Jeez, is every Japanese teen super shy and have no confidence? That’s the feeling I get watching Nisekoi.
Nisekoi starts off dramatic, showing a flashback from 10 years ago of two children playing and falling in “love” with each other. A “let’s reunite in the future” promise is then made between the boy and girl with a locket and key involved. Cut to the present you learn about the main character. Ichijo Raku, a high school student and son of a Yazuka boss, has future ambitions of growing into a responsible adult with a normal life. On the way to school, he meets a girl who is face first into her knees as she jumps a fence in a hurry to get to school. Back at school Ichijo gets helped by Onodera Kosaki, a classmate who he has a secret crush on while at the same time she has a secret crush on Ichijo. Hilarity then ensues, as the teacher announces that there is a new transfer student and turns out to be Kirisaki Chitoge, the girl that he met when she was rushing to school. Ichijo and Kirisaki then argue about their dislike for each other when Ichijo realizes he lost his locket that he received from his first love and believes it was lost when he collided with Kirisaki. After convincing Kirisaki to help him look for it they gradually start to dislike each other more before it gets found. Afterwards, Ichijo’s father tells him that he must date a girl from a rival gang to prevent a war between the two gangs. To make matters worse it turns out to be Kirisaki. Yakuza gangs, a love triangle, and a fake relationship that needs to be maintained. As the rest of the series goes on, it introduces new twists involving the mysterious locket. Turns out that Onodera and Kirisaki both might have ties to Ichijo’s past as they have memories from 10 years ago of making a promise to a boy.
The first episode was enjoyable to watch as it setup the premise of the show nicely in one episode, but as the show progresses it starts to drag. It’s just another romantic comedy hitting all the beats except the main story of the show feels dragged out with no real reward. The episodes just start to feel like the same crap of teens too scared to share their feelings because of lack of confidence. That’s fine if that’s the mood but no need to show it every damn episode. With a series that will tend not to have as many episodes, pacing becomes even more of an issue so that aspect felt off to me. Just feels like the characters aren’t growing or growing fast enough for me to care about them and it becomes annoying to watch.
What I do like about it is the characters, artwork, music and comedy overall makes it fun to watch. At least in the beginning. Pretty much all the characters are likeable and the secondary characters you end up hoping they show up on the screen more. The artwork is pretty good except for a few episodes when animation scenes for a background got reused. The comedy in the show is what I think kept me watching and it does have some good romantic scenes as well. The music I think is what helped the anime feel better than it was because the music was pretty good and made certain scenes feel good that would otherwise be “eh”.
Towards the end nothing really compels me to keep watching other than my OCD of wanting to finish it and move on to the second series of the show to finish that off as well. The all-around pacing of Nisekoi, including the 2nd season, made the series drag. Some episodes felt like fillers when there should be no filler episodes in a short series. In the first half of the first season, at the end of an episode, you would get a little bit of comedic part after the credits and eventually those stopped. In the second season some episodes would just feel broken up into 2 episodes. Nothing really felt paced consistently. They eventually even stopped talking about the relationship of Ichijo and Kirisaki as needing to be necessary. Nothing involving the yakuza or gang that Kirisaki is from get mentioned. That made me kind of sad because I think them involving yakuza/gang into this huge romantic mess could have made it funnier. By the end of a season 2, it just feels generic and the same as other romantic comedies. Nothing new is brought to the table in the Rom-com genre. It didn’t help that it went from being 20 episodes to 12 in the second season. That might be why they started to break up some episodes into 2 parts. Nisekoi has some moments but unless you really like romantic comedies I don’t see the point in watching.
Episodes: 20 (1st season) 12 (2nd season)
Director: Naoyuki Tatsuwa and Akiyuki Shinbo
Writing: Akiyuki Shinbo and Fuyashi Tou
Cast: Kana Hanazawa as Kosaki Onodera
Kouki Uchiyama as Raku Ichijō
Nao Tōyama as Chitoge Kirisaki
Kana Asumi as Marika Tachibana
Mikako Komatsu as Seishirō Tsugumi
Takehito Koyasu as Claude
Yumi Uchiyama as Ruri Miyamoto
Yuuki Kaji as Shū Maiko
Producers: Atsuhiro Iwakami, Hiro Maruyama, Hiroyuki Kiyono and Mitsutoshi Kubota
Music: Sho Watanabe and Tomoki Kikuya