Shuffle!

Title:Shuffle!
シャッフル!
Overall:Buy
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - AIC Spirits
Music - Lantis
Original Concept - NAVEL
R1 License - FUNimation
Tsuchimi Rin (Tsucchi, Rin-kun) is your typical high school student. He lives with his 'adopted' sister Kaede who waits on him hand and foot. She is very popular at school except she only has eyes for Rin. One day Rin-kun's class gets two new transfer students - two pretty girls named Nerine (Rin-chan) and Lisianthus (Sia) who also happen to be Princesses of the God and Demon worlds. (About 10 years ago a mysterious gate opened between Heaven and Hell and allowed Gods and Demons to come to Earth. They have been here so long that they even attend normal school and try to fit in with the populace.) Their fathers go up to Rin-kun and tell him that the girls have chosen HIM as their fiancee and whichever girl he chooses will make him the King of the Demon/God world.

One day on his way back home from school alone (long story), he sees a small girl trying to win a toy cat. When he goes up to her, she latches on and says that she was looking for Rin-kun, because she heard from Nerine that he is a really nice guy. The fathers tell him her name is Primula (Rim-chan) and she is very special.

Rin-kun is in for an interesting School Year. At last count he has at least 5 girls after him. And quite a few of them aren't exactly what they appear to be...
[TV series, 2005, 24 episodes, 24 min; produced by NAVEL & Omegavision, R1 license by Funimation. See also Shuffle! Memories]
Girls from Top Panel: Kaede (orange), Primula (grey), Asa-senpai (green), Sia (red), and Nerine (blue).
1:31min Series Opening - YouTube Video

FUNImation has decided to post a few (Eng dubbed) episodes to HULU.
click here to see the first episode on HULU
Episode Details 
Kaed, Lisi, Asa, Kare, Neri, Prim, Mayu, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Ggultra2764 [series:1103#1552]
(Watched 1 episode)

So let's see! Male lead and female childhood friend living together due to either dead or busy parents? A world where demons and gods mingle with humans in schools for who knows whatever reason? Enough guys ogling in school for male lead's childhood friend? Fathers of new transfer students force male lead into unwanted harem scenario to choose between their daughters with the gals being his next door neighbors? I'm sorry, but I'm not wasting my time with the conventional and contrived elements and archetypes I've already seen of enough dating sim spinoffs. Another Netflix rental I'm dropping without a final review.

Last updated Thursday, September 08 2011. Created Thursday, September 08 2011.
Rent 8 8 8 7 8 8 Dreamer [series:1103#2279]
I'm not a big fan of harems even though I'll watch them from time to time. But for the most part, I'll tend to skip them. However, after reading the reviews below, I decided to see what all these "buy" ratings were about.

Art, Animation and Character Design
The art wasn't bad. It was pretty good actually and the colors were vibrant. It was above the norm. The animation was kinda smooth but not really a noticeable improvement over many other anime. As for character designs, they're about the norm with nothing new.

Music
The OP wasn't anything exciting... and didn't care for it either. Throughout the anime, there was nice orchestra-like pieces. They were soft and subtle at times so it didn't drown out the anime. That was a bit more enjoyable.

Series and Episode Story
At first, it started off as a simple harem with a bland run-of-the-mill plot. However, after about a half dozen episodes, it started turning interesting and surprising. Next thing you know, it was a "deep" drama, very complex and with an involving story. What made it even better was some of the more "trivial" things in the anime actually turned out to be significant in plot development near the last several episodes, and with that, I actually had to go back and re-watch a few episodes just to make sure I was "following" what was transpiring. I rarely, rarely ever do that... going back and re-watching an episode. In the end, you have a surprising conclusion that actually satisfied me.

Overall, it's a good anime. Although it may look like a typical harem.... it's a bit more than that.

Last updated Friday, February 27 2009. Created Friday, February 27 2009.
Buy Xenoknight [series:1103#2967]
HONORABLE MENTION ANIME WINNER - Most Unforgettable Harem

review coming after I rewatch the anime...

Check out my award list to see some of the best anime titles in the world!

Never forget Xenosaga.

Last updated Tuesday, September 08 2009. Created Sunday, September 21 2008.
Buy 7 8 8 8 KBanger1 [series:1103#1694]
For me, Shuffle! is one of the titles that sort of makes no sense when you first see it. However, when you go along with the story, it’s pretty damn clear that it really makes no sense whatsoever. It’s not your atypical harem series although the pretty apparent come the first episode. The story is about a boy (Rin pronounced reen) who lives with another girl (Kaede) about the same age as him. In the beginning, all seems a bit normal except for the fact that Kaede, is hounded by strange men and Rin always protects her. Beyond that however, things become more interesting when two girls show up in Rin’s classroom. These girls seem to have a strong liking to Rin. In fact, both of them want to marry Rin. To take it even further than that, these two girls are princesses for the god and demon worlds respectively. I would take it further than that, but you’ll have to see it yourself. With the addition of a tomboyish girl and a quiet demon girl/experiment, you have yourself one really weird yet unthinkably deep plot in any kind of harem series.


Mind you, most of these harem stories revolve around the main guy. In this case it would be Rin. As far as the other girls are concerned, normally there wouldn’t be any major type of background to them. It usually just ends up being something in the past that led to being attracted to Rin or some situation that involved Rin and the girl and somehow the girl becomes “interested”. Not in Shuffle! because all the girls have some major past and it really comes into the story that makes the series that more intriguing. There are basically five girls who have strong feelings to Rin. Now, take those girls and give them serious problems or something that would put a damper between them and Rin. That’s what this series is all about. I was surprised to see so much side drama to the main story that it made it interesting. What got to me was that the comedy in this series tends to die out by the last couple of episodes. It slowly takes a darker approach and ends with…well you have to see it first.


Animation-wise, it was good. I liked it but wasn’t impressed. The characters (especially if you were a god or demon) had long ears, which was kind of a turn-off. It’s like a stereotypical elf with either your ears pointing down (demons) or ears sticking straight up (gods). For a comedy/drama kind of series, you’d think the animators would take a bit of more time perfecting it since there are nearly little violence or action sequences that would sometimes force animators to take shortcuts. The story picks up later in the series (especially with Kaede since I think she’s got it worst than the other girls). The only drawback is that the series strays off the comedy that I believe is essential for any harem storyline. It gets too serious and sometimes it goes off on a tangent. It’s saving grace for me is that it’s a change from the typical “girls meet boy, girls do crazy things to get boy” action. It instead takes these girls, give them problems, and then it starts to affect their relationship to Rin. It’s certainly better than your average harem storyline. It takes from the norm and spins it. That’s a good change and should be used more in this type of anime. It probably is used in others, but I haven’t seen that yet.


I’ve been contemplating on what Shuffle! deserves as a rank but it’s hard for me to decide because the good doesn’t outweigh the bad and vice versa. The good is that the story is more original as far as developing the girls in the story and turning it into a solidly developing plot. The bad is that the comedy that made it interesting takes a back seat and gets pretty serious. For me, I think the best way to go is for the hardcore harem fans, go out and buy it if you like developing plots towards the end. For others who just want to watch something new, rent or watch. If you’re not a big fan of harem-type anime, you might just want to hang in there for the story to really get deep and take it to a different level.

Last updated Monday, September 15 2008. Created Monday, September 15 2008.
Buy 7 8 9 7 9 9 Devil Doll [series:1103#752]
[Score: 83% = Buy-, because this 'comedy' is anything but a comedy; the first half may be no more than a "Rent" but the second half alone would have been somewhere around 90%. Other recommended Romance/Fantasy Drama anime: Video Girl Ai, Kanon, Clannad (TV), Chobits, To Heart]
  • Drama: Low/High (almost constantly increasing from episode 12 on)
  • Comedy: Med/None (with decreasing tendency but varying enormously between the episodes)
  • Action: Low (almost none except for Sia and her dad)
  • SciFi: Med (magic is a crucial element of the storyline as well as of more of the important characters than you would think at first)
  • Ecchi: Med/High (but tasteful, with just two exceptions by Mayumi and Sia; all in all, both Chobits and Elfen Lied were harder for me to watch)
Given what I've read about the story twist, my expectations were high - such as this one might play in the same league as Suzuka or Lamune. Actually, without the comedy&ecchi overhead of the first half it could have been better, but it turned out to be more similar to Kanon (2006) in the end. Mentioning the name of the other series it obviously reminded me (and Forbin) of would be a major spoiler, so don't click on this link unless you know Primula's story already.

No problem with the Animation; the Art was something to get used to (the ears, plus most girls look a bit childish and their seiyuu even intensify this effect, with the notable exception of Asa; I actually liked Nerine's VA because her voice being this way is significant for her character). Using neon-colored hair allows for introducing many characters in parallel so that the audience will incrementally learn more about these, which I consider a plus. As for the Music, the more often I listened to the fast and powerful OP song (suiting this story quite well) the more I liked it, and the ED song at least has a nice rhythm and vocals; unfortunately there's nothing memorable about the background music.

The scenario premise is a weak one to begin with. Look, Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama! TV sweet-talks to Keiichi during their first conversation but what she agrees to is just a contract in the beginning; Aoi-chan in Ai Yori Aoshi hugs Kaoru when she recognizes him but she's been conditioned to do that for 18 years of education. But in this series, two princesses declare Rin their forthcoming husband just because they happened to run into each other 8 years ago, events that were so trivial that Rin doesn't even remember any of them? Okay, this may work for a comedy - but it's a really bad start for a drama. So it's even more astounding how this story makes the best of this situation and gives each of the girls a credible development; in the end none of them will be laughing stock, each one of them has a valid reason to be here.
During the first half of this series the comedy/slapstick level was too high for my taste: Those three fan-clubs are unnerving, and neither one of both fathers adds anything valuable to the show while Itsuki as well as Mayuki at least pose interesting questions. The fan-service is, well, kind of omnipresent but rarely ever annoying or even obscene (with the exception of episode 11) - okay, there's lots of pantsu shots and some nipples but quite a few of them are shown to give us more information about Rin-kun's reaction to this kind of teasing (which is important for the audience as to guess the chances of the "contenders" - this is a harem scenario after all, and these girls mean it). The increasing ecchiness during the second half of this story is definitely called for (based on the contenders' situation), so I have no problem with this one.
I was afraid that my main problem with this Series Story would be the suspension of disbelief. With Lords of Gods and Demons as actual players it would be critical to understand how their powers work, for they're expected to be able to alter history and stuff - and how can a real drama (or even a tragedy) happen in this kind of scenario? But from episode 6 on you get the necessary answers about these issues... in fact many of the small bits and pieces about magic during the school lessons are mandatory for understanding this story (which is one of the best aspects of this show - you have to watch it thoroughly as to not overlook the hidden gems). Other issues like biological compatibility between the races are taken care of as well (unlike in Aa! Megami-sama ;-). I don't see any significant plot hole in this story, and had they left out some of the unnecessary pantsu shots and the slapstick stuff I would have given "Story" the top rating. The story itself may neither be outstanding not completely new (except for the part that most harem stories avoid like the plague - letting the guy actually choose a girl and show the consequences!) but the way how it was interwoven with the character development and how the secrets are uncovered one by one is probably the best aspect of this show - everything makes sense to me.

This anime starts as a comedy polygon (including some of the sidekicks) with many likeable Characters. The harem in alphabetical order: Shigure Asa is the cool onee-san whom you'd never expect to be more than an also-ran; Fuyou Kaede starts in the pole position but isn't aware of the competition for quite a while and obviously going to have a hard time in this show; Nerine is the shy but sensitive type (the one I'm usually rooting for as the story will be boring if she doesn't have at least some success); on the other hand, Sia is the aggressive type, overdoing things but Kaede's main challenger in the beginning. Primula appears to be a mere mascot; actually she turns out to be much more than that (like all these girls do, sooner or later...) but she definitely isn't the loli arc of the harem game.

So what can I say? All main characters get a lot deeper than they appear at first (and boy was I wrong with my bets about these girls' chances!); the background story kicks in rather late but is consistent as well as relevant for all characters; the lead girl was my favorite character right from the start and turned out to be so much better than even I had expected (I suffered a lot with her); the drama & tragedy elements are credibly interwoven with some of the comedy elements, including a wonderful and plausible climax in the final episode which you have a fair chance to guess if you watch episode 23 attentively. Watch this show in as short a time if you can, it will then have the maximum effect and lead you from a harem comedy to a rollercoaster drama you won't forget that easily.

Last updated Monday, July 11 2011. Created Monday, September 10 2007.
Rent 8 7 7 7 9 9 chibi [series:1103#2380]
This series really reminds me of Kanon. Not just because Rin and Yuichi (2006) share the same VA, but because they're both about a guy surrounded by cute girls, and he has to discover each girl's secret and help her through a crisis while deciding which one he wants to commit to. I've never played one, but I'm guessing that's how dating sims work, which I think both series were developed from. Rin is a pretty good guy, though with a tendency to be indecisive and let things slide (I suppose the story wouldn't last very long if he wasn't), but someone who is strong when he needs to be and will make great sacrifices for those close to him. I could tell you about the girls, but that would spoil your fun: discovering what makes them special is the heart of the entertainment of Shuffle. Rin actually ended up with the girl I'd decided was his best choice a third of the way through the episodes, but the story along the way was always an entertaining one with better-than-average character interactions and relationships. There's some humor sprinkled in, like Rin being chased by the jealous members of the various girl's fan clubs, but the core stories are fairly serious. There's some ecchi, too, though it didn't bother me much. (Well, when Mayumi had that waitress job, it did get a bit painful to watch.)

There were some annoying parts where it seemed the artwork was sub-contracted out to another studio or something and the characters looked noticeably different, but otherwise it was of good quality. The theme song was nice, and variations of it get repeated as background music, though for some reason the tune kept reminding me of "God Bless" from Haruhi Suzumia.

Last updated Sunday, January 21 2007. Created Sunday, January 21 2007.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:1103#628]
(Two episodes watched):

As for the plot, so far nothing has particularly caught my attention here--beautiful girls showing up out of nowhere and begging you to marry them are not exactly unusual in anime. Neither are godesses or demons. The comedy is so-so; the self-proclaimed guard units seem pretty lame and annoying to me. Some things about Shuffle which did catch my attention would be the way the character designer seem to love green-haired girls, or the sponsors being announced in English (I thought for a moment this might be some sort of Fandub. Is that Sugita Tomokazu voicing Rin? Yes, it is--he's become one of my favorite Japanese VAs (and the second one I can reliably recognize). I don't know if it's because he's particularly good or if he just happens to play the lead in a lot of well-written shows I've been enjoying lately (or both). Fairly clever dialogue here allows him to employ his trademark acerbic wit, as he did as Kyon in Haruhi Suzumiya or Mayama in Honey & Clover.

This show is in hiatus at the moment, but I do have a feeling that I really should watch it someday.

8/06

Last updated Wednesday, March 19 2008. Created Tuesday, August 15 2006.
Buy Forbin [series:1103#1573]
Analysis : All Fansub Episodes Watched
  • Drama : Low / High
    • First 12 are setting and last 12 has high drama.
  • Comedy : Med / Low
    • First 12 has comedy but last few are very serious.
  • Action : Low
    • Mostly it's Sia beating up her Dad.
  • SciFi : Low
    • Nerine and Primula use magic, but's it's not often.
  • Ecchi : High
    • All episodes after 8 feature nudity and the Eyecatch becomes R-Rated.

Shuffle is over. The most surprising series I have watched in 2005. I didn't predict anything after epsiode 10. It starts out as your typical fluff harem. Each girl tries to stake her claim in Rin (Except for Primula..she's later). That's the funny episodes. Then we learn the Backstory of the 5 girls. That's the drama. Rin makes a decision. The funny returns. The final girls turns out to have a real whopper of extra backstory. That's the H-Game translation. We learn a couple of things about his friends Mayumi and Nadesico-sensei. That's backstory. We meet Kareha and Tsubomi. That's got Sequel written all over it. While FMP! TSR is my #1, this is my #2. If this didn't start out as a comedy it would have been probably #1.
This is Da Capo meets Maburaho. Take the Hero of Da Capo and Place him in the same situation as the Maburaho guy. Then for fun, lets add KGNE. Someone's gotta die! Hehe.

What didn't I like about it?
  • The animation was CRAP! Triangle face all over.
  • Coloring was good and the final episode's 2nd half was very obviously rushed compared to the 1st half animation.
  • Nerine's VA. She was AWFUL! She sounded like she had a cold throughout the episode.
What did I like about it?
  • #1 Evil Kaede!
  • #2 The Shuffle Arrows that interject another character. The last episode has them looking to where the real character is but the shuffle Arrow might be in the wrong spot. I love that!
  • #3 Asa's and Ama's Secret. That was a shocker.
What was surprising about it? The amount of nudity after the drama heated up. It seems to buffer the drama going on, instead of boosting the comedy they boosted the nudity. Heck even the Cut Scene gets a boost around episode 10.

So all in all, a very enjoyable series. If you aren't into ecchi, then give this a pass. In KGNE the ecchi scenes were tastefully done. Here I think NAVEL said, hey we made an H-Game, you BETTER put in some ecchi scenes.

01.26 - What in the heck! Funi got shuffle? Shuffle is a titty harem series, that just screams ADV. I wonder what funi is going to do with this.

Last updated Monday, February 05 2007. Created Wednesday, July 20 2005.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1103#967]
An eight-minute intro to this series has been released as a fan-sub. Based on the intro (and a bit of research into this series), this is going to be harem story along the lines of Ichigo 100%, but with a bit of Girls Bravo weirdness tossed in (but with none of the violence.) I am looking forward to seeing more of this series.

Tx Forbin for mentioning this series..

Last updated Thursday, June 30 2005. Created Thursday, June 30 2005.

Other Sites
NameURL
Wowow's Official Japanese Web Site http://www.wowow.co.jp/anime/shuffle/
Navel's Official Japanese Game Web Site http://www.project-navel.com/navel/shuffle/
Funimation (R1 English) web site http://funimation.com/shuffle/

Community Anime Reviews

anime mikomi org