Nisekoi is a romantic comedy anime adapted from Naoshi Komi’s manga with the same name. The anime received the go signal in May 2013 and began airing in January 2014. It was picked up by Shaft with Akiyuki Shinbo as the director. The second season started in April 2015 and finished airing in June 2015.
Its plot revolves around the fake relationship of protagonists Raku Ichijou and Chitoge Kirisaki. This is particularly difficult for Raku who has to keep up this pretense while in love with another woman. More complications arise as more and more girls appear and end up falling for Raku as well.
Nisekoi might seem like your usual "harem" (one boy surrounded by girls) anime, but what is it exactly that draws viewers and contributes to its success? For starters, let’s meet the characters and find out what makes them so lovable.
Raku Ichijou is the main protagonist of Nisekoi. He is a typical high school student, except for the fact that he is the only son and heir to a Yakuza family (not to mention the number of charming girls all in love with him). But although he has the birthright to do so, Raku has no intention of taking the position and wants to instead become a civil servant with a civilized job.
Raku holds a pendant, as shown in the first episode, with a corresponding key. Raku gave away the key on a summer day ten years ago to the girl he promised to marry. But because he hasn't seen her ever since, he does not remember anything about the girl, be it the color of her hair, her eyes, or even her name. He actively searches for this mystery girl, although it is unsure if he will uphold the promise to her or if he is just curious about her identity.
Raku begins his fake romance with Chitoge Kirisaki when their fathers arranged their relationship to ease tensions between the Yakuza and the Bee Hive Faction, which is led by Chitoge’s father. This proves to be quite hard for the two, especially since their first meeting included Chitoge’s knee to Raku’s face. They both have to act lovey-dovey, especially in the presence of their gang members.
What complicates the relationship more (aside from it being fake) is Raku’s strong feelings towards Kosaki who he liked ever since Middle School. Aside from that, more girls frequently turn up, either already in love Raku or intrigued by him at first sight.
Raku is always seen helping others even if it puts him in a difficult position. He is quite the gentleman, causing his fans to like him even more. He is pretty easygoing but found it hard making real friends as a child because he's the son of a Yakuza leader. He is best friends with Shuu who he has known since preschool. Shuu is the only boy who isn't afraid of Raku allowing them to become best friends.
A true gentleman, Raku cannot turn down a favor and will go out of his way to make someone happy. He is also quite humble and knows when he has crossed the line and needs to apologize. Yet there are some things that he is absolutely oblivious to. He is mostly unaware of his admirers' feelings for him. He continues to act the way he does, not realizing that everything he does makes the girls fall deeper in love with him.
He is shown to be a very capable swimmer. He uses his abilities to teach Kosaki, to rescue Chitoge, and to escape from the hot spring. His cooking abilities are also top-notch. He has demonstrated these skills several times. One example of which is in the first scene when he cooked for the members of the Yakuza with speed and precision.
Because of his personality, he is greatly loved by people all around him, from the Yakuza members, to his friends, and of course his lady admirers.
Chitoge Kirisaki is the main female protagonist of Nisekoi. She is half-Japanese and half-American, with her father being American. Her father, Adelt, is the leader of the Beehive Gang.
She transferred to Raku’s high school after moving from the United States to Japan. Similar to Raku’s situation, being the daughter of a gang leader caused problems for her as she found it hard to make friends. She is constantly being watched by her bodyguard, Claude, who is very dedicated to protect her and cares for her deeply.
She became friends with Tsugumi when they were both children. Tsugumi was found and taken in by Claude to be raised as a hit man. They formed a deep friendship which still lasts to this day.
Chitoge is shown to have a key, introducing the possibility that she is the girl from Raku’s childhood. It is revealed that she possesses a diary where a boy from her childhood is mentioned who Chitoge remembers to be her first love. It unfortunately does not contain any information about the boy except for a drawing (that does not include enough detail to identify who the boy is); though she notices a scar which she also notices on Raku’s forehead.
Even though she hated Raku in the beginning, she opens up to Raku little by little and eventually falls for him. At one point, Chitoge and Raku try to open the pendant with Chitoge’s key but the key breaks in the process.
Chitoge is super strong as is shown when she successfully planted Raku to the ground by accidentally kneeing him in the face. There are many more cases where she sends Raku flying with her powerful punch. She is athletic and her physical abilities are more advanced than others. Because of this, Raku often calls her “Gorilla.”
She is also an extremely smart girl, fluent in both English and Japanese even though it has been years since she last visited Japan.
Like Raku, she is also always available to help and does not mind going out of her way just to help. She is far from being womanly as she is quite aggressive and loud. She often does not hide dislike for someone especially when she is annoyed.
Her feminine side shows when she is emotional and afraid. Like when Raku discovers that she is afraid of the dark and when she lost her ribbon and thought that her ribbon was shred into pieces.
From their fake relationship blossomed Chitoge’s love for Raku, being saved by Raku from drowning and having witnessed Raku’s good nature. She is also kind of oblivious and denies feelings for Raku during the initial stages. But she eventually accepts her feelings but does not want to tell Raku, yet, though she admits it to Raku through the play where she is Juliet and Raku is Romeo.
She is very happy with the kind of friendships she has now, even though most of them are with girls who are also in love with Raku.
Kosaki Onodera is one of the main characters of Nisekoi and is also one of the girls who are in love with Raku. She is a classmate of Raku’s in middle school and now in high school and has liked Raku ever since. Both Kosaki and Raku are unaware of each other’s feelings and are too shy to confess to each other.
Her feelings for Raku even motivated her to study harder just to pass the entrance exam of the school where Raku is planning to enter. This proved to be successful as they are now classmates again in high school.
She comes from a family consisting of pastry chefs and they own a Japanese candy shop. Her personality is a direct opposite of both her mother and sister, Haru Onodera. They are both rather feisty and aggressive, while Kosaki is very shy in nature. Though her skills in decorating are incredible, she is rather bad at cooking.
She is portrayed to be very sweet, kind, and innocent, a complete 180 from Chitoge’s nature. In the first episode, she puts a bandage on Raku’s nose where Chitoge’s knee had hit him, causing Raku to blush uncontrollably and thinking that it may be a good thing to be kneed in the face. She also offers to look for the pendant that Raku lost when he was knocked down by Chitoge.
She is easily flustered even with the simplest questions as long as it relates to Raku. She often lacks self-confidence and is consistently pushed by her best friend, Ruri. Also because of this, Haru is over-protective when it comes to Kosaki even though she is younger than Kosaki.
She is also shown to be a holder of the key. In her childhood, she has also made a promise to a boy to marry each other when the time comes. She believes that boy to be Raku. She is greatly relieved when she learns that Raku’s relationship with Chitoge is fake but is still reserved about her feelings.
There was also a scene where Raku asks Kosaki directly if she is the promise girl. She answers yes but they are unfortunately interrupted by a phone call.
She is often pushed into situations by Ruri where she can spend time with Raku alone and where she can develop their relationship further. She is also often put into situations where she can possibly confess her love to Raku but they are always interrupted. Because of her kind nature, she considers other people’s feelings for Raku, such as Chitoge’s, before hers.
Despite being timid, she eventually resolves to tell Raku someday that she loves him and to work hard to become closer to Raku. She also reveals that she will fight for her love with Raku.
Though she often runs to Ruri, she proves to be strong in trying her best to win over Raku and in always considering other people.
Like others, she is also very happy with her variety of friends: each of their personalities differs greatly yet they are comfortable with each other.
Marika Tachibana is one of the main characters of Nisekoi and is introduced as Raku’s fiancé. Though Raku objects about this to his father, he really can’t do anything about it because his father is afraid to piss off the girl’s father, the police commissioner.
In the beginning, she transfers to Raku’s class. She is first shown to be a well-mannered and timid lady but her aggressive nature lightly shows when she runs to Raku to hug him and introduces herself as his fiancée, causing uproar from the boys in the classroom.
She first met Raku as a child when he visited her in the hospital. Because of her sickly nature, she rarely came out to play with other children.
She also holds a key and repeatedly declares that she remembers everything. She also has been promised marriage by Raku when they were children. They even took a picture together on the day that they made the promise.
She is also very powerful and unlike Chitoge and Raku, makes use of her family’s power. This is shown when police charged into their classroom when Tsugumi pointed a gun at her for calling Chitoge a gorilla. She also uses this card often to push Raku to do what she wants. She has a bodyguard named Honda, much like Chitoge’s Claude.
She reveals her true personality when Raku claims that he has forgotten everything. She spoke with an accent which Raku immediately recognized. She reveals that she grew out her hair when she learned that Raku liked girls with long hair and that she changed her personality and the way she acts to win Raku's affection. This might be seen as dedication bordering obsession.
Her Kyushu accent shows whenever she is agitated. She becomes the total opposite of the feminine personality she’s trying to portray.
She has a cunning nature which may often put Raku in situations which can easily be misunderstood by others. She is very straightforward and does not care about what anyone, aside from Raku, thinks.
She is very aggressive and expressive when it comes to her love for Raku. She takes every chance she gets to attack Raku, with love of course. Her frail condition worsens every day and tries to desperately hide it from everyone, especially from Raku.
She is also very serious towards Raku and takes steps to be the most suitable partner for him. Though she is weak and frail, she is strong in her own way. She always gives her best and always strives to be good at what she’s doing. She even made a statue-sized chocolate to Raku on Valentine’s Day. And that is not the only skill she shows throughout the series.
She always takes part in the gang’s activities and endures her illness without being a burden to her friends.
She is very friendly, being friends easily with the others. Even if there is a competition among girls for Raku’s love, she still likes and treasures them very much, though she would sometimes annoy them by clinging on to Raku constantly.
Seishirou Tsugumi is Chitoge’s longtime friend and her personal bodyguard, as appointed by Claude. She was raised as a hit man when Claude found her and took her in. Claude mistook her for a boy (and still does) and raised her as such. She was appointed to Chitoge when they were still both children and thus formed friendship at an early age.
She got the name Seishirou from Claude and the name Tsugumi from Chitoge when they were children. Even at an early age, she had already decided to dedicate her life to Chitoge and to be strong enough to protect her at all costs. This is the reason why she abandoned her femininity so she will be able to protect Chitoge more effectively.
She grew up to be an assassin in America with the code name “Black Tiger.” She also had a rivalry with co-assassin Paula McCoy, who also transferred to their school from America to follow Tsugumi.
She also transfers to Raku and Chitoge’s class with orders from Claude to protect Chitoge from Raku. She is introduced as a male student with only few people noticing that she’s a girl including Shuu, Ruri, and Ms. Kyoko, their homeroom teacher.
Though she was supposed to protect Chitoge from Raku, she inadvertently falls in love with him after a few nice gestures and compliments. But she is too stubborn for that and does not want to admit her feelings for Raku to herself. However, she is not that good at hiding it because Paula noticed it.
She is a serious person, yet very shy. She becomes embarrassed whenever she wears feminine clothing or when she gets complimented on. She also becomes flustered whenever she has interactions with Raku.
Raku is considered to be Tsugumi’s first love and gets jealous by Marika’s advancements towards Raku. Though she hides her jealousy by claiming that Raku is Chitoge’s boyfriend and as such, Marika should not do such things.
Even though she is in love with Raku, she still roots for Chitoge and Raku’s relationship to work and won't tolerate any hindrances to the two. She still puts Chitoge’s happiness above hers.
She is also very smart as evident in her ranking in class. She is mature for her age and is often the one Raku turns to for advice. But she proves to be oblivious when it comes to love as she does not notice Kosaki’s feelings for Raku.
Being raised as a hit man, she demonstrates outstanding physical abilities, even though it is not apparent with her physique. Though everyone knows by now that she is a girl, she still wears a boy’s uniform because she claims that it’s not comfortable to fight in girly clothes (and because she is embarrassed by it). But she wears a blue ribbon which Chitoge has given to her to show her feminine side.
As her relationships with the gang deepen, she gets more chances to get in touch with her feminine and emotional side. She enjoys the company of her friends very much and often acts playful and cheerful around them, contrary to her usual serious and focused nature.
Shuu Maiko is the ever supporting best friend of Raku. They have been friends since preschool and went to the same schools.
He may be seen as a clown with his cheerful, silly, and mischievous person. But he is far mature for his own age. He is very perceptive as he was able to tell that Raku’s and Chitoge’s relationship is fake. He is also one of those who noticed that Tsugumi is actually a girl.
He may put Raku in difficult situations but he cares for him deeply. Deep inside, he is very kind. He is the only one who approached Raku in preschool when everyone is afraid to do so. This event ignited their long-term friendship.
He is very playful and would often do anything for laughs. He meddles in everything he deems interesting and always has his eyes on Raku’s love affairs. Despite his deep friendship with Raku, it doesn’t spare the latter from his mischievous pranks. Because of his mischievous and perverted actions, he is always attacked by the more aggressive girls such as Ruri and Tsugumi.
As the story progresses, a more serious side of Shuu can be seen. He might even be braver than Raku as he is brave enough to confess to the one he loves.
Though he is always subject to physical assault by the girls, he has a healthy friendship with them. His crazy antics are not the only thing that makes him lovable but also his unconditional support for his best friend and his mature outlook in life.
Ruri Miyamoto is Kosaki’s best friend and fully supports her as Shuu does to Raku. But her personality is the complete opposite of Shuu’s.
But there are many similarities between Ruri and Shuu such as their glasses, perceptiveness, and their loyalty to their best friends. Though Ruri is always annoyed with Shuu, they can be seen together and can be regarded as friends.
Ruri knows that Raku also likes Kosaki but she doesn’t want to tell her because she wants Kosaki to confess herself. Ruri is always supporting Kosaki in her quest for Raku’s love. She is always setting up events for Kosaki to get closer and always pushing her to confess her feelings to Raku. Despite her loyalty, she often scolds Kosaki when her shyness or something gets in Kosaki's way.
She is also seen always protecting Kosaki. Because of Kosaki’s innocent and timid nature, she takes responsibility to scold Raku whenever he does something stupid (and he always does).
She is quiet and always sports a poker face, unlike Shuu’s smiling silly face. But she is quite aggressive and athletic as she is always quick to attack Shuu and beat him up.
It does not seem like it, but she treasures her friends very much and not just Kosaki. She is quite the supporter, always offering support to everyone that may need her.
In terms of love, she is only interested in Kosaki’s love life as of the moment. I guess we’ll have to see in the future.
Claude is a loyal member and one of the leaders of the Bee Hive Gang and Chitoge’s bodyguard.
He has genuine care for Chitoge and may be over-protective of her sometimes (more like, always). Though he only wants the best for Chitoge, his zealousness in protecting her has sometimes caused problems for Chitoge. His constant stalking made it hard for Chitoge to make friends as he is picky about who associates with Chitoge.
He is the one who found Tsugumi when she was a child. He thought she was a boy thus he gave her the name Seishirou which is a boy’s name. He raised her to be a hit man and trained her in being an effective assassin. To this day, he still thinks that Seishirou is a boy.
He does not approve of Chitoge and Raku’s relationship because he believes that Raku is insincere and is not suitable for Chitoge. Aside from this, he also suspects that the relationship is not genuine. He is constantly in surveillance of Chitoge and Raku’s actions, waiting for clues for Raku’s insincerity and waiting for him to screw up. He always threatens Raku and reminds him that he will suffer consequences should he make a wrong move.
He is quite an expert at being a marksman (much to the horror of Raku). He has vast knowledge of firearms which he also taught to Tsugumi.
Though his character might have made problems for Chitoge, his dedication to her is admirable (though it might be better defined as obsession).
Honda is Marika’s bodyguard much like Claude to Chitoge, but the similarity ends there.
She is a police escort and a personal attendant to Marika and is always there when Marika needs her. It is unknown where she hides but she is always watching Marika in the shadows.
She has stayed with Marika ever since she was young. She cares for her deeply though she prefers to be quiet, unlike Claude. She is also always supporting Marika in her endeavors, especially on Raku.
Because of her lack of interference with Marika’s love for Raku, it can be seen that she trusts and approves of Raku. Perhaps that she is prioritizing Marika’s happiness because there’s no telling what might happen to Marika, considering her sickly nature. As such, she cannot afford to be like Claude who is willing to say no to Chitoge as long as he believes that he is doing the right thing.
She is a powerful woman, being the leader of Marika’s army of specialized police forces, and she possesses a vast amount of information about everyone, be it a criminal or civilian. Honda is a beautiful woman (perhaps the only beautiful girl in Nisekoi who is not in love with Raku). She is always calm and quiet, always sporting a serious face.
Marika has a strong bond with Honda. She often shares her secrets and is comfortable with her. Though she is always in the background, she deeply cares for Marika and fully supports her in her pursuit for happiness.
Haru Onodera is Kosaki’s little sister. But she is completely different than Kosaki, who is very timid and innocent. She goes to the same school as the gang as their underclassman.
She is protective of Kosaki, especially from Raku as she knows Raku to be a womanizer and a Yakuza member. Raku also accidentally sees Haru’s panties on several occasions, solidifying her suspicions that Raku is a pervert.
Haru is convinced that Raku is no good that’s why Kosaki tries very hard to show her who Raku really is. But several circumstances make Haru stands her ground.
When she is being harassed by some delinquents, a boy, who she calls her prince, saves her. Unbeknownst to her, this prince is actually Raku and she denies any clue that identifies Raku as the prince.
But, she is not invulnerable to Raku’s charms. She falls in love with Raku even though she knows that her older sister also likes him. But she decides to support her sister for her fight for Raku’s love despite having feelings herself for Raku.
She has a best friend named Suzu who is similar to Ruri. She supports Haru for Raku and often sets up events for them to get closer, in spite of knowing that Haru is rooting for her sister.
Though she can be feisty and aggressive, she truly cares for her loved ones, especially for Kosaki. She is a sweet and very cheerful girl who is very considerate of others and is even willing to give up Raku, so her sister can be happy.
Paula McCoy is an assassin in America. She was a former member of the Bee Hive Gang that went with the alias “White Fang.” But she proclaims that she is also called by many names. She is the self-proclaimed rival of Seishirou Tsugumi as she is considered a very skilled hit woman until Tsugumi came along.
She is competitive but also looks up to Tsugumi for her work ethic and skills. That’s why she is disappointed that Tsugumi has seemingly become lax and soft. She later observes that Tsugumi likes Raku and often pushes her towards him.
At first, she was intent on making Tsugumi go back to America with her to revive their former glory. She even sets a match where the one who kisses Raku is the winner and if she wins, Tsugumi has to go with her back to America. Though she gives up at the end and returns to America, she later comes back to Japan and goes to the same school as Tsugumi and the gang. Her classmates are Haru and Suzu. Haru constantly tries to befriend her but Paula doesn’t seem to care about others.
As a hit woman, she is very capable and looks composed. But she is shown to be childish at times and doesn’t care about her studies at all. She is also shown to be sensitive and cries frequently.
Paula opens up little by little to Haru because of the latter’s resolve to be friends with her. She also regularly has fun with the gang.
Raku’s father is a side character of Nisekoi who does not show up frequently. He is the father of Raku and the leader of a Yakuza called Shuei-Gumi Clan.
He and Marika’s father had a clash in the past and consequently cut Marika’s father across his face, leaving a scar. Because of this, Marika’s father, being the police commissioner, had become intent on throwing Raku’s father in jail.
Raku’s father then made a promise with Marika’s father to let his son Raku marry Marika in the future. He also knows of the promise made by Raku and Marika when they were children and he is the one who was asked by Raku to take a picture of them.
He, however, forgets about this promise and only remembers it when he is informed that Marika is coming to meet Raku. That’s why he says that he can’t do anything about Marika being Raku’s fiancée.
He also knows that Chitoge and Kosaki had been friends with Raku before but unfortunately does not know who the mystery girl is.
Shuei-Gumi also gets into conflict with the Bee Hive Gang. Both he and Chitoge’s father, Adelt, solve the problem by arranging their children to be a couple (it seems that he likes using his son to solve his problems). Aside from that, he doesn’t usually meddle with his son’s affairs and can rarely be seen other than the scenes of him getting into trouble with different gangs.
Adelt Wagner, an American, is Chitoge's father and also the leader of the Bee Hive Gang.
He met Chitoge’s mother, Hana Kirisaki, when he had come to Japan for business but had gotten into a fight with a faction. Hana jumped in to break up the fight and Adelt immediately falls in love with her. He proposes but Hana refuses intensely by kicking him several times. But Adelt does not give up and eventually becomes successful in winning Hana's heart.
He and Raku’s father had an arrangement to make their children a couple to solve the problems that aroused with the Shuei-Gumi and Bee Hive Gang. Like Raku’s father, he also has knowledge of Chitoge and Kosaki playing with Raku ten years ago but also does not remember anything about the promise, let alone who the mystery girl is.
He is a kind man and cares for his gang members. He cares for Chitoge deeply and often teases her about Raku. He also loves his wife Hana very much though he can be afraid of her sometimes due to Hana’s strong and aggressive nature.
Being the leader of the Bee Hive Gang, he is a very powerful man. His members are afraid of him but hold him in high regard. Even Claude is fearful of him. His gang members also respect his family and care for them sincerely. His members follow him willingly not because they are afraid of him, but because they respect him.
Hana Kirisaki is Chitoge’s mother and Adelt’s wife. Now she is a very powerful woman who works as a business consultant. Chitoge even states that her mood dictates the economy.
Before meeting Adelt, she was already a hardworking woman, juggling several part time jobs at once. She was a pizza delivery woman who was asked to deliver right into a gang fight. This is where she met Adelt.
Adelt is afraid of her because of her aggressive nature though they both love each other. Her workers are also afraid of her because of her demanding presence. Her actions are somewhat eccentric and she also says and does whatever she wants.
Chitoge loves Hana very much though she is lonely that she doesn’t get to bond with Hana. The red ribbon Chitoge wears was given to her by Hana, which is why Chitoge was so upset when she lost it.
Hana is a workaholic and is always busy, leaving no time for her family. Though she seems that she does not care about her family, but this is not true. She reveals that she regrets not spending much time with them and that she may not have shown enough love and care, especially to Chitoge.
She approves of Raku after he proves himself to her. It is also because of Raku that Chitoge and Hana were able to reconcile. Raku forced her to choose either her job or her daughter and she finally made the right choice as a mother and chose her daughter.
As you can see, Nisekoi introduces a variety of interesting characters that add to the already complex and amusing story. These mixture of different characters blend together perfectly making Nisekoi a fun and very entertaining anime. These characters not only have depth in them but also grow as the story progresses. Don't believe me? Go check them out for yourselves!