This Week in Anime
Did Masato Complete His Mother-Loving Quest or Is It a Bad-End?

by Nicholas Dupree & Steve Jones,

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? mixed mammaries, magic, and monstrous encounters in an MMORPG full of mamas, mothers, and mommies but did it manage to move mountains and win a place in Steve and Nick's mother-loving hearts?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead. Not Safe For Work for some sexy mom content!

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Steve
Nick, we (meaning, mostly I) joked enough during the lead-up to this show that it's only fair we actually finally talk about it. After all of my only-semi-ironic anticipation, it's time for us to determine whether or not Your Mom saved isekai anime once and for all.

Nick
Finally time to do Your Mom huh? Well I guess it was inevitable - after covering O Maidens in Your Savage Season we've got to hit up this season's second psychosexual fever dream.
I don't think it's exactly fair to bring up Mari Okada's latest magnum opus, which sublimely addresses numerous teenage anxieties, in conversation with the show that does this, but here we are.

So yeah, in a seasons absolutely swimming in tepid Isekai series, the anime gods have graced us with the closest thing since KONOSUBA to an Isekai Parody, and it hinges on exactly one gimmick: Mom
 
 
Kudos to the poor translator who had to make MMMMMORPG work, and nailed it.
For real, Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? has one arrow in its quiver, and it's that it's pretty funny when people talk about boilerplate anime shenanigans but also say the word Mom a lot. It's not a great gimmick, but the show commits to it with so much dedication I'm kind of impressed.
I mean when you got a bit, you gotta run with it. And Do You Love Your Mom more or less runs it into the ground, but in abstract I respect the concept a lot. Isekai stories are too often about these angry teen boys trying to get what they feel they're owed, and in contrast to that, an isekai starring a mom seems like it would be a fresh and fun idea.
"Stars" being rather debatable. While anybody watching this is absolutely watching it for Mamako, the protagonist of the show is her son Masato, who is basically every nerdy 16-year-old boy ever in that he really, really wants an anime fantasy adventure and also thanks it's lame when his mom hugs him.
And that was my first red flag when watching it, because I was so hoping that Mamako would be the actual protagonist. If I wanted to watch some lame kid bumble his way through monster encounters, I'd watch literally any other series in this genre, thank you.
Not to mention I won't stand for a kid dissing the NES. You gotta pay respects to the classics.

I'm pretty sure this dude is technically younger than the DS so what do you expect? But really, I'm fine with Masato as the protagonist specifically because of the dynamic the show sets up - he's hyped up to get to live every boring power fantasy he's ever seen in anime and games, but then his mom's there to remind him to wear a jacket and also shows him up at every opportunity.

I do never get sick of Mamako just instantly kicking ass at every turn. And their dynamic does make sense given the real premise of the story, which is that the government creates a video game to patch up the almost-universally fraught relationships between rowdy teens and their mothers. A noble cause, though arguably not the smartest follow-through, given how many of their adventures revolve around these mothers and/or their children wreaking fantasy havoc for everyone else.
You've gotta expect some bugs in early access okay?
Credit where it's due, the shitty character models are one of the show's better running gags, imo.
The show is sure to remind you often that it's not taking much of itself seriously, and I think that's to its benefit. While I wouldn't call it a full-on parody, it's certainly happy to take the piss with its genre's usual tropes.
I appreciate the irreverence, but I also have pretty limited patience these days for "jokes" that are just pointing out tropes and going no further.
Tho I certainly appreciate a good Slayers reference as much as the next guy Also, since you brought it up earlier, I feel that KONOSUBA nailed the isekai parody corner so well that a lot of Your Mom's jokes and character dynamics can't help but feel like a pale shade of a funnier show.
Eh, you're on your own there. I found KONOSUBA's mix of distinctly unlikeable personalities too grating to get into it. While Your Mom's cast can be plenty acerbic, its own dedication to goofy stuff like its unending waterfall of puns was enough to endear me to it some.
I like comedies about horrible people, but I get where you're coming from. And KONOSUBA certainly did not have any character on the caliber of the pun master that is Porta, I'll give you that

I guess the difference is that Your Mom's characters feel like people I could see being friends instead of just assholes tolerating each other because nobody else will. Even with all the jabs Masato gives Wise she at least gets some kicks in too.

Again, I think Porta is an important part of this equation too, because she's just this genuinely nice little pun gremlin who doubles as a tiny Speedwagon who can explain all of Mamako's motherly powers to the audience. It's a very important job.
I also just like that the show embraces its own absurdity. Like how the whole party just develops this weird habit of having strategy meetings in the communal bath because they did it one time out of necessity.
Yeah, I like how it's explicitly (and uncomfortably) horny the first time, but every subsequent meeting is very matter-of-fact and barely commented on.
Also the way Porta balances her giant bag on her head each time is perfectly precious.
It's a great sight gag that they never bother to bring attention to, which just makes it better. But on the topic of Uncomfortably Horny I guess we should address the other half of Your Mom's appeal...
So Your Mom wants to have Mamako fanservice, but her son is traveling with her and thus constantly present for any fanservice opportunities. Thus, the show reconciles this by making Masato's life a living hell, emphasizing his disgust, yet also trying to titillate the audience with Mamako's mammaries at the same time. The result is...weird, to put it lightly.
I want to find a team of top psychologists and show them this anime so that some day we can unravel the oedipal gordian knot that is this show's fanservice. Masato the character is constantly in dread of seeing his own mom in fetish outfits, but because he's also Masato the audience-insert, he is forced by the universe itself to do so anyway.

It's maybe the worst way this show could've had its cheesecake and eaten it too? Like, I don't know what the solution is, but I'm pretty sure it's not him shooting the camera a thousand-yard stare as his mom goes through various states of undress. I don't know who's enjoying this.
The show at least wants it clear that he's not actually down with getting it on with his mom (because this is anime and that's not always a certainty!) but the joke wears out its welcome immediately when our protagonist faceplants into his mom's slime-covered cleavage. And that's episode 2. Basically the only two reactions possible are to cringe so hard your spine breaks, or circle back around to the gag being so bad it induces panic laughter.
What also doesn't help things is that Mamako herself is barely a character. We get to know her as Masato's unstoppable supermom, but after an entire season we still don't know anything about her outside of her relationship with her son. Which wouldn't be as much of an issue if she weren't the main draw of the show, but she is.
I'm not all too bothered by that when the show's in full comedy mode most of the time - Mamako just being an amalgam of Mom Stereotypes is half the joke after all - but it becomes problem in the rare moments Your Mom tries to be sincere. Like boy if there's a show not equipped to effectively handle the topic of parental abuse/neglect it's the Horny For Moms Power Hour.

Hooooo boy yeah Medhi's arc in particular is where everything nosedived hard enough to strip away a lot of the goodwill I was still harboring for the show. Just a grossly negligent handling of themes way above its weight class.
While the show never gets crass about the topic - it's clear that for all Masato complains about being smothered, he and Mamako have a mostly healthy relationship - its portrayal of mending a broken parent-child relationship is uh, a tad simplistic. In that it happens in about 5 minutes with one sort of apology.
Mamako's powers of idealized motherhood are treacly in a way that works for the usual conflicts that arise between a mother and her teenage children, and that's about it. When tackling the thornier relationships that Wise and Medhi have with their own moms, it's just patronizingly bad. Tho while Medhimama is pretty unforgivable, I will hand it to Wise's mom for having good taste.

At least with Wise's mom things aren't cleanly fixed up like with Medhi. Wise and her mom "make up" in that they stop resenting eachother enough to argue and hash out their feelings, but it doesn't fix all their problems. But Medhimama (yes that's what the show calls her) gets off scot free because of a mind control crystal and then we just move on.
It's literally the most frustrating trope applied in the worst way.
Mind Control: always a bad story idea. Stop using it. Plus there's the scene of Mamako literally preaching from on-high about how to be a better mother, which would be funny if it weren't also kind of insulting.
Again, Mamako as an avatar of all that is Mom is something that only works with much sillier things. Like, one of my favorite moments in the show is her baby bomb defusal, because it's so bizarrely heartwarming.
 
 
My favorite is when they're held hostage by a group of thugs, only for them to all get Mom-broken by the power of her naptime energy.
 
 
That is seriously the best episode. It's where Your Mom finally fully realizes its premise, with Mamako saving the day simply by being the best mom she can possibly be. It's funny and sweet in a way I wish the rest of the show could have been.
Plus, mom maid is good content.
The last arc is where I think the show mostly figures out a good place for itself. It eschews the heavier conflicts of Wise and Medhi's arcs for one about storming a dungeon to stop an evil organization from wishing all Moms out of existence.

 
Yeah, ultimately Medhi's arc kind of irrevocably soured me on the show, but the whole Tower storyline was some decent course-correction. Still not terribly compelling, but much more on a level the writing can deal with. I also appreciated its experiments with psychological horror.
It's where the show most effectively embraces its own absurdity, and combines it with low enough emotional stakes that it doesn't feel like it's reaching too far. And yeah the Illusion Dungeon where Masato's stalked by an army of his own mom is some Grade A stuff, even if it's mostly there to set up the best, dumbest joke in the whole series.
Really would have been a good skill to have earlier on to say no to some other choice scenes in the show.

Overall I wouldn't call Your Mom good, but it managed to make me laugh more often than not. And by isekai standards all the Momservice is still less uncomfortable than slavery apologism or prepubescent vampire girls. If nothing else it left more of a positive impression than Arifureta.
I think I feel a bit harsher about it, not necessarily because it deserves it, but because it had the potential to be the mom isekai of my dreams. And given the higher quality of its final arc, maybe the source light novels get better from this point on. I don't think I could recommend it on its own merits, but when graded on a curve against the rest of the genre, I'd definitely sooner recommend Your Mom over a lot of the competition.
So in the end Steve, I guess all that's left to ask is:
Do you love Your Mom and her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
Well, Nick, there's really only one answer I can give.

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