As we teeter at the precipice of both a New Year and a new anime season, so the coming weeks should be filled with new shows to delight in and... well, roll our eyes in exasperation at, most probably. First out of the gate for winter 2010 is Ladies versus Butlers!, the latest in a line of light novel adaptations which seems to be the "in" thing in the industry right now.
This particular series introduces us to the Hakurei-Ryou high school, although you can hardly label it a run of the mill high school by any count. Instead, this establishment seems to serve a dual purpose - Firstly, as a "finishing school" of sorts for well-off young ladies, and secondly as a training ground for servants, namely maids and butlers. At the centre of the former class of student seems to be a girl known (rather suitably, given her fiery temperament) as Flameheart, and also the school's current number one student, Saikyou Tomomi.
While all seems peaceful and relatively serene, this relative normality is broken by the arrival of a new transfer student set to train to be a servant - Hino Akiharu, a rather rough and ready looking fellow who soon inadvertently brings chaos to the school campus. It's at this point that the show's true colours are revealed, as we shift from a somewhat elegant opening half into a cornucopia of panty shots, breast groping and worse, complete with the kind of ridiculously thick "steam" and blacked out shots that we've come to expect with regard to censorship of said shows.
Having introduced some characters who are at least vaguely interesting, as are the relationships between some of them, it's actually pretty disappointing (if not unexpected) to see Ladies versus Butlers! jump down this route at the earliest opportunity, saturating its opening episode with fan service in the hope of making a quick win in terms of the show's popularity. It's to be expected from the makers of Kanokon I suppose, and I have no idea if the light novels take this particular route, but I'm hoping there's going to be more to this series than titillation, otherwise it's going to quickly hit my rarely used list of dropped anime.