What They Say:
When Kotaro Satomi discovers an apartment for the ridiculously low rent of 5000 yen a month, he knows there must be a catch. But it’s not until AFTER he’s moved in that he finds out that he’s not the only one laying claim to Room 106 at Corona House, starting with teenage girl ghost, Sanae, who’s currently haunting it!
Still not enough to break the lease? Let’s add in a Magical Girl, Yurika, who wants to take control of the room in order to block its powers from evildoers, a luscious Subterranean bombshell, Kiriha, who needs the room to launch an invasion of our world, and a fiery space princess, Theiamillis, who… well, you get the idea. Can a lone high school student on a limited budget withstand the combined forces of the supernatural, metaphysical, subterranean, and alien worlds? Especially when they’re all also incredibly adorable?
Contains episodes 1-12.
The audio presentation for this series is straightforward as we get just the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. There is that kind of standard harem comedy aspect to it where it goes for the big moments with slapstick abandon that translates to some fun directionality across the forward soundstage. It’s not going to do anything big or amazing with what it has, but it handles it competently and you can get sucked into some of those aspects simply because it does it well – even if it’s all familiar kind of antics and the like. The dialogue side is simpler since they tend to avoid having a lot of people talking at any given time, but placement is welcome where appropriate and the levels are good throughout. Dialogue is clean and clear and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during playback.
Originally airing in 2014, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episode series is animated by Silver Link and the end result here is a pretty good one overall, even if it doesn’t do anything to really be distinctive. It’s a familiar looking show with its designs, and the fact that the characters rarely wear anything different, but the transfer captures the details of the individual costumes well with all their quirks as well as that of the backgrounds. The colors aren’t overly bold or vivid, going for a more neutral palette, but everything has a solid and clean look to it that hits the right notes. Fans of the show will be pleased by how it looks, but it’s not a series that will stand out from the pack. It’s a solid transfer that gets the job done.
The presentation for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the single disc inside. The front cover uses the familiar artwork, which is adjusted a bit for the menu as well, with the main cast together but set against a kind of starry background that feels more like a variation on music notes than anything else. The colors are an interesting choice with the purple and green along the top, but it’s not something that’s really jarring or awful. The back cover runs with the colors more here, but blocked out in sections it just stands out more and doesn’t flow quite so well – especially with all the lines in the background. The premise is covered well enough and we get some good character artwork and small selection of shots from the show. The remainder is the usual with a clean listing of the extras included, the production credits and an accurate technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release goes for the familiar approach where it has the navigation along the right and a static image along the left. With just one disc to hold all twelve episodes we get a solid listing of all the episodes without it feeling too condensed as the titles can all be read easily. The color palette matches the show to a degree with softer colors that have a bit of pop but are clean and legible. The static image that we get has a kind of basic approach to it without too much in the way of style as there’s the white background, what little of it you see, and all the girls in the foreground pushing their way forward. Koutaru is in the center, but pushed to the back, so it’s just a way to get a look at their personalities as they’re all evident by how they present themselves. There’s not much in the way of navigation here with a monolingual release but it all works smoothly and flawlessly.
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series from Takehaya and Poco that’s still ongoing at twenty volumes, Invaders of the Rokujyoma!? is a twelve-episode anime series that aired in the summer 2014 season. Animated by Silver Link, you can tell that the show had a kind of limited reach just by the fact that it didn’t generate an additional OVA to go with one of the novels as Hobby Japan doesn’t seem to go down that route. I hadn’t seen the series during simulcast since it got picked up quickly and there’s little time to double-watch/review a show, so this was my first experience with it. Harem shows are certainly familiar to most fans and I enjoy my share of them.
This one centers around a first year high school student named Koutaro who has just moved to Corona House, a small apartment complex that’s super cheap at just 5,000 yen a month. His father is more than willing to give him more money, but he intends to live on the simple, focus on school, and just move on with his life. There’s that sense that there’s more going on in his past but it’s never really explored. Koutaro as a character really isn’t explored in general because it’s all about the interactions with other characters. The problem that he runs into is that the room that he’s renting is haunted, which is why it’s cheap. And it’s not just haunted but is actually the focal point of five other characters that are invested in claiming that space for themselves. Which he naturally won’t give up because it’s so damn cheap.
The characters are all the familiar types that you’d expect, such as Sanari the ghost who haunts the room and intends to keep it as her own. She has the ability to actually interact with things physically from time to time as well as share bodies to experience things. We also get the magical girl type that arrives named Yurika. While Sanae holds the place out of seemingly sentimental value, Yurika wants it because of its high magical power concentration and will do whatever it takes to acquire it. Amusingly, she doesn’t get to show her magical girl powers all that much and nobody believes her until she gets her character specific episode later in the run and they all realize the truth of her.
So, ghosts and magical girls. While that would be enough, the show also adds Kiriha, a young woman that fills the large breast checklist of girls that’s actually one of the Earth People, a race that lives underground that’s intent on taking over the room in order to set it up as the shrine for her people and their move towards dealing with the surface dwellers. And if that’s not enough, we also get Theia, the seemingly obligatory alien princess that’s been tasked with claiming this particular spot to prove her valor towards ascending the throne someday. She gets an assistant named Ruth that has some fun from time to time in mucking things up while also providing for the obligatory violence girl character.
Did I mention that the landlady, Shizuka, is actually the same age as Koutaro and goes to the same school as him? She gets to manage these characters all trying to live in this space as they compete for it with their own unique goals. There are amusing attempts at figuring out how to do it without violence because Shizuka has forbidden it and she’s damn scary, which includes things like card games and writing of plays for school as they all end up attending there just to keep the competition going. Suffice to say you can see how things get complicated there. I actually liked the system that Koutaro came up with about assigning each of the six mats in the room a points value and working it so that they compete within those points to acquire more space in an attempt to force others out. It’s creative, but it’s also underemployed when you get down to it because that’s not the goal.
A lot of the show is the simple and silly interactions between them all as they compete, get to know each other, and form minor bonds of friendship along the way. It’s not horribly done by any means but it’s all very familiar within the harem genre. Each of the girls essentially gets their own episode while Koutaro and sometimes others get involved. What I did like is that the running subplot of the big play that they compete to write and then get involved in by acting in it as well isn’t just a one or two epsiode thing. It actually runs for most of the second half of the show as a background storyline while other things are going on. Sadly, and I feel sad in even saying it, there’s no real payoff there because we don’t get to see the play, just the practice, problems and lead-up to it before it shifts to the final episode – an overly predictable Christmas piece where everyone comes together in harmony.
When it comes to harem shows, my usual barometer of whether I like it or not is dependent on whether I can become invested in one of the relationship. If I can do that I can usually find an element that I like and want to see followed through on even if I know almost every single harem show ever will do nothing but cop out on it in the end. Here, none of the “weird” girls are appealing because even as we get their stories there’s not much there – largely because Koutaro hasn’t much personality. Often in these situations the salvation is with the normal girl, in this case that of Harumi Sakuraba. Koutaro joins the Knitting Society when he gets into the school because he has a sweat her wants to finish that has meaning to him, though that subplot never feels like it really connects. Harumi has a recurring subplot and you can see that the two are ideally matched, but that’s only because they come across as normal and without any wacky situations for the most part. I wasn’t able to really invest in it because she’s such a minor part of it overall and that fleeting thread of hope was dashed.
Of course, with twenty-plus volumes of light novel material out there I doubt any of this ever gets resolved because you don’t want to hurt the reader’s feelings.
The Invaders of the Rokujyoma!? series is a competently put together work that checks off a whole lot of boxes and gets the job done. I imagine it likely did well, at least in viewership, in Japan because there’s so much material and a decent sized fanbase. Its reach beyond that I suspect is a lot smaller because there’s nothing particularly striking here. It’s all very familiar even if executed competently. I like the look of it, I liked certain pacing elements, but I disliked that it didn’t strike out in any direction that felt like it might take a chance or do something to differentiate itself from any other show. It’s a good looking show overall and fans of it will be pleased by the release in general, though the lack of a dub is a mark against it. But I can see why it likely didn’t hit big streaming numbers here and couldn’t generate the interest or passion for one.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 17th, 2015
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
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.