Gouda Takeo may be built like an ogre, but he has a heart of the purest gold. A simple guy with simple wants, he’s never had any luck with girls at all – every girl he’s even been interested in has flocked to his far more attractive, far more Generic Shojo Love-interest friend. The thing is, this friend – Sunakawa Makoto – never has any interest in these girls and has coldly rejected every last one of them.
Right after Takeo graduates from middle to high school, he has a chance encounter with a girl – Rinko – whom he rescues from a groper on a train. Wanting to thank him, she finds out his address and brings him and Sunakawa cake. When she accidentally leaves her phone behind, Takeo has the chance to see her again in order to return it, and the three end up striking up a friendship revolving around cakes. However, Takeo realizes that he’s fallen in love with Rinko…and suspects that she probably, as usual, is only interested in Sunakawa. And Sunakawa, who has never shown a sliver of regard for any girl who has approached him, seems interested in her. Due to the aforementioned heart of gold, Takeo decides that he should ignore his feelings and try to bring the two together.
Many angels with trumpets descend from the heavens in a golden fanfare – behold! It’s the shojo school romance anime moeronpan doesn’t hate!
Granted, I’d already read a little of the Ore Monogatari!! (Aka MY Love STORY!!) manga so I was already acquainted with the series’ numerous charms, but I was still impressed by this adaptation. After seeing so many ugly or bland looking shojo anime adaptations, it’s nice to see Madhouse make one that shines…literally. This show is really, really sparkly, to the extent that it borders on ridiculous, but in a way it kind of adds to the charm. The delicate artwork in most shojo manga rarely looks as good in anime format but I think it’s made an admirable transition here – everyone’s designs come across great, and the attention to facial expression is really something. The voice work is perfect – particularly Eguchi Takuya as Takeo (I honestly had no idea he could even make his voice so humorously deep) and all the characters just seem so genuinely full of life.
Obviously the thing that stands out about Ore Monogatari!! is not just the fact that the main character is male, but the fact that he looks like he was transplanted from an old-school seinen manga. He contrasts hilariously with the delicate, fluttering lines of all the other typical shojo manga character designs around him in both looks and personality. It could easily just be a one-note joke (the manga did actually start as a one-shot, after all), but it’s impressive to me how much it actually works. Takeo’s appearance is clearly the main gag, sure, and he’s a relatively simple character, but he has so much goddamn heart and sincerity that it’s impossible to not like him or root for him as a main character. Seeing him fascinated by delicate sweet cakes he’s never eaten before is funny, and seeing him realize that he’s doomed himself to yet another unrequited love is sad. There’s definitely the sense that it may actually be him that Rinko is really interested in rather than the usual Sunakawa, which means that even if this is going to be a shojo story I like, it’s still going to have a lot of the irritating misunderstandings that seem to be requirements of the genre…but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to stick around. Some may have found the ‘rescued from a groper’ trope grating, but I do like that it’s not presented as fanservice whatsoever – and that even though Takeo was suspended for punching the guy out, Rinko found it admirable.
While this is definitely adorable and absolutely blogging material, it’s also apparently going to be a two-cour show, which is a shame only because it means it’s most likely disqualified as a candidate. I kind of want to only do a 1-cour show, but hey, we’ll see.