And so we come to the end of winter introductions, this time with a series I’ve been looking forward too. It’s got some differences from the manga, but so far the core remains just as charming.
To give some perspective for what this is like, i’m stating what I liked about the manga. The overall premise of having two reluctant lovers, faking love, or childhood promises is nothing new. But what makes it so charming in Nisekoi is how it derives its comedy. Instead of the usual ecchi accidents in harems, it gets its jokes from the forced romance between Raku and Chitoge(its literally a “romantic” comedy). These two are clearly pissed about faking love to stop their yakuza families from fighting, so the tsundere act between them is somewhat justified.
This wouldn’t really work though if the leads weren’t likeable. But much like the story, it utilizes cliches with innocent self-awareness. Raku and Chitoge are far from complex characters, but they’re good-natured souls who just happen to be in an annoying situation. And while their erratic chemistry is quite amusing, it’s the moments of genuine affection in between the fights and acting that makes me giggle inside. Onodera’s chemistry with Raku isn’t nearly as amusing, but their mutual unrequited feelings make for a cute alternative pairing. Kana Hanazawa was a perfect fit for her character(for To Love Ru fans, it’s Mikan voicing Sairenji).
The only major changes I can find thanks to Akiyuki Shinbou are the art direction and comedic timing. The manga’s art was clean, detailed, and expressive, while the anime goes for a minimalist, but stylish approach in it’s presentation(multiple cameras, lack of contrast, etc). Both the manga and anime get over-the-top with their comedy, but they are two different crazies. The manga follows a straightforward pattern of normal, goofy, and crazy. The anime follows the bullet-time pace of something like Bakemonogatari, albeit slower. This doesn’t surprise me considering this is a Shinbou show, but it does get distracting at times. Luckily it fits the wacky comedy most of the time. Oh, and there’s Shinbou’s signature head tilts.
With me dropping two shows from my already small list, i’m thankful that this one remains fun. I already know what happens from here on out, but Shinbou has done a pretty good job to streamline it for new audiences. Expect me to blog this more often!