I am soooooo exited about this anime. Since I read the preview and saw the visuals I was completely hooked. And this first episode delivers. Oh boy it delivers.
We start with a brief presentation of an old Japanese folktale called “The red Ogre who cried”. If you haven’t read it you definitively should! It’s really charming. This story actually might sound familiar to you, as it has been reinterpreted countless times by different authors. And it’s extremely crucial for understanding the premise of this anime.
We are introduced to Gouda Takeo, a bulky, socially awkward giant with a constant intimidating grin in his face and big funny libs that makes him look like the lame first boss in a old 80’s beat em up game. He’s a first-year high school student and at 2 meters tall and 120kg you can imagine he is the odd pin in the bowling line. He might look intimidating, but he actually is a kindhearted, straightforward, thickhead, honest do-gooder who has had lot’s of bad luck in the love department (And BTW, his Seiyu is killing it with that performance, I love that deep silly voice). His friend, Sunakawa Makoto is his somewhat opposite. Good looking, popular, tame and quiet with an apparent nasty attitude towards any romantic interest.
I mean, look at that beautiful face! 😀
Both have been friends since quite young, yet the base of their friendship is as much of a mystery to Takeo as it is to us.
We see them going trough the graduation ceremony and Takeo, expecting this opportunity, runs to confess to his love interest. But he then finds the girl he likes confessing to his friend and realises she was actually infatuated with Sunakawa since the beginning. Sunakawa however, immediately shoots her down like a slow duck in hunt season and leaves. Poor girl.
At this point we realise the gist of Takeo flawed love life. He likes a girl, such girl likes his friend, Sunakawa rejects the girl and that’s that, rinse and repeat. You can start to see some problems with this friendship already, as having someone much more pleasing to the eye that you around might as well be a formula for a lonely puberty. But it actually has allot more dept that what Takeo, and the audience might perceive.
That’s because you suck!
I personally believe that the story of the two Ogre at the beginning is not just a pretty opener for an beautifully coloured love anime. The anime is actually another reinterpretation of the folktale, as we can see the similarities between the leads in both. And you might think, “Well, Sunakawa doesn’t acts like the blue Ogre” And I would say NAY!… sorry. Sunakawa might look like a self-centred and stoic character, but in fact he might well be a jerk to girls for a good reason. I will leave you with that thought.
They get in the train home and after some failed attempts from Takeo to be a nice citizen he spots a nasty groper trying to take advantage of a young student. Why wouldn’t she just scream or slap the shit out of that clown is beyond me. I’m not very steeped in the cultural intricacies.
She turns and it’s love at first sight (I actually skipped a beat myself. Takeo, in the other hand might had lost his breath there). The girl, Yamato Rinko, helps them testify the situation and after the groper tries to defend himself saying some nasty (All about this guy is nasty apparently) stuff about her Takeo punches him. I was actually screaming in my head “In the face, punch him in the face!” at that very moment.
Takeo assumes that that’s the end of the story, but Rinko shows at his place with a cake trying to thank them for the help. Takeo initially assumes that this might be his chance, as he just falls head over heels for the beautiful and gentle girl, but soon he realises that, again, she’s just there because of his friend, as she ask Sunakawa to stay when he offers to leave them alone. Here is where the brilliance of the story starts to unfold, because we, the viewers who don’t have a biased point of view, can clearly see that there’s no real interested in Sunakawa; she was probably scared to be alone with Takeo, and thus asked him to stay.
From this point on it’s a really funny and charming conjunction of events that shows us what a fixed mindset and biased point of view can do to a socially awkward young man trying to just be a good guy and friend. Ultimately, Takeo decides that he must help his friend develop a relationship with Rinko as he sees that this girl might actually break the apparent ice wall Sunakawa has. Awww my heart! Takeo you silly you!
Aww poor thing!
But wait! this is not entirely a bad thing. As you might have realised, Takeo indifference towards Rinko’s cute attempts to get close is actually helping him allot. Usually, a kid like Takeo is always awkward around girls and has allot of difficulties to actually socialise due to his flawed perception of the opposite sex and himself. In his mind, he’s not good enough because his life has shown him that that’s the truth. His insecurities, build over a base of bad experiences caused by a social prejudice has created a personality incapable of successfully establish a relationship or even fathom one. But because he has already given up on that possibility, he’s no longer bound to his insecurities and he can be himself. This reminds me allot of a 2010 movie called “She’s out of my league” which was really awesome. You should watch it too.
There is allot about this series that makes me exited and happy. I can’t wait for another episode.
Sorry for the late post.
See you in the next post!