Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter Stream: Nisekoi: First Impressions

I know another series I'm reviewing but it's honestly because legal streaming services have been able to get more series. That being said this is one I picked up simply because of the studio and Director working on it, the story itself is that of Raku the son of the leader of a Yakuza clan and his goal to not get sucked into the criminal underworld of his Father and the sham relationship with the other heir of a rival clan the curt, rough spoken, and tom boyish Chtoge to forge a peace between the two factions. While he harbors a crush on the soft-spoken and traditionally "Feminine" Kosaki Onodera, all while he still remembers the promise he made ten years ago to get married to a girl when they where both children and he has a locket that can only be unlocked by the girl's key. It's a clichpremise that's been done in series ranging from Ken Akamatsu's Love Hina where it felt unbelievable and stretched the bonds of credulity, to the visual novel Snow Sakura. In this Raku is at least believable interested in keeping the promise and even harbors doubts about whether it really still matters or not, making it if not terribly original it's at least believable and relatable. Of the two obvious love interests the more interesting of the two is Chtoge who while coming off as a classic Tsundere is also shown to have a softer side and Raku despite finding her insufferable most times is at least willing to help her out when he sees she needs it. While Onodera is mostly a cute archetype with no real personality. What makes this watchable beyond the potential character growth and the mystery of who "the promise girl" is. Would be the fact that Studio Shaft known for making such odd and challenging Anime as Bakemonogatari and Puella Magi Madoka Magica and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (who directed one of my all time favorite Anime Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha). From its use of filters and colored lighting to quick cuts and strange jarring camera angles and cuts it looks like nothing now in the stable of Shonen Jump Anime feeling inventive and refreshing in its odd use of surrealism and odd touches such as the flash back showing Raku's promise with the girls as a silent black and white movie made to look like it's running on eight millimeter film stock. As of this episode it's a very good genre piece with an adventurous aesthetic that helps make the more hackneyed character and story elements bearable.
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