It’s a new year and a new season of anime. Do you have any resolutions, perhaps involving long-thought out romantic revenge?
As a technical note, the screenshots for episode reviews are now in 1080p! Revel in the glory of beautiful wallpapers for 16:9 displays, because I know you have an anime desktop background. I just know.
“The Boy Who Was Called Pig’s Foot”
Right off the top this is a bit of an odd affair, while remaining oddly familiar. We are introduced to Makabe Masamune, a recently transformed individual ready to step in to his high school life in a new light. He is quite likely the most direct wish-fulfillment character in recent memory, but this time that is the point. Many of us probably relish the idea of improving ourselves beyond recognition to spite what others might think of us currently. And by living through this very self-aware character, the audience can identify with both the mindset of an underdog and the pure narcissism of the sexy elite. It’s the perfect set-up to feel sympathy for someone being completely evil, and it works. His plan is to make the object of his young affection, who coldly rejected him, fall for him and then subsequently destroy her.
Adagaki Aki is the target of the titular revenge, and this episode spares no expense at painting her in a very specific light. She is wonderfully evil. You would think that people would stop confessing their love for her after a while, but then you obviously don’t know high school boys very well. The pageantry involved in our introduction to her character sets the ridiculous stage for this revenge plot so well it almost becomes parody. In fact there are several moments of parody in this episode that lend themselves to a certain comedic style that I can really get behind. For example, the perceived situation between Aki and Masamune verses the reality of them getting to know each other shown moments later is a great carpet-pull on the audience. It really got me for a moment.
As for character development and pacing, this is quite the well-rounded premiere. The stage is pretty much completely set for future shenanigans, or deep revelations. There is a considerable cast of side characters here to take interest in as well. Let us call them Aki’s harem, as Masamune refers to them… plus Kojuurou. More can be read about the concept of harems further down, but for now they all seem like they have their bit to add to the overall experience. It is also nice to see a main character that isn’t useless in this kind of setting, with Masamune knowing pretty much what to say and how to handle each situation in a rather calculating manner. He knows that he can get away with more because of his looks and popularity, so why not exploit it? Even more so, he manages to turn his day-one rival, Pudding Prince Tanabe Akio, in to a somewhat friend. I can’t wait to see where this all goes.
On a more technical level, this series looks pretty good. It can seem kind of par for the course when it comes to the standards of brightly colored high school settings, but that definitely isn’t the main draw in a series like this. The range of emotion and character displayed in facial expressions is exactly where it should be and never feels out of place. Aki’s looks of pure disdain for those around her might be so good that it hurts. And although she might be just a duality of tsun-tsun scowls and dere-dere cuteness, Masamune sure runs the gamut. As for animation itself, both still-shot panning and full action animation get their highlights here, and work quite well. Overall it looks to be a good series for colorful screenshots and reaction stills. You can expect weekly reviews of this one.
Summary: Masamune-kun has one goal in mind with his new-found popularity. Crush his childhood love’s heart in the most awesome way possible. Uh…
– The floating dust animation is quite something in 1080.
– It’s only fair for fan service to go both ways.
– Why is the child-like mom trope even a thing?
– I kind of wish my high school life had this kind of pageantry…
– The only other guy has to be that effeminate, right?
– DAMN that’s a forward nickname.
– The background music is fantastic.
– Cue Yagami Light evil laughter.
There is a reason why romantic comedies are never in short supply. They fulfill a guilty pleasure. Rarely does anyone go through life, especially their love life, with a comedic flair. In fact, most of high school and college is just awkward and depressing. It’s this kind of fantastical turn on our usual perspective of reality that triggers all of the right feelings at once. Romantic tension and release is punctuated by fits of laughter instead of worry or doubt, and the proper combination can lead to an irresistible high. This genre is doing its job if you are left with an unusually elevated dopamine level after 22 minutes.
So the question is, does Masamune-kun no Revenge do it right? It certainly has an intriguing concept – a necessity for any new series in a genre so washed-out as romantic comedy. Makabe Masamune, other than being a really cool sword name, is ‘not your typical male protagonist’, which is in itself a bit of a trope. He and the female lead Adagaki Aki, which is a very fun name to say, form the duo of the standard will they won’t they dynamic. Of course they will. They’re the main characters. But it’s all in the journey, right? And for right now, from the first episode, it looks to be an epic journey ahead of us.
The biggest concern so far has to be the harem route. This is certainly checking all the boxes for every female character type needed to pander to a wide audience with interests beyond the sole stereotypical female lead. “But wait!” You might say. “There is at least one other guy in the cast!” In which he is the most purposely non-threatening, docile wing-man that may have ever existed in a series like this. Without any knowledge of the source material (the best idea for a series like this), it’s hard to say as of yet whether the plethora of female characters will all fall for the MC, or if we will move beyond that trope. It could take the route of gaining the affections of each of Aki’s circle before conquering the final boss, but hopefully not. Considering the circumstances of the story, it would make the most sense to focus more on the task at hand. We’re all here to see Masamune wrestle with the decision to crush Aki’s evil heart or fall to his first love.