The season’s popular romcom comes to an end with a less than satisfying note. I’ve probably told my run-in with this series before the anime’s airing but I’ll go over it anyway: The first thing I saw from this series was a single panel from the first chapter where it showed Masamune’s mom and I just couldn’t bear looking at it for a bit. That was around a year and a half ago before they announced the animation project and I think there was something going on me with the time about disliking how the loli bodytype was being over-used and how it mostly lost its comedic impact.
Nonetheless, my interest in the series mostly grew back somehow. I admit I had no expectations other than Aki acting like an uppity snob and looking forward to some banter and I got exactly that for a few episodes. How were the rest? Well let’s find out.
The premise of the series focuses on the titular Makabe Masamune, a snobby fat kid in his youth who was in love with a girl named Adagaki Aki until the day she flat out rejected him and left him heartbroken. Fast-forward a few years and Masamune returns completely fit, slim, and talk of the school with good academics and dashing good looks looks. While the state of his life has improved, Masamune’s physical change belies the grudge he carries and he seeks to avenge his broken heart. Sure enough, Adagaki Aki attends the same school and Masamune seeks to charm her, only to turn her down at the height of her affection. An unexpected assistance comes from the form of Yoshino, Aki’s subservient maid who’s a lot more than she lets on and she agrees to help him teach her master some humility.
In terms of premise, I find this idea pretty appealing and interesting with its reversal of shoujo manga tropes but I was not honestly surprised as to what the series turned into. Whereas the revenge plot of the series sort of fizzled out of the air into a regular romcom, the premise itself warrants some level of interest which is a shame because as far as the anime goes, nothing conclusive takes place and the manga is no better with it’s bait and switch that has the revenge part of the title occur but not to who you were probably expecting.
Our protagonist Masamune is not the freshest breath of air in the main character department but his ikemen characterization along with his relative newness to his new social standing was fun to watch. Honestly, that’s all that he really has going for him since he doesn’t have any interesting foil to play off his character other than the resident “trap” which I put in brackets since Kojuro (voiced by Saori Hayami no less) mostly acts as fujo-bait and only increases the image of Masamune being the ideal manly man. That’s as far as the male characters go that are introduced from the start.
Knowing this kind of show, the larger proportions are on the female’s side. We have our main heroine Adagaki Aki, the resident misandrist who has made quite a reputation for herself in how she rejects her many potential boyfriends and assigns them humiliating nick-names. She is the target of Masamune’s titular revenge and she mostly remains unaware of his true intentions in trying to woo her. Aki apparently suffers from some bodily issue where she is constantly hungry but does not gain any weight, which provides most of her comedy elements aside from her back and forth quips against Masamune, Yoshino is the quiet and timid maid whose true nature is more cunning and capable and her element in the story is helping Masamune with inside information on Aki and her weaknesses. Yoshino is the one that picks up on Masamune being the one who Aki rejected years ago and agrees to help him to teach her snobby mistress on being humble and generally be a better person. Lastly on the established characters is Futaba, the class rep of Masamune and Kojuro’s class who asks Masamune out early but gets rejected and strictly remains a side character. She’s also the one who pairs the two aforementioned males together.
Two characters enter the cast as the series goes on. The first is Fujinomiya Neko who impedes Masamune’s progress with Aki with her own entry in vying for Masamune’s attention. Neko’s story is something that even the manga doesn’t address fully but evidence shows that she definitely had something going on between her and Masamune in their childhood that alludes to arranged marriages but she gets out of the running fairly quickly and supports Masamune from the side. Apparently she doesn’t wear panties for whatever reason. Last but not least is Kanetsugu who who shows up in the anime’s last arcs while remaining for the majority of the latter half of the manga. Kanetsugu immediately strikes with a sense of mystery since all of us know that Masamune was the one who was important in Aki’s past and Masamune has to keep up his appearance but also slip up on his true identity if it means getting Aki’s attention once again. Kanetsugu’s goal is simple as he aimed to arrange a political marriage to salvage his poor but still “noble” household. He just chose the wrong rich girl to try and fool since the fat kid she used to like was actually around her, just not fat anymore. The manga reveals something regarding what really happened the night Fat-Masamune got rejected and the an extra nuance Kanetsugu’s real identity
With Silver Link behind the adaptation, the series portrays a decent rendition of its original source. However, Silver Link in particular has a problem of coloring things a bit too bland and the shininess and the general quality of the manga’s artist, Tiv, is lost in this adaptation I feel. The first few episodes looked high quality until it started to dip in the last leg of the series where they obviously rushed to finish the series with the play + kiss. At least, that’s what I thought but then they devoted half of the last episode for the karaoke scene which I didn’t find all that impressive. Still, for a series about some broken romance and some harem elements, the series did it’s work in its average school setting. Character designs weren’t anything special but I do admit that Aki’s face during those “eye” moments are what basically kept me with this series.
The music wasn’t all that noteworthy but I guess an average series should get something listenable than anything all that memorable. Nothing all that stand out in either of its openings or endings nor it’s soundtrack. The voice-work on a similar note is still enjoyable but nothing I would particularly write more than a few sentences about. I wasn’t expecting the VA choice for Masamune since it sounded a bit lighter than what I’d imagined but Aki and Yoshino’s voice were pretty spot on. Saori Hayami voicing an effeminate boy was actually a first for me but I don’t tend to like that sort of character anyway.
Finally the pacing. I started reading the manga around the time Episode 5 aired so I caught up with the series really quickly. Based solely from the opening, I correctly guessed we would end at around the school play arc. That however left with an unconclusive ending aside from a kiss happening so I tempered my expectations accordingly. Since everything else before the play didn’t really develop anyone, I didn’t mind the actual pacing for either being too quick or too slow since not much of it really mattered as long as the series reached it’s target of ending the adaptation off with a kiss. Pacing aside, I can determine the episodes where I enjoyed this series the most and it was anytime Neko wasn’t on screen and solely focused on Masamune and Aki’s quips with some Yoshino advising from the side. I mainly watched the series to see more of Aki’s reactions and Neko taking away some of the attention only to bring a vague conclusion to her own arc didn’t really help the series overall. I don’t even think her complete deal is explained in the manga either. I felt the series would definitely benefit for having more scenes like the ones from Episodes 1-4 and focus on the better portions of this series. With all these side-tracks as well as the story deciding to take another route in playing its titular revenge, Masamune fails to accomplish it’s revenge just yet while the implications of the revenge have taken place in the manga but the effects of it are not yet revealed. The adaptation also ends with some annoying loose ends since Kanetsugu’s identity isn’t properly revealed, which was something I expected the adaptation to pull an anime original end to tie up but I assume the production team wants to leave things for a possible continuation, or literally make people buy the manga.
I’m not afraid to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes where it focused on Masamune trying to act suave and Aki freaking out over his attempts. I think I enjoyed those first few episodes and then the beach episode until everything came tumbling down when Neko’s arc took up some time and Kanetsugu showed up to literally hog even more time away. I’d like to say it was an average romcom series but when one arc concludes with no real explanation and one character who drastically changes the dynamic of the relationship of the main duo is introduced but leaves that plot point hanging, I can’t really speak too many good graces toward it. Since the ending just decides to screw off with explaining Kanetsugu’s deal or really do anything with Masamune’s revenge, this is one of those weird times where I’ll say the adaptation didn’t do it’s job all that well in leaving a satisfying ending but did its true job of making you angered or left wanting more (but in a bad way to see a plot point addressed) and urges you to read ahead.