Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Masato Oosuki’s dream has just come true: he’s been transported into the world of a video game. But for some reason, his doting mother, Mamako, has come along with him?! A whole new style of fantasy comedy, where your mom tags along on your heroic adventures! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Despite having a premise rife for unique comedy gold, Do You Love Your Mom never really gets creative. A lot of the jokes fall into the extremely predictable; such as having Mamako try on racy outfits or having her say or do something motherly, yet embarrassing, in public. It doesn’t help that certain jokes (aka Mamako being in racy, fan service-y poses and situations) are repeated over and over until they become bland and stale. Sure, the show still manages to strike gold with a really unique gag every now and then but there’s no denying that it chooses to rely on the more predictable and racy jokes far too often.
Tom: The best Do You Love Your Mom ever manages is a soft chuckle. Besides the all-together predictable and expected humor, there’s times where the series can’t even offer a punchline. Frequently jokes end without a surprise twist, making the building humor tapper off into nothing. Part of the trouble has to do with the way the series approaches its plot. Because Do You Love Your Mom is so wrapped up in the concept of motherly love, the entire narrative becomes based around that idea. We find Mamako and Masato trapped in a game with a singular purpose: rekindle a loving relationship between mother and son. But by making the series entirely focused on that we have no room to grow or expand. It takes intense creativity to work within such strict confines, and unfortunately the writing doesn’t point to that being a series strength.
Linny: Do You Love Your Mom also has a bit of a conservative bent. There’s Mamako chiding Wise, an early addition to Masato’s party, for her ‘unfeminine’ speech, spouting lines like “Girls shouldn’t talk like that”. This restrictive, gender roles definition of what makes a woman feminine is already disappointing, but then in other scenes Do You Love Your Mom gets outright strange with its outlook regarding female behaviour. As the series progresses we meet additional mother and child couples that have been brought into the game. When meeting Wise’s mother, even though this woman is shown to be an out and out irredeemable person, who abandoned her family for host clubs and went so far as to name her daughter after her favourite host bar employee, Mamako stresses that Wise’s mother is still a mother worth cherishing. The morality and logic of the show is out and out questionable as Do You Love Your Mom makes it clear that in order for people to clear the game and exit to the real world, mother and child need to grow closer. Wise’s mother is eventually able to leave but she never actually learns her lesson and fights and curses her daughter to the very end. How and why this is considered growing closer I don’t know, but sloppy writing like this undermines the emotional drama, even if Do You Love Your Mom is more a comedy than anything else. Compared to Wise and her mother, Masato and Mamako are parent-child goals personified, and makes you question why they were even pulled into the game in the first place. Yes, they don’t have the closest relationship but Mamako is clearly a loving mother and as annoyed as Masato is about her, it seems to not be all that antagonistic and pretty normal for a teenage boy.
Tom: Mamako and Masato’s lack of reason for being in the game is damaging enough to the premise, making the series feel forced and contrived. But another frustrating element, and perhaps more directly damaging, is just how predictable Do You Love Your Mom’s developments can be. Often audiences will understand where the show is going well before it actually gets there. That makes episode progression feel plodding and slow, dragging things out into a crawl for those same banal and low effort gags we complained about above. I will say the series improves somewhat in its second arc (Beginning in Episode 5) but even with slightly tighter plotting the show remains painfully predictable.
Linny: The introduction of Medhi, another girl with mother trouble and the focus of Do You Love Your Mom’s second arc, is actually a solid move in my opinion, as she adds depth to the story. Through her, we get to see the experiences of children who are pushed to succeed at all cost, often facing extreme mental, emotional and verbal abuse or worse at the hands of their parents who justify it all as simply wanting their child to succeed. It’s something that happens in the real world on a daily basis, where parents are overbearing to the point of breaking their children’s self worth. It stands eons above Wise’s arc and gives the show merit. Though, Do You Love Your Mom stumbles again when it decides to make the big discovery of Medhi’s true nature prompt Masato to exclaim that his fantasy of her perfect womanly nature is broken rather than sympathizing or showing compassion with the pain she is going through. It’s a minor complaint though and otherwise, this new arc is something that makes Do You Love Your Mom seem a lot more promising and even relatable than it was early on. If the show can avoid stooping repeatedly to fan service ‘gags’ and instead present unique jokes about this unique premise and build upon its more serious tones, then one could truly find this a recommendable series.
Tom: Do You Love Your Mom really does have potential to be something great. If it could tackle, with realism, the varied relationships between mother and child, addressing problematic elements directly and honestly, it would give the series a powerful undercurrent of authenticity to its drama. Even if the comedy never improved, that would still give the series what it needed to feel worthwhile. Touching on one last point though: The fan service. Do You Love Your Mom can get surprisingly risque, forcing Mamako into tentacle, monster attack soft-core porn that often sees her wrapped in bondage, or stripped of her clothes to the point censorship beams are required to keep this TV appropriate. The first time the gag occurs its sheer shock value makes it worthwhile, nearly making audiences do spit takes at how unexpected its inclusion is. But when we draw from that well again it all feels like a repeat, the same way every other worthwhile gag gets mined to death, without enough variety and innovation to make it feel fresh again. Do You Love Your Mom is a fun idea that suffers from ho-hum execution, and only works if the very concept, well done or not, appeals to you at a core level.