When you think of harem series, you probably think of shows like To Love-Ru, High School DxD, Shinmai Maou no Testament (ugh) and even this seasons How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord. Despite these heavy-hitters of varying quality, there are also several other harem shows that often fly under the radar.
Today we are going to look at one of those shows, one that is actually far better than anyone expected, tells an interesting story and has one of the best dubs all around. After the cut let’s take a dive into Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls.
As stated before on the list of my favorite series of all time. Majikoi is one of them and with good reason. Despite being an older series, one based on a dating sim/visual novel, and often falling under the radar in compared to genre heavy hitters, Majikoi is a wonderful piece of work that manages to be both funny and with enough depth in its characters to not be completely disposable.
The story is quite simple, we follow Yamato Naoe as he navigates life with his friends at Kawakami Academy. Chill, relaxed and always with a plan, Yamato finds himself with the affections of several of his female friends, despite only having eyes for Momoyo Kawakami who has rejected him twice. With a dream to change the country of Japan, both Yamato and Momoyo will have to look both at themselves and their worldviews as many hijinks ensue.
Now while the game itself was much like a dating sim, and Yamato could end up with any of the girls, Majikoi the anime makes the smart decision to have a straightforward story, which benefits it greatly. As I said before in my character dive on Momoyo Kawakami, her relationship with Yamato and the growth and conflict it brings is the series greatest strength. Despite being a harem series and having to adhere to the rules of that genre, the development of Momoyo and her feelings to both Yamato and the other girls is something that is rarely touched up in harem anime, and to this day I still haven’t found a series that tops it.
However despite this great character work, the main story of Majikoi is kinda just “meh” at best, and forgettable at worst. Despite having some decent animation and action, the overall story of the terrorists or whatever is just forgettable and feels like it was added because the storytellers weren’t confident that the rest of the story could carry it. It isn’t bad by any means, but where Majikoi is hitting homers everywhere else, this is a black mark that does bring the series down a bit.
Thankfully when it comes to humor, Majikoi doesn’t disappoint. The series is laced top to bottom with great gags, wonderful comedy and one of the best female characters for this in Miyako Shiina. Her schemes in each episode to try and seduce Yamato are laugh out loud hilarious and are clips I keep watching over and over again. Even better, the series actually takes a bit of time to explore Miyako’s feelings for Yamato, and also why Yamato is hesitant to enter into a relationship with her, which again is more effort than expected from a piece like this. I mean, just look at this clip.
This is all helped by one of the strongest dubs around. Josh Grelle as Yamato and Brittney Karbowski as Miyako deliver career-defining performances that, in my view, surpass the Japanese voices easily. The other voices are also well done, even giving the character of Chris a full-on German accent. Again it shows that much more love and effort was put into this series that would have been expected. It is honestly just a really fucking good dub and I HIGHLY suggest you watch it in English. Sentai Filmworks may not have the money that Funimation does, but they are the best in the biz when it comes to dubbing harem anime, and this remains a crown jewel for them.
Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls is one of my favorite series of all time, and for good reason. Like this year’s Demon Lord, everything about the series shows that the creators came to play. The love and effort put in display pay off in spades. The characters are memorable and the introspection of with Momoyo and Yamato really works. I didn’t come into a show like Majikoi expecting anything special, but I left exhausted from laughter and extremely impressed by its character development. I don’t know if you will feel the same way, but give Majikoi a shot. It’s a real gem of a harem anime that shouldn’t be as forgotten as it is.