My Love Story!! – Season 1

My Love Story!! – Season 1

Takeo Goda is a high-schooler who looks like a fully-grown man. He’s a big guy with a big heart. Unfortunately, the girls at school are not at all interested in him, much preferring his classically good-looking friend Sunakawa. Being the good guy he is, Takeo accepts his fate and stands aside. But then he meets a girl named Yamato and his love life suddenly takes a different turn. When he discovers that Yamato wants to meet him again, he finds himself falling for this shy, lovely girl… but does Takeo stand a chance with a handsome friend like Sunakawa?

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from My Love Story!!, let alone why such a generic title merited two exclamation points. When I watched the first episode I thought I was going to be watching something from an oversaturated genre that wasn’t going to bring anything new to a tired concept. And then the episode finished and I realised that I couldn’t have been more wrong. This anime is a must-watch.

For an anime that had all the tell-tale signs of an adolescent love triangle, I was surprised to see that the three main characters of Takeo, Sunakawa and Yamato are essentially good people who always try to be nice to one another. You would think this wouldn’t make for good story lines, but this isn’t the case at all. This anime exudes a refreshing positivity that is hard to find nowadays and proves that you don’t need drama, action and violence to engage an audience. The characters alone are so strong and interesting and don’t even resort to caricature personalities or anime stereotypes. Takeo is gentle and effusive and essentially wears his heart on his sleeve. Sunakawa, looking very Light Yagami-esque, initially appears rather aloof and serious, but we soon see that the two childhood friends care very much about one another. Meanwhile, Yamato has a sweet, excitable personality that complements Takeo’s aggressive sincerity and kindness.

The three characters look like they have been picked out of three different genres. Takeo is drawn with bold lines that emphasise how big and unconventional his features are; Sunakawa’s appearance is very much bishounen and he wouldn’t be out of place in a series like Uta no Prince-sama or Neo Angelique Abyss and Yamato’s pastoral colouring and flowing hair and clothes are very much typical shoujo material. Sometimes, just having the three characters stood together is enough to be amusing, and when their personalities are exaggerated for comic effect – even more so. Every episode is genuinely funny and heart-warming at no one’s expense.

Takeo is a brilliant main character. His over-the-top earnestness never fails to make me smile and he is always very passionate, meaning that he often forgets personal space and, because of his size, end up coming across as aggressive. The viewer finds out early that he is really a gentle giant, so when his personality and mannerisms get misinterpreted it naturally comical, but you also feel sympathetic. You see Sunakawa’s initial coolness is just an external projection, and he is actually just lazy and unmotivated and used to girls approaching him, and not the other way around.

My Love Story!! subverts what would otherwise be a typical shoujo romance anime. It’s not based on the typical and contrived episodical misunderstandings and doesn’t build up sympathetic characters just to tear them down for the sake of a bit of drama. That’s not to say that this anime doesn’t have its fair share of coincidences – there are drowning babies and fires that are used as plot devices to demonstrate Takeo’s heroic nature. Another good thing is that Takeo and Yamato actually get together as “boyfriend and girlfriend” around about the third episode instead of making us go through the tiresome will-they-won’-they phase.

What I find most refreshing is that this anime doesn’t feature a character-assassinating love triangle, and instead shows relationships where everyone is genuinely supportive of one another. Yamato and Takeo both go to Sunakawa about how to approach the other, and Sunakawa is encouraging and helpful in his own way. The two boys’ friendship is solid and brings out the best in both of them and the audience trust them not to betray one another over nothing. We see Sunakawa rejecting girls because they say unfair things about Takeo and Takeo is always singing his best friend’s praises to anyone that will listen.

I feel that I can’t quite do this anime justice just with words alone. It’s so different to anything that I’ve seen for some time. It’s funny, interesting and endearing with characters that you can get behind and really empathise with. And yet there is a realistic element here where you can almost visualise this kind of relationship happening in real life. My Love Story!! is one of the strongest series of the Spring 2015 line-up. I wholeheartedly recommend it.