The Summer 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
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Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? ?
Community score: 3.6
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How was the first episode?
This premiere throws all its hopes and efforts behind a single idea: the comically nightmarish scenario of getting stuck in a video game world with your mother. Anyone who's ever had a gamin session interrupted by a family member should be able to relate to Masato's predicament on some level, and that unwanted intrusion of real life into escapist entertainment looks to be this show's main source of humor. The good news is that this setup is working pretty well at the moment; there's plenty of fun to be had watching Mamako unintentionally derail her son's gaming fantasies at every turn. The bad news is that there isn't much else going on here, so your enjoyment will depend entirely on how well the core joke works for you.
Mamako is exactly the kind of character you'd expect her to be: doting, optimistic, and clueless when it comes to online gaming lingo, all traits that work together to heighten Masato's embarrassment. As the title suggests, she's also ludicrously powerful in the game world, which adds insult to injury by forcing Masato to watch her mow down hordes of tutorial enemies in a single blast when he can barely manage to defeat one at a time. Lest the audience feel too bad for Masato, he's just enough of a stereotypically snotty teenage gamer that his ordeal feels like a just comeuppance instead of an undeserved barrage of misery. The two of them are reasonably well-matched as a comedic duo, and their interactions are amusing despite being somewhat predictable.
While most of the episode's best material leans on the chemistry between Masato and Mamako, there are also some light jabs taken at the game they've been transported into. The king's complaints about players demanding outrageous rewards upfront is right on the mark, as is the cheesy sound effect that plays whenever the main characters do something noteworthy. The running joke about government worker Shirase's name sounding like her job description is a little weak, but I'll take a few lame jokes as long as they're outnumbered by the good ones. There's also an attempt at more dramatic content during Masato and Mamako's conversation in the tutorial arena, and this is decent if unspectacular. In general, this series looks like it'll be better off keeping the tone light and goofy.
I was hoping this premise would yield an enjoyably silly series, and it looks like that's what we've got here. My biggest concern now is with the show's long-term appeal. This scenario is great as a one-off joke, but sustaining that humor will demand much more variety than what we've seen so far. The yet-to-be-introduced supporting characters will hopefully help out in that regard, and there should be more material to work with once our heroes get out of town and start exploring the game world. Regardless of where the series ultimately goes, this episode is entertaining enough to be worth watching on its own.
Maybe all of the MMORPG-isekai desensitization of the past few years has me in a forgiving mood, but I found Do You Love Your Mom…? to be a refreshingly entertaining parody of the genre's staples, especially given that its ambitious don't seem to rise much higher than “be a moderately funny way to pass a half hour every week.” I was a little suspicious of the show's intentions at first, since the key art and general premise had me worried that our hero Masato would have some kind of weird Oedipal relationship with his mother Mamako, but that thankfully doesn't seem to be the case. The show definitely wants to ogle at Masoto's hot mom all the live long day, which is not my favorite thing in the world, but I'll can tolerate all of that so long as Masato and his mother's relationship remains purely familial.
What I liked about this premiere is that it makes absolutely no bones about taking itself seriously, and the self-referential humor is decently funny throughout. When Masato first gets teleported into the beta-test of the MMMMMORPG (Working Title), the King makes it clear that the whole isekai works on nonsensical technology that will never be explained, and he goes so far as to bribe Masato and his mother with fancy items to keep them from asking too many questions. Masato is from the time of the original NES, and the disparity between her video-game knowledge and her son's makes for a consistently amusing running gag – though, given that she doesn't look a day over 25, even if we were generously assuming that Mamako is in her mid-to-late-30s, we have to assume she's closer to the SNES to N64 era. To be honest, I think the show would be much funnier (and sweeter) if the show's art style allowed Mamako to look and sound more like a middle-aged woman and less like a young millennial cosplaying as mom, but anime is going to anime, I suppose.
Still, Masato's relationship with Mamako is pretty funny, especially when the script leans full on into the more realistic motherly stereotypes and less so on the “let me and my big boobs pat your head and tell you what a strong and handsome man you are” stuff. The way Mamako uses the party structure of an RPG as an opportunity to interview potential dates for her son is exactly the kind of silly sitcom humor that I was hoping this show would exploit. The fanservicey angle of Mamako's character is Do You Love Your Mother…?'s weakest link, but there's a lot of potential to be mined out of having your dorky protagonist try to be a cool isekai hero guy while his overbearing mother is around kicking all the ass for him. It's not the kind of show I see myself keeping up with, personally, but if you put a gun to my head and told me I absolutely had to watch one of this summer's isekai anime from beginning to end, Do You Love Your Mom…? is probably the one I'd pick.
Less than six minutes in, this episode features what may be one of the most dreadful lines of dialog that male teenage game enthusiasts could ever imagine hearing: “It's time to go on lots of fun adventures with your mom.” For many individuals who immerse themselves in game play to get away from the utter normality of their lives, having your mom tag along is both utterly terrifying and self-defeating. That isn't the only odd angle that this off-kilter isekai series takes, but it is the one which instantly defines the content and sets the stage for what looks to be a light-hearted romp of a totally different variety from this season's equally-flippant Demon Lord, Retry!.
The main gag here, of course, is that Masato not only cannot get away from his mother, but he is also being overwhelmingly outclassed by her right from the start, and she doesn't waste much time in showing that. Her mention of the business with the stick suggests that she might not actually be a total stranger to online RPGs, and she does seem to know a bit more about what's going on here that she has been told that she shouldn't explain at this point, but the quality of that central gag still stands. Unlike most other isekai situations, this one is also up front about the fact that the world is a game, to the point that the king that Masato and Mamako get their start from even explains it as a beta test, gives them sets of game stats, and laments about having to give out special items up front just as an incentive to get people to play the game. It is also amusingly dodgy about how the whole process of transporting someone into the game actually works, even admitting up front that it cannot explain the process.
As solid as the premise is, the success of the series may depend more on maintaining that sense of humor and ability to play off of common MMORPG characteristics and tropes; the revelation sound effect is yet another neat touch which will no doubt be familiar to old-school gamers, so keep more of that kind of thing coming! The technical merits are nothing special, and I can see the flash of Mamako's two-sword attacks wearing thin fast. I will reserve judgment on this series until I see how it expands out its cast as Masato assembles his adventuring party, but for now I am cautiously optimistic about it.
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