Having a friend that knows you inside out should be a good thing, but in Nishikata's case, the opposite is true.
His classmate Takagi loves to tease him on a daily basis, and she uses her extensive knowledge of his behavior to predict exactly how he will react to her teasing, making it nearly impossible for Nishikata to ever make a successful comeback. Despite this, Nishikata vows to someday give Takagi a taste of her own medicine by making her blush out of embarrassment from his teasing.
In the moment you encounter that special someone, everything else is rendered obsolete. In this encounter, the world around you, the people in your life, and the things they demand of you all lose meaning. Your attention belongs to that special someone and no other. Time itself ceases to move as your encounter unfolds; when that special someone carries on a conversation with you, it feels as if it’ll last forever. Your heart races, pulsating as if it’ll spring forth from your chest at any given time. Your nerves quiver, the butterflies fluttering freely inside your body. Your vision blurs and your face crimsons, the
blood coursing through your head at an alarming rate. Clouded by a whirlwind of strange thoughts, emotions, and instincts, you react to this encounter in a completely different fashion than you would in any other situation. The ideas you contemplate, the things you say, and the actions you create are a jumbled mess, shaken and stirred by the heat of the moment. Just as the conversation is gathering steam, that special someone departs from you and the encounter concludes. Time has moved forward again. While you’re mostly relieved to distance yourself from the situation, there’s a part of you that pleads to return to that brief encounter, that yearns to conversate with that special someone, that fantasizes of losing yourself in the moment once more.
For those that have become infatuated with a crush, for those that are adjusting to their feelings of attraction for another, for those that are stumbling their way into their first relationship, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is a reflection of their lives, their own romantic endeavors manifesting themselves on a grand scale. As this show ignites and refines the chemistry between its two protagonists, Nishitaka and Takagi, it reveals its understanding of relationships and the intricacies they possess. Subdued in its tone and serene in its outlook, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san’s handling of its central couple is accomplished with nigh-unparalleled ease, using their series of frivolous yet elaborate pranks to slowly and steadily transition into something more, and its examination of their relationship is delivered with a rather unconventional approach.
When two contrasting personalities attempt to align, there is an army of problems that arise along the way due to the differences between them. Although said differences can generate a rift in relationships, they can also strengthen them; contrasting personalities naturally heighten common interests. While most works of the romance genre opt for discovering these common interests, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san almost entirely ignores this pursuit. Instead, what it values is how these characters think and why they’re attracted to one another. In particular, it values these concepts as they relate to Nishitaka.
It is his point-of-view that Skilled Teaser Takagi-san operates from. It is his series of pranks, his attempts to outwit and “tease” Takagi, that this show mainly revolves around. Nishitaka is always thinking of ways to perplex Takagi, either by concocting a complex scheme to use on her or (more often than not) by solving the problems she gives him. Every challenge Nishitaka tackles, every puzzle he confronts, makes for a satisfying watch. No two obstacles are alike; each distinct in their own way, they’re deceptively simple at first glance but dangerously intricate the more you analyze them. And, boy, does Nishitaka analyze these obstacles. The music crescendos to a fever pitch, with saxophones screaming their way through, and the animation dizzily spirals out of control, its color scheme constantly changing, as he ceaselessly conjures countermoves and hypothetical solutions in his head. To Nishitaka, these pranks are far from trivial pastime activities. To him, they are battles of the intellectual variety, epic in scale, each choice determining one’s fate.
It’s obvious that Nishitaka cares deeply about outsmarting Takagi, which makes it all the more depressing to witness him falling short time after time. It matters not what plan he formulates, what measures he takes, what approach he adapts; the result never changes. Nishitaka is Sisyphus, forever doomed to try changing his fate, to watch his efforts go to waste, to repeat the same pattern. It’s not his fault, though. With his remarkable tenacity, perception, confidence, and cunning, Nishitaka definitely distinguishes himself as a talented individual. Were he competing against someone else, against anyone else, one could argue that he’d easily be more than a match for them. However, as long as Nishitaka remains tethered to his current circumstances, he’ll always be defeated. Sure, he’s quite intelligent for someone his age but, for all of his virtues, he pales in comparison to the titular character.
“Prodigy” is an overused word; it's a term that's often given to people who don't deserve such praise. Takagi, however, is an exception. Not only is she able to unravel the most intricate of Gordian knots but she also does so effortlessly. Not only does she repeatedly confound Nishitaka with riddles, traps, and decoys galore but she also manipulates each and every one to obscure her true motives. However, it’s not just Nishitaka that Takagi dupes. On multiple occasions, she easily deciphers the tricks her classmates pull on her, alongside subjecting them to a few of her own, and (in one memorable instance) she’s even able to deceive her teacher, manipulating him into disciplining someone else for her transgression.
With each competition, with each episode, with each challenge, it’s almost pre-determined who's going to persevere in the end. On the one hand, this pattern of predictability causes Takagi to come across as a Mary Sue, one who's almost entirely defined by her ceaseless victories. On the other hand, you simply cannot resist watching her mercilessly outfox her peers time after time. Takagi is akin to a world-renowned chessmaster practicing against novices of the game, a decorated military tactician competing against cadets in the field, a veteran criminal investigator matching wits with rookies on the job; the inevitable outcome of each encounter never detracts from the entertainment value that they provide. While it is pleasing to witness Takagi flaunting her intellect, it’s in conveying this show’s themes where she really proves her worth.
Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is, perhaps more than anything else, a master of subverting expectations. With each issue that arises, the solution to them is never what you’d anticipate. Takagi and the show itself deceive you into assuming, alongside Nishitaka, that the motives, nuances, and hints in each situation are leading to one solution when the true answer is entirely different. Again and again, this show emphasizes that Takagi’s victories are due to Nishitaka overthinking each situation, attempting to uncover the deeper meaning behind it, instead of choosing the most obvious answer. Through its titular character, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san argues that the problems we encounter in life aren't as challenging or complex as we think they are. Through Takagi, this show argues that if we can push aside the details surrounding these problems (alongside our preconceived notions of them) and simply examine them for what they are, it'd be easy to find a solution for our issues.
For Takagi, each challenge presents an opportunity for Nishitaka to acquire more knowledge, and she strives to accomplish that goal. Yes, part of why Takagi teases him is for her own amusement; she enjoys watching her opponent panic, struggle and ultimately collapse under the pressure she places upon him. However, the other part is because Takagi wants to see Nishitaka mature and grow. The puzzles that she tasks him with are crafted out of love; Takagi gives Nishitaka a hard time mainly because she cares about him, and this detail really strengthens their relationship.
When Skilled Teaser Takagi-san directs its focus away from the smoke and mirrors, it's actually a genuinely sweet and charming show to watch, and the central couple’s relationship emphasizes its virtues. On the surface, Nishitaka and Takagi couldn't be more different if they tried. While Nishitaka approaches every situation with tact and caution, Takagi is far more direct. While Nishitaka leans towards the naive, Takagi is incredibly perceptive. While Nishitaka is something of a workaholic, Takagi is more relaxed. However, with a closer observation, one can see that, despite the surface-level differences, they are essentially alike. Both Nishitaka and Takagi are confident and intelligent individuals that adopt an extremely timid approach to their relationship (Nishitaka more than Takagi). Watching them develop more and more into expressing their feelings for one another, while supporting each other along the way, is easily the highlight of the show. In fact, the central couple's bond is so heartwarming, nuanced, and inspiring that it allows one to overlook the more unappealing aspects, the various deficiencies and mishaps, of this show that materialize just outside the insulated sphere of the central couple.
100% Unrequited Love is an in-universe anime that not only inspires a few of Nishitaka’s schemes but it also serves to poke fun at other works of the romance genre. By overloading Unrequited Love with genre-specific stereotypes, cliches and tropes, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san claims that it's different from the other shows of its chosen field, more intelligent and self-aware than the rest. However, when it involves its supporting cast, Takagi-san resorts to the same tiresome and tedious cliches as its peers. Whenever this show transitions away from its central couple and towards the people around them, it almost always suffers because of it. While the supporting cast strengthens Takagi-san’s youthful charm, they also represent this show at its weakest. With each appearance the supporting cast makes, it becomes more and more apparent that, outside of its central couple, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san isn't all that adept at developing its characters.
The relationship between Mano and Nakai, classmates of Nishitaka and Takagi, is among the most dull and lifeless that I’ve seen in recent memory. Mano is the “shy one”, blushing, squirming, and stammering about to no end, while Nakai is but a cardboard cutout, hardly worth mentioning, really, and they lack even a faint resemblance of chemistry. Then, there's Mina and Sanae, classmates of the central couple that serve as comic relief. The adventures that this pair embark on are rife with memorable gags - my personal favorite is a recurring act where they dub over random conversations, like an exchange between cats or a chat between the central couple - but they tend to wear themselves out after a while. Mina and Sanae’s adventures are meant to represent the protagonists’ shenanigans from a different, more carefree, perspective but they (more or less) come across as re-iterations of previous events than anything creative or unique. It doesn't help matters much that this show stylistically pigeonholes these two. One is the “genki girl”, manically working herself into a frenzy over trivial matters, while the other is the “quiet one”, silently observing the mess that unfolds around her, and Takagi-san never allows either of them an opportunity to establish themselves beyond these classifications.
When Takagi-san strays from its intended course (mishandling a supporting character here, re-treading an old plot line there), it's the central couple's chemistry that helps re-adjust its focus. Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is, in part, an elaborate game of chess, a neverending battle of wits, with brilliant strategists on either side. It is also a refreshingly pure and simple tale of romance, a love story mostly unchained by the conventions of its peers. And all of it is deftly secured by the incredible bond between its protagonists. Fascinated with their intellect and awestruck by their passion, you cannot resist wishing to accompany the central couple in whatever direction their relationship guides them toward. Time itself ceases to move as you rush headlong into Takagi-san, allowing its loving, all-encompassing embrace to overtake you.
Life is like a game, if you play right, you’ll win. Well, that’s sounds like bullshit but life can feel like a game sometimes. You’re like a player in a world with others and to be successful, you need to play right. Now, what the hell does that have to do with a show like “Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san”?
To put it simply, this show feels like watching two players compete but not in the way you’d think. To me, Takagi and Nishikata are two characters that play with each other in life. However, it’s a little bit different than competition. Between the two, Takagi is
always the one that stays ahead of the game. Think of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. In that show, the coyote attempts to catch the road runner but always comes up short. For this show, Takagi is always successful in defeating Nishikata at pretty much anything. As predictable and tedious as that sounds, the show is actually more than that.
I’ve read the manga and even as a 1-cour adaptation, the show manages to deliver what’s needed to achieve success. The majority of the story focuses on the duo of Takagi and Nishikata as the two main characters. Every episode takes on multiple segments that features the two in various shenanigans. Even though the show is fictional, many of these shenanigans can occur in real life. These range from being tricked into strolling down a shadowy tunnel, competing in sports, test of courage, school academics, and among many others. The main attraction of the show is to sell the character chemistry between Takagi and Nishikata. This pair’s relationship will undeniably be the take or break for most viewers.
On the individual level, Takagi is a clever girl with a cute face and crafty mind. While she isn’t a prodigy or gifted with extraordinary talent, she often thinks outside the box to outsmart her opponent, Nishikata. Takagi’s character and personality also makes her quite likable as she carries a youthful charm. Even as she teases Nishikata, it’s more than just teasing. She wants to know him more and through their interactions each time, they unintentionally grow closer. There’s also no malice between the two despite the low key drama. From my perspective, Takagi considers Nishikata as more than just a friend. Some people may call that nonsense since she often plays Nishikata like a toy. However, if you really pay attention to their character interactions, it’s easy to realize how close they are. Does this venture into the territory of romance? That’s actually left for viewers’ imaginations. There’s the genre tag of romance for this series but it’s far from a love story.
Nishikata is pretty much the boy that gets defeated by the master of tease, the one and only Takagi. The show often tries to make audience anticipate with a thrilling feel on whether he can ever beat her or not. For me, this made me come back to this show every week. From simple games involving erasers to more complex mind games with playing with emotions, it’s the type of show that categorizes game as more than just winning. Nishikata himself is an average kid with an average personality and living an average life. We don’t find out much about his past and honestly, I don’t think we need to. This show focuses on the present and what’s ahead rather than characterization. In essence, the show’s character dynamics lies in how characters connect rather than how they develop.
Speaking of characters, there are also three others that show up in the show although they are unrelated to the series as a whole. Well, technically they are in a way but they don’t get involved with the teasing and games. That’s probably one of my complaints about this show. They should keep the characters from Ashita wa Doyoubi away in this anime as it feels like a distraction. Thankfully, their screen time isn’t long and mostly added to make the show flow a bit as a slice of life. That being said, I think the show succeeds not just in the character chemistry but also in pure comedy. The way characters react comes out naturally in many ways. This is especially true for Takagi as she often gets the joy of teasing Nishikata shown through her reactions. While Nishikata feels annoyed by this, he never truly hates her. In fact, you could say that he gets a joke out of losing countless times in their daily life games.
A simple show like this only needs simple visuals and TMS Entertainment accomplishes that. Takagi is undeniably adorable with her charming smile, bright personality, and facial expressions. She’s able to carry this show thanks to these characteristics that are adapted straight from the manga. Similarly, Nishikata has a goofy looking face that often makes him look like a fool, as viewers will expect in many episodes. It makes this pair incredibly cute to watch thanks to how they act. The art style enhances that experience. Their voice mannerisms also stays pretty consistent throughout the show. Even someone like Yuki Kaji can play a character like Nishikata as he’s been in the roles of goofball characters before. The incredible voice acting of Takagi makes her character even more believable as a master of teasing.
I decided to give this show an 8 after reflecting on what I watched. At first, it seems like a high score for such a dry story. However, it’s the pure comedy and character chemistry of the main character pair that won me over. Every episode made me laugh and it never betrayed expectations. There are times when I wish this show’s segments would last longer than it should. Time flies fast when you’re having fun after all.
Do you want to know what school days love is 10 years back?
This is a story of 2 backbench kids or to be precise, a daily or slice of life of a boy named Nishikata who gets teased by his benchmate Takagi by playing mind games on him.
Almost every situation is kind of different, i.e unlike in some anime like 'Tonari no Seki-kun' where the situation is always in class but here in this anime we see diffferent scenarios from walking from home to school, doing homework, studying in library, summer holidays etc.
The main beauty of this anime is the presence of innocent love
or crush between the kids, the tension in air and being careful not to hurt the other person (Nishikata with Takagi). That sort of attitude is missing these days.
Each and every episode is refreshing and gives you smile especially seeing the expression on Nishikata's face, because they are priceless like Takagi states and teases him.
While the starting episodes have lots of teasing, as the series comes near ending, they are reduced and the focus is more on romance.
Like I said it, It is a slice of life, so basically there isn't any story at all and not much characters either. Excluding the 2 main characters, we have 7 side characters who would'nt impact the main characters much.
The art is funny, cos the head is big while the body is small, but it gives a better opportunity to understand the emotions of characters.
Coming to soundtracks, The opening and ending songs are really good and pleasing to hear, while the soundtracks in middle are just some monotonous tones to convey the situation.
Overall, If you are a fan of 5 minutes short comedy like Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan or Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, which do not have much story but make you smile every 5 minutes and remind you of your childhood days crush stories, then I am sure this anime is best suited for you.
If you want story, or development of characters or something meaningful to learn, then this isn't the choice for you :)
Over a year ago I reviewed a little anime called Skilled Teaser Takagi San a show that disliked it for it's mean spirited comedy, repetitive teasing matches and annoying characters. The main reason for this it's because I watched the series at the wrong time when I was jaded towards the romcom genre thanks to bad experiences from certain romcom animes that shall not be mentioned.
My jadedness eventually died out in November of that same year and I started to love romcom animes again.
Fast forward 4 months later where I made a list of romcom anime that I should give a second chance. Skilled
Teaser Takagi San was the first anime on that list and I watched the whole series again in it's dubbed form on Blu-ray.
After re-watching Skilled Teaser Takagi San I went from disliking it to loving it to a point it became not only one of my favourite shows of 2018 but one of my favourites romcoms period.
The story follows a young boy Nishikata who mercilessly gets teased by his classmate Takagi. Not wanting to be an easy target he swears vengeance on his classmate Takagi for all the times she's teased him and made him blush out of embarrassment.
Will he be able to make Takagi-san blush from embarrassment even once in the end? Find out in Skilled Teaser Takagi San.
Saying that the story of Skilled Teaster Takagi San sweet is an understatement. This is one of the sweetest and innocent shows I have seen in a long while. Where do I begin? For starters does a fantastic job at establishing the shows innocent nature by having the kids in the series behave like actual natural kids that you will encounter in real life.
No unrealistic, melodrama, no misunderstanding contrivances just actual kids living they youth as people. It is very grounded on that aspect as it makes the world of Skilled Teaser Takagi San unique and refreshing compared to most romcom anime.
The teasing matches themselves range from engaging, smart and addicting. Some would say that the series is way too repetitive for its own and I can understand why however the teasing matches add more to this show then hinder it thanks to brilliant character interactions that never gets old.
The best part of theses teasing matches is that is they were not contrived and mean spirited. Nishikata may do some stupid things during the teaching matches that causes him to lose but the show reminds the viewer that he is a kid and kid's generally would do anything to reach the goal even if it's a dumb move that Takagi often comments on.
Another strong aspect of Skilled Teaser Takagi San is how it's romance. Dialogue wise, especially in the beginning, may not be much however it completely makes by having character movements and body language.
Episode 10 is the best example of this as it was the episode that these two would eventually become a couple. From Nishikata bushing more frequently than usual to Takagi getting more physical to Nishikata Skilled Teaser Takagi San showcased that you don't always need long dialogue just to indicate love.
(End of spoilers)
If, there one thing that Skilled Teaser Takagi San does masterfully well that most other romcom anime lack these days is character chemistry.
Despite them having these teasing matches on a daily bases they actually do support one another very well.
Add up to this show's rich comedy that would make anyone and you got yourself a charming romcom story on your hands.
If I had any nitpicks at with this innocent cute love story it would slow pacing at times then again this is a show that features primarily a child character cast and children tend to learn things slower compare to adults.
However, this nitpick is nothing compared to the fact that the show at times still functions like a short despite having 24 minutes of run time. It wasn't noticeable in the first and last couple of episodes but when that slights issue happened it really showed as some episodes did not translate well to the 24 minutes format. This is especially distracting when the show decided to focus on the funny but less interesting trio of girls.
Lucky these small nitpicks that I had didn't damage the overall story for Skilled Teaser Tagaki San as It's a simple, nicely directed and entertaining slice of life romcom.
Naturally, this is a character driven show meaning the characters for a character-driven should bring they're A game. Thankfully the chararters in Skilled Teaser Takagi San are great and charming to watch from start to finish.
Nishikata is a sweet and adorable idiot. He consistently screws up his teasing antics against Takagi, and he always feels bad for screwing up. However, while he may be an idiot he makes up with determination and humanity. Despite him flailing he's very detected to beat Takagi at a teasing match however at the same time he's not a mean spirited angsty brat who wishes Takagi out of his life. This makes him a great character to watch because despite everything that happens to him still a human.
The real star of the show is without the question, Takagi. A first glance, she appears to your typical kindhearted and caring person who loves to tease her classmate Nishikata.
However, there's more to her than her teasing antics. She has a strong crush on him where she is constantly doing these sexual teasing acts just to penetrate Nishikata bluishness.
This makes her an interesting foil for Nishikata to overcome and seeing her tease and outsmart him in the most unpredictable and savage ways was intriguing to watch.
Despite Takagi being my favourite character in the show, there was one slight problem I with her is that she can be a bit of a Mary Sue at times. She's not one of the theses annoying types or anything but at times she can be too perfect for her own good. Hopefully, this slight problem will get fixed in season 2.
Despite that small complaint, Takagi is an incredibly fun and likeable character to watch.
The supporting characters are surprisingly good. While they don't develop as characters they were enjoyable chararters especially the main girl trio who were some of the funniest supporting chararters I have seen from 2018 thanks to nicely done short stories.
I'm glad that the series was able to have a strong cast because it wasn't for the characters then the series would be nothing more than a tedious slog feast.
On to the visuals side of things, Takagi San is gorgeous. The background scenery is masterfully drawn in a realistic way and it only made better with the show smooth colour palette that brings the scenery to life.
Character designs were simple and nicely drawn especially Takagi. Forehead memes aside her design is gorgeously cute to the eye and I really adore her expressions.
The animation may not be as good as the art as the series relays on basic animation techniques for movement but it was still serviceable for what it is.
As for the sound department, it's very good and fits well the cute and innocent show.
This is all thanks to the Hiroaki Tsutsumi did an outstanding job at bringing this charming romcom series to life with the light instrument pieces that play in the background.
Both opening and ending themes are super cute and perfectly fitted the show.
Romcom anime generally have a hard time when it comes to English Dubs as many of them especially back then suffered from subpar audio quality and bad acting. When I decided to watch this show dubbed I was worried that these two cute love birds (Takagi and Nishikata) would be butchered by poor acting.
Thankfully Funimation manages to produce a fantastic dub for it.
Funimation's rising figure Sarah Wiedenheft did an outstanding job voicing and portraying the cute Takagi. Another great performance in the dub goes to Aaron Dismuke voicing the determined Nishikata. Every other performance ranges from good to great.
Great job Funimation.
Skilled Teaser Takagi San won't be winning the best romcom anime award from me but it is still a great, fun and engaging show that I loved from start to finish.
The characters were great, funny and nicely written, the visuals for a slice of life, romcom anime were stunningly beautiful and music is sweet.
If you're looking for an innocent and charming romcom anime to watch on a sunny afternoon than Skilled Teaser Takagi San would be a fantastic choice. It's an innocent and charming romcom piece that I hold in high regard.