These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
This page is for Subjectives and Audience Reactions.
Growing the Beard: If you don't like the series as it is stuffed with random gags, don't worry, there's a nice pile of drama later on just for you.
Jerkass Woobie: Everything Kaede does during her 'Jerkass' phase is because of her believing Rin was indirectly responsible for her mother's death. She later matures into a classic Woobie.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The setting of this world (two worlds different from our own are connected to ours) is pretty interesting but is hardly explored in any magnitude of depth and offers little to the show other than the magic powers which serve as plot points occasionally (not to mention the funky ears). For a world with Humans, Devils and Gods intermingling and all the main characters attending an academy where magic is an academic subject, very little seems all that different from the standard harem fare.
The joining of our world with those of the Gods and Devils is rife with so much potentially compelling conflict that it alone could easily be the basis of an entire series. But in Shuffle, first contact is left completely in the background, and interspecies integration occurs in ONLY a single decade withoutanyproblemswhatsoever. Seeing everyday how much trouble we have with getting along even with members of our own species, the lack of complications with elvish extra-dimensional humanoids can be particularly jarring.
Of all the girls from whom Rin must choose, Primula gets the least screentime and Character Development in the anime adaptation, especially when compared to her route being the longest, concluding one in the game. This is probably due to being the most controversial route for an Anime adaptation.
Angst? What Angst?: Rin has hardly any reaction to both his parents dying at the same time, compared with Kaede's near-fatal Heroic BSOD after losing her mother.
Considering he took the blame for their death, he needed to avoid having a reaction. Otherwise Kaede may have figured out that Rin was lying and think it's all her fault.
Base Breaker: Kaede. Part of the fandom despises her for how she treated Rin in the past and her Yandere tendencies in the present and believes she doesn't deserve to get together with Rin, seeing her serving him as being done for selfish reasons. Others sympathize with her and believe she is merely trying her best to make up for what she has done and make him happy.
Asa, too, as people seem to view her actions (specially her refusal to use her new powers as being very selfish. And we're not even counting the Ship-to-Ship Combat...
Took a Level in Jerkass: How some people react to Rin beginning to prioritize his budding romance with Asa over spending time with Kaede.
Tear Jerker: Nerine and Asa's flashbacks in Episode 14, and Lycoris' rescue of Primula one episode later are very dramatic and emotional. There are comparable moments for each other main girl in the series. In the game, this is invoked during sex, where Primula's magic erases Rin's memory, causing him to slowly forget who she is and causing him to shed tears without knowing why.
Woolseyism: The dub is quite highly regarded. Many Woolseyisms are present, such as enacting the One Steve Limit by replacing Nerine's nickname of "Rin-chan" with "Rina", keeping the alliteration in the fanclub names but making them ridiculously pompous instead of cutesy [eg. "Suki Suki Sia" becoming "Sexy Sia Soldiers"], giving Asa a voice that suits her spunky, tomboyish character instead of a generic high voice, and rewriting a lot of the jokes to make them funny to the western ear, just to name a few. The scene in which Asa gets Rin to call her "Asa-san" instead of "Asa-senpai" gets written entirely, since he and Kaede have always just called her "Asa" in the dub.
What an Idiot: While we understand that Asa is reluctant to accept her Half Human Hybrid-induced magical powers since she doesn't want to let her mother Ama know, it's less comprehensible to hold these powers back to the point that they cause her a massive Power Incontinence that will kill her. Asa, honey, what do you think it'd happen if you died as a consequence, thus leaving your beloved mother alone in the world?
Rin, despite knowing about Kaede's past with him and her personal issues, spends more time away from home once he starts getting closer to Asa, causing Kaede to snap and attack Asa out of jealousy. The behavior continues as Asa is hospitalized, and he does not do a good job of communicating his reasons for moving out of Kaede's house. While Kaede would have been at least somewhat upset either way, it's mainly a case of his poor communication exacerbating the situation.
Squick: In season 2, Shuffle! Memories, Rin and most of the cast Eustoma's ship in the sea of the world of the gods. The girls ask Rin if he wants to swim in the pool, and he refuses. Eustoma, thinking he needs to be "cheered up" pulls a lever, which unleashes a flood of eels into the pool.