This season, I’ve been watching two romantic comedy animes, Nisekoi and Chuu2 S2. Frankly, I am enjoying neither of these shows. In fact, I can only watch Chuu2 while simultaneously listen to Dr. Dre’s 1992 debut album ‘The Chronic’. If you’ve never heard this album, here’s a sample:
Believe or not, the amount G on that album counter-acts all the cringe I feel whenever I watch that show. That aside, the reason I dislike both these animes (other than the cringe-style humor of Chuu2) is that neither offer anything new to the romance genre.
Chuu2 is basically an episodic show about a new a couple and the trials they have to go through. The episodic nature of the show really doesn’t lend itself well, especially since the male and female lead are already a couple. You can’t really develop that relationship more; they already love each other. What more do you have to add? What this leaves you with is a show with little to no growth, and thus, little to no room for any sort of originality. Looking back on this season, only two major things have happened in relations to the A-plot:
- They introduced a romantic rival
- The romantic rival realized she was a romantic rival
Before you start going off saying “but tons of things happened this season!”, everything that’s happened this season has had next to no relation to the Yuuta x Rikka relationship which should be the primary focus of the show. I mean, they are the male and female lead after all. The reason for this is that their relationship has already been completely developed. This forces the writers to either:
- Write about other characters
- Put strain on their relationship
And they did both. And while I did enjoy the B-plot of Dekomori x Nibutani, they executed the second option in probably the most unoriginal way possible. They made up some childhood friend of the opposite sex and created a love triangle.
Nisekoi on the otherhand is just a bland harem featuring popular female archetypes and a clueless male lead. I don’t think I really have to elaborate on how unoriginal that is. What I’ve noticed about Nisekoi though is that, the way it’s written, they only reveal any sort of plot at the very end of each episode. I feel that this is what keeps people watching this show. It’s kinda the same thing Kill La Kill does where they leave every episode in a cliffhanger. Other than that, the rest of each episode is usually just retarded RomCom fluff with “oh mai gash I hope he doesn’t realize I like him!!!!” or “baka baka hentai hentai!!!” stupidity.
So here we have two examples of terrible romance animes. The question I have is, how can you fix these shows to make them good? In all honesty, I have no idea. Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of many good romance stories in any sort of medium. This leads me to believe that the romance genre as a whole is just a flawed genre.
When people write about romance, they always do it with a positive tone. That’s what people who watch/read this kinda stuff want right? They want the him and the her living happily ever after. Well the fact of the matter is, love sucks. It is nothing like how it is in anime, or TV, or the movies, or almost any sort of fiction really. People don’t want to realize this though so they always look for the happy ending. There’s only so many ways to get there though and pretty much all of them have become tropes.
Nisekoi is a prime example of this issue. Two of the three main characters hold onto this idealism that thos promise they made so many years ago will eventually come to fruition. While I don’t know how this show will end, what I do know is that, believing something like that is completely retarded and extremely unrealistic. Why? Because love is shitty. Yet, there’s so many of these childhood friend romance bullshit things that people eat up because they have this ideal image of romance instilled in their heads. Kanon had it, Ai Yori Aoshi had it. Like, please.
I think the only real way to make the romance tolerable is to not focus on the romance itself. As self defeating as that is, when I look back on it, the only romance stories I’ve ever enjoyed were ones where the romance was just a side plot. Two examples that come to mind are the movie Amelie, and the wonderful anime Card Captor Sakura. The problem is, writing romance as the B-plot kinda makes the story not really a romance anymore.
In the end, do I think the romance genre as a whole can ever be saved? No, not really. It’s not so much the genre itself as it is the demographic the genre caters to that ruins it. They will always eat this tropey shit up. That’s what they dream of and yearn for. So whatever. Whatever you guys want. Even though I wrote over 850 words on this subject, I don’t even care.
Edit: My friend said I was being too jaded which I kinda agree in retrospect. It’s not so much I don’t think the genre could be saved, it’s just I don’t know how it can be saved. Anyways tell me your opinion if you actually read this.