Secretly, there is more going for Invaders of the Rokujyoma!? than its close encounters of the cute kind. And yet, this is one of those shows that undermines itself, seemingly for the sake of grabbing the average light novel anime viewer. Superior destiny and harem in place for its ‘normal nice guy’ hero Kotaro Satomi, the boob jokes are shoved in in early as though to fill some mythical first episode quota, as he tries to get used to his new apartment and its strange invaders. Sanae Higashihongan the ghost haunts the place without effect until Kotaro catches her unawares, plotting a broad daylight scare. After that, his other supernatural roomies follow suit, crashing in within minutes of one another. Magical girl Yurika Nijino, subterranean war maiden Kiriha Kurano, and extra-terrestrial princess Theiamillis Gre Fortorthe descend on the magical hotspot of Corona House Room 106, each with their own grand intentions. Yurika is posted there as defence from evil witches, Kiriha to begin an invasion of the surface by the Earth People, and Theiamillis to claim her world’s throne by laying siege to ours. There’s nothing for it but to figure out a fair way of all of them living together in a six-tatami room.
All the while, something special is concealed in a quick look at a shadowed family photo in Kotaro’s room, the phone call to his dad to let him know he’s settling in, and a failing attempt to knit a scarf. Though hesitant to admit it outright, this is a series about the love of family; both the one you’re born with, and those you choose for yourself. Because Kotaro cares so much for his dad, and eventually his accidental friends too, he’s far from the worst magical slice-of-life protagonist. Actually, he’s rather sweet, and his early demeaning comments about Theia’s small breasts seem out of character. He’s considerate, helpful and resourceful, and doesn’t show these qualities just to get the girl, in his case the head of the knitting club Harumi Sakuraba. He really wants to lend a hand where he can, something his father seems to have taught him. By four episodes in, despite the beach episode box-ticking, the blooming friendship between Kotaro and the new girls in his life feels genuine, even in all its fantastic quirks. Sanae’s technique of possession via glomping so she can taste Kotaro’s food becomes a reason to smile, because it’s how they express their love for each other – in sharing these everyday pleasures.
The lyrical wisps of fantasy that float through the story, hinting the otherworldly identities of Kotaro and Harumi, are routinely stomped on by shallow villain inserts and unremarkable sword and sorcery combat sequences. These conflicts often reduce the girls, sensitive Yurika and frail Harumi in particular, to fainting damsels. But it only seems a failing in the imagination of the light novel’s author Takeha, a void where women can and will fight for those they love. After all, I don’t remember there being a problem with girls being cute and tough in studio Silver Link’s Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. The only character that can move free of these restrictions is Kiriha, her regal warrior lineage lending her a determined grace. If only her generous boobage wasn’t so distracting, twitching about whenever they get an excuse.
While the girls do behave to archetype for the most part, they at least get their own moments to shine, if only through Kotaro’s eyes. Yurika tries so hard to be courageous, needing someone’s approval that she doesn’t have to push herself. Kotaro’s view that sunny spots and rainbows suit her better might have a whiff of the patronising, but seeing how her confidence quietly blossoms in his friendship, it’s hard to argue with. Theia finds her dream knight in Kotaro, and though she acts high and mighty, she feels freer with him in his world than she ever did out in space.
Wishes granted is the theme woven through, subtly bringing light to the show’s most wistful moments. By the last episode, however, you’re left feeling jipped, as there’s been little progress for the characters or story. Scriptwriter Shogo Yasukawa got very lost somewhere between balancing characterisation and reinforcing it with drama, a gift he apparently misplaced between the first and second servings of Food Wars! as well. Maybe with a second season and introductions out of the way, we could have had a more satisfying ending than a Christmas special left hanging on a cancelled invasion. Ironically enough, distribution of space ended up being a structural issue too.
Extras: Clean opening/closing animation; also available from Sentai Filmworks.