Great characters and even greater supporting characters grace this beautifully animated, well paced, and funny series involving a group of people in the Narutaki apartments.
Nope, don’t mistake it for another of those apartment harem shows where the guy gets to hit on all his neighbor girls. Don’t mistake it either for that similarly named average anime of 2003 called Maburaho. Mahoraba is, simply put, nice. You got a slice-of-life comedy starring our usual dorky male lead (but with a bit of backbone at least) named Shiratori. He’s moving to an apartment near the city because he’s taking his art class there. And so he goes to Narutaki-sou, a seemingly classic provincial inn, very different from the rest of the concrete metro jungle. The inn itself is like a self-contained park, with lush greens and nice atmosphere.
While it seems like heaven to live in, the people who live there make Shiratori’s everydays a living hell. A megane drunkard, a camera touting freak, an incompetent mother and hardworking daughter, and an old puppeteer round up the rowdy comedic crew. They give Shiratori trouble in many ways, including the seemingly routine beer and slumber party every night. The only saving grace is Narutaki’s apartment manager, Kozue, the main girl in this series. She’s kind, sweet, and extremely cute. Kozue-chan has some addiction to umeboshi (pickled plum) as well. Shiratori and Kozue serve as the main pair of the series. Unfortunately, Shiratori still has trouble, because Kozue-chan has some sort of multiple personality sickness! Everytime she gets surprised, he transforms into either one of 4 alternate personalities. A rowdy punk gal, a cute kid, a cosplay addict, and a quiet magician. After some time though, she transforms back to normal kind Kozue-chan. Aside from the already excellent main cast, the supporting cast shines. They are as interesting as the main ones, and maybe even more, if only they had adequate screentime. One particular character, a voodoo freak girl, gives me a laugh every time, especially when she does the “curse me more” bits.
The animation is perfect for its theme, and the music is great too. The pace is really slice-of-life, with the necessary comedic parts and some occassional drama. The story is rather coherent, although some may want more when it comes to the ending (but don’t we all). The anime producers did some of its creative freedom especially near the end, because its original manga series is ongoing, but it never feels forced. All in all Mahoraba is a very recommended watch if you want some kind of warm, fuzzy, and funny heartful days feeling in your anime.