These past couple of seasons of anime watching has been rather lackluster for me. While there have been a few decent shows, the vast majority of the options have brought me nothing but monotony, or awkward feelings of “why am I putting myself through this ero-fest?” One evening while sitting in bed, flipping through the pages of a textbook, soaking it with tears of exhaustion, a friend called me and prattled on forever about an anime called My Love Story. He was laughing hysterically while trying to put together cohesive sentences. Bored and looking for an excuse to produce procrastinative results, I figured why the heck not? What have I got to lose other than time, which I already like to waste? I opened the laptop, signed on to Crunchyroll and sat through the first episode. That was one of the best decisions I had made all day!
My Love Story is an exquisitely darling and refreshingly hilarious anime series about a boy who’s not your average super-gorgeous, insanely-popular lady-killer. Instead it’s about a boy, who looks extremely intimidating for his age, finally getting the beautiful girl. He saves his heroine from a pervert and doesn’t realize that he’s attracted her interest. Expecting her to fall for his stereotypical shōjo-stud besty, Takeo (our dashing protagonist) is in for a whimsical surprise when the truth ultimately comes out. The rest of the show is essentially a journey through their relationship as they face very realistic and adorable curves along the ride of their love life.
Brought to you by the same studio that has done imaginary works of art such as Ace of Diamond, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Hunter X Hunter (2011), Summer Wars, and Trigun (just to name a very limited few of their extensive repertoire), Madhouse has truly accomplished another stunning feat with simplistic and charming animation for this series. Combined with the directorial talent of Morio Asaka (Nana, Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura), you can certainly expect to experience something of fantastic quality.
Credentials aside, let’s talk about the meat of My Love Story. What elements did I completely fall in love with? Man, I could seriously make a list here… Oh why the heck not. Things that drew my attention and kept me captivated includes the cast of colorful characters, the relationship values and familial values explored, the pure beauty of friendship, the comedy, THE FOOD, and not to forget just how relatable it all is. There is literally something for everyone in this show.
All of the characters in the show have their charm in one sense or another. You have our hero Takeo, who may seem terrifying but in reality is nothing short of a compassionate and kind-hearted teddy bear. Then there’s the studalicious best friend Suna, who’s the introverted intelligent bookworm. His true personality (and adorable laughter) shines through when he’s with his comrade. The female of the spotlight, Rinko Yamato, is so unbelievably cute that you just want to give her a hug and squish her with loves. She’s also an aspiring patisserie, so mouthwatering treats are teased from episode one to the finale. [DISCLAIMER: WATCHING THIS SHOW GAVE ME A SWEET TOOTH AFTER EVERY EPISODE! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.] Takeo’s parents have a loyal, affectionate relationship that leaves very satisfying fuzzy feelings in your tummy. Then there’s the group of friend’s that are brought together to form other new bonds. There is never an altercation in the show between the characters that will leave you feeling depressed or sad. If things do get intense, the afterglow of resolution will leave you feeling very happy and content.
The dynamics of an adolescent relationship are explored between Takeo and Yamato very nicely. You have that beginning feeling of bliss, like everything will be great and perfect forever. But as the bonds between the two deepen and they grow older, having to face new elements of life as adulthood looms forward, they are confronted with their own insecurities and concerns. I love that everything isn’t resolved instantaneously. They both have to work to get the results that matter and that is what makes this show relatable. Relationships don’t have magic stickers that make all of the problems disappear, which a vast majority of shōjo anime tend to rely on. It’s a troupe that is exhausting and overused. But you don’t get that with My Love Story. It really makes you take a step back and examine yourself and the relationships in your own life, whether they are romantic, friendship, familial, etc. It forces you to look at the deeper meanings of the bonds that hold you to another person, all the while being very chaste and pleasurable in its production.
My Love Story is everything that a coming of age story should be without the troupes of excessive sexualization, fanservice, and diluted ideals of love. There is no room for a girl to define herself via the opposite sex, or feeling like a waste of space when her crush ignores her, etc.. It’s heartwarming, real, funny, emotional, and above all else, a tasteful series that just makes you feel damn good when you’re done watching it. My vote for this is five out of five macarons; I recommend this to ANYONE who enjoys the anime genre, period.
(*All images were screenshot while I watched the series on Crunchyroll. I claim no ownership of them, at all.)