I hate flowery intros, so let's just get into it.
Nisekoi is a harem romcom, duh. But it's somewhat satisfying that its assigned genre - harem romcom - is actually what this show is, 100%; it's about 70% rom and 30% com, with literally nothing else sprinkled in. Most romcoms are uncleverly disguised as fantasy, sci-fi or slice-of-life via the facades of school clubs, battles, antagonists or an ongoing plot. But here we are, in our plotless and largely storyless romcom with not a single silly school club to distract us, and so we can focus on the three factors that matter the most in these types of shows: the harem, the romance, and the comedy.
Now, in an ideal romcom anime such as Kimi ni Todoke or Ore Monogatari!!, this 70/30 balance can be utilized to provide nonstop fuzzy feels interspersed with occasional side-clutching hilarity. It's a good balance, and one that never fails to entertain. These shows are a wonderful use of my time.
I suppose it goes without saying that Nisekoi is not one of these shows. Let's get into why, starting with one of the most important elements of any anime, but especially a plotless romcom: the characters.
This show has seven characters that are worth mentioning: two guys and five girls. Of course, they're all tropey cardboard, so they don't need names and only two need any discussion at all; I will quickly run through them by listing their roles instead.
Most harem romcoms are intentionally infuriating because the viewer will be rooting for their favorite character, who of course will never win (though really, in 90% of such anime no one ends up winning, so...). Meanwhile, the author will pick his or her own favorite pairing and drop a continuous stream of not-subtle hints indicating that the undecided couple has, in fact, been decided. This sucks, because we rarely get a cathartic conclusion, but at the same time the lack of a conclusion gives the illusion that our respective favorite characters still have a chance. So, we draw much of our enjoyment from deluding ourselves into thinking our preferred pairing could work.
Now, here's where we get into the next problem with this series: the author is a sadist who ships Worst Girl.
Putting my own personal tastes aside, Worst Girl would still be a terrible person to hang out with in real life. There are few bigger rejections of the male character as a human being than being close to a tsundere - tsunderes are narcissistic, elitist, and condescending. Every word that comes out of their mouths is derogatory, and when they stop speaking it's only to ignore and dismiss the object of their affection. And of course they display this "affection" via an annoying combination of insults, compliments veiled as insults, and physical violence. Tsunderes are terrible people, and only the most diehard masochist would want to spend time with one.
Short interruption while I do a bit of damage control with a disclaimer. Occasionally, a well-written charcter will initially be presented as a tsundere, however through solid character development will then grow into a complex, realistic-feeling human. I refer to this type of tsundere as a "tsundere with a soul."
So, the author ships Worst Girl. And Worst Girl is the worst kind of tsundere - one without a soul.
What this means, in context, is that every scene involving her stradles the line somewhere between boring and unbearably painful, depending on how much "romance" is involved. And since this is the canon pairing, we as viewers are supposed to accept this and (hilariously) delude ourselves into believing these characters are developing and gaining real feelings for one another when in reality they are completely incompatible.
There is a moment in the 19th episode where the protag, after one of Worst Girl's typical tirades that for once actually strikes him close to home, thinks to himself, "Why should I have to take all that?" Well, we've been asking the same question since episode one, and the answer is crystal clear: because the sadistic author is writing the two of you together and using a ridiculous amount of plot armor to keep the whole thing from falling apart.
(Oh, by the way, after the protag thinks this to himself he decides to man up and stick up for himself. Her reaction is to slap him across the face and storm away, causing him to feel bad and go back to sucking.)
The worst part of the author's sadism is, of course, the fact that the protag likes Bestgirl and Bestgirl likes the protag, but they're both too stupid to admit it and the author has to write ridiculous levels of plot armor in order to protect his own precious pairing with Worst Girl. Of course, this part is my own personal opinion, but I am certainly not alone (nor even in the minority) regarding this.
As for why Bestgirl is best - well, that's because she's adorable. Though she's just as stock as the rest of the cast, her only true "flaw" as a human is her epic levels of shyness, but even that at least isn't an unrealistic trait. Oh, KanaHana helps, too; is it possible to not love a character voiced by KanaHana?
Now that we've covered more or less all that needs to be said about the characters, let's get into the rest of it.
Presentation first. Since the story is a purist harem romcom, it spends the majority of its time bouncing between tryhard comedy and unbelievable romance. And since we've already covered that the stock characters really aren't worth watching, that makes the majority of the show overwhelmingly bland and, quite frankly, difficult to get through.
In actual practice, the story flips back and forth between episodes devoted to Bestgirl and episodes devoted to Worst Girl. In each, the pairing of the week will experience a series of awkard comedic interactions that ultimately build to a romantic flag moment, which inevitably implodes and leaves us more or less where we started. Part way through the series, Boring Girl is introduced, and near the end Entertaining Girl finally makes her appearance; though these two characters each get a watered-down version of how Bestgirl and Worst Girl are treated in an episode or two apiece, for the most part they are just comedic distractions from the two main heroines.
There are only two episodes that defy this format. The first, episode 1, is nothing but a bunch of absurd comedy that occasionally even crosses the line into being hilarious. The second is episode 20, which in addition to being hilarious is also the only well-written episode in the series. Worst Girl even briefly apologizes to the protag for sucking before promptly returning to sucking.
Characters, story and execution are the meat of any anime, but they need visuals and sound to hold them together and actually make the anime, well, watchable. And this is where I have to turn positive.
The visuals are SHAFT, which always makes me tremendously happy. Though character designs are a little plain, they're faithful to the original manga, and each character possesses a distinctive appearance that makes them enjoyable to watch. Backgrounds, in classic SHAFT style, typically flip between detailed, plain and nonsensical to reflect the mood of each particular moment in each individual scene. For comedic effect, characters are occasionally reduced to chibi appearances, often during internal monologues. The animation is fairly top-notch, though in this genre there's not a lot of opportunity to display that quality. The exception is in the opening and ending animations, which are pleasent and interesting to watch; I probably skipped them less than half the time.
On the sound side, the most obvious note is that voice acting is superb. Can we please take a minute to reflect on how lucky we are as viewers, that we can experience Kana Hanazawa, Nao Touyama, and Kana Asumi all in the same anime? ............Thank you, moving on. The background music is fairly well-done and typically fits the mood of each scene properly. In particular, a couple pieces used for certain comedy scenes really stuck with me and made me laugh. I was a little disappointed in the opening and ending themes, however; though they were vaguely catchy and well-presented, none of them really stood out as being particularly unique, and even now (about an hour after finishing the series) I can't remember a single one of them.
So here we are, and here's what we've got: a harem romcom full of stock characters, boring presentation and ridiculous character interaction, saved somewhat by great visuals, wonderful voice acting and generally enjoyable music.
Sadly, I can't really recommend this to anyone in good conscience; there are better harem romcoms and far better "single pairing" romcoms, and this one just doesn't make the cut.
If you enjoyed this and are looking for harem romcoms of similar flavor but better quality, I recommend taking a look at Clannad, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, and The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. For similar dynamics but with more comedy and much more fanservice, try To Love-Ru. For a similar feel but with a solid story and even more crazy SHAFT visuals, try Bakemonogatari.
Final score is a somewhat generous 4/10.
Final thoughts: it had promise, and I loved the voice acting. But ultimately it was a phone game show, and I'm not enthused by the thought of watching season two.
Nisekoi is a brilliant show. If you're a fan of romantic comedies, you won't be disappointed. I won't be writing a full review as there are quite a few good ones already. Instead I'll just share you my thougths on Nisekoi.
Now, before I go any further I would like to asure you that I did make a mistake in the ratings. The overall rating reflects mainly on two points; potential and how it compared to the one-shot.
I rarely read manga. In fact, it wouldn't be far off to say I never read manga. However, through some weird coincidence, I found a copy of Nisekois one-shot literally two days before the anime came out and after a quick peek at it I felt I just had to read it. At this point I hadn't ever heard of Nisekoi and I obviously had no idea they were going to make an anime out of it.
In any case, I read through it and fell in love. I was quite sad that I hadn't heard of Nisekoi before and I was hoping they'd eventually make an anime out of it. As it turns out they had already been working on it and two days after I had read it they aired the first episode.
The actual review:
If you've seen a lot of animes categorized under 'romantic', 'harem' and 'comedy' you'll probably know where Nisekoi is going after the first few episodes. There are really no surprising plot-twists, or rather, they're all so used up that I knew what was going to happen before the end of the previous episode.
You have your usual childhood friend, her helpful friend, and the sudden appearance of a fiance, who all mystically fall in love with the protagonist.
And then there's the protagonist. He (Raku) is your usual thick-headed (at least when it comes to love) guy. The kind of guy that nearly every viewer hates.
None the less, it wasn't all bad (thus the 7 for story). If you've seen the show you'll know what I'm talking about and if you haven't I really don't like to give any more spoilers so you'll just have to see it for yourself.
Now, as pointed out earlier, the overall grade of 5 might seem weird to most of you, but it reflects on the two previously mentioned points; potential and how the anime was made compared to the one-shot.
This show has a lot of potential. Some of it was, unfortunately once again, discarded when the studio was reviewing (read: re-writing) the plot so that the show would sell better (thus is ended up lowering the score). It's nothing new so let's not spend time on that. Also, this show was obviously meant to have 24-26 episodes. As for why it was cut short I have no idea, or rather it was probably for the sales (which also lowered the score).
As you can see, I gave the animation, sound and characters a 9.5 each. The only reason the story got a 7 was the one-shot. To point out the main reason for this (so as not to give out any details about the plot) is that the one-shot was more compact.
In fact, compared to the one-shot (a.k.a. the original story) the story made almost a full 180-degrees turn. The story in the one-shot was more of a pure love story, and not your main-stream harem junk (btw, I don't dislike harem, but why ruin a good story with that s...?).
All in all it's a good show worth watching, but if you've read the manga, be warned that you will be disappointed - heavily.
This is a story of a promise made long ago by a boy and a girl. A promise to one day marry if their paths ever crossed again. A promise sealed with a lock and a key. Ten years later is where this anime starts. The boy's name is Raku Ichijo and he has never forgotten the promise and keeps it close to his heart with the locket that sealed this promise. However, time has passed and the memory of her name and face has faded. Perhaps it is time to forget this silly little promise. Is it possible that she has already forgotten him completely? With time, Raku pushes the idea of such a silly promise to the back of his mind, after all, high school and his mafia family have given him enough to worry about. Despite his unusual upbringing, Raku is just like every other high school guy and he has huge crush on a girl in his class, but things get interesting when he finds that this girl wears a very familiar looking key on her necklace. Could she possibly be the one he made the promise with ten years ago? Ichijo is determined to find out, but life gets a little complicated when he is forced to fake-date a transfer student named Chitoge Kirisaki in attempt to bring peace to their feuding mafia families. Later, Raku finds out that Chitoge also has a key that she has kept for many years. There are two keys, but only one can unlock the locket. Who could it be?
This was my first Romantic Comedy and considering I am an action, sci-fi anime lover, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this anime. Everything about this anime is adorable! I thought the plot progressed very nicely and although it was somewhat simple, it was not at all mundane. What the show lacked in complexity, it made up for in hilarity. The last episode had me laughing from start to finish! Between the awkward teenage tendencies and the incessant playful banter between Chitoge and Raku, there was never a dull moment!
I love, loved the music in this anime especially the first intro song. The music just puts you in a happy mood. It set a very light, playful tone and it gives a good first impression.
I also love, loved the characters. I think I even started to fall in love with Ichijo! The other characters were great too; everyone knows someone who acts like each of the characters. The pervert, the hot-headed one, the sweet girl, the pushy friend that likes to put you in awkward situations, the desperate girl, the cute tomboy, these were the stereotypes that made the characters so likable and believable. In fact they are all so likable I guarantee that you will have a hard time picking your "best girl".
This anime is will put you in a good mood on your worst day! I highly reccommend it to all anime lovers!! Jolly Good Show!
Definitely its weakest point. The show's a harem twist on the classic Romeo&Juliet story, where it's yakuza vs gangsters vs cops vs mafia. A say twist because instead of Raku (romeo) & Chitoge (juliet) liking each other they absolutely hated each other at first sight. With both families fighting for territory, both Raku and Chitoge must act out their "fake love" to stop the gang wars. Now although there were many times the drama escalated really well, it fell flat on its face with a weak solution. The show practically pulls out every cliche from the book but fails to give it any depth.
It should be a given now that any anime shaft touches turns into gold. Shows like madoka magica, bakemonogatari, and even arakawa under the bridge practically flooded with amazing animations but sadly nisekoi doesnt cut it like the rest. I have to say this was one of shaft's laziest work so far. There were times were they'd simply cut out scenes from the manga itself without even coloring or animating it. At times they would simply do sketches of their cell-shaded mono-colored chibi faces to show they're talking. Though some scenes were colored really well, they lacked the consistency to keep it.
Like the Shaft theory above, Claris also turns show opening themes instantly to gold. Shows like oreimo and madoka magica are such examples but sadly this time around they didn't bring their A-game. Despite matching the mood just fine, the background music was quite repetitive. The only thing I enjoyed from the music were the 4 unique endings which acted as a theme song for each harem-mate.
Perhaps the saving grace of this show would be its characters. I'd be lying if I said they didn't have any character development but it was quite rushed. I loved how the show allowed you to listen to their inner thoughts which gave them more depth. There were times they would pull in so much drama and emotion but the plot would simply push it aside like it was nothing. Despite that I ended up liking most of the cast with all their quirks and personalities which I didn't think would be possible for a harem anime. On most harems I would just simply pick one of the harem-mates to like and root for her as the story goes on. Nisekoi just makes them all so lovable that you can't help but support them all.
While I did really enjoy Nisekoi, I felt that it was quite lackluster on a lot of departments. It tried so hard to be dramatic but the comedy aspect of the show just wouldn't take it seriously enough for me to be moved by it. Anyway, I'll be eagerly be awaiting for season 2 when it comes out.
I came across Nisekoi on this website actually. I was looking some nice RomCom School-Life anime and came across this. I read the synopsis and thought it was pretty interesting. I then went to watch it the same day and just recently finished it.
Ten years ago Raku Ichijou made a promise with a girl that the next time they reunite they'd get married to each other and to commemorate their promise Raku received a locket and the girl had the key to said locket. Fast forward to Raku's to the current story, Raku is the beloved son of a yakuza boss and just entered high school. Also entering high school is Chitoge Kirisaki. Immediately they start off on the wrong foot by Kirisaki slamming into Ichijou thus losing his locket. However, Kirisaki's father is the boss of a gang that just moved in on Ichijou's father's turf. In order to stop a war Raku and Chitoge must fake being head-over-heels lovey dovey with each other when deep down they strongly dislike the other. However, Raku has an extreme crush on classmate Kosaki Onodera, who also has a secret crush on Raku. Basic RomCom stuff with a love triangle put in place. I don't wanna get into spoilers but it gets way more complicated than that. There were the obvious cliches and I ended up guessing most of the stuff that was going to happen. Pacing of the story was also pretty good. At first, it was silly and funny. When it got serious a little more than half-way throuh the story picked up significantly. I was kept wanting to watch more and more after said major plot point.
Again there was basics you'd find in similar anime: bright colors, big eyes, etc. It was a bit more cartoony, like Looney Tunes, when necessary like certain runnings scenes or spit takes. There's also the some really nice touches. For much of the beginning they had a black and white silent movie feel to open up the show. Later on they had a black and white pencil-style. It employed many different styles that were really appealing to me
Nothing overly spectacular in this category. I did like how characters can go from 0-100 in their tones real quick. One minute they can be having a regular conversation but then start shouting at the top of their lungs. Music also did it's job in setting the mood
You get your basic cast of characters you'd find in a RomCom. You get your male lead that's somehow surprisingly domestic as Raku can cook. You get your good looking tsundere, Chitoge Kirisaki. There's the really kind-hearted girl that just cannot express her love, Kosaki Onodera. There's even the somewhat expressionless friend of said kind-hearted girl, Ruri Miyamoto. They're all pretty endearing though. I even would call Onodera as "Waifu Material". So kawaii ^W^. Anyways... there are even more characters that I wouldn't want to spoil.
Although it's somewhat formulaic it was really enjoyable, which is what it's all about. "Did you enjoy watching the show?" Although the calcuation come up to like 8.25, I gave it a 9 cause I did enjoy it.