Dec 21, 2014
henyome (All reviews)
A desire for acceptance is something that most of us can relate to, and at times that can drive us to certain extremes. It's a premise that is not necessarily unique, but for a shoujo series it actually is. The cliched trope of a spineless heroine and her tsundere love interest is all too common. However this series provides us with a slight variant; our main character is a compulsive liar with a penchant for emotional punishment (read: she's a masochist) that happens to, in a series of poor decisions and bad judgment, land herself a two-faced jerk who is content to treat her like a dog.

Originality is not this anime's forte, per se, but it is successful as a romantic comedy because it is uncommon. The two main leads seem initially very unlikeable, but if you accept the fact that they mutually (consensually) engage in something of a sadomasochistic relationship—that neither one seems to want to disband even when given the chance—then the series provides some amusing comedy.

Erika is not your traditional shoujo heroine, she's actually a plucky, resilient lead who for reasons unbeknownst to most viewers, seems to enjoy Kyouya's treatment. When situations arise that would stereotypically end in an angst-filled fight between our couple, Erika maintains her usual headstrong, blind determination to win over her ice-hearted prince. She does actually develop as the series progresses, because initially his treatment of her does seem to bring her spirits down, yet she rather quickly begins to learn just how Kyouya works and how outwardly dishonest he is—and she adapts.

Kyouya is perhaps less impressive on the face of things, but the amusing reality is that he's not like your traditional tsundere love interest in that he doesn't have much in the way of redeeming qualities. He is, quite frankly, a jerk to Erika constantly and only occasionally showers her with some vague form of affection. But the series doesn't try too hard to redeem him—he has no sad backstory to fall on, as he says himself. His behavior is not entirely without cause, given the influence of his older sister. Being cynical and misanthropic seems to run in the family.

The supporting cast is entertaining albeit peripheral, and they receive minimal attention or development. That is a disappointing fact about the series, which was limited in how much screen time it could offer them given its short runtime. But for their part in the series, they did contribute to the development of the main couple and to the overall humor of their antics.

For the part of the plot, there is nothing original in the least—it is the traditional shoujo setup from the beginning until the end. What pulls it off in a unique way is the characters that are seemingly cliche but vary quite drastically from any traditional leads in a romance series. They carry the series where the plot might otherwise flop for not being terribly thought provoking or entertaining. It's the same old setup, but delivered in a way that can still rouse some amusement because the way everything plays out seems bland at first but the spice of the characters bring it some flavor.

In regards to the animation, the color palette is vibrant and charming. In comparison to the manga, it actually has adapted all of the character designs quite nicely and all of the scenes have at least done justice to or provided some improvement on their counterpart. Although it is like any other shoujo style, each design is unique and rather fitting giving each character's unique persona.

Unfortunately another weak area is perhaps the soundtrack. The opening is catchy and adorable, but during the course of the series there are a few scenes with background music that just seem utterly out of place in an almost comedic sense. In general, the series doesn't suffer too much in this category—at least not too noticeably, but it does lack the ability to match its own mood properly at certain moments.

Overall, the series has enough merits to warrant it being a good shoujo anime. Although this review may lead you to believe that the main characters are the most redeeming part of the series, it would be disingenuous to claim they aren't the least bit frustrating. If you have difficulty appreciating that they are more nuanced than they seem at first glance, then you will be hard pressed to find anything enjoyable about the series. This certainly is not for everyone, it's not about a sweet couple that fall in love gradually—it's about two characters who are so entirely human that they are flawed and utterly unlikeable, but as a result of which, happen to be highly entertaining together.