In the last ten years, gods and demons came to intermingle with humans. Rin is an average human who's parents died when he was young. He now lives with another family, including their daughter of the same age: Kaide; who seems hopelessly devoted to him. Rin isn't the most popular guy at school, but he gets his fair share of female attention. Things get complicated when the kings of the god and demon realms arrive at the school, declaring he should marry their daughters: Sia and Nerine.
The fight for Rin's heart has begun, but it remains to be seen if he'll survive their quarreling, or the jealous hordes of males who wish they'd even have one of those girls fighting over them.
It's hard to believe an anime with a setup this bad would have parts that are decent...
Shuffle is yet another harem date sim based anime, as bad as you'd expect from such a tired concept. In the beginning anyway, mid way through it pulls off some surprisingly good stories. In episode 1, the harem is set up, and waiting for the same tired antics which would make me pray for it to be over. Early on Rin gets close enough to one girl that it looks like it's a done deal, but then she she backs off so he can decide if he
Aside from girls shamelessly throwing themselves at Rin, beginning episodes are thoroughly poor in quality: loaded with fan service, devoid of intelligence. As bad as any harem formula you could imagine. Then this anime takes a weird turn as it looks into the back story for each girl. By episode 12 things aren't so upbeat. I anticipated lame mid-point drama, however the serious side of Shuffle is surprisingly deep (considering) and I'd say was actually good. What I was totally unprepared for was Kaide's story.
From the beginning Kaide and Rin have been childhood friends, and she's been at his beck and call for a long time. Classmates tease the two saying they'd make a good couple, but Rin always shrugs this off. Being a cynic, I wondered if perhaps she fawned over him a little too much. A more interesting thought popped into my head: what if he didn't choose her at the end and she went psycho.
Oh yes, it goes there! But not in a shallow butcher knife chase you'd expect from an anime. With deep emotional scars, Kaide is consumed with guilt and self loathing despite a cheerful outward appearance. As Rin spends time with other girls, she increasingly desperate to remain useful to him. Watching her world crumble was honestly one of the more gripping dramatic stories I could name in anime, and I can't think of another title that went this direction. Hard to believe a silly harem title could pull off something on this level (though only for 3 episodes). While her story was the highlight for me, a few others are decent too.
The end has good and bad points. Rin decides on a girl and their relationship is surprisingly well developed (considering the context of this title). The climax is a tad too melodramatic for my taste, but pretty gutsy all things considered. In case you missed what I said earlier, RIN CHOOSES A GIRL. Yes a harem anime where the guy chooses one!
Shuffle starts so weak I'm surprised stuck with it, but buried in the pile of junk there are a few good stories, and for one shining moment: a great one. The good news is that most of the "other stuff" is stuck together at the front, and it's pretty safe to skip. While I think you need to watch the first episode to get the introduction, you can skip the next 10 episodes (to Ep 12-13). Another option is skip an episode it if you don't like where it's going. Normally I wouldn't advocate the effort of "skipping" bad parts, but they are pretty crappy and I think the second half is worth the effort.
How in the hell can Rin not make a decision is something I found frustrating. Not just because he's the typical harem male idiot, but because he proves how dumb young males can be. Lets take Nerine for example - attractive daughter of the underworld king. She's smart, artistic, and elegant among other things, but lacks the ability to even do simple common things. That's OK though because as princess of the underworld she can have her minions do that. Yes, minions because if you shacked up with her you get to be king of the freaking underworld. There is NO WAY I would turn down an attractive girl who volunteers to marry me, will vaporize people who piss me off, and givie me the added benefit of ruling my own dimension. Hell I'd dump my girlfriend on the spot (this is high school so not uncommon). Maybe even offer her as a sacrifice. Don't like her? Choose the other one and become the king of the gods. Holy crap how could a guy miss a chance like that by agonizing over a bunch of typical template harem anime females?! If every girl is going to throw herself at you, seize the opportunity man!
Itsuki: I always wanted a harem. I think I'll let Kareha join too.
Mayumi: Why am I the only one who's not there?
Itsuki: Sorry, women smaller than a B cup aren't allowed
Screen Caps: >