Nisekoi – 03

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When a young Raku met that little girl crying about the sad ending to the book she otherwised liked, he didn’t laugh or call her a crybaby. He changed the ending to a happy one. Back in the present, as Onodera lists all the reasons Chitoge (and she, secretly) would fall for him: he’s always helping others when he can. Contrary to the stereotype of the yakuza scion being an entitled prick, Raku is a kind and decent person.

Similarly, Chitoge comes off as a haughty, popular girl who would be the queen of the school, but is actually shy and insecure, unsure of how to make friends. However, since Raku and Chitoge are wound up so tightly by their new forced relationship and all the surveillance that comes with it, neither of them have been able to see who the other person really is. Then Raku, to his surprise, finds Chitoge writing profiles of classmates in a notebook, and to Chitoge’s surprise, tells her he did the same thing, having amassed a wealth of information, and offering to share it.

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So Raku learns Chitoge’s attitude is just as much frustration over the fact her desire to live a normal life as a normal student isn’t working out; while Chitoge learns that Raku can be a kind and generous guy when he’s not putting up a defensive front. Both are under a lot of stress, making it hard to look past themselves and see the other struggling beside them. There’s also Raku’s issue of still being in love with Onodera and Onodera actually being his Happy Ending Dream Locket Girl, but neither being able to say anything on that topic to one another, in large part due to the new situation with Chitoge.

We were hoping there’d be some movement here this week, but even when Raku see’s Onodera’s strange key, he doesn’t connect the dots. So far this is a drama of omission, with both characters being held back by their own hesitation. Doubtless Onodera’s window on Raku will close the longer she hesitates, but as long as she thinks Raku and Chitoge are in love, she won’t budge, as she’s the kind of person to put others before herself. So we’d say the ball is in Raku’s court. If he really loves her, he won’t wait and risk falling for Chitoge. He should take a page from his past self: if you don’t like the ending, change it.

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)

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Nisekoi – 02

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One would hope that in most political marriages, the participants would at least be given a certain amount of time to think about what it means. Raku and Chitoge aren’t so lucky; within moments of learning they’re to be a couple for the sake of peace between their families, they’re tossed into the deep end, and must immediately prove they’re hot for each other in front of contingents from both sides that are itching to start that war.

Under these circumstances, and in spite of the general…er, simpleness of the assembled soldiers, acting like a convincing couple would be a challenge even if they didn’t rub each other entirely the wrong way. So they aren’t that convincing, and it plants the seed of doubt in Chitoge’s own bodyguard Claude. When Chitoge and Raku are all but forced into their first date out on the town, there’s a wonderful progression of layering struggles the two of them must face.

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For one thing, neither of them have the slightest real-life experience with romance. The closest Raku has is his childhood promise to his mystery sweetheart combined with his ideal date with Onodera which plays out only in his head. When he uses that as a template, but Chitoge’s reactions run totally counter to his fantasies at every turn, from the roast of the coffee beans to the genre of film they go to.

While we’re sure the date is no picnic for Chitoge, the fact remains, Raku is going through all this while still harboring strong affection for Onodera. The girl he wants (and who seems to want him) is slipping through her fingers; in the ultimate torture, he has to at least half-play along as Chitoge pretends to be his honey in front of the gang, the yakuza, and Onodera, lest the date and the whole charade fall apart and war break out.

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It’s an unenviable position, to be sure. We genuinely felt for both him and Onodera: lovers fated to reunite but held apart by cruel forces outside their control. That being said, even if she hadn’t just been told Raku and Chitoge were a couple, we’re not sure she’d have not lied to Raku about the locket, which she kicks herself for later. She should, because there’s every reason to believe Raku and Chitoge will eventually warm to each other. Right now their mutual hate is bourne out of clinging to the hastily-formed ideas about who the other is, supported by cherry-picked observations.

In reality, they simply don’t know much about each other. After one date, that’s changed: Raku learns Chitoge is fine with dwelling on the past if it’s romantic, and sees her for the gorgeous girl she is; Chitoge learns that Raku can be chivalrous, attentive, and contrite when necessary. They’re starting to see things in each other they didn’t see earlier because those things didn’t fit their preconceived notions. Logic suggests the more they learn about each other, the easier their fake relationship will go, until one day, it won’t be fake anymore. That would be good for their mutual sanity, and certainly good for their families…but it would suck for Onodera.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

OreShura – 04

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Eita goes to the station to perform recon on Chiwa’s date, and finds Masuzu there doing the same. Sakagami makes her wait an hour, then comes by with his friends to tease her; it was all a prank. Eita runs in and scares them off with Chuunibyou-speak, but when tackles Sakagami when his back is turned, he recieves a beating. Masuzu tosses a pole at Chiwa, who uses kendo to defeat the punks, then apologizes for pretending to like him. The next day Eita has a reputation, and after skipping school Masuzu gives him his first kiss. The next morning, Eita finds Chiwa and Masuzu in his house, and fails to keep them apart.

Due to her mixed signals, we continue to doubt Masuzu’s insistence she’s “anti-love”. Its seems more like she’s “anti-lonely.” She clearly isn’t happy when Eita decides to save the day for Chiwa (the only way he knows how – with a barrage of chuunibyou patter), yet she still throws Chiwa a pole so she can defend herself. While it was the decent thing to do, it was also evidence of Masuzu’s pragmatism. We believe even she herself isn’t sure which feelings for Eita are real and which are fake. We also believe she resents not only Chiwa’s bond with Eita, but her honesty. We’re not huge fans of liars. They only make things more complicated.

Chiwa, for her part, doesn’t even seem all that surprised that Sakagami is a dick. She didn’t really like him anyway. Her mature defusing of the situation with Sakagami (after putting on a kendo clinic) is also no surprise: Chiwa wants Eita, period, and she’s not going to let Masuzu have him. The final act of the episode was perhaps a bit too literal/obvious presentation of Eita’s current problem (if you want to call it that): he has two girls fighting for him and a third – who watched his chuunibyou fight from the shadows – also gunning for him. With his harem quickly expanding, a fake monogamous relationship is about the best he can hope for.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

OreShura – 03

Masuzu borrows from Eita’s notebook to write a script for a dramatic presentation between Eita and Chiwa that will make them more popular. They pull it off, and when Chiwa asks Sakagami out, he accepts, and arranges a Sunday movie date. Eita prepares a celebratory feast for Chiwa, but she doesn’t know why they’re celebrating, and doesn’t know why Eita is okay with her dating another guy. Flashback to when she is first released from the hospital before high school. Eita promises he’ll become the top student, become a doctor, and heal her injuries.

After this episode, we found ourselves disliking Masuzu more than Chiwa, and we honestly didn’t think that would happen. Chiwa loves Eita, and not just as a little brother (she’s actually three months older than him). That was clear in the flashback, when Eita’s parents have abandoned him and her kendo career has been cruelly  prematurely cut short. She wants to make sure he isn’t going anywhere, and he assures her he isn’t. (We also learn that he applies himself in high school for Chiwa’s sake.) So they remain neighbors and very close friends, but never anything beyond friends. Enter Masuzu with her fake relationship with Eita, bourne from her possession of his Chuunibyou notebook.

She comes up with a scheme to get Chiwa a boyfriend, but the only boy Chiwa is really interested in is Eita. The two have had a long, wonderful, caring, real relationship, something far more substantial than Masuzu’s selfish, flimsy desire to deflect attention from herself. But the blame doesn’t rest with Masuzu alone: Eita earns some for being so imperceptive to Chiwa’s feelings – despite improving himself for her sake; while Chiwa earns some for not making those feelings clear enough for someone so dense. Masuzu has only exasperated their romantic impasse. And that’s why we don’t much care her right now.


Rating: 8 (Great)