September 17, 2017
Shomin Sample follows a student who is the only boy in an all-female academy. The series is a harem comedy based on the antics of an average boy interacting with many sheltered girls who have no idea what life is like outside of their academy.
The protagonist of the series is Kimito, who an incredibly average student while being friendly and considerate. Although he is nice, he is not above pulling pranks on his friend’s due to how they believe most of what he says. The premise of the show has Kimito being abducted and enrolled into Seikain Girls Academy to help make sure the girls there have a basic understanding of what the outside world is. The reason that Kimito was chosen to be a part of the school is due to how average he is and because the school believed he was gay with a muscle fetish. Kimito has to keep up the façade of having muscle fetish or risk being exiled and castrated due to knowing about the existence of the academy. During this time he makes friends with a variety of different girls setting up all kinds of misunderstandings.
The girls of the academy include Aiko, a girl who desperately wants to try to make friends but her shyness hinders her. She befriends Kimito and studies what he is like since she believes learning his “commoner” ways will help her to make friends. She is also very gullible and believes most of what Kimito tells her, no matter how outlandish it is. One of the first girls Kimito meets in the academy is Reiko, a very kind and formal girl. At times, she is almost too formal when trying to be nice. While Reiko is usually well mannered, she sometimes becomes aggressive towards Aiko. She also has an awful singing voice. A chance encounter leads Kimito to meeting Karen, a samurai in training who considers Kimito her rival when he “defeats” her in combat after she wildly swings her sword around, making her fail to land a direct hit and tires herself out. She vows to one day defeat Kimito, but that is mainly just an excuse to spend time with him. The last girl that Kimito befriends in the academy is Hakua, a brilliant young girl who is soft spoken and reserved. Initially, she kept to herself until she met Kimito and began to spend time with him. She will at certain points start writing down very elaborate and complex equations wherever she can.
The story follows Kimito and the girls’ activities around the school turning into awkward situations. They end up forming the Commoners Club to understand better the life Kimito lives. However, when it comes to a more dramatic tone (like many harem anime), there was only one major conflict at the end of the series. This is when Reiko has to leave the school when she finds out her mom has arranged her to marry someone making the entire gang sad at the thought of losing her. The Commoner Club wants Reiko to stay at the academy instead of leaving, and the club manages to reach her after fighting samurais, drones, and a giant mech of all things. But besides this major storyline, most of the series follows the typical formula you see in harem anime.
Most of the comedy comes from how clueless the girls in the academy are with what ordinary people have to deal with as well as social cues. Some examples of this include being excited to have a cup of ramen for dinner, being shocked by the carbonation of a can of soda, and not knowing coffee is hot. Mostly harmless tropes that you see in anime. However, one recurring joke that has become too familiar that I did not enjoy is how Hakua consistently takes her clothes off. Hakua was fine when being cute but I would rather not have her naked as a recurring joke. It lessens her as a character and compromises what could have been an enjoyable series. There is also a decent amount of fan service with the other characters so liking this series will depend on how tolerant you are with that. It certainly can feel uncomfortable considering some of those scenes focus on characters thighs since that is what Kimito is actually into. The taste of what the series shows can come into question and could leave a bad taste in viewer’s mouths.
Other jokes in the show are what you would expect like falling on top of a girl and landing in a compromising position or Kimito ending up in the hot spring when girls begin to arrive (you could easily name 10 shows that have the same stuff). There are also tsundere’s with Aiko and Karen who don’t do much to subvert the archetype. The show doesn’t break any new ground with its jokes, but the execution is done well enough for the jokes that it doesn’t bother me. However, this might mean that Shimon Sample decided to play the safe route and not try to break barriers, especially since that could make things worse. It doesn’t do anything to set itself apart from other harem series.
The English dub for the series was better than I expected. The main reason that I point this out is that the main characters are voiced by relatively unknown voice actors. They all do a good job as there are no line reads that take me out of the show and make me think it sounded bad or awkward. It is worth noting that Shomin Sample was a Funimation broadcast dub and thankfully the short turnaround time did not affect the quality of the dub. Dallas Reid provides a great performance as Kimito. He nails the role a good man trying to survive while surrounded by a bunch of naïve girls. Sarah Wiedenheft also gives an excellent performance as Aika. She helps to give the feeling of a rich girl who talks a big game but cannot back it up. I can easily see both of them coming back for more roles in the future.
The set itself has standard features. Like most FUNimation Blu-ray sets, there are clean opening and ending animations, an episode commentary, and trailers for other FUNimation titles. The biggest extra is the Shomin shorts. These are six 3-minute shorts showing small activates the cast partakes in. I would have preferred if these shorts were dubbed, but that did not take away from my enjoyment. The set discs look beautiful with bright pastel colors that fit the light color scheme the show has. The theme of bright colors is also used with the menus.
Overall Shomin Sample is an average harem comedy. Nothing that the show does is particularly new and original. The characters are entertaining enough to make the show enjoyable to watch. If you are a fan of harem comedies, you might enjoy the series, but if you aren’t, Shomin Sample won’t do anything to change your opinion towards harem comedies.
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CO-Founder/CEO of Geek E inc. Productions. Also the founder of ToonamiFaithful.com. You can hear him on the Toonami Faithful Podcast and Two Strangers One Podcast (which is featured on the side bar).