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Ore Monogatari!!: A breath of fresh air

I avoid 'romance' anime titles like the plague. The bulk of them have a predictable plot, with a group of girls filling the various archetypes (tsundere, kuudere, yandere, etc) vying for the male protagonist's attention. Hilarity ensues because said male protagonist happens to be the most dense character in the whole show while the girls' methods get increasingly extreme. To add to the misery, the ending normally focuses on the confession, showing little or none of the dating process after that. So much for 'romance'.

On the bright side, there are a number of shows that break this mold and Spring 2015's Ore Monogatari!! happens to be one of them. I actually stumbled upon this series more than a month after it started airing, completely ignoring it while checking out the various anime charts for 2015's Spring season. I was sold once I read the synopsis that essentially stated that the burly, muscular male protagonist gets the girl while his suave and clean-cut best friend has no interest in romance. Now, it has become a must-watch every week.

The anime subreddit was waxing lyrical about the popular shoujo manga's anime adaptation. Manga readers praised the attention to detail, especially the tiny notes that appear beside each character from time to time, displaying their thoughts and how well the cast was portrayed. New viewers enjoyed the pleasant surprise that Takeo and Rinko officially enter a relationship by the third episode along with the various tricks that the series had up its sleeve.

No, it wasn't a typo in the previous sentence. Protagonists Gouda Takeo and Yamato Rinko are indeed a couple by the third episode. Ore Monogatari!! is a breath of fresh air in this regard, focusing on the actual relationship along with the highs and lows that come with it. However, this was only possible with Sunakawa Makoto, the aforementioned suave and clean-cut best friend. 

He's an excellent counterpart to Takeo, providing subtlety whereas Takeo may be more forthright. Makoto breaks away from the 'guy in the know' archetype as well, giving Takeo and Rinko the push they needed to confess to each other and progressively lending a listening ear to the both of them in times of need. Characters who usually fill that role end up more as a spectator than anything and that is frustrating, for me at least.

I like how the anime emphasizes the friendship that Takeo and Makoto have as well, showcasing how opposites truly do attract. Numerous flashbacks are shown, often consisting of Takeo having an embarrassing childhood moment, often a result of his over-enthusiastic personality and Makoto getting him out of said jam. However, Takeo had his fair share of heroics as a child, cheering up Makoto on their first meeting and forging a solid friendship from then on.

The pacing of each episode is admirable, having a good mix of comedic and romantic moments while progressing the plot steadily. 24 minutes feels like 5 and I applaud Madhouse Studios for that while faithfully adapting the manga where other studios might cut certain aspects out in order to speed things up. From the characters' 'thought notes' to Takeo's exaggerated reaction when Rinko's birthday wish was to spend the whole day with him, the attention to detail is astounding.

For anime viewers looking for a romance title that's a breath of fresh air, Ore Monogatari!! is the perfect series for you. Although the story does take a while to get going because of Takeo's initial ignorance, I'm thankful that it was only two episodes of wild goose-chasing rather than a whole season's worth. From an anime I stumbled upon to a weekly must-watch, I highly recommend Ore Monogatari!!.

Written by ET

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