krofire's avatar

krofire

  • United Kingdom
  • Joined Aug 8, 2020
  • 55 / M

Silverlink’s 2022 High School rom-com has a bit of a familiar quality to it. It struck us in episode one that the shogi-obsessed female lead Ayumu Tanaka bore a strong resemblance to the Nishikata character from Shin-Ei’s “Teasing Master Takagi-san”. Likewise, her potential romantic partner Urushi Yaotome looked a lot like Takagi. It is no coincidence as both mangas are written and illustrated by Sōichirō Yamamoto. Ayumu differs in having lavender-coloured hair and possesses a less self-assured personality. Likewise, Urushi has the more dominant personality and specialises in the subtle teasing of the girl whom he is in love with. The couple met at the start of High School. She was a second year recruiting for the Shogi Club and he was a first year. For him it was love at first sight so he joined the club in order to pursue her. As it turns out they are the only two members! He sets himself the challenge of not truly admitting his feelings for her until he beats her at Shogi. The problem is that he is a beginner and she has been playing since she was very young. Still, this does not stop him from making his feelings for her obvious in so, so many different ways. She tries to respond to his cheekiness but fails and descends into blushing. Pretty soon she knows that has fallen for the boy. But when will he make his move?

The story is lightweight, fun and fairly involving. There is a moment when you think that the movements on the Shogi board might be reflected in the plot moves but this doesn’t last. This would have been a nice level of sophistication but it might have lost some of the audience. The narrative quickly moves on to a fairly straightforward High School rom-com yet some aspects are distinctive. His pursuit of her is often explicit and they even date and hold hands in an early episode. The story lacks some of that irritating will they/won’t they dynamic typical of the genre. Urushi knows what he wants and it is within arm’s reach at all times. The audience know this will work. The boy lacks experience but has self-confidence which is nice to see in this sort of character. Quite why he set himself such an artificial hurdle, as a barrier to dating Ayumu, is not quite explained. Maybe it is his pride? We don’t know. The story is aided and abetted by several side-kick characters. There is Takeru Kakuryu who crushes on Sakurako Mikage. She can wrap him around her little finger but their fledgling romance is often rewarding as the two are able to progress it without too many unnecessary communication difficulties. Plenty of humour – yes – but nothing here is dragged out for too long. Then we have the curve-ball character Rin Kagawa who joins the story in the next academic year. She knew Urushi and Takeru from Middle School and assumes they were both in the Kendo team still. She wants to best Urushi at Kendo but settles for the Shogi board where she has the advantage. Then there is Urushi’s best friend Maki who gets heavily involved in encouraging her friend move her romance forward. It is refreshing that the author has moved on from the middle school setting to involve characters who spend less time being embarrassed and teasing each other. Those elements remain yet they are toned down to suit the greater maturity of the main protagonists. If you loved “Teasing Master Takagi-san” then this will suit you well. It sadly lacks the beautiful island scenery of the earlier work and is a little more generic in format. However, it remains a highly enjoyable show from an author/artist with a decent pedigree.

9/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
0 this review is Funny Helpful

You must be logged in to leave comments. or

There are no comments - leave one to be the first!