This is a show I was not only excited for once it got announced, but immediately delighted by it the moment it started airing. The characters are great fun and likable from the very start, the over the top almost-fucking-dying stuff is pretty silly in a good way, and this idea of a big burly not-usually-the-main-character guy being the lead were intriguing – especially when his best friend looked like most main love interests in romance anime for a few years now and he turned out to just be the most amazing friend imaginable. The big thing though that got everyone’s attention and me almost as much was that Takeo and Yamato get together only a few episodes in to a 25 episode series. Even if the show was only 12 or so that’d be a pretty big deal. Yes, there are other anime that have couples early on or midway through, but still especially for a fully romance focused show that’s always a pretty big deal. It sets it into completely different style of the romance genre and in anime one that’s not used as often as it should be (though this is far from the first time it has been), both in the unique lead character’s design and in the couple getting together already.
I love romance, it’s easily my favorite genre (and sub-genre) and this started out hitting all the right notes along with some unusual ideas mixed in throughout – at least that’s how it felt early on. Right about halfway through the show I began to really notice a few problems – big ones. They don’t outright ruin the show, they don’t make it significantly less lovable or sweet, but they do drop the overall enjoyment and quality of it a good amount and ends up giving you a solid feeling of disappointment in them wasting so much potential.
Takeo and Yamato’s Love
The feelings these two share for each other is never actually given any meat – they both just fall in love at first sight and that’s about it. There’s never any development to it and the only things Yamato lists off for what makes her love him so much, even later in the show, is that he’s hot and has sexy attributes. Oh, and he’s “cool”. Now I hate when people make you try and say why you love someone, but she did and it was all even after they’ve been together awhile just about the first time they met. The same goes for Takeo, only his side is more pure, he just thinks she’s adorable and perfect and is in a constant honeymoon because this is his first ever relationship.
Starting the show out with that is fine, starting the relationship out with that is questionable in real life but fine as a way to give the show a nice big early boost…but never ever developing those feelings further or deeper at all? It’s to a point where I have to wonder how their relationship is still even going. Neither one is in it for sex but neither one is really in it out of love either, this is a relationship built on first impressions, looks, and a guy who realizes he has no other options because all his past crushes have wanted his best friend (no really, this is canonically a reason in the story and the entire background for the character). You can’t have a romance and not give those feelings reason to exist in some form or another especially when one of them has questionable motives to feel love toward the other (Takeo’s bad luck with girls, yet finally one confessing to him). They could have put off getting them together for awhile and still got them together earlier than usual, they could have simply focused on developing their feelings after, but instead they just made them a couple immediately based on nothing and never really fleshed out the “love” between them – instead we just hear them say they love each other often so we assume they do even though there’s more evidence that there isn’t much love there at all, rather just a physically-lead crush and a good opportunity both making them believe they feel that way.
An Inconsistently Childish View of Love and Relationships
Takeo and Yamato are too pure, chaste, and overall perfectly sweet. There’s a limit before it goes from adorable to annoying, and this show crossed it awhile back. These two even after awhile now of going out can’t even stand near one another without getting incredibly embarrassed, nervous, blushy, and of course s-s-s-s-s-stuttering. It’s ridiculous. These two don’t need to be going and pounding at Suna’s house or anything but they can’t even handle holding hands for the most part after being a couple this long when that should have been happening day 1 pretty regularly any time they were together. Instead they started this relationship like 10 year olds with their first crush and “girlfriend”/”boyfriend” and somehow have not ever grown past that. They haven’t even HUGGED after fourteen fucking episodes. There is plenty for a couple to do and plenty of fun, sweet, cute, and interesting ways to show development of their relationship – yet the show opts to avoid absolutely all of that.
On top of that there’s things like Yamato flipping out about not going to MM World because of a fucking “jinx” rumor. Is she fucking 12? No, but she acts like it…but only sometimes when it suits the retarded path of this motionless ‘story’.
As for inconsistent, you might recall a point in the series when Suna’s sister has a serious talk with Yamato in the park (along with an awkward-feeling Suna) and it ends up with Yamato saying the truth about what she’s been hiding and why she feels so ashamed when Takeo says how pure she is. It’s because she wants to hug, cuddle, kiss, make out, fuck, fuck, and fuck. She outright says it herself. She is a normal teenage girl – yet this is the ONE AND ONLY TIME she ever appears to be one. This entire scene is completely fucking forgotten and the things she wished for so seriously just wiped from her memory the moment the episode ended. She shows no interest in moving the relationship forward and no initiative either.
Spinning the Tires
This connects a bit to that last one. Nothing happens. I’m perfectly fine with a slice of life story about a couple. Hell, the few that exist are shows I actually thought were fantastic. However, “slice of life” doesn’t denote “nothing fucking happens” contrary to popular belief – especially when you’re dealing with something like romance. The mangaka was clearly afraid of writing drama; either because of their lack of skill at it or because they wanted this to purely be a sweet love story. I don’t know which but either way any time something that may cause any level of drama comes about it’s cut off, forgotten about, or ends up being the typical generic-as-fuck anime trope of being a misunderstanding. For a show that seems to be doing so much different from the norm it’s almost so by the book that it’s grating at times. The worst part is that this is also another inconsistent feature of the series – there’s no drama, but they sure didn’t forget to include entire plot points to create drama that never actually happens and even bring things up that otherwise serve zero purpose being brought up like the stupid fucking ‘jinx’ or ‘maybe shes cheating’ or ‘why is suna being so strange today’.
I’ll get back to that stuff, there’s another issue though and it lies in what I already went over: the main relationship. This is a series where absolutely every single character and the relationships between them remains identical to when it started throughout. Rather, it has, and I don’t see that changing at any point from here on after they proved it won’t in episode 14. There has been no real development of any of the characters whatsoever aside a handful of moments depicting a bit of backstory for Takeo, Suna, and occasionally Suna’s sister. That’s it. We never learn more about these characters and more importantly they never fucking change. Nothing fucking changes in this show. Everyone is as they began, and Takeo and Yamato’s relationship fits that as well. The two have taken absolutely no steps since actually getting together – that was the first and last moment that relationship ever went anywhere. I mean even by episode 13 Yamato was still not understanding the concept of “communication” after the last time she did this everyone thought she was fucking cheating and that was ages ago, yet over a stupid rumor about an amusement park she – yet again – refuses to explain her stance and just tells Takeo I WON’T EVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE GO WITH YOU THERE without a single bit of context no matter how much she’s asked until someone guesses correctly why she feels that way.
They do end up going but as a group and that ‘jinx’ ends up being a pointless attempt at drama by the creator, just like something else in this same little 2 episode arc; the return of Suna’s sister and her serious love for Takeo. Her feelings for him have always been shown as very deep, sincere, and ACTUALLY DEVELOPED unlike Yamato’s so I don’t mind it coming up, however we already gave her closure way back. This ends up being brought up again out of nowhere simply to create some ripples in an otherwise completely still fucking pond and yet not only does this go nowhere and – oh, what? OH, NOT ONLY DOES NOTHING FUCKING CHANGE YET AGAIN given she doesn’t even fucking confess…but? Oh, the story relies on the always amazing, wonderful, and super believable device of “interrupt them at the key moment” in this case with the loud speakers at the park relaying a message about the parade starting soon just as Suna’s sister was finally going to make something happen.
Why bring Suna’s sister back up – or rather I’m fine with her coming up by why bring her love for him back up again? We resolved this nicely before, and instead now she’s shoehorned back in, the entire story at this point hints at SOMETHING changing (even if simply Takeo and Suna’s sister’s friendship becoming awkward or something, let alone something as big as him breaking up with Yamato and getting with her instead) and yet again jack fucking shit occurs. THEN WHY INTRODUCE THIS ‘PLOT LINE’? What fucking purpose did these two episodes serve? No characters developed, changed, or took a single step forward. Takeo and Yamato’s relationship didn’t move at all. Suna still hasn’t gotten with Nanako like he fucking better. Suna’s sister still never confessed her feelings, feels the same as always, and ended up just as sad and pitiable as the last time her love for him came up in the show.
What was the point? The point was to create imaginary happenings in the show to trick the viewer into thinking “something happened”. Nothing did though. This, like almost everything in the show, was a non-event. By the way, “drama” doesn’t necessitate dumb shit – go look at Nana, Honey & Clover, Cross Game, or even Nodame. You can make drama more than misunderstandings and unrealistic unnatural forced shit shoved in to cause a disturbance. This part with Suna’s sister could have easily developed such a thing as ‘real’ drama and without much consequence aside finally making something happen. But no.
For 14 episodes the same story, the same events, the same tropes and cliches, and the same entirety of the episodes all just being Yamato going WAAAIIII!!! and KAKKOI!!!! over and over again with Takeo making silly faces and going “AHHH I LOVE HER SO MUCH” equally as often has continually repeated itself without a single hitch. You can even have that, and have comedy, and have no drama, and still make a great show with developed believable characters and stuff happening, this just didn’t bother. I don’t need drama, I don’t need these two having sex, I don’t expect this to be Nana or Cross Game or anything else like that nor even Maid-sama or even a show that spans childhood to having children and is full of slice of life and comedy – Itazura na Kiss. I just need actual substance of some kind. Even Lucky star has more to it and more momentum than this show and this relationship, and that’s literally a show that purposefully does nothing.
A Misunderstanding of Sweet
Have you ever seen Sukitte Ii Na Yo? Well if not you should, but I’ll just say the main couple is together in episode 2 and then continues on as a slice of life (with one hitch later on) about them being a couple. As a side point, the love there feels believable and the relationship happening so quickly seems natural within the context, unlike here. Anyway, if you’ve seen the show or not – it’s just incredibly sweet, but its’ ACTUAL sweet. Ore Monogatari is a series that is sugary fluffy bullshit sweet based around dumb shit and then going the generic trope route along with it. In Sukitte they not only manage developing the characters, building the relationship, and having shit happen – but they also manage to even make the slowest and most seemingly meaningless things incredible.
For example, there’s a scene in one of the episodes where they go to the guy’s house and sit on a bean bag chair he has. She sits between his legs and he holds her and that is the scene in entirety. Yet it’s heartwarming, sweet, adorable, and feels warm and genuinely loving. You can feel their feelings in even those simple moments, let alone everything else in the show. That is how you make a sweet mostly story-free romance, you make the normal day to day things you experience as a couple into something incredibly special and meaningful (without falling in to the stupidity of typical shoujo romance where flowers explode in the background as fireworks launch in the air and meaningful imagery flies across the screen), and Ore Monogatari simply fails to ever achieve that instead replacing it with the same WAIII and AHHH SO CUTE constantly with a side of Yamato almost dying for no reason out of nowhere to create 30 seconds of “some kind of event” every other episode.
I do have some big issues with this show and it’s pretty lackluster once you do more than just glance at it and say ‘dawww’, but I still enjoy the hell out of it. Every episode is a fun watch, the directing is top notch (as you’d expect from the man who directed Nana), and while it fails as a romance it succeeds at still being entertaining and very cute. So by no means am I trying to say the show is bad as comedic entertainment, but that’s kind of the only area it succeeds in. As a romance, as a story, as a character focused show, it fails at everything but making pointless meandering between almost an entire cast of almost entirely undeveloped characters into a somewhat enjoyable yet consistently disappointingly-vapid 24 minutes.
Unless the next half of the show has some incredibly drastic changes this entire show was just completely pointless and less rewarding and less well crafted than even your typical fully generic romcom. This series is sweet but more in the cotton candy light, fluffy, and empty unfilling way that ends up giving you an upset stomach because it’s nothing but sugar – even then, this comes with none of the stickiness that gives cotton candy that enjoyable texture.