Makoto and Yura Onoda are a newly-wed couple with zero sexual experience. Yura is a shy and naive 25-year-old woman whose good looks grab men's attention, something that she dislikes because she gets embarrassed very easily. Her husband Makoto is of the same age, but as opposed to his wife, he loves having dirty thoughts about other women. Physically though, Makoto is truly faithful to Yura.
Both of them may be virgins, but now that they are married, they are ready to dive into the world of sex, "practicing" as often as possible. However, the world of sex is complex, so they need all the help they can get to find their way through it. Thankfully, their friends, acquaintances, and porn media lend them a helping hand.
The Futari Ecchi OVA covers the first few chapters of the manga adaptation, although the anime is less explicit than the source material. Media Blasters acquired licensing rights for North American home video distribution, which they announced at Anime Expo in 2007.
Futari Ecchi is an Adult ecchi comedy about people who really love each other. During the course of the series, they are learning to accept each other for the good and bad about themselves. Yes, there is some ecchiness in the 4 OVA's like the title suggests. However, very few animes have ever captured what it is really like to be married in the way that it has done. Off the top of my head, probably only Onegai Teacher did as good of job as Futari Ecchi in portraying the awkwardness of two people coming together in marriage for what ever reason in Anime during
the last couple of years. It may not be a title for all anime lovers, but I would recommend it for someone wanting a romantic comedy that you can feel good about after you watch it. Just be sure to watch with someone you love by your side.
Step Up Love Story (Futari Ecchi) is a four-episode OVA that tells the deeply uninteresting story of two deeply uninteresting 25-year-od newlyweds, Makoto and Yura, who just happen to be virgins. LIKE I CARE. So they get married and start shagging. The end.
Well, okay, a few other things happen. Yura's slutty sister shows up and causes trouble. Makoto's sexually frustrated cousin shows up and causes trouble. The student Makoto used to tutor shows up and tries to seduce him (trouble). Yura gets a job as a waitress in a maid café. They go to a hot springs resort. Yes, this show has been
beaten half to death with the cliché stick and proceeds to stagger around bruised and bleeding for 100 torturous minutes.
And while Step Up Love Story is billed as a comedy, I found myself neither laughing nor even smiling as much as I had anticipated. Like, not at all. It feels like a kids show with its simplistic characterization and banal dialogue, and only the frequent soft porn scenes (so poorly animated that the participants look like malfunctioning robots) remind the viewer that it's actually supposed to be for adults. What attracted me to the series in the first place was that the protagonists were both in their mid-20s, but the series left me wondering why they weren’t written as kids straight out of high school, because that’s the level of maturity on display from them. They’re basically 25 year-old children.
There was, however, some entertainment to be had. Imagine my surprise when the credits rolled and revealed that none other than Chiaki friggin’ Konaka did the screenplay. Yes, that Chiaki Konaka, the guy who worked on Lain, Texhnolyze, Rahxephon, BGC 2040, Armitage III, and… you get the idea. I almost did one of those comical anime faints. Almost as surprising is that the Japanese voice actors didn’t use pseudonyms, so the viewer is under no illusions that they really are listening to bad grunting and moaning from Yuji “Keitaro” Ueda and Tomoko “Rosette” Kawakami.
I’m going to be generous and award Step Up Love Story three points because it has boobs, lots of boobs, even though they’re not particularly well drawn boobs. And also because it's so bad that I've resorted to writing this, which has proved a gazillion times more enjoyable.
That awkward moment when you are expecting a romantic comedy and the softcore porn rolls out... but what the hell right? Lets just talk about it.
Makoto and yura are both 25 year old virgins and they just got married and are now realizing "oh shit, I have no idea how to have sex." Now there's a line between being a virgin and not knowing alot about what to do, and just straight-up sexual cluelessness and these two are really pushing into the latter category. However these two troopers just keep on trucking (or fucking as the case may be...) and these two crazy kids eventually
get the hang of things.
Along the way Yuras younger sister comes along and decides to give some sage wisdom (because shes a total slut ands gone around more than a nascar race), a few others offer advice, and at some point about halfway through they must just figure it all out because by episode three the focus is off of them not knowing what the opposite genders' sexual organs are, and moves onto all the crazy kinky adventures they can get into.
Time to actually say what I thought, well, I thought it was good. It represents the sexual awkwardness that is very present those first times and how you really dont know a whole hell of alot, and its good for that. It also makes reference to the fact that when you havnt had any or much sex, you feel like everyone around you is a pornstar or something cuz in your eyes theyre experts(yuras sister, her friends, etc.) Yeah though, its good, you might as well watch it since its only two hours of your life.
I don’t think I can have any kind of opinion on the romantic-comedy genre as a whole. I’d rather preach that you should enjoy what you watch rather than try to pick on what others like. Truth be told, the handful of romance anime that I’ve sat down and really watched range from decent to spectacular. Unfortunately, a few series of the romance genre don’t make me think of them as spectacular. Instead, these certain anime make me feel MISERABLE when I watch them. Of course, I am talking about Futari Ecchi. I can’t believe I’m doing this, and consider it more unbelievable that I
ever watched this ova. What’s more infuriating is the simple fact that this anime is nothing more than garbage. I don’t even want to talk about, but that would negate the purpose of reviewing it... Watching this anime makes me wanna puke. It’s making me SICK just to review it!
Brooding is over. The review begins.
Released in 2002-2004, Futari Ecchi or H, call it whatever you like, is one of the romantic comedies I went on about that fail to give off any sense of humor or REAL romance. The anime mostly has situations and dialogue that are “in poor taste” for most regular viewers. As for “romance,” the series’ actual premise revolves around the main character couple, Makoto and Yura Onoda, and their… sex lives. They have never had sexual intercourse and are stressing about learning how to do it…
I don’t believe it myself. An entire anime series devoted to showing off the various ways a couple can knock boots… and even more.
Well, let’s back up a bit. The series is only four episodes long, so that doesn’t qualify as an “entire anime series”. (Way to state the obvious). I think that’s one of my biggest issues with anime of recent years-- much like this one, these anime are so generic in production and mundane when it comes to length that there is little entertainment value. It’s not even worth watching something so short, and it’s almost not worth reviewing and finding fault in it. But don’t worry because there are PLENTY of flaws in this piece of vomit.
As for the story of the ova, “Step Up Love Story” I HAVE TO ADMIT that the initial opening to the show was not bad. Ignoring the first two minutes (please), the series begins in modest with the young, perverted and clumsy Makoto, and the silly and cute Yura. It was very raunchy, but even for this anime, the opening episode starts the Onoda couples’ relationship off very modestly, and I expected it to continue to be decent, BUT BEWARE! It takes a nosedive in quality real quick. The manga’s redeemable factors are that it (somewhat) contains appeal and an involving story with the characters, even if it is all about S-E-X. This is not so for the ova.
One note I might add is that, the sheer amount of gratuitous sex and imagery, along with the explicit nature of the sex scenes and dialogue in this anime are so bad, it’s almost vomit inducing. I honestly thought for a few moments that I had stumbled upon a hentai. And I have a zero-tolerance rule with hentai. Not that all hentai series are bad, but that just it: I’ve never been prompted to watch two characters have sex with each other, so I’ve never seen a hentai, therefore I have no right to judge the genre and I never will so don’t misunderstand me here. This one seems to be very close, but I’ll let others decide on that. Right now, I AM the judge for this putrid, raunchy anime.
Speaking of judging, I also want to talk about the characters for this “anime.” If I were a real judge, I’d lock them up, because they aren’t likeable and unappealing and have nothing to do with the plot outside of sex……. But again sex is the only excuse for a plot here. If that was the aim, then job well done. Normally, I’d end my review here. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to fly this time. Since “Step Up Love Story” is indeed a seinen anime that is taking itself and its audience seriously and is not a hentai, I have the right to seriously pick the anime apart and critically review every aspect of the show.
Starting off, we have the newlyweds, Makoto and Yura. Makoto is very……..estranged…and finds himself in very unfortunate places when gorgeous women are around. Although he initially comes off as respectable and even funny, because you’d be laughing at him, not with him, his character falls flat in the span of one episode. Once he marries Yura and the story begins, he has sexual fantasies of many of the women he comes across. His delusions of grandeur aremeant to be this anime’s attempt at echi comedy, but unfortunately these scenes come off as really…unnecessary in hindsight, since the show has enough ecchi, not to mention that it is typical to have the titular male character in the series be tempted by fantasies.
Yura is possibly my only likeable character here. Outside of the fanservice, Yura is still very sweet and naïve and has more personality than the rest of the cast. It may be favoritism, but you’d have to watch for yourself, and I hate that I have to say that too. I’m not a fan of ecchi, and I dislike this anime’s constant need to throw nudity in almost every scene, but I will fess up to my puckish self when it comes to Yura. It’s very…hard to look away sometimes. She’s everywhere, so even if I try to avoid it, there’s no chance I’ll succeed.
Makoto and Yura have sexual tension constantly over the course of every episode. Once the characters are finally in each other’s presence, the heels are immediately thrown off, the pants come down, and the wife is playing rocking chair with the husband’s face. It’s impedingly sick. This anime’s excuse for a plot sickens me. It’s mundane, too, because it happens every episode. I am reiterating myself, but that really is it. Not once is there ever a break from the sexual tension, the disgusting scenes, or the crude dialogue.
All the other characters only ramp up the sick sex talk, constantly ecchi and sexual references even more. There’s Kikuchi Miyuki, who is a minor character with a MAJOR desire to be Makoto’s playmate. In addition, there is the character, Kyouko, who is Makoto’s cousin and a gynecologist. In this show, her occupation says enough. These characters merely exist as “characters” so that there are identifiable voices to match with the characters when these couples go to the bedroom and under the sheets. All the characters, though Yura appeals slightly, are uninteresting and only sex livens them up… in other words, outside of sex, and despite Makoto’s…”imagination” no character really stands out.
I’m moving on to the sound quality, but honestly, I don’t care about how the anime sounds. I’m sure that people didn’t pick up this particular anime for incredible music anyways. It’s not even watchable to begin with, but for the sake of those who will attempt to watch this ova, you’re not going to find a superb soundtrack. It’s composed of generic tracks that may suit the mood, but that’s all these songs do. The voice actors do a lot of…moaning and screaming throughout the show. For some reason, it happens particularly during the night scenes, in beds, bathroom stalls and off-screen sometimes. I guess the voices are suitable. If you like characters that whimper, scream and moan A LOT, this ova is right up your alley in that department.
All in all, Futari Ecchi doesn’t have any aspects of an entertaining anime. It’s a horrible excuse for a romantic comedy, (unless romance is supposed to be a free-for-all for the spouses and sex is all you need to make a good story), not to mention the humor leaves a lot to be desired. I desired humor when watching this filth and that’s what the premise of the ova initially gives off, but my hopes of ever receiving that become dashed quickly. It’s raunchy, sick, mundane and a waste of 100 minutes you could be spending watching a better ecchi romance comedy. I’m sure there are many. With Futari Ecchi, there are MANY factors made me give this the lowest possible score. The production value is (not shockingly) cheap, the story is just one big excuse to show off two characters having sex, and that is not my cup of tea. Especially when it comes to the “comedy” aspect of it.
The worst thing about it is that this was one of the earliest times in my anime viewing life where I honestly felt like it was a waste. I felt like I should SERIOUSLY should be doing something better with my time. I felt like I had to get away from this anime—FAR AWAY. Overall, this ova is too insignificant since the presentation of the anime is piss-poor and moderately similar to a hentai anime, and like I stated previously, I have a zero-tolerance for things of that nature. No one will change that.
Story: (1) It is an excuse to throw sex everywhere in the story. Some might say that is supposed to be the aim of this ova. If it’s a fact, that only proves me right and gives my score much more meaning …
Art: (3) It’s bland and characters move oddly, in whatever they are doing and wherever they do “it.” Art style is poor, but the animation does its job…“barely”. No pun intended…
Sound: (3) No song stands out with the soundtrack. The voice actors get boring quickly since all they do is moan and scream moan and scream. Even describing it is bad and redundant.
Characters (1): Name one important character in this entire ova that does not have any relevance to the innumerable amount of sexual themes…(pause) AND is still relevant to the story.
I thought so.
Enjoyment: (1): I detest this ova. I don’t even want to keep reviewing this ova.
OVERALL: I graciously grant the Futari Ecchi with the score of a 1. It is one of the greatest anime where it has been my displeasure to watch.
All jokes aside, it’s time to wrap this up simply. It’s just THAT BAD. The ova, “Step up Love Story,” is a “step down” in quality. A romantic comedy anime should be about romance and contain SOME humor (even if it comes off as cheesy). Instead, this anime is a raunchy sex-fest that is absent of humor; it is sickening, and the romance is only present because of sex. Sex shouldn’t take prevalence in a comedy or a romance story and definitely not as explicitly as it does with this ova. Do you know where sex should take prevalence? It should take prevalence in a hentai series, not an actual anime. People who have tolerance may like this series. I can only speak for me. Obviously, I'm ranting now, since the purpose of a review after all, is to present my view and whether or not I’d recommend and/or praise the series. Sorry, I cannot praise Futari Ecchi in almost any aspect. Even if you are into this type of stuff, I plead with you to take up the manga rather than this horrid ova. Still, if you have a soft spot for bad romantic comedies and ecchi anime, you came to the right one, so go ahead and try this anime. Take in all in. Be my guest.