to Takumi about her feelings, but this development is completely ignored later. She confesses in episode nine again, but again that plot point is quickly forgotten. Furthermore, Mayoi Neko constantly hints at a different relationship between Takumi and another girl Nozomi, but it ultimately falls behind all the random tangents, such as the mecha episode or the bloomers/ spats arc. In the end, I still do not know whether Nozomi and Takumi’s feelings are mutual. I do not even know if they are in love. The other girls in the harem hold little weight. The loli Chise is comedic nonsense and big sister Otome is purely there for her breasts. Indeed, nothing is fleshed out. Not Fumino’s confession, not Nozomi’s affection, not Chise, not Otome, and certainly not the six or seven haphazardly inserted characters (miko, school president, the cute rich girl…etc.) throughout the series.
Lacking romance and humor, Mayoi neko clearly disappoints as a romantic comedy, but it can still be a successful harem… right? Unfortunately, without loveable girls, the series misses the most important aspect of harem. I really want to like Fumino because she is a tsundere. A few episodes in, I realize that she is nothing but a selfish hypocrite. She is quick to criticize others, but never sees her own misgivings. She benefits so much from Chise’s riches, such as a free expensive trip to an onsen and a high budget promotional commercial for her patisserie. Yet she has never once appreciated Chise. On the other hand, Chise is simply annoying. Her jokes are not funny and her lavish spending is immature. Nozomi is the only girl I could tolerate, but only because she has little dialogue as the quiet mysterious cat girl.
I really dislike Mayoi Neko Overrun!, not because of the harem, the fan service, or the clichés, but because it fails to deliver on the more important things. It does not even do Peco’s art justice.