Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to what's gonna be an unpopular review for 2 reasons.
1)This anime seems to be controversial and 2)because it features broken as fuck characters as the main attraction.
Now these 2 reasons might seem a bit vague but worry not as i'll explain the idiocy behind people's hatred for this anime later on.
So off with the story where we meet Erika who struggles to fit in with her classmates and resorts to making shit up to make herself seem more interesting than she is. That's something we all do whether we like it or not, we lie to make a possible mate fall more deeply for us or to a newfound friend in order to make him/her think we are badass or something. But as is the case most of the time, lies come back to bite you in the ass, and that's what happened with Erika who bragged about having a hot boyfriend who also happens to be into S&M(no not Metallica's album) and all that crap..So her friends asked for evidence, a photo or something cause that's a healthy reaction, right?
Long story short she found a total stranger and took his photo without him knowing and surprise surprise he attended the same school as her..And not only that but he is well known to every female cause he's hooooooooot. So she asked him to pretend to be her boyfriend in order to avoid being labeled as a liar.. And being the good person that he is he accepted but there was one term...For her to be his dog.. Not literally of course with a costume and leash and everything, i mean his pet or slave or something like that. So he is a sadist and a douche the likes of which the world has never seen and she is the masochist who endures his abuse.
From there on we bear witness to the "couple's" day to day life where Kyouya finds new and interesting ways to amuse himself on the expense of Erika and Erika being the idiot that she is doesn't want to break things off and continues with her lie cause she felt that her friends would stop talking to her or some crap.
I quite understand her stance BUT to a certain degree..I'm what you'd call not a social animal per se and i don't like people..Especially the stupid sort, cause it feels like i'm wasting my precious time in life to engage into pointless discussions with people i don't like or don't even care if they drop dead in front of me. But i wasn't always like that..There was a time when i was a wee lad and felt like i needed to belong somewhere. Being a fat cynical fuck didn't help much but i found my way.. But other people aren't me and that pressure and fear of being alone makes them do and say things that don't comply with their personality.
With that in mind i can somewhat relate to her and her situation although after she achieved her goal of deceiving her friends she could have easily ended her pretend relationship with Kyouya. In fact she had quite many chances to do so and she didn't..And here my friends comes the part where i get all angry and philosophical at the same time.
Remember a little keyword i used somewhere in the review? The word is abuse..Now abuse can be physical or mental. I don't like physical abuse towards women and if you do such things i hope you die a very long and painful death. I know women can be hard to live with but it's not like they have it easy, you know and hitting them is NEVER the answer.. Granted i'm not saying they never give you a reason, in fact they themselves abuse the fact that most men won't even think of hitting them in any way so they can throw drinks at you if you say the wrong thing..BUT NEVER EVER do we choose this road.
Mental abuse? Well that's another story and one that's too complicated to fit into this review..But in this specific instance i can hardly say that this is abuse..Is he being a monumental dick? OH YES. Is his behaviour a product of past experiences? Damn yeah sister! I do that too to a certain extend..I grew up in a family where my father was hitting my mother and in fear that maybe one day i might become him i try to push others away from me and because i've been fucked in the ass by past relationships i also tend to be hard on possible mates to see if they can actually be with me..Not just the funny-happy me but also the dark me, the one that i try to suppress everyday, the one i love to hate, the one that has existential issues..In other words i'm broken and so are many people out there and we try to get by each day and if we are lucky we'll find someone who can take our bullshit and make them something better, make us better.
With that also in mind i can relate to Kyouya and some of his behavioral traits. I can see and understand why he is being such a fucking douche to Erika and don't forget that it was her that asked him to play this game of lies and it was her that was using him for her own purposes. And at the same time i can relate to Erika because she is weak and passive with no actual experience of her own and ends up being a victim of her own actions.
So you got 2 broken people who don't know better, a fake relationship and a willingness to make things work but no actual way of doing so due to inexperience and behavioral issues that are way too deep to explore.
Now this whole situation seems to strike a chord into the hearts of 2 cases of people(which i shall name afterwards) cause they hyperbolize the situation these fictional characters are in and they also put their emotions in front of logic and surely enough they're being hypocritical twats.
The 2 cases are radical feminazis and people(both men and women)who live in a bubble and can't handle hard situations..Basically adult babies who want the world to be a big shelter for them and their stupid babylike behavior. Now these people almost certainly never had any relationship in their lives-let alone a hard one-or they're in one where they lie to themselves, believing that all is fine when in fact they are in an abusive relationship..Just don't want to admit it..And that's sad to me..What's even more sad is imposing your own situation and belief system to a product of fiction that tries admirably to face an issue head on..I''ve never felt that this anime romanticizes mental abuse..Mental abuse is something way worse that this light depiction of events we are shown in this anime.
Let me say this again for the people who can't make apples from oranges..Being mentally abusive to someone is saying things that carry such weight,hitting in the soft spot, to make the other part davastated to the point of meltdown and that other part has no way of leaving you for something better..Mental abuse is about control much like physical abuse..Compare that to the anime where the so called abuse is a means of communication.That communication comes in form of a facade from Kyouya's part to tell her not to get involved with him seriously thus the dog-master game to show her even more how damaged goods he is and from Erika's part a means to communicate that she has seen through his bullshit and likes him for what he trully is and what he can be not just to her but to himself. Add to that that Kyouya never tries to control her life and even went as far as to tell her to see other people besides him.
But some will say that she is weak and has no choice and HAS to deal with this cause reasons..True this happens all the time in real life but this is not the case here, is it? She HAS a choice and power to deliver this choice. See the difference between not being able and being able but CHOOSE not to...This is called-in case your iq is below the freezing temps-choice..And people whether you like it or not can choose to be with people who are dicks or cunts..Choices people, remember that cause you've mixed terms up. And if you have your terms and definitions fucked up we can't have a discussion about anything.
Now as i said Kyouya is definitely a dick and a big one at that, even more he doesn't know when to stop and that's where Erika shows her balls of steel and hammers him to the wall..True enough that not only takes balls but also a toll on you..And that's a state that's shown in a very expressive manner throughout this anime.
So to sum it up 2 broken people,a lie that brought them together eventually and these 2 people's journey through trial and error to make it work.That's a relationship in a nutshell..The fact that you don't always choose who you'll fall for, the fact that that person won't be the ideal partner or even the ideal person for that matter, the fact that relationships are not just a product of love but also hardship and the brutal truth that happiness is something earned when you crawl in the mud..Happiness cannot be commanded to be happiness it just happens in between all the shit you have to work out.
Maybe i'm wrong and that's why i hope this review brings the discussion to my digital doorstep. Cause i trully believe that this anime can bring all us fucks together to work things out and learn from one another.
Onto the animation then..Nice and crispy and colorful but not something that is great by any means..It's just a decent enough animation with generic character design or in some cases no design at all by the looks of things..I mean you can see the difference in how the main cast is drawn and how the secondary is.
OP and ED are generic as well nothing to be surprised about..VA were on point and never faltered.
All in all i think you should watch this cause this is one of the few anime that has down to earth people in down to earth situations and what's more the whole package is believable and relatable and you can actually connect to the cast for once. Like i said if you go into this bringing your hypocritical fake rage you won't like it but if you are sane then this is just for you.