The current anime season rumbles along, providing fans with a lot of entertainment. One show I’ve been following is the romcom Mamahaha no Tsurego ga Motokano datta, aka My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex, the latest in the “oops! our parents got remarried, and now the girl I had a thing with before is my sister” genre of light incest anime story. Keep reading to see if this show should be added to your watchlist!
What’s the Story of Mamahaha: My Stepmom’s Daughter is My Ex-Girlfriend?
In the anime, we follow Mizuto, a light novel-loving high school boy who used to go steady with a girl named Yume back in junior high. Imagine his surprise when his father announces that he’s going to re-marry after many years. His new wife has a tsurego, literally a child she’s bringing with her from a previous marriage, which of course is his ex-girlfriend Yume. Shock desu!
Mizuto and Yume do their best to get used to their new domestic situation. They’re both quite competitive, and there’s the expected battle to determine which of them will be the older sibling in the relationship. We meet the other characters: classmates Kogure and Akatsuki (who are childhood friends), and tomboy-with-a-huge-chest Isana, who has a crush on Mizuto and has to discover if she can be his girlfriend. It’s all very slice-of-lifey and enjoyable to watch.
Visually, Mamahaha is gorgeous, with beautiful visuals in every episode. The fan service is reasonably good, although it’s not in the top tier, either with strictly visual or I-can’t-believe-they-went-there situational fan service. If you dislike sexy visuals in your anime, you’ll probably be fine with this show.
Is Mamahaha Better Than Domestic na Kanojo?
In a word, no. The two stories share a similar core concept, but this is a much simpler and more traditional story, rather than blazing an amazing trail through uncharted territory. Also, if Mizuto and Yume were shaking the sheets back when they were dating, it isn’t showing up in their body language. This leads to a significantly lower-stakes story than Domestic na Kanojo.
My Stepmom’s Daughter is My Ex is a Light Novel Anime
Whenever I watch an anime, I try to guess whether it’s based on a manga story, light novels, or an original story created from scratch just for the anime. You know that My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex is based on light novels because the main character manages to read some in every episode. The anime also contains shoutouts to dozens of famous other novels because that’s the target audience of this show.
This is fine, except…is it okay to admit that anime based on light novels are often inferior to those based on manga or original stories?
Manga are professionally produced comics created by a seasoned artist with several assistants working with them. Manga can be serialized in weekly manga magazines like Weekly Shonen Jump or monthly comics like Monthly Afternoon. The “good” thing about manga is that the huge work involved in producing an ongoing major work means that only seasoned artists with excellent skills will get published, giving us outstanding works like Spy x Family. If you want “amateur” comics, that’s what doujinshi are for.
(Actually, a third category of manga has emerged over the last decade: digital-first works that are published online, which are then printed in paper form only if they get popular enough. This allows for more experimental storytelling and has given us such excellent works as My Roommate is a Cat, ReLife and One-Punch Man.)
Light novels are a unique genre of novels from Japan that are illustrated with anime-style art, which started becoming popular in the 1990s. Light novels come in two types. First, there are stories told by professional writers, like Haruhi writer Nagaru Tanigawa, or Spice and Wolf creator Isuna Hasekura. But since anyone with a laptop can theoretically bang out a novel, this gave rise to a genre known as narou-kei, based on works that got their start on the Shousetsuka ni Narou! website, where budding authors write
fanfiction original stories and accumulate fans, who “like” the stories they enjoy, allowing others to discover them. The stories that stand out the most get picked up by proper publishers like Kadokawa and ASCII Media Works and are often made into anime.
Some narou-kei novels are great, and have really made a mark on the industry, including Re:Zero, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, and my beloved Mushoku Tensei. But others are — how can I put this gently? — poop on a stick, telling boring, meandering stories that have no structure and no destination in mind. Every mediocre isekai anime with a super-long title you’ve watched over the past decade probably started out as a narou-kei novel.
It’s Not Incest If You Say “No Chromo”
It’s funny to reflect that “if she’s not blood-related, she free to be dated” faux incest anime like Mamahaha: My Stepmom’s Daughter is My Ex is an actual genre of anime, alongside a giant robot, idol, isekai and other major categories of storytelling from Japan. Here’s a short list of incest anime for you!
- A Couple of Cuckoos (blog post here)
- The “problematic” anime Citrus
- Recently My Sister is Unusual (aka My Stepsister Is Being Tormented By the Ghost of a Girl Who Loved Me by Putting a Magical Chastity Belt On Her So She Can’t Pee)
- Eromanga Sensei (“I don’t know anyone by that name!”)
- Onegai Twins
- NakaImo: My Sister is Among Them (which girl is the true sister?)
- Kiss x Sis
- Aki Sora
- The Irregular at Magic High School (mostly playful banter, but…)
- Oniichan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n da kara ne!!
- Kana: Okaeri (aka the best incest visual novel ever published)
- Finally, the PSP game version of Oreimo
But where are the stories about actual, real-blood siblings? Only a few examples exist, and they are some of the most amazing anime stories if you’re into this kind of thing. Yosuga no Sora, Koi Kaze, and Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru are three examples that come to mind. Got any more?
Thanks for reading this post exploring the new Mamahaha: My Stepmom’s Daughter is my Ex incest anime. Are you enjoying the show? Post your comments below, or reply to us on Twitter!
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