Nisekoi | 32 Episodes | Subbed | Crunchyroll

Initial Impression: This show is actually kind of hilarious and I want to watch all of it right now.

Nisekoi was my second binge in as many weeks and I’m sad to say that it severely underwhelmed me the longer I watched it. When I started it, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. I was optimistic, hoping to get more from the characters, but I became increasingly disappointed as I began to realize that the beginning was really the best part.

The premise of the show is rather basic: the MC and a girl he barely knows are forced into a fake relationship, and the more time they spend together, the more they start to catch feelings for each other. The twist on this particular version of that trope though is that Raku Ichoji (the MC) is the son of a major yakuza boss and Chitoge Kirisaki (the love interest) is the daughter of a major gang boss — they’re forced into a relationship to keep their subordinates who hate each other from escalating things into a gang war.

Normally I would have to no issue with this kind of trope — I think when done right, it can be rather cute and entertaining and a fun enemies to lovers type of thing. However (and keep in mind, I say this not having read the manga and having no intention to) I think Nisekoi failed at following through on what makes fake dating and enemies to lovers so great — the “to lovers” part. Fake dating is only fun when it gradually escalates to real dating, but that’s just my humble opinion.

In the effort of full transparency, my opinion of this anime went nothing but spiraling downwards after episode 11. If you want to watch up until that point, I encourage you to — just know it’s all down here from there. That being said, the things that put me off truly enjoying this anime are as follows:

  • Raku never committed to a single girl. I know this is common in harem animes, but it’s also something that I dislike in harem animes, so at least I’m consistent with my dislike of this particular point 🤷🏿‍♀️
  • The fact that there are at least four girls who like him, but only one of them is ballsy enough to admit it to his face. I’m all good with having feelings for someone you aren’t ready to share or are still working out for yourself — but I also can’t stand a mentally and emotionally weak character (i.e. a weak bitch).

    Onedera was annoying to me — I really grew to hate her character and her involvement in the story. The reason for that being — even with all the help from Ruri and Maiko creating an atmosphere for them, to Chitoge not liking Raku in the beginning, to all the opportunities presented to her, she still never confessed her feelings. She’s been in love with him for three years and was too weak to say something. Then she let another girl come in and steal him away from her only to continue to do nothing and watch from the sidelines and even try to be respectful of the other girls feelings. I get not being an underhanded person, but there’s still a line that needs to be drawn at some point and Onodera should have removed herself from the equation if she was going to be too scared to even throw her hat in the ring to fight for him.

    I’m not going to lie — I did root for her in the first couple of episodes when I realized that her and Raku had mutual feelings for each other. However, I quickly jumped from that sinking ship when I realized that she was a weak bitch who was going to just sit by and watch Raku date another girl without saying anything. Also, her friend Ruri was the worst for encouraging Onedera to get Raku to cheat on Chitoge with her, and I’m never for that.
  • Raku was a weak bitch too for never saying anything to Onodera about his feelings for her. He’s liked her for just about as long and kept his mouth shut about it and then tried to still get at her when he was in a very public relationship with someone else. While I understand his circumstances — he didn’t pick Chitoge and couldn’t break up with her unless he was literally ready to watch people die because of it — he still agreed to the terms and conditions. He agreed to be Chitoge’s boyfriend, and fake or not, it’s messed up on a lot of levels that he would still actively pursue Onodera while publicly dating Chitoge.

    I’d give him a pass if Chitoge knew he liked Onodera and didn’t care because it was just a fake relationship to them. But Chitoge wasn’t in on it. He was just being straight up selfish and disrespectful to her while still being too scared to tell Onodera the truth himself — about fake dating Chitoge (which Chitoge had to finally tell her) and his feelings for her. That’s a weak bitch mentality and I was just not here for it.
  • Marika’s character. While I appreciate that she was the only one bold enough to be upfront about her feelings for Raku — her character was annoying, didn’t add anything to the storyline, was very clearly the girl he was never going to pick, and irritating at best. She literally changed everything about herself to be with Raku based off things he said he liked in girls when he was five. FIVE. A literal kindergartener. She spent ten years chasing that ideal without ever speaking to him then blows a gasket because he doesn’t remember the sick girl he talked to one summer when he was five. There was enough “romantic tension” between wondering if Raku would pick Onodera or Chitoge without throwing a third girl into the mix.
  • Whatever nonexistent plot was behind the locket, the keys, and the promise. The idea of a childhood promise to reunite between Raku and a girl who gave him a locket one summer (who he doesn’t remember) is introduced at the beginning of the series. But, LO AND BEHOLD, each girl has a key BUT WHO WAS THE ONE HE MADE THE PROMISE WITH?

    I mean, this is just a dumb plot point. Why would there be three keys? Why would they all think Raku is the boy when none of them remember who they were talking to? Why would they hold so tightly onto a promise with someone they met when they were five when they have literally no memory of that summer or who they made the promise with? They all just carry around relics of that summer like it’s not weird to be stuck on a kid you don’t remember from ten years ago. And, to top it off, it’s never resolved. We never find out what’s in the locket, who had the right key, or who was the girl he promised to marry when they reunited.
  • The fact that Raku never admitted he was falling for Chitoge, even when he had to rationalize his thoughts as, “I can’t like Chitoge, I’m in love with Onodera”. As if Chitoge wasn’t already his girlfriend — as if he wasn’t actually spending time with Chitoge and getting to know her instead of having shallow conversations with a girl he barely knew outside of school — as if his feelings can’t change as he realizes that he cares more for someone else than he thought he would just because they got off to a bad start.

Final thoughts after finishing the series:

All that being said, I will give the show this: it’s funny and entertaining enough. If you like a harem anime in general, you’ll probably enjoy this one. If you like anime where all the girls like one boy, you’ll probably like this one. If you’re just watching to be entertained — for the laughs and the gags without all the plot — then you’ll probably enjoy this one.

As much as I gripe about it and readily admit that I was disappointed by it, Nisekoi wasn’t an inherently bad anime. It was just extremely shallow — the characters you meet in the beginning (who are interesting and entertaining) are the same characters you have at the end with little to no changes made. There’s no real plot. There’s no real conclusion. There’s really no satisfaction to the ending, just an abrupt stop.

Al in all, I can’t say I really recommend this one — it’s got funny moments, but not really worth tying yourself into a 32 episode binge. But that’s just my two cents on the matter, spend it how you like.

💙 The Otaku Couple

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