What’s the show? Butlers x Battlers (2018).
And what’s it about? The series follows J (or Jay, or J-san or Jason as I’d grown to calling him) a high-school boy out of time, see he was a time travelling battle butler who wound up 100 years in the future after chasing after his ‘beloved’ sister who was kidnapped by the sky. Now, together with his new school chums in the student council (who also happen to be descendants of ancient battle butlers) they must fight against the forces of evil to rescue J’s sister and stop the very world from ending!
Quite the synopsis! I know right? I made it up myself! Truth is this show is mediocre at best and fails to live up to any and all promises and by the time the last episode rolled round I just wanted this shit to end.
Oh… so it’s not… good… then? There’s an understatement and a half, what initially showed promise at the start quickly devolves into some of the most mind-numbingly tedious “action” I’ve ever seen, mixed in with the kind of charmless performances you’d expect from first time voice actors reading a first draft of a script!
Scathing! Sorry if it seems like I’m going in harsh on this but I sat through 12 episodes of this shit and the least I can do is relay ~some~ of my experience with this series in the vain hope you never have to endure it yourself!
So why’d you even watch it in the first place? You read the synopsis, didn’t you? “Time travelling butler’s” it’s a concept so cheesy and absurd I couldn’t help but be intrigued but the truth behind it all is this show took its own concept far too seriously to get to any actual time-travel shenanigans while simultaneously spinning its wheels by devoting entire episodes to things as inane as running Butler café’s and entering Butler competitions that I had to wonder when anything remotely interesting would actually occur!
And it didn’t? Nada.
Suppose maybe you’re not the target audience for this kind of thing? Oh! Undoubtedly! But that doesn’t change the fact that down to its core this show is inexorably uninteresting… had this show gone full Shonen-Ai and embraced the fact that these handsome young men had ~feelings~ for one another that would have at least been something but no, this series is about as chaste as they come. The most homoerotic this show gets is a longingly glance between J and Haruto and that amounts to nothing more than “we’re good friends” at best!
I feel like we’re rushing through this review too fast (this is a 20 Question Review after all…) can we talk about what you liked about the show? Well aside from the “idea” of it, as presented by the synopsis, there’s a decent chunk of world-building, I mean we don’t know when this series is set… just that it’s 100 years after the prologue involving J losing his ‘beloved’ sister. They all live in a sort of idealised university-city where no-one needs a job nor is even the concept of money ever brought up—now that I think of it, this series doesn’t really make sense from a ‘setting’ perspective either, unless this is some sort of utopian future society…
We were supposed to be talking about the positives here! Oh, right! I mean the character designs for the 6 main guys; J, Aoba, Haruto, Hikari, Dracula and Tsubasa are all distinct and ‘handsome’ enough to get the blood pumping if that’s what you’re into. Plus their voice actors do well enough as long as they don’t have to interact too much with each other…
Wait, “Dracula” one of them is named “Dracula”?! Oh, yeah, the blonde guy, he likes to sleep a lot during the day—hence why he got that nickname it literally doesn’t get any deeper than that. Riveting, I know!
Anything else worthwhile about it? Oh! The incidental music, you know like the recurring background music that crops up in every episode is just great—honestly and truly the best part of this show. It’s got a new series Twin Peaks-y Angelo Badalementi vibe that I just adore. I seriously think if it weren’t for the incidental music I may have dropped this show around Episode 5.
So, I’m almost afraid to ask, but what’s the worst things about this show? Oh let me count the ways! First and forth most this show is just ‘dumb’ and I hate using that word because dumb shows can in-fact be fun! But this show takes itself so seriously that it’s occasional moments of stupidity feel utterly out of place and the gaps in logic with regard to the plot are infuriating and not the least bit entertaining. And while it’s expected for ~this~ kind of show, every female character either feels like a useless damsel in distress or a conniving harpy out for blood—it’s not a flattering portrayal of female characters and makes me wonder why this genre is so popular with women.
This “genre”? I don’t know, it’s a show for ‘women’ apparently, honestly this feels more like a show for aliens who’ve never seen a show before and want to start off with the dictionary definition of mediocrity.
Mediocrity implies its neither good nor bad, but it seems your negative comments far outweigh the positive, care to explain? Honestly, I’m a forgiving sort and this show at least managed a pretence of being interesting and passingly well-made… plus the action was kind of fun!
Oh! Well there’s something, want to elaborate on that? (Please for the love of god…) Yeah I mean each of the Butlers has a sort of super-power and they are pretty well-executed and visually interesting to watch… well… well until the last episode…
Oh? And what happened in the last episode? That’s what I’d like to know! I guess they ran out of time/money because my god the production values sunk like a stone for this ‘climactic’ episode! So many reused shots, so many still shots in place of movement, so many times where I thought the stream had frozen only to be surprised when a shot changed. It’s not Marchen Madchen levels of fail but it’s pretty average, to the point I wondered if anyone involved with this series even cared about what they were making at this point!
It’s not often you bring up the ‘production’ side of things so it must have been bad! Indeed. Though it’s not bad enough to warrant checking out for those curious it’s just bad by comparison to the rest of the series…
So how would you go about recommending this show? I wouldn’t. While there is potential in the first 3 episodes at least it’s all but squandered by the halfway mark and dead and buried by the end. There’s no reason this show needed to wallow in mediocrity but perhaps it was beholden to mediocre source material in the first-place and didn’t have the choice, I can only presume. What was the final nail in the proverbial coffin was the insulting to all-senses final episode that didn’t even have the decency to be entertaining—even ironically!
Final score? Mediocrity deserves mediocrity, 51 out of 100. (That extra one point is for the silly talking owl!)
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