My Love Story!! Review

Is My Love Story!! just another romantic comedy, or is there more to this show than its genre?

My Love Story!! is a show that took me by surprise. When I first looked at a preview of the manga, and then saw it was being adapted into an anime, I thought that it would be a cute romance show to watch. I was correct about that: it is an extremely cute romantic comedy. However, this show surpassed my expectations: it is so much more than a cute love story between an atypical-looking boy and an adorable girl.

One of the things that sets this show apart from many others is how it plays with the clichés of its genre. Let’s look at the concept of the show itself: an “unattractive” high school boy falls for an attractive high school girl. This isn’t the most unusual of concepts: there are plenty of anime that have guys who aren’t real lookers as protagonists. However, My Love Story!! sets itself apart from the rest in its delivery: shows with a male lead in a romantic comedy tend to get bogged down in a lot of fan service comedy, something that has become even more true in recent years. This show goes in an entirely different direction from that, choosing to utilize the qualities of the characters as points for comedic instances. Takeo is also an anomaly in the shoujo genre: not many shoujo stories have a male as the protagonist, and, in a number of stories that have the lead’s attractiveness being called into question as a main focus, there’s more often than not a makeover of some sort. In this show, girls generally don’t find Takeo attractive, but no one comes in to try and change his physical appearance, nor does he himself consider changing it. These starting points make for a refreshing foundation to a refreshing show.

An unlikely pair leads this show in a few unlikely directions.

The writing for the show is, in a word, excellent. Everything is paced nicely, and the characters feel authentic. They are given qualities beyond the typical romantic comedy fare, and a number of issues with romantic relationships are brought up and dealt with in a very heartfelt way. There’s a moment in the show when Yamato doesn’t know how to tell Takeo something because she’s afraid he won’t see her in the same way anymore. This seems like a set-up for the final episode, in which she avoids him and doesn’t say anything. Instead, it happens towards the beginning: Yamato talks to Sunakawa and his sister about her feelings, and they reassure her, giving her the confidence she needs to talk to Takeo about it.

Sunakawa and his sister listen to Yamato's problem, and, in a strange twist of events, offer her useful advice that she takes. It's so nice when misunderstandings get solved realistically.
Sunakawa and his sister listen to Yamato’s problem, and, in a strange twist of events, offer her useful advice that she takes. It’s so nice when misunderstandings get solved realistically.

It seems like most of the episodes deal with different aspects of love and the difficulties that can come with it. Instead of there being a lot of drama surrounding these moments, though, the characters talk it out with one another. Takeo comes up with many questions regarding relationships (romantic or otherwise), and they act as moments of discovery for him. Not only do these questions help his character grow and develop a better understanding of life’s many workings, but they bring up tough issues that don’t have steadfast solutions. In addition, side characters are also given attention, with mini-arcs devoted to a few: Sunakawa’s sister, a friend of Yamato’s and one of Takeo’s, and even Takeo’s parents are given attention. This, in particular, is a rarity in anime, for it seems as if most shows either come up with a reason for there being no parents or the parents are simply never mentioned or shown. Finally, the comedy of this show is brilliantly handled. As mentioned, My Love Story!! finds its comedy in the characteristics of the people in the story, and uses visual gags at times to exaggerate those qualities. A number of these gags are quite creative, and, because of that, are unexpected, making them even funnier.

Takeo's mom on discovering her son has a girlfriend. This moment was absolutely HYSTERICAL.
Takeo’s mom on discovering her son has a girlfriend. This moment is absolutely HYSTERICAL.

The character designs have a nice uniqueness to them, and I like the art design in general. Yamato’s biggest talent is her ability to bake a wide variety of desserts, and the detail in the designs of these goodies is absolutely incredible. In fact, the art direction of the show in general is impressive. I like how certain scene transitions are handled, and the large variety of bright pastels mixed in with more subdued shades really stands out. One flaw that I noticed is that there are times when the height difference between Takeo and Yamato (and likely other characters near him) is inconsistent, discounting of course when it is being done for comedic effect. While the animation itself may not be the most intricate or impressive, the show definitely has its own style.

This is what I love about anime and art in general: the impressive amount of detail and care that goes into the work.
This is what I love about anime and art in general: the impressive amount of detail and care that goes into the work.

The soundtrack for the show has a gentleness to it, but can also be a little more quirky at times. While it may not be the most memorable from a show, it adds to the mood of the scenes. As for the voice acting, each actor is spot on in the portrayal of each respective character. The actors go beyond conveying more than just the surface appearances of their characters. Takeo’s voice actor, Takuya Eguchi, deserves particular attention: while it would be easy to always have Takeo speak in his “manly” voice, during more thoughtful moments, he adds a gentleness to Takeo’s voice that is impressive.

For me, My Love Story!! was one of the best shows to come out in the spring season, as well as the best airing show during a lack-luster summer season. While I may have been apprehensive about Takeo’s superhuman portrayal at the beginning of the series, the positives of this show surpass the negative qualities by a landslide. From the plot about Takeo traversing through the first year of his relationship and all of the questions it brings up, to the characters’ personalities and the comedy that ensues because of them, this is a stand-out romance show. When this show is finally released here in America on DVD, I’ll be first in line to buy it and re-watch all of the heartfelt and hilarious moments amongst these characters. I’m sure I’ll be just as impressed with it then as I am now.

What did you think of the show? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comment section below! Also, if there are any shows you want us to review, mention those as well! You can watch My Love Story!! on Crunchyroll and Hulu. Want to see it without all the commercials? Consider signing up for a Crunchyroll Premium Membership!

The Good

  • The story is adorable, allowing the leads to actually explore their romatic relationship
  • The characters are charming and a lot of fun, with the supporting cast getting some of the spotlight
  • The humor doesn't fall flat, and there are plenty of heartfelt moments throughout
  • The art design is very pretty, with Yamato's cuisine being a real treat
  • The voice acting really makes the characters come alive, with the cast hitting comedic and dramatic notes perfectly

The Bad

  • Takeo's superhuman attributes are a little overdone at times

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About the Author

Cindy Caraturo

Continual student of the Japanese language and valiant attempter at novel (and article!) writing. Enjoys when it's softly raining outside and is an avid drinker of quali-tea. Also thinks she is amusing. Take that for what you will. (⌒▽⌒)

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