Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? Episodes 1-7
by Paul Jensen, Aug 30th 2014
There can be a world of difference between any two anime series' storytelling ambitions. Some shows seek to ask complex, controversial questions about human nature, while others aspire to deliver subtle yet compelling emotional drama. In some cases, though, the goal is simply to serve up a dozen or so episodes of simple, dumb fun. Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? falls into the third category and is by no means ashamed of that.
The “invaders” mentioned in the title consist of a ghost, a magical girl, an alien, and a priestess from an underground kingdom, each with her own reasons for trying to take over a run-down, one-room apartment. The current tenant, standard-issue everyman Koutarou, has no intention of giving it up to anyone because the rent is fantastically low. The five rivals compete against one another for control of the apartment in everything from card games to obstacle courses, and these competitions keep the plot rolling along.
The humor in Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? comes from gathering its outlandish cast together in one tiny room and riffing on their various character archetypes. The magical girl is initially mistaken for a cosplayer, being “possessed” by the ghost amounts to little more than giving her a piggyback ride, and so on. Most of the jokes are more likely to induce a mild chuckle than a hysterical fit of laughter, but it beats trotting out the usual boob-grabbing harem comedy antics one more time. With few exceptions, the series has thankfully been restrained in its use of fanservice.
After speeding through its cast introductions, the show settles down into short story arcs, each highlighting a different contender for the apartment. The strongest episodes thus far have been the two focused on ghost girl Sanae, which managed to pack an unexpected emotional punch. Other attempts at character development have been slightly less successful, but the cast as a whole remains easy to like. The one exception is Koutarou himself, who remains a generic “nice guy” with no particularly distinguishing characteristics. Hints have been dropped that there may be something special about him, but nothing has been brought to light thus far.
The only real problem with Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? is that it lacks the ambition to be any better than “above average.” Its jokes are amusing without being hilarious and its characters are likable without being compelling. The animation and soundtrack display the same complacent competency: solid but unremarkable. It's a very easy show to watch, but a difficult one to remember.
Anyone looking for a light, entertaining way to kill half an hour each week will find that Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? fits the bill quite nicely. It amuses often, annoys rarely, and is generally a good time. Just try not to ruin the experience by thinking about how much better it could be if it just tried a little harder.
Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Paul Jensen also covers anime and manga at SharkPuppet.com.
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