I’m very excited to review Nisekoi because it’s my brother’s first romantic anime. Okay, I know you might’ve read and watched a lot of shoujo and this is nothing new but this is my brother we’re talking about. He slept through Kimi ni Todoke, played Pokemon while watching Ore Monogatari and refused to try Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. He just doesn’t like romance. I don’t know if he avoids it because hello boy stereotypes, but when I talk with my friends, their brothers don’t seem to be bothered at all by gender over genre preference.
When my brother is suddenly able to finish Nisekoi, I cannot help but just fangirl over it. Like I’ve been trying for so many months to convince him and he just makes this sour face as if romance in itself is a profane subject matter. He’s really missing a lot.
So what’s up with Nisekoi? What distinguishes it apart from all the shoujo anime I push to recommend to my little brother (who’s actually not so little anymore)?
Apart from the fact that my brother’s bored (we just finished One Piece what do we do with our lives), I think it helps that this anime is told from a teenage boy’s point-of-view (it’s actually a shounen!) Though I won’t say Raku is a relatable character, the fact that he’s an heir to a Yakuza throne set us up for a little bit more humor than glitters and fluff common to shoujo titles. Don’t expect, okay? Romance is romance. The classroom is bound to suddenly get windy even with windows closed so the shoujo’s hair flutters in the air but you get what I mean.
More than the romance, what probably gripped him is the mystery. To give you a brief overview, this anime is about a guy waiting to find his first love. The girl who holds the key to his locket and the one who he promised his future. As it happens, he actually has three childhood friends and all of them have keys. Conveniently too that no one remembers the vow made at age five.
I’ve been arguing with my brother on this point. I keep telling him that it just can’t be possible that you forget the name of your first love. I was three when I first had my crush and until now I remember his name. What more to the person you pledged your future? Names are easier to remember than events no?
I want you to remember as I am now – lots of things about me. The [girl] who became such a lovely [person] for your sake. I want you to look at me more. I’ll flaunt myself to you, that’s what I’ve made up my mind to do. From here on in, I’m going to make sure you won’t forget me!
As the series goes on, however, we’ll notice that the point is not actually to find the key holder. What weighs more is now than what was. In the end, the judge will be Raku’s feelings at age of 16.
I realize this as I and my brother begin to root for Chitoge. You weave your own theory and the center of your assumptions will point to the character you choose. (Isn’t that what harem is all about? Choosing?)
Imagine my brother cheering for a ship! “I can’t believe I’m watching this,” he says.
Curious as to why we put our money on Chitoge?
It’s perhaps because Raku becomes his real self whenever he’s around this girl. And despite removing off his kind and gentlemanly mask that he parades in front of Onodera, he still remains his coolest. There are no awkward silences between the two because they don’t try to filter out conversations. They’re pretty straightforward and they know what they can expect from each other.
I don’t like how Raku’s always tethering around Onodera. How he avoids offending her or how he keeps on telling himself ‘ah, it’s impossible that she’s trying to mean this.’ Everything feels underhanded even though it’s pretty obvious that they both like each other. He’s trying to please her too much at faux point.
Whether it’s Chitoge or Onodera or God forbid Marika, it’s all up to our protagonist. Season 1 ended without the reveal (can you believe that?) but I guess it doesn’t matter. Not to Raku and not to me. And maybe not anymore to my brother. I doubt we’ll even watch the second season.
Up to you if you’re going to give it a shot despite the warnings. It’s harem, teenage-ry and, at times, petty. Not to mention the animation was just weird it became a pain in the ass.