Until the release of season 2 of Nisekoi: False Love, I had completely forgotten the names of most of the cast save for our two leads. But I did remember everything that had happened last season which is rare for me as most romantic anime shows are excellent in their familiarity to the tropes of the genre but still hopelessly generic. Every cast, while different from the last, still conforms to the expectations of the audience and so can’t help being the same, show to show. But because Nisekoi’s cast made such an impression on me, I slipped back in and was cuddled in five minutes by their energy and enthusiasm.
How do you continue a franchise that started on a slow burn, became super popular and to this day has a legion of fans the world over and not trip over yourself? Well, the answer will surprise you because it’s certainly not Ghost in the Shell and unfortunately, it’s not this film either.
I feel ill-equipped to talk about My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU simply because the show talks about school life better than anything I could say. Through the pitfalls and perils of being in school, the show has a handle on what it’s like to be the object of scrutiny and ignorance. Even as the characters fumble around, trying to understand each other, we learn that the show values them figuring themselves out more. Even when it’s being happy or sad, the cast finds themselves learning about an inner reservoir they didn’t know they had.
Sometimes, in the course of doing so, we are confronted by the same questions that every person dreads: why am I alive? What’s my purpose? Who would miss me if I was gone? Add to this the questions that a person who hurt others and regrets it now must also ask: could I have done things differently? Am I causing more trouble by being around than simply going away? Beyond The Boundary has all of these questions and more but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Raku’s life is getting more complicated by the day. Not only does he have Kosaki Onodera as his object of affection, his fake girlfriend Chitoge Kirisaki is starting to have doubts about whether she’s still faking being in love or if she actually loves Raku. On top of that, Raku gets Marika Tachibana, the daughter of the local police commissioner, who was promised Raku’s hand in marriage by his father when they were five (not this promise stuff again!). So will the path of true love run smooth? Not by a long shot, from the strength of these episodes.
I don’t like Mamoru Oshii as a filmmaker. I’ll make no bones about that. While I’ll always love Ghost in The Shell and the Patlabor series, the rest of his work both before and after these two are what drives me nuts about the guy. One of the worst offenders is a title he collaborated on with Yoshitaka Amano which I suppose represents the worst excesses of the animation boom in Japan in the 1980’s and the best example of where some creators were trying to push the industry. It’s called Angel’s Egg and it is rotten.
Raku Ichijo loves Kosaki Onodera but Kosaki thinks of him as a friend. Ichijo is the son of a Yakuza boss and life for the most part is pretty good with the occasional headache from his family. One day, to prevent a bloodbath between his father’s gang and an American gang who’ve moved into town, Raku’s father agrees for the American gang leader’s daughter, Chitoge Kirisaki, to pretend to go out with Raku for the next three or so years. Chitoge is none to happy with this since she’s already gotten off on the wrong foot with Raku by literally landing on his face. In the middle of all this is a locket that Raku wears in honour of a promise he made to a girl when he was five. The girl in question has a key that will unlock the locket and identify her to Raku. Guess which girls in class have a key of some sort? So Raku likes Kosaki but has to go out with Chitoge.