Masamune might end up as the most coldly calculating and incredulously naive character of the year, and it’s still only the first month of 2017. He needs a good frenemy to help him out.
“Cinderella Does Not Laugh”
With the threat of exposure looming, Masamune really starts to step up his game and for a moment seems to be in cool, calculated control of it all. That definitely does not last. This episode also starts playing several other character angles, and with a bit of ecchi seems to be on the path towards the harem route – but the overall goal holds precedence throughout. It seems for a moment that the painfully clumsy-cute Koiwai Yoshino is leading the charge on the harem front this episode, until some quite wonderful turns are made away from that expectation.
It still seems as if going forward each episode might end up focusing on one of the many female characters for the target audience to fall for, but if it can play it this well it might just be a workable option. The class rep, Futaba Tae, feels like a pretty genuine romantic player in a situation that really isn’t given enough thought in a lot of series like this. Sure there are plenty of female characters with feelings for a male main character in anime, but it usually stays a few steps away from confrontation for the sake of prolonged hope or straight harem style endings. This kind of earnest expression builds both the characters and plot in a refreshing way. As for Koiwai, I definitely did not see that twist coming – although in hindsight I really should have considering the episode is clearly about her. But while the first half seemed like the build to an “every girl gets a shot at love” kind of scenario, the back half wonderfully tears that down. The naivete of Masamune really plays in to this well, and getting so much confrontation this early on is an interesting path to put the story on. You were doing so well, Masamune!
In the vein of similar criticism, Cracked.com just recently had a podcast about the romantic comedy genre that is worth a listen. It covers a lot of ground, but mostly focuses on the insanity of circumstance and rightfully points out a lot of sociopathic or horrible lessons the genre has taught us. Masamune’s Revenge is really no different – everyone is pretty much insane and the plot is clear hyperbole. But the conclusion the podcast nearly reaches but never quite hits on well enough, because it would kind of invalidate the whole conversation, is that real life is boring. We gawk at how incredulous rom-com circumstances and characters are, but then try to take away some kind of moral or point. Our capacity for cognitive dissonance is rather impressive. Something like Masamune’s Revenge, or Toradora! or Clannad or even Love Actually might be crazy and wholly unrepresentative of reality and not even begin to depict how love actually works, but would we really want to watch reality? We do that all day anyway.
Technical note of the week; the music is still fantastic. The humorously dark and somewhat creepy music sets the internal monologues and tense interactions so perfectly. The comedic fair is just as well produced, with the right amount of heart at every turn. But it’s not only the music to look forward to each week. If this series can keep up the expressive character art and more importantly the twisty plot, it could be a very satisfying ride.
8.6/10 (Very Good)
Summary: Masamune needs all the help he can get, even if it is from the least likely of sources. But after making some quick moves, has he blown it too soon?
– Most people are impressed by a good transformation…
– I can’t even be mad at how blatant those pantie shots are.
– We’ve already seen his underwear quite prominently.
– “It’s fine when she’s nice to me.”
– Nailed it.
– What a twist. She wants to help!?
– People are still email buddies?
– He just crushed her poor heart! He’s totally popular!
– OK I might be feeling the harem route… what have I become.
– NOOOO dude! Too soon!
– You can’t fault her on the effort put in.
– The first one on the list.