Koi to Uso: Episodes 1-3 First Thoughts!

You know, romance is kind of a luxury, when you think about it.

For the majority of human history, marriage has been decided by outside factors, disregarding “compatibility.”  Status, power, family–all these factors were infinitely more important than “love.”  But recently, compatibility, love, and romance have reigned supreme, the desires of the heart put forth as the most important value.  But even then, it can be hard to know, for certain, whether you and your partner are truly compatible.

So, what if you could know, from the very beginning, that you were with paired with your perfect soulmate?  What if you were automatically paired with the person who, in personality, goals, intelligence, and more, was perfect for you?

Well.  You might be surprised at the problems that arise.


The Premise

2017-08-06_13-43-20Koi to Uso is a Summer 2017 anime that takes place in the near future, in a reality where Japan has decided to confront its need for increased population growth in an…interesting way.

By deciding the most compatible marriage partners for its citizens, starting from the age of 16, the Japanese government has been able to achieve its goals with a resounding success!  The system has worked so well, that the citizens of Japan, for the most, part have whole-heartedly accepted it.  After all, there’s no need to take a risk, when the government’s “Red Strings of Fate” can choose the best partner for you.

 

 

2017-08-06_11-57-21.pngEnter the 15, going on 16 year old youth, Yukari Nejima.  A kid who makes it very clear that the government has no sway on him, that he won’t get married, no matter what!  After all, with the truest of loves for his childhood crush, Misaka Takazaki, what could stand up to the passion he has?  When he finds out that Misaka loves him as well, his faith seems very much rewarded, his defiance against the government given meaning.

2017-08-07_22-10-46However, once he receives his notice, telling him of his designated partner, Lilina Sanada, the world turns on its head, as he struggles to keep his feelings for Misaka alive.  Understandably, he’s stuck in a very strange, very unwanted position, being with a complete stranger, while also trying to foster his love for Misaka.  And, surprisingly, Lilina…wants him to as well?

 

2017-08-07_21-27-23 In a world where these designated partners don’t want to be together anyways, the three youths struggle with their feelings of love and romance, in contrast to the world that aims to decide them in their place.  But of course, love in this world, isn’t exactly the easiest thing to keep alive.

It’s interesting, ain’t it?

 


First Impressions

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You don’t say?

Right off the bat, the plot of the show gets moving.  With a clean, rom-com animation style that is rather pleasing to the eye, Koi to Uso hops right into the comedy, characters, and of course, the drama.  It’s bright, it’s happy, and knows how to exaggerate certain moments for more emotional, powerful scenes.

What stands out to me, however, is the sheer potential this story has to grow, in future episodes.

With a premise such as this, it’s hard not to be excited for what this anime may bring.  It showcases a unique twist on the standard love triangle that is actually rather interesting, and also, has shown that it’s not adverse to presenting multiple sides of an argument, which I personally love.  There’s a LOT of plot points to keep in mind, just by the end of the third episode, and so, there’s a LOT of room for Koi to Uso to grow into a memorable, dramatic, or heck, even a fun story.

But of course, that’s just potential.  We’ll see where that leads.

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Huh. Perhaps so?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of the first three episodes, the series manages to be rather entertaining, carving out its own unique sense of humor that is rather fun to see.  It’s not the best of anime comedy, to be sure, utilizing some very, very overdone tropes, but at the very least, the character dynamic makes these situations rather…interesting.

However, at this point, I must admit: the first three episodes…have left me wanting more, and not in a very good way.

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Not that I’m complaining.  But I know you know, we’ve all seen a scene like this.

 

From a sheer plot perspective, the situation of our main characters is extremely intriguing.  Their unique relationship is what draws me to the series, but at the same time…it’s not exactly the best-developed character relationship in anime, at least so far.

I bring up character dynamic to say this–I wish that they were, immediately speaking, a bit more memorable.  Their personalities tend to fade into each other, defined very quickly by simple stereotypes.  Yukari is the wimpy, yet determined and kind guy, while Lilina is the brash tsundere character, and Misaka is the intelligent, reserved, yet loving type.  Not to say that they don’t have their own personalities, but as of now, they’ve yet to truly distinguish themselves.

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Very dramatic, very strong, yes, but…I just don’t care about the characters enough to get invested.

That’s actually an apt way to describe my impressions of Koi to Uso so far: it hasn’t distinguished itself yet.  The animation is solid, but nothing truly exceptional has happened.  The music is nice, but I don’t know if I will remember it at all by the end.  And of course, the characters are alright, but right now, I can very easily imagine either disliking them, or liking them.

Of course, there’s a lot of potential.  But we’ll see how that goes.


Final Thoughts

2017-08-07_21-16-52
 Good advice, actually.

I’m very hopeful for this anime, as something that could be a really solid watch, as far as rom-com anime are concerned.  However, at this point, I err on the side of caution, as it appears that the series could very easily suffer from a lack of focus.

There are a LOT of dramatic points that can be built upon, from specific plot elements, to character relationships, development, and even world building.  What worries me then, is whether or not the series has the ability to focus on the story it’s aiming to build, without getting caught up in trying to do too many things at once.  Will it mostly focus on the relationship between our main trio?  Will it try and carry out a theme of love in a loveless world, or will it continue to try and add new plot elements with every episode?

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Nice job, Yukari.  What’s next?

In the end, I just hope the story develops a sense of personality.  Characters I can grow to enjoy as individuals, rather than stereotypes, and a story that is confident in what it tries to tell.

And hey, maybe this tale of Love and Lies will be one worth writing home about.


Regardless, I’ll still look forward to the next episodes–what do you think about Koi to Uso?  Leave a comment down below!

My Top Ten Story Arcs in Western Animation

Western Animated shows, on the whole, are fundamentally different from anime in a number of ways.

The tropes they employee, their general reputation, the style they use–it all combines to create a more lighthearted, comedic atmosphere in comparison to the Japanese medium many know and love.  This has led to a format where most Western cartoons tell their stories sporadically.  With lots of independent, unrelated stories in between, compared to anime, which continue a single plot without interruption.

However, there are times when these shows choose to focus on a single story, over the course of multiple episodes.  These are the episodes that get plot-heavy really quick–the ones that oftentimes are responsible, for creating the most high-stakes, memorable situations of a show.   And today, I’ll be talking about my top ten favorite story arcs!

I tried to stick to two criteria for this list.  First, only one story arc per series, and second, the arc has to last at least five episodes, or at least be addressed over the course of a series.   This was to rule out those hour-long specials, which are so common in Western cartoons.  That said, let’s get to it!

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Reading Between Reviews: Cowboy Bebop

Oh boy, we’re reviewing one of the classics today.

Cowboy Bebop, released all the way back in 1998 is one of the titans of anime, a revolutionary work that changed the way many people looked at Japanese Animation.  By mixing realistic Western themes and sci-fi elements, with a touch of anime flair, Cowboy Bebop truly is the work, which became a new genre itself.

And this past week, I’ve had the pleasure of watching this work for myself, and I’ve gotta say, it’s certainly one of the most unique anime I’ve ever watched.  Stick around, and keep on reading–this is Reading Between’s in-depth review of Cowboy Bebop.

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Reading Between Reviews: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Don’t you wish, sometimes, that you didn’t have to worry about your daily chores?

Wouldn’t a maid be good to have sometimes?  Someone who could just take care of everything you don’t want to deal with?  Or, even better, wouldn’t it be great to have a Maid that’s also a DRAGON?  Then they could use magic to clean things up, they could give you rides to work, it’d be GREAT!

…Right?

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid was…definitely an anime.  It was a strange one, and I mean, with a concept like that, how could it not be?  Airing earlier this year, from January 2017-April 2017, I figured I was a bit late on the ball, and decided to watch the series.

All things considered, I’m glad I did.

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My Top Ten Protagonists of Gaming!

Though a protagonist’s eyes, we experience new worlds.

Playing a video game for the first time, the main character provides a means, through which we experience the world of the game.  If the game is fun, dramatic, action-packed, the protagonist should generally reflect that.  And of course, some protagonists do this job far better than others, bringing far more to the table than most.

These protagonists are my favorites in all of gaming.  Their individual personalities, the ways in which they let the player experience the game, their general design, all combine to create memorable characters that stand as some of the best of the video game medium–at least, in my eyes.

Having said that–here’s my personal top ten protagonists of gaming!

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Reading Between Reviews: Chaos;Head

 

Every so often, you learn about an anime that sounds great in theory, but isn’t pulled off so well in practice.

I haven’t heard much about Chaos;Head, but it certainly sounded like an anime I could enjoy.  A psychological, supernatural thriller?  That’s up my alley!  And, watching it, looking back on it, I can certainly say that it was an…interesting anime to watch.
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Crafting The Perfect Story: The Three Elements of Storytelling

Everyone looks at stories differently.  It’s why people have differing opinions when it comes to stories that we enjoy.  Some of us like anime, manga, or other similar Japanese stories.  Others enjoy the attachment of watching actors on the big screen, or experiencing stories first-hand through a video game.

Stories are universal, but as we all know, every story won’t work for everyone.  Knowing that, I’d like to introduce you today to what I consider my Three Elements of Storytelling–the three factors, that I believe makes a story great, from an objective point of view.

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Some of My Favorites: Five of the Best Endings in Anime

The ending of an anime is what separates “great” from “legendary.”

An ending is the last hurrah, the thematic synopsis, the final moments in which an anime can distinguish itself from the rest.

These are some of my personal favorites, not the greatest literary, thematically satisfying, most powerful of all time.  So, other endings that would probably be considered the “top” might not be here!  Also, obviously, be prepared for spoilers!

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A Retrospective On The Star Fox Series

Star Fox is undoubtedly one of the legends of classic gaming.  But man, where did it go?

The franchise is one that I’ve had a LOT of fun with in the past, and I’m quite sure many people recognize the name, as one of the greats.  However, if you ask anyone to name the most recent good game in the series, there’s bound to be some mixed, uncertain answers.  How in the world did Star Fox gain its reputation, only to disappear?  Well…it’s an interesting story, honestly.

So then, what happened to the adventures of Fox Mcloud and the Star Fox crew?  And what’s the series looking like now?

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A Love Letter to Keijo!!!!!!

A while back, a rather strange anime was released.  The Winter of 2016.  It appeared to be completely ludicrous, a series based solely on the concept of fanservice.  Keijo!!!!!! took the Western world by storm, attracting people at first with the promises of breasts and butts, but then keeping them hooked with sheer lunacy and hilarity.  Keijo was perceived as a clever, subversive anime, something not too dissimilar to One Punch Man in regards to how it subverted anime tropes.  In the span of 12 episodes, it gained a rather sizable fanbase–some people even started to read the manga!

But then, about a month ago, a travesty was announced: the manga’s run in the magazine was ending.  Citing lack of popularity in Japan, as well as conflicts with the publisher, the author, Daichi Sorayami, apologized to the fans, and thanked the magazine that allowed him to run the manga.

Man, what a shame.

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the series, both the anime and manga, I’ve gotta say, it kinda sucks that it’s getting cancelled.  Considering this, I thought that it’d be a good idea to just…appreciate what Keijo!!!!!! brought to the table.  Here’s to one of the strangest series of recent memory!

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