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MM! Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

MM!Being a masochist is both good and bad when surrounded by attractive girls who want to beat it out of you.

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. (We did say it was complex, remember?)

Contains episodes 1-12.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release gives us the two language tracks a stereo mix that’s encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series is one that uses the forward soundstage well with the ways that it goes for the wacky comedy and with the lossless versions here, it definitely kicks things up a bit to make it a very active mix. The show works both the sound effects and the dialogue to something that keeps you pretty well engaged with it as placement is definitely well done and there’s a good bit of depth in several sequences as well. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any issues 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 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes here are split across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second, which is also where most of the extras are. 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. While I had liked the look of the show the first time around on DVD, the high definition transfer for it definitely feels like a big leap up in terms of the colors, vibrancy and general pop for it all. Detail is a lot crisper here and the animation simply feels like it’s more alive and appealing. It’s definitely a stronger looking presentation compared to the standard definition one.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release is a rather fun standard sized Blu-ray keepcase that holds both discs inside against the interior walls. The front cover has a busy but decent look to it as it features two of the main girls together while others ring around them in smaller ways with a variety of outfits, including putting Mio in her maid outfit as she stomps on Taro. The purples and reds are definitely a bit darker than I expected, especially contrasting with the white, but it’s a cute piece overall. The back cover uses a purple-hued background along the top half, we get a deep premise for the show in a small but readable font. There’s a good selection of shots from the show and a clean listing of the extras, episodes and disc count. The bottom rounds out with the usual materials as we get the production credits and the technical grid, all of which lists everything clearly. The back also goes for the easy fanservice with a full length shot of Mio along the right with some cute lingerie on. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is pretty nice overall as it works with some familiar pieces for static menus. The main menu design is one that uses the various shades of purple for the checkerboard background which definitely has its appeal. The foreground uses the character artwork, with the first volume doing some cute stuff with three of the girls in their school uniforms moving in very difficult but sexy kinds of ways. The right side has the episode breakdown by number and title with black backgrounds, white text and purple numbering that looks good both here and during regular playback as the pop-up menu. Submenus load quickly and everything is easy to access, though I do wish in the extras there were play-all features for some of the sections where we get a couple of very short pieces.

Extras:
The show has some good extras to it that go a bit beyond the norm and were all available on the DVD release, just in high definition this time where applicable. 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.

Revisiting this title from my original DVD viewing awhile back, it’s definitely a different experience overall. I went back and forth with the audio tracks throughout and sampled different things but I definitely enjoyed the kind of fun that came from the new English language dub. Blake Shepherd handles the role of Taro well, though he’s a bit limited to some degree by the character himself. The real winners for me were Monica Rial who totally nailed it as Mio in this form as well as Emily Neves as the two of them go all out with the role since it demands that kind of overactive slapstick. The flow and feel of the show definitely worked better for me overall here with the dub, and adding in the pop and vibrancy of the high definition transfer as well as the audio, which is important, it definitely connected better.

In Summary:
Originally, I had no idea what to expect going into MM! but I was fairly well warned away from it by a lot of people. The series plays 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. 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. But presentation can make a difference and while I have pretty much the same issues as before, everything here simply feels like it worked better with the dub, the acting and the new high definition look.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary with Ayana Taketatsu (Mio) & Saori Hayami (Arashiko), Japanese Promo, Japanese TV amp; DVD Commercials, 10 Short Stories, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

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

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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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