It’s Spring and romance is in the air! I feel like there’s always a lot of romance anime that come out this season, either that or the amount of anime released in general has been increasing. Anyways, we’ve got a lot of romance anime to cover this time, some of them I’m genuinely looking forward to and some I’ll probably be crossing off my list. Just as last time, this blog follows the three-episode rule, where I try and watch three episodes of each new anime before making a decision. Sometimes I’ll only get around to watching two due to scheduling or time constraints, but I tend to like to give anime’s a fair chance to show me what they’re all about. Below are the romance animes of the season that I’ve checked out so far. Let me know in the comments below if there is something I’ve missed, and also check out my MAL account to see what other series I’m watching this season.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (episodes watched: 2)
Aka: Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike
I think Wotakoi was probably the romance anime I was most looking forward to this season, and I honestly have not been disappointed so far. The show has held my interest with great characters, believable moments, and a relatable concept. Now that I feel like I’m getting a little too old or disconnected from high school romance shows, it’s great to see another josei romance pop up this season that can really get me excited. Last year was Recovery of an MMO Junkie and this year is another, so far, great otaku-centered show that drops references and generally presents people and situations I can relate to while being pretty damn funny. I would recommend this show for those who want a romance geared towards an older otaku audience.
The story follows Narumi Momose who has just switched jobs into a new company after her ex-coworkers and ex-boyfriend found out she was an otaku. It just so happens that her old friend from middle school, Hirotaka, also works there and is also a major video game otaku. After lamenting to him over some drinks after work that she’s tired of hiding who she is with people, Hirotaka proposes they start dating. But, as the title says, love is hard for otaku.
Even two episodes in, I’m already in love with this series. The characters are great and the comedy is spot on. I can already tell that I’m going to even love the bits of romance between Hirotaka and Narumi as the contrast between the awkwardness of their characters and romantic scenes is probably going to make the romance even more enjoyable because that awkwardness makes you root for them more. Also, the opening is pretty great. The music is fun to listen to and the animation drops references and great moments of short characterization everywhere. Episode two just cemented my love of this series for me with copious amounts of comedy, some gags in the form of old rpg and otome games, and moments of sweet romance. I have a feeling I’m going to really enjoy getting to know these characters and will be looking forward to watching this show every week. If you have Amazon Prime, I would recommend adding this to your watchlist.
Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits (episodes watched: 3)
AKA: Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi
Director: Yoshiko Okuda
I’ve always had a thing for yokai shows, as you can probably tell, and Kakuriyo combines yokai with food anime to produce something fairly interesting. I don’t think this one is directly billed as a romance anime, but given the concept of the show, I think there’s bound to some amount of romance happening. In just these three episodes, I can almost definitely say I’ll be keeping this anime on my list. The characters are fairly interesting, the basic concept hits a lot of what I’m looking for in the show, and the animation is fairly strong.
The story of Kakuriyo revolves around Aoi Tsubaki who has the ability to see spirits and yokai. One day, after her grandfather passes away, a yokai comes to her saying that she is now his wife. It turns out that her grandfather was able to move freely between the yokai world and the human world a deal with the owner of a yokai inn to resolve the debts he had wracked up. Instead of marrying Odanna, the Oni owner of a popular yokai inn, she decides to work off the debt by opening a small restaurant at the inn.
I’ve really been enjoying this series so far. The opening is fantastic, including just the right amount of traditional Japanese instruments in the background to suit the tone of the show. I think the show may include just the right amount of action and healing through food to create a pretty balanced an interesting show. I don’t think it will become something like Restaurant to Another World where it’s mostly a chill, healing anime. I’m predicting more fights between yokai and more moments where Aoi will have to defend herself. Which is another thing I’m liking, the character of Aoi is fairly interesting so far, with just the right amount of backbone to stand up to Odanna and even pair well with him as a foil character. The other side characters seem like they could become likable characters in the future as well if the characterization of them keeps going as it has been. So, overall, I’m pretty excited to see where this one goes.
My Sweet Tyrant (episodes watched: 3)
AKA: Akkun to Kanojo
Studio: Yumeta Company
Director: Shin Katagai
I was super skeptical of this series when I first saw its description. A show that focuses on a toxic relationship where the boy constantly insults his girlfriend is not something that I would ever want to watch. But, I think after watching the first three episodes, I can say that it’s okay, just okay. I don’t hate it like I thought I might, and the three-minute long episodes to help keep things from getting too painful. That doesn’t mean I think it’s great though. There are still problems with the overall premise and I know that if this was a longer-length series I would get tired of the characters real fast. I think if you’re looking for a quick comedy/gag anime to watch this season, this one might be good but definitely be prepared for weird relationship dynamics.
The premise of My Sweet Tyrant is that Akkun is constantly harsh towards his girlfriend Nontan, but is secretly infatuated with her to the point of stalking. To Nontan though, he’s just the perfect tsundere. Each three-minute episode follows some kind of interaction with them as they go about their daily lives. This show is pretty much the epitome of parents telling their daughters that little boys are only hitting you because they like you. It’s kind of weird, but can be kind of funny. I’m very torn right now, but this might become a guilty pleasure trash anime I’ll watch from time to time. Akkun isn’t as insufferable as I thought he would be, he mainly sticks to insulting her but also having moments where he shows affection….kind of like a cat. Yea, Akkun is pretty much a cat.
Tada-kun Never Falls in Love (episodes watched: 3)
AKA: Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai
Studio: Doga Kobo
Director: Mitsue Yamazaki
This was another series I was relatively excited for this season. So far, I have to say I’m really enjoying it. Strangely, though, it reminds me a bit of Nozaki-kun. Maybe it’s the jazzy music in the opening, the stoic nature of Tada-kun, or the hilarity of some of its cast. Whatever reason it may be, it’s a good sign as Nozaki-kun is one of my favorite rom-coms. I had a hard time finding this show though, as I think Sentai got the license for it and it’s only being offered on HiDive. But if you manage to get access to watching this show, I would definitely recommend sticking with it for at least three episodes to really get a feel for if you’ll like it or not. I found myself smiling all through the third episode.
The story of Tada-kun centers on Tada, a boy who has never fallen in love, who meets the Luxenberg transfer student Teresa Wagner while out taking pictures of cherry blossoms one day. Tada-kun dreams of one day being a great photographer, but for now he’s just working at his grandfather’s cafe and taking pictures with the Photography Club at school or any chance he can get. Teresa and Tada start to grow closer though as she joins the Photography Club at school and visits his cafe regularly.
I think I’ve smiled through all of the episodes so far, that’s how much I’ve been enjoying the series. The characters are fairly interesting, with some outrageous ones among the bunch, but they all seem to be starting to get some characterization here and there. I love how the story and backstory of Tada and other characters slowly unfolds through the episodes, with episode three being one of the best examples of integrating moments of exposition into the wider episode and feel of the show. Dogo Kobo has also done a great job on the animation and opening of the show. I have a feeling I would have been a little disappointed if it wasn’t good though considering this is a show about photography and art. So, if you haven’t already, I would highly suggest finding a place to watch this and let me know if you’re enjoying it as much as I am.
3D Kanojo (episodes watched: 3)
AKA: Real Girl
Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Director: Takashi Naoya
I wasn’t sure what to think of this series at the start, and I have to say I’m still not sure what I think of it. It could turn out to be kind of interesting or it could turn out to be pretty average. I don’t see it being terrible from the episodes I’ve watched so far, but it definitely didn’t thrill me. The story is the fairly standard outcasts of school coming together mixed in with otaku references especially for otome games. But with Wotakoi stealing the show for otaku-themed love stories this season, I feel like this one is going to get very overshadowed. If high school romances are more your thing than josei romances, this one may be more for you though. So far I can see some good in the series, and I’ll probably keep it on my list for the time being.
MAL has summarized the plot pretty well for this one: Tsutsui Hikari is an otaku, and he mostly avoids social life. Hikari has only one friend at school, who is also a social misfit, and he is mocked brutally by most of his classmates for being creepy and weird. One day, he ends up having to clean the school pool with Igarashi Iroha, who appears to be pretty much everything he hates in real-life girls. She skips school, has a blunt manner, doesn’t have female friends, and seems the sort to be promiscuous. However, she is friendly to Hikari, and even stands up to the people who make fun of him. Hikari’s bitterness and trust issues lead him to say pretty harsh things to Iroha, but she never dismisses him as creepy. After a while, it starts to look like Iroha may become his first real-life, 3D girlfriend! Will he be able to handle it?
To me, it feels like this series may be a fairly average misfit redemption story. Both main characters are outcasts of their school and continue to collect more outcast friends into their group while managing their relationship. What may be the kicker for me is how the series handles the hard stop it has given itself: Iroha is transferring in half a year. Will they actually make that the end or the series, I’m not sure, but it might add a it more interest to their relationship as the series goes on. I’m a little concerned as well that the characters might be a bit too bland, so if they manage to do the characterization well enough I could end up liking this series more than I originally thought. Let me know in the comments below what you’re first impressions were!
Continuing series: Cardcaptor Sakura
Series dropped so far: Crossing Time, Libra of Nil Admirari
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3 thoughts on “Spring 2018 Anime First Impressions”
3D Kanojo is also leaving me wondering if it is going to be okay or if it is going to end up being pretty terrible. At the moment it has been fairly average and I’ve enjoyed parts of it, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll make it through a whole season. Tada seems to be going a bit better so far.
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