Enjoyable when it acts like a harem comedy.
Falls flat on its face when it tries to get real.
Kaede’s psycho bits overly disturbing.
Fan service breaks into loli territory.
If I had known that this anime was based off a dating sim game for the PC, I wouldn’t have even bothered. But I didn’t, and I did.
At first, Shuffle is OK. Not good, not bad, just OK. It wastes little time setting the lead character Rin Tsuchimi up with his harem of ladies to choose from, and lets the stupidity, lame jokes, and fan service go from there. There’s no way any of this would work in real life, but who cares? It sets things up for some laughs and cheap panty shots of high school girls. If it just would have left it at that, Shuffle could have been enjoyable. A bit of mindless fun and guilty pleasure.
But then Shuffle does try to get real, and that’s when it falls apart. You already had to suspend disbelief that this would ever work, and the anime turns around and shows you what you already knew. On top of that, the reasons for things not working swing from what-the-fuck (Sai) to complete psycho (Kaede). At least you’ll have Nirene, Primula, and Asa to still give a hoot about. But Shuffle can’t even do that right, because Asa’s refusal to do the one thing that could keep her alive is downright asinine, and it takes another bit of psycho on the part of Rin to lull her into it.
The ending takes the cake, because everyone’s best of friends again after all the drama. Even psycho Kaede. Sorry, but suspension of disbelief only works once.
PS: Kaede’s type of psycho is far from funny — it’s dark and disturbing, and rather unfitting for a series relying on hijinks to keep your interest.