Monday, May 11, 2015
Couchbound/Continued #368 - Ore Monogatari/My Love Story, Episode 4, "Through the Fire and Flames!"
Ore Monogatari/My Love Story isn't really an exception. Where OM/MLS stands out from the crowd is that it's telling an atypical story using a familiar rubric... or, rather, it's telling the same old anime love story with an atypical lead.
Most romance anime which focus on a boy falling in love usually fall into one of two sub-genres, a harem anime where one less-than-ideal guy (an otaku or loner of some stripe) somehow inexplicably garners the attention of a bevy of beautiful ladies... or a sappy coming of age romance where a seemingly unobtrusive but unique character leads a rose-colored life. OM/MLS is the latter.
A big, brutish, somewhat dim guy with a heart of gold constantly gets crushes on girls who are only interested in his handsome but standoffish friend... until one day he saves a cute girl who goes to a neighboring all girls school from a molester on the train. She falls for him, he can't believe it, cue a plethora of moe feels.
It should be boring. It should be a one and done affair, but I can't stop watching. There's no complexity, the message is hammy and the delivery is predictable as all get out, but it has just the right amount of schmaltz to reel me in. It's manga was the same way... and I can't help but wondering if I'm biased towards the anime because I enjoyed its print version, because I honestly can't say if there's enough to the anime to justify a recommendation.
Ninety percent of the time, the art is cheap and shoddy. To pad their shots, MADHOUSE makes use of gratuitous pans every chance they get. Instead of being an homage to the framing of the comic panels, most of the time it looks like a budget piece from the 90's. Only a few shots really shine when it comes to dynamic movement, framing, and color... and one of those shots is the climax moment of this episode, where Takeo makes an insane leap from a burning building. Very reminiscent of the buff guy action archetype that he's a send-up to. Additionally, MADHOUSE skimps on detail at key moments while overcompensating on background art at the wrong times. Very distracting.
Still... watching Takeo waffle between falling in love with a cute girl and trying to do what he thinks is the right thing (Takeo encouraging his love interest to go after his friend since he cannot fathom her liking an ogre like him) is oddly endearing. Sure, it's not a series I'm going to return to all that often. It doesn't have the graphical excellence or emotional resonance of top shelf productions like Hyouka or the like, but it also isn't necessarily a guilty pleasure anime either.
In this episode, we get to watch two young (and innocent) lovers be cutesy, suffer backlash from friends, and weather the very real (but so conveniently staged) threat of possible tragedy. It's predictable, it's corny, it's... okay. I'd say stay for the sappiness and put it in the back of your mind never to need visiting again.
Until later, Potatoes~