Lovely Complex

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VivisQueen's avatar By VivisQueen on Jan 19, 2008

Story

Listening to several of my female friends over the years complain that they could never go out with a guy shorter than them just because, I get the impression that the ‘short guy: no go area' has become one of those unspoken rules for which there is no rational explanation. Let's be frank, it just doesn't fit the ideal image of a heart-stopping romance; how will the guy carry the girl over the threshold with such puny arms? How will he gaze down into her sparkling eyes as they embrace under the moonlit sky? And their first kiss is certain to be a cringe-worthy debacle. Well, in a bid of justice for the vertically challenged male, Lovely Complex has kindly asked the rules of love to get lost.

The bulk of LoveCom hinges upon one girl's frustrated pursuit of a boy, and although not strictly a new idea, this premise comes without the usual corniness that has haunted nearly every romantic comedy since the dawn of animation. Granted, the scenarios used to develop Risa and Otani's relationship are as unique as sliced bread, and include the familiar playing at the beach scene, the Japanese festival setting, the twist of the interfering bishounen, and the inevitable Valentine's Day episode. However, the ways in which the two protagonists react within those familiar scenes are hilariously dorky and make LoveCom a refreshing drama as well as a heart-warming romance.

While Risa's thwarted efforts easily make for the most memorable moments, their cliché nature is only enjoyable because the more serious height complex is never sidelined. Both Risa and Otani grapple with their insecurities on a regular basis; for example, while the girls around her often rely on their cuteness to attract boys, Risa is aware her height makes that option impossible when trying to win Otani - which is especially vexing when his ex-girlfriend is so adorable. What is commendable about the performance is that, rather than bludgeon us with the hollow ‘it's what's inside that counts' message, LoveCom actually portrays the characters in such a way that their personalities easily outshine their unconventional appearance. As the series progresses, Risa and Otani's height difference becomes less and less obvious, and, instead, I find myself more interested in their attempts to overcome their complexes.

My only complaint is that, as the ending approaches, LoveCom starts to take on a slightly different focus; a couple of  contrived plot developments are tacked on seemingly just to fill up air time, and, while still enjoyable, LoveCom takes on an anticlimactic ‘end of an era' feel.


Animation

With colours ranging from cheerful yellows to bold magentas without actually searing my retinas, LoveCom has an appealing summery look quite unlike many other romantic anime; while choosing to be bright and upbeat in tone, LoveCom avoids soft pinks and powdery blues and is thus neither overtly pretty like Ouran High School Host Club or dream-like in the way of Bokura ga Ita. On the other hand, motion is not animated as smoothly as it could be; but this isn't too much of a drawback considering LoveCom more often than not tries to capture extreme actions rather than smooth, subtle mannerisms.

More importantly, the animation of Risa's facial expressions deserves the credit for producing the biggest laughs. Only Ouran, Tengen Toppa, and Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan have had the honour of making me guffaw like a loon while hunched alone in front of my PC. In my experience, anime humour can be quite hit and miss, and while I might think ‘this is funny' in my head, I rarely actually laugh; but LoveCom makes peeing my pants an inevitable outcome just because of Risa's animation.


Sound

First, the bad news: LoveCom's soundtrack is suitable but includes mostly nondescript piano music which is not worth enjoying as part of an album. Specifically, the first pop opening theme and the more sedate ending theme are enjoyable on a basic level, but the second set of themes is nothing more than mediocre.

The good news is that Otani and Risa's voices are flawless (as are all the others), and my favourite voice actor by far has to be Otani's; his boyish charm does not just make for great comedic highlights but is also incredibly engaging when he is being serious.

Moreover, the exaggerated sound effects during the humorous sketches boost the comedy's effectiveness to stellar levels; for example, the echoed repetition of ‘rice' during one scene made me crack up so hard that my rib has been complaining ever since.


Characters

Personality compensates a lot for the unusual pairing of Risa and Otani, with great attention being paid to their peculiarities; to borrow a cliché, I feel I know these characters as well as I know my closest friends. The rest of the cast, on the other hand, are a sturdy support system for the two main characters, although, ultimately, not that memorable.

I imagine that for many female anime fans like myself, Risa will be easy to identify with, just because she suffers from a graceless dorky streak, can't pull off a cute demeanour even when she tries, and has unconventional tastes. For example, her obsession with a bishounen game character, and her family's subsequent mournful reaction, remind me of the numerous times my sister has tried (and failed) to cure me of anime. Being a refreshing change from the heavily-breasted femme fatales and the wide-eyed baby dolls found in so many other titles, Risa's entertainment value is through the roof.

Confident, devoid of any conceit, with concrete goals in life, a positive outlook, and plenty of wit, Otani is a charismatic person with a highly likeable combination of traits. Unlike so many male leads who take the stoic bishounen approach or else act like bumbling virgins, his personality, aided by the fantastic script and voice acting, makes it very easy to understand why Risa is besotted with him; in fact, his unconventional height is easy to forget because of this.

Most importantly, the two character share a natural chemistry which makes them believable not just as good friends, but as a compatible couple too. While much romantic comedy begins with the ‘bolt of lightning' scenario where two random individuals meet and are drawn to each other for some inexplicable reason, LoveCom portrays something far more realistic; Risa and Otani have known each other for a while, get along in an ordinary sense of the word, and actually manage to rub each other the wrong way on many occasions (to great comedic effect). Their compatibility thus springs from the ordinary things they share as friends, and from the realisation that they feel the most comfortable with themselves when in each other's company. The ultimate effect is heart-warming without being saccharine.


Overall

With a unique premise and such fun, well-developed protagonists, LoveCom is not just an upbeat story with a few comedic highlights, but a show that effortlessly evades the usual banality of the romcom genre to outshine almost anything else on offer. If you happen to be looking for a generous helping of the feel-good factor but want to avoid the side-order of stale cheese, then look no further than LoveCom.

7/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
roxanne410's avatar By roxanne410 on Jan 4, 2013

Lovely complex takes the cake as a romantic comedy anime.

It made me laugh as much as Ouran high school host club,

Made me cry as much as Kanon. 

The story follows Risa, an overly tall japanese student and her rival, Otani who is very short for his age. The entire plotline follows their life through highschool and the drama that ensues between them.

One Enjoyable factor of this anime was the strength in the female lead. She was not afraid to speak her mind, and broke the stereotypes that many animes carried. While she remained a little bit clingly, she was able to express herself when it came down to it, and did not wait for the boy to come to her. 

The anime gave me the warmest feeling every time I've watched it, and in total I have completed the series 5 times over the passed two years or so. It ends on a high note putting a great end to a fantastic series. 

If this anime was a novel, it would be what we call a 'page turner'. The only downside to this series is when you begin to watch, you really can't stop. The beginning is a bit slow, but by the third episode it begins to get really good and therefore it is a high recommendation of mine. 

I loved how every single character gets closure and not a single story is left unsatisfied. The english subs were completely accurate, and has left me on the ground in streams of laughter due to the hilarious dialogue and comical depictions of the character.

I would reccomend this anime to anyone who loves a good story, a happy ending and a good laugh.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
maaii's avatar By maaii on Feb 18, 2010

Story: It did it for me! :p it made me laugh and it made me cry. I thought the story was unique. Definitely not your usual school life type of anime!

Animation: Maybe not the best possible animation but the facial expressions were priceless!

Sound: Also good. i liked the opening theme.

Characters: The two main characters were amazing and it did not take long at all to get close to them. I loved their humor and i loved how they cared for one another and were willing to work things out.

Overall: I will highly recommend this anime to anyone wanting to see no cheesy romance but rather a romantic-comic relief type anime. It was amusing and it kept me going..well i have to admit i pulled an allnighter on that one. I was curious to see how things will progress. The ending was also cool! i was not dissapointed at all! So if you haven't seen it yet, go for it! :)

9.5/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
KittyEmperor's avatar By KittyEmperor on Feb 15, 2011

The Story: Well I guess you could say that it's your standard love story with the usual not so usual couple.  In the case of Lovely Complex the young couple to be is Risa & Otani and what might be so unusual about them well Risa is taller than your average girl and Otani is shorter than your average guy.  The difference of their height leads them constantly bickering between the two of them.  Though of course the inevitable happens and one of them falls in love with the other.  Which in this case it's Risa who first realizes her feelings for Otani.  What comes next is the basic standard girl tries to get the attention of the guy and the guy makes things difficult in more ways than one.  This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the series.  The only real problem I had with the story is that more towards the end it seemed that some random plot developments came out of nowhere and were only used as filler.

The Animation: What you get with Lovely Complex in the animation department is about what you would expect from your typical romcom.  The characters animation as a whole is fairly good especially things like facial animations and such.  Though the backgrounds tend to be rather bland and was only there to act as background.  It rarely did anything to help set the mood of things and only in the more important scenes did it take any real effect and actually try.

The Sound: Risa's and Otani's voices are near perfect with it completely capturing the characters personality.  As for the soundtrack it does its job but it still isn't anything close to being special or memorable.  The openings and endings were kind of a hit and miss sort of thing.  With the first opening and ending being decent enough to get a listen to every couple of episodes or so.  But the second opening and ending were average at best and after hearing them once I saw no reason to continue listening.

The Characters: With Risa and Otani being the main focus of the series it is of course only natural that they get more screen-time than the rest of the cast and by the end of the series you will actually have come to know them both very well.  But where this series is lacking is the supporting characters.  Risa's best friend for example Nobu is probably the third character besides the main two who gets the most screen-time and that's only because she is usually giving Risa advice.  Then what's probably even more sad is the fact that the character Umibozu probably plays the biggest role after Nobu.  Another major flaw with the series is that some of supporting characters weren't used to their full potential like for example Otani's exgirlfriend Kanzaki or his childhood friend Mimi.  These characters as well as a couple others felt like after they played their little part in the story they were forgotten and only when they were remembered were they used for little one or two minute appearances.

Overall Lovely Complex is probably one of the better romcoms currently out and doesn't take itself to seriously that it can still be funny but keep enough drama that it stays interesting.

7/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
Quizap's avatar By Quizap on Aug 22, 2010

Some parts of this dragged and dragged and dragged. Took me like 2 or 3 days to get to episode 15 and then stalled it out for a good 3 or 4 months because I was aggravated with Otani’s stupidity. And then.. Risa’s stupidity level went through the roof in the latter half. Really, the best parts of this series were the last two episodes. They were executed very well and the animation was great. For that, I’m giving it a higher score then I originally was. Another thing that got on my nerves was the southern dialect. I had such a hard time trying to figure out some phrases and such even though I had subs going as well. In the end, it was an alright anime with a great, very predictable ending.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
8/10 overall