Of all the anime airing this spring, one of the most strange-looking was definitely My Love Story!!. Coming off the glory that was Death Parade, animation studio Madhouse (so there's pretty animation!) clearly decided to change things up and go for a shoujo instead of more death. The concept is relatively simple: Takeo is an giant, ugly guy who has a kind heart but always scares away women because of his looks. The story begins when he rescues a girl from a train groper, and he embarks on his very own love story.
While the concept itself doesn't necessarily sound fantastic at face value, I think that the show has a large amount of potential based on the way that it has utilized its premise in the first episode. First off, Takeo is a very relatable protagonist. He is actually super popular with the guys and is quite sociable. The only problem is his looks, which are comparable to an ogre (a comparison the show makes in the opening scene). He actually is extremely kind, but because of his minimal interactions with women he is a bit lacking in the sociability department whenever he DOES talk to them. This is basically the key point of the conflict, this disconnect he has between what he thinks women want and what they actually want. When he saves Rinko Yamato from the molester on the train, she is very grateful and wants to spend time with him. However, Takeo misinterprets her interest in him because he believes that she is actually just interested in his friend Makoto Sunakawa.
When I said earlier that Takeo's only problem was his looks, I was lying slightly. While that is the only physical problem with him, his surroundings exasperate the issue. His best friend Sunakawa actually hinders his love life even more, even if not doing so on purpose. Sunakawa is extremely handsome, and attracts the attention of all of the girls that Takeo ever likes. Because of this, Takeo reasonably thinks that Yamato is in love with his friend, and resolves to help her. Sunakawa himself is usually very reserved and aloof and never seems to reciprocate girls' feelings, but is not a bad person and has always been a loyal friend for Takeo, and thus as a character he seems intriguing enough. While Yamato herself falls into the hardcore 'deredere' category, I haven't minded the use of some tropes and archetypes because the show also mixes in a decent amount new ideas.
I think that My Love Story!!, while not necessarily breaking any major ground thus far, has tried an angle that I don't normally see in anime: the protagonist isn't some sort of gorgeous womanizer or an aloof, silent type. Takeo is if nothing else unique, and since the story revolves around him I think there is a lot of potential in the concept. From the first episode alone, I would highly recommend the show to any shoujo fans, although we will see if it capitalizes on this beginning as the season progresses.
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My Love Story!! is currently available for free and legal streaming on Crunchyroll, with a new episode every Wednesday.
If you liked this article, you might also like my series of impressions from last season.