On the heels of an overall excellent second season to the Monogatari Series, Shaft director Shinbou Akiyuki brings us Nisekoi (“False Love”) which brings his visual flair and theatricality to a more conventional school rom-com. While Ichijou Raku (Uchiyama Kouki…hey Alice!) first meets Kirisaki Chitoge (Touyama Nao) by chance (thanks to a knee to the face), the titular “false love” is a creation of their respective families, both powerful yakuza clans. Now that’s a potentially ridiculous twist, but it works for us.
LBJ’s biographer Robert Caro said that LBJ and RFK were akin to two dogs who, for whatever reason, just didn’t like each other, and never would, despite being in the same political party and sharing a similar vision for their country Long before they know their dads are planning their betrothment, Raku and Chitoge are like this. Raku takes Chitoge’s accidental face-knee as a deliberate attack and quickly condemns her as a vicious, ill-natured, acrobatic gorilla. Chitoge is instantly turned off by Raku’s inability to let things go, diagnosing him with a persecution mania and questioning his manhood.
Here’s the thing: they don’t just stay away from each other; their upbringings have imbued them with a sense of honor and responsibility for their actions, so Chitoge agrees to help him until his locket is found, even after he releases her in a fit of anger that even he feels bad about. With their clans inching towards war, they’re now being called upon to work together for the greater good, like LBJ and RFK. Those guys never would really like each other, but there’s definitely hope for Raku and Chitoge. But wait, you ask…who’s that second girl on the promo art; the brunette? That’s the third part of the love triangle, Onodera Kosaki (Hanazawa Kana).
While introduced as Raku’s kind, trusty platonic friend and classmate, and someone Raku is currently crushing on, turns out she’s the one with the key to his locket, the symbol of their agreement ten years ago to marry when they reunited. It might’ve been an accord between little kids gradually forgotten by others, but not Raku or Kosaki haven’t. Kosaki now knows Raku is the boy, but hasn’t told him she’s the girl. So as Raku begins a fake romance with the heiress of a rival clan for three years, Kosaki’s choices are limited.
Rating:7 (Very Good)