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MM! Complete Series Anime DVD Review

9 min read

Opposites attract in a very predictable yet amusing way as high school life gets very, very dirty.

What They Say:
There are twisted tales and twisted tales, but few are as twisted as poor Sado’s, who’s just realized that he actually likes being made miserable. Of course, knowing that only makes him more miserable, which in turn… well, you get the idea. Desperate to break the circle, Sado volunteers for a special club where he hopes he can work through his issues only to discover that the other members have equally… complex… issues to deal with.

For example, the hyper-aggressive club president Isurugi not only has a violent fear of cats, but also believes herself to be a god! Then there’s Yuno, who’s terrified of men; the Nurse, who forces other people to perform cosplay; and Hayama, Sado’s best friend and a compulsive cross-dresser, who’s also the girl that Sado is infatuated with.

Contains episodes 1-12.
The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release contains just the one language track with the original Japanese presented in stereo encoded at 224kbps. The show is one that uses a whole lot of dialogue but accents it with a lot of action effects with exaggerated movements and dialogue. It’s over the top but not in a huge way, but enough to utilize the mix well to try and stand out a bit. The music is fairly average at best with little standing out as incidental pieces or even making bigger moments more interesting, though the opening and closing sequences are good spots that stand out a bit more simply because of the design of it. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in the fall of 2010, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The twelve episodes here are split across two discs with six on each while the second has some additional time spent with the extras. The series animated by Xebec has a very good look to it with lots of bright and bold colors that avoid looking garish while also having some really fluid moments that are almost a little surprising. The transfer captures the clean look of the series in a very good way with no real problems to be had. The small things are just that when looked at as a whole with some mild noise in a few backgrounds and a touch of line noise during a pan or two being the extent of it. In general, it’s a good looking show that the transfer captures well.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is a rather fun standard sized keepcase that holds both discs inside, one on a hinge and the other on the back interior side. The front cover gives us the two female leads in cute positions in their school uniforms, though they’re a bit pudgy in a way that’s meant to make them look a bit younger. In the middle of it, and kind of out of notice, is Taro along the top as he’s tied up and being abused. With the good colors for the background and some white to frame it all, it’s colorful and eyecatching to be sure. The back cover uses a white background, something we don’t see often, and it uses some of the same square designs from the front to change it up a bit which looks good as it uses it for soft colors as well as shots from the show. With some attractive character artwork mixed in, it’s well laid out and the summary covers the basics well. Add in the production credits and a very clean look at the extras and there’s a whole lot to like. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this series uses a lot of the same elements from the cover, tightening them up a bit, which works to good effect. The use of the blocks of color in patchwork form gives it some good color to build off of and including attractive images of the leading ladies in their pinks and purples just draws it in all the more. With a bit of bouncy music, it’s all good setup for the mood before starting in on the show. The navigation layout is simple with episode numbres and titles along the right side while special features are accessed through a separate menu. With the nine part extras, even though there isn’t a play-all feature, they do play-all when you select the first one. With it being a monolingual release, there are no language selection menus here but you can turn off the subtitles.

Extras:
The show has some good extras to it that are a bit surprising. The first disc has a commentary track by some of the stars of the show for an episode, a rarity that we don’t get often these days, as well as the clean opening and closing sequences. The real fun is with the really short extras included on the second volume that run from 1-3 minutes for each of the 9 that are included as they get a bit more perverted than the show itself does, which is saying a lot in a way, but it never really goes too far unlike some other shows that do more than this as their main story point. Add in a promo and some Japanese TV commercials and there’s a lot to like here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Originating with a twelve episode light novel series that ended in 2010 but spawned a manga series that’s still ongoing, MM! Is a twelve episode show that lets some characters fetishes and problems hang out in a very public way. While the core idea has its merits of a few people who have problems to varying degrees and try to work them out, it goes a bit too far in just how public it makes it for them. The general method of making light of something you don’t understand is common, though I’m sure the original authors had a bit of familiarity with it over the course of its run, the problem is that it can just make things worse in the long run because the one-trick pony becomes annoying.

The series revolves around high school student Taro, a young man who is not just a masochist, but a super masochist who just can’t get enough of the abuse thing from women. Not only the physical abuse, but the verbal abuse as well gets him going very well and the more he gets, the more intense it is for him, though there is a kind of wink and nod to some of it because it’s not really orgasmic pleasure but rather just a psychological bit. Taro’s not exactly sure he wants to be this way, but it’s something that works for him at the moment and he really gets into it. What sets up the change for him though is when he ends up with a particular after school club that he’s not quite sure how he got roped into that’s run by a very stubborn, outgoing and cute young woman named Mio.

With a strong superiority complex, she’s determined to beat this out of him and the pairing does work rather well, though there isn’t a lot of romantic tension for a lot of the run until we get a somewhat forced date that the two end up on. Where the tension comes in that’s rather fun is with the fellow classmate in Yuno, a quiet purple haired young woman who had some problems in middle school with a particular boy and it has made her very uncomfortable around members of the opposite sex. So much so that the minute they get close to her, she pummels them. And with Taro, they’re like a perfect match since he just wants to get abused and she can’t help but to abuse him on a regular basis, even if she doesn’t want to. It’s such a natural reaction for her but it’s one that she does work through over the course of the series. It’s easy to see them as a couple, though Mio eventually does provide some additional tension as it goes on, though there’s never any real resolution to it all.

Like a lot of series of this nature, it’s all about the wacky moments and the pent up sexual tension that’s not pent up for long since Taro keeps getting the snot beat out of him. It runs through familiar storylines, though there at least aren’t some of the usual ones like culture festivals and beach episodes. It’s almost all school based and the only main non-school activity that stands out is the whole date at the amusement park piece. Misunderstandings are the order of the day as are other characters that are introduced. Taro’s friend Tatsukichi has some good fun, especially when Taro loses his memory and is reminded that he once made a pass at him when Tatsukichi was dressed up in drag. There’s also Noa, the brilliant science type who looks younger than being a senior who wants to make amazing things using Taro’s energy.

The show works through a lot of sexual things because of its premise but it really doesn’t seem like it’s very blunt with its fanservice. We get short skirts, but it’s almost non-existent with the panty shots. Cleavage has its moments but it’s not in your face the way some other shows do. It does have its awkward moments, mostly in Taro’s older sister in college wanting him as well as his mother being hot for him in some creepy ways, but all the heavy perversion just comes from the way Taro reacts. But even there we have some great comedy, such as when Noa ends up powering him up and he goes Super Saiyan mode from Dragon Ball Z and we get a few other parodies as well that are done very well. It’s all got a very good look but it’s surprisingly not as sexual in its designs as I thought it would be once the premise was revealed.

In Summary:
I had no idea what to expect going into MM! but I was fairly well warned away from it by a lot of people. What I got was a show that played to sexual stereotypes (I love to be abused! I don’t like to be close to men so I abuse them!) and it didn’t really explore the possibilities there that much. But what it did do was to give us some simple fun with wacky moments that let me smiling, but knowing that it’s empty calories. But there is something to be said for that. The characters are base and simple, but there’s some edges to them that are filled with potential. Mio has a lot to offer and the date episode really shows it in a traditional way but with some neat little moments that simply click well. And yet I kept rooting for Yuno to figure out how to get closer to Taro and for Taro to realize there’s more to life than just being a masochist. But that’s not what the show wants to be about as it really wants to be outlandish but can’t quite make it there as other series have gone further and harder than this one.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary Track, A Rather Extreme Short Story, TV Spots, Promo, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
MSRP: $49.99
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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