Middle of the road, but worth it in the end.
Iíll preface this by saying that I have only viewed the anime. Thus, this review in no way applies to the manga or light novels. Iíll start with what I liked about this anime, so first stop has got to be the music. While this anime doesnít really have what it takes to give me goosebumps (and I say that as a confessed scaredy-cat) this music does a particularly good job of establishing a mood, whether it be light-hearted, or suspenseful. Particular standouts are the opening and ending themes, which establish tension at the beginning and release it at the end to good effect. In a genre oft overrun by recycled J-pop this is nice to see.
Secondly, apart from some issues, I genuinely like the characters on the show. The characters, while based on recognizable archetypes, all come into their own, and are enough to keep you interested in what happens next. The banter between characters is also quite rich and a joy to watch. One complaint, however, is that the UST between the male and female leads isn't entirely believable. The pairing is rather typical: perky tsundere (emphasis on dere) meets aloof bishonen genius. Both Mai and Naru are enjoyable to watch, but Naru is quite a jerk to Mai; and moments where Naru plays nice, while touching, are few and far between. So one wonders how Mai can sustain her crush for her brooding boss.
The storytelling personifies So Okay Its Average
. Not bad, but not good enough for it to stand out. The epilogues are a little weak and could do with more flushing out; but on the whole the story arcs are okay (the occasional Ass Pull
aside) and the atmosphere does contain genuine tension enough to make the show enjoyable. But for the longest time I couldn't figure out why I wasn't afraid. Then I realized why: until the last couple arcs, unshakeable Plot Armor
and squeamishness about body count makes you feel like there's nothing at stake. You just look at the events and think "Sure, this looks like a tough situation, but you know they'll all be fine in the end". It's really a shame, because you do come to like the characters. If you just felt like they were actually at risk, this might actually be genuinely suspenseful. This does change near the end though.
If you're looking for a genuine nail-biter you'll want to look somewhere else, but the endearing characters make this an enjoyable watch.