Sunday, October 8, 2017

REVIEW: My Love Story!! (anime TV series)

My Love Story!! is a 24 episode high school romance/comedy series. It’s licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

My review includes spoilers.


Takeo Goda is the kind of guy other guys look up to: strong, honorable, and kind. Unfortunately, he’s also the kind of guy girls steer clear of. Even though he’s just a high schooler, he’s huge and looks like he might be some kind of gangster. For years, every single girl Takeo has been interested in has fallen in love with his handsome best friend, Suna, even though Suna always rejects them. It’s gotten to the point that Takeo is resigned to this.

Then one day Takeo comes to the rescue of a girl being molested on the train. The girl, Rinko Yamato, brings Takeo baked goods as a thank you, but he immediately sees what’s really going on: she must be interested in Suna, just like all the other cute girls Takeo has liked in his life. Takeo really likes Rinko, so he decides to do the honorable thing and act as matchmaker between her and Suna. But does Takeo really understand Rinko’s feelings as well as he thinks, or is something else going on?

I’ll just come right out and say it, since it’s revealed so early on in the series: Rinko actually likes Takeo. Really, really likes him, from the moment he first came to her rescue on the train. When I first started watching this, I assumed that she initially liked Suna and came to like Takeo the more time she spent around him, but nope. She really, truly likes Takeo a lot. His looks, his personality, everything.

I was iffy about this series at first, but gradually grew to like it, although I did still have some issues with it by the end. The things that bugged me at the beginning: the feeling that Takeo would have dated literally any cute girl who asked him out; Rinko’s excessive cuteness; and Suna’s kind of blah personality.

I could understand why Rinko fell for Takeo. He helped her out during a scary situation, he could swoop to the rescue like an action hero, and he was completely unashamed of his love for her homemade baked goods. It also helped that guys like Takeo were apparently her type. However, as far as Takeo’s feelings for Rinko went, viewers were shown that Takeo had previously fallen in love with lots of other cute girls. What made Rinko any different? Later in the series, another cute girl developed an interest in Takeo, presumably as a way to show that Takeo was really interested in Rinko in particular and not just cute girls in general. Still, it made me wonder if it was all just due to timing. Would Takeo have fallen just as much in love with that other girl if she had asked him out first?

Rinko’s cuteness put me on edge at first. Surely she couldn’t be as sweet and nice as she seemed? Like Suna’s older sister, I doubted her. Surprisingly, I grew to like her a lot, and I appreciated that she and Takeo made an effort to involve Suna in many of their activities. Considering how lovey dovey they were, they could easily have opted to ditch him, and Suna, being who he was, probably would have let them.

As for Suna, he gained a lot of depth as the series progressed, eventually becoming one of my top favorite characters. He was unusual for a romance series character, even a relatively minor one: handsome, yet completely uninterested in romance. Fans have apparently head canoned him as either gay or aromantic. I consider aromantic to be more likely. Early on, he tells Takeo that he’s just as interested in girls as the next guy, but that dating and romance seem exhausting.

I was a little worried that he was going to be paired up with one particular character later on in the series. I absolutely didn’t want that to happen, and I’m a little appalled that there are fans out there who rooted for them as a couple. First off, had the genders had been switched, most people would have considered that girl to be creepy. Even she admitted that she was a stalker. Second, I actually liked things the way they were, with Takeo and Rinko in a happy romantic relationship and Suna enjoying their happiness and also occasionally enjoying some alone time with a good book or three.

While the series sort of went in the direction I hoped it would, I was disappointed in the way every single character hoped that Suna would one day end up in a romantic relationship, even if it wasn’t with that particular girl. A little explicit recognition that it’d be fine if Suna continued to be single would have been nice. After all, at no point in the series did he seem at all unhappy about being single. In fact, he even asked Rinko and Takeo not to play matchmaker with him.

Although I found the way Suna's potential romance was handled to be slightly disappointing, I was absolutely horrified with the “practice kiss” bit. At the end of episode 6, Takeo decides that he needs to practice kissing so that he’ll do a decent job when he and Rinko get to that he tells Suna that he’s going to practice on him, and he should be a man and not complain about it. He then covers Suna’s face with plastic wrap so that their lips won’t touch. The actual kiss isn’t shown, but it’s still an incredibly awful couple of minutes.

I have no idea why anyone thought this would be an okay thing to include. I suggest skipping to the end of the episode as soon as this scene starts - it’s only brought up one other time in the series. Which, honestly, is another reason why it shouldn’t have been included in the first place. It should have been traumatic enough to affect Suna and Takeo’s interactions in the next few episodes, and yet for some reason it wasn’t brought up again for quite some time.

A review that mentioned the “practice kiss” was actually a large part of the reason why I waited so long to buy this series. Overall, though, it was pretty good. Takeo and Rinko were incredibly nice and sweet characters (aside from the scene I already mentioned), and I was frequently reminded of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, although Sawako struggled to gain the acceptance of her peers while Takeo was at least loved and accepted by the guys in his class. Most of the minor characters were also a lot of fun. Like I said, I grew to like Suna (not sure if he counts as “minor,” though). I also adored his older sister and really liked the girl who developed a crush on Takeo. I looked forward to seeing how the guy at the end of the series was going to get shot down - he was fun to dislike.

Additional Comments:

I watched the entire series in Japanese with English subtitles. I decided to give the English dub a shot and, to my surprise, I actually like it. Takeo’s voice in the English dub was gentler than his voice in the original Japanese, but I felt like the casting decisions were pretty good. The spirit of each character’s voice was still there. That said, I should note that I didn’t watch the entire series with the English dub - I didn’t get to hear what any of the characters after episode 8 or so sounded like.


My biggest complaint about Sentai Filmworks releases, aside from the price, is their often skimpy selection of extras. In this case, all you get are clean opening and closing animations and a few Sentai Filmworks trailers. I suppose I should be happy they included a dub - I own a few similarly priced Sentai Filmworks releases that didn’t have a dub when I bought them and then got one later. Re-buying a title so I can hear the English dub is tempting, but generally my dollars are better spent elsewhere.

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