Junjo Romantica | 24 Episodes | SUB | VRV
Mature boy-love warning!
Yuri!!! On Ice | 12 Episodes | DUB | VRV
Final Verdict: I want more!
Yuri on Ice literally gave me all the feels I could possibly want. It had action. It had romance. It had a person who is over the age of 17 trying to find his place in the skating world and where he fits in. It had a lot of great characters. It had characters growing. It had awesome music and skating routines. It had so much goodness!
First, there was the overall story. Yuri Katsuki is a professional ice skater who is in a bad slump after a pretty much epic fail in the Grand Prix Finals. He is on the verge of retiring when he returns home after graduating from college. Unsure of what to do, he goes to the skating rink to show an old friend a routine they’d watched together as kids of Viktor — the most popular men’s single ice skater. Her daughters record him doing the routine, the video goes viral, and soon Yuri has the Viktor he’s idolized since childhood as his skating coach. This shakes up the skating world and turns Yuri’s career and life on its head.
The show follows Yuri as he works hard to make a comeback in his ice skating career. We see him train to get back in shape, struggle to find his confidence, and improve by leaps and bounds — literally with his leaps and bounds on the ice. He has 3 routines that change ever so slightly from competition to competition. I thought at first that this would get boring, but I was absolutely wrong. By seeing the same routine, we see him improve so much! The mistakes he makes during the first performance change him, and his expressions and confidence in the routines change as well. The animation shows this, but with the added addition of hearing his inner thoughts while he skates and the crowd’s thoughts as they watch him, we really get a full picture. I also love that I could connect the routine to his outfits and I got excited to see what was going to happen. Was he going to nail all his jumps or was he going to flub it up?
My heart was honestly racing as I watched him on the ice, and I’ve never watched an anime that had me so into the story that way.
Aside from the action on the ice, we have the relationship between Yuri and Viktor off the ice. I really loved the love story between them as well. It wasn’t overnight or sudden really, it was always there and grew bigger throughout the episodes. It wasn’t something that overtook the anime though. This is a sports anime hands down, but you’d be hard-pressed to watch this and ignore their relationship. I’d go so far as to say it’s impossible. So if you’re not into boys kissing boys… this might not be the anime for you. There is only one actual kiss that we see, but there are a lot of other signals that hint that it wasn’t the only one.
There were also the other skaters. Normally in an anime like this, we wouldn’t know much about anyone else except for Yuri and Viktor, but we know the story of everyone in the anime. From his skating buddies, to his rival, to the friends he grew up with, to his ballet teacher. Everyone has a story, and knowing it, even if it’s just a little bit, helps to build the world that Yuri lives in and helps to feel connected to him. I think that connection is probably why my heart was racing for him on the ice.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you also know that I really appreciate an anime with older characters because there’s more to life than high school. This anime shows that really well. School doesn’t even factor in here and I think it’s accurate in a lot of ways. As a young person, Yuri felt absolutely deflated and at rock bottom after his epic defeat in the Grand Prix Finals. He questioned whether he was good enough to skate anymore at all or if he should just retire. He questioned how long he’d be able to skate since it’s so hard on his body, and at 23, he didn’t have much time left to skate competitively. He refers to himself as “a dime a dozen” skater certified by the association. He’s a real guy who acknowledges where he stands in the world and questions if he can realistically compete with the other great skaters he has to face. I like this because with him being older, he’s more mature in a lot of ways. So, we don’t get so many of the pointless emotional breakouts we sometimes get with younger characters.
This anime was so good. It had a great story and was filled with interesting characters, just the right amount of romance, and a good amount of healthy competition. The skating routines are fun to watch and it’s easy to get caught up in this one. 100% worth the watch.
The Otaku Couple
This is a special episode of the I’d Rather Anime Podcast! We teamed up with WeeaBroDerek to talk about Wotakoi in our first ever podcast collaboration. Click on the play button above to start the podcast! Or if you prefer, you can find us wherever you listen to podcasts, just click here to add us to your favorite app! You could do other things, but we know you’d rather anime with us!
Don’t forget to leave us a comment, telling us what you think about this collaboration podcast! If you have suggestions on anime that you’d like to hear us talk about next, let us know that too!
Wotakoi | 11 Episodes | SUB | Amazon Prime Video
Final Verdict: This was unbelievably cute and accurate to adult relationships and hit all the right notes for a love story.
This anime is all about Narumi and Hirotaka who are, at their core, cute and utterly perfect for each other. They are childhood friends who are all grown up now. Both of them are otaku, although, Hirotaka is into games and Narumi is into anime and manga – specifically of the yaoi variety. They run into each other at work after Narumi changes jobs and things sort of take off from there.
There are so many good things that I enjoyed about this anime. I love that the anime is about them navigating dating instead of falling in love. They’re both otaku, and while Narumi has had boyfriends in the past, they were always normal guys so she hid her otaku nature. This makes dating Hirotaka different, because he already knows she’s an otaku and accepts that part of her which is nice to see. I also thought it was a nice touch, that Hirotaka has wanted to date Narumi since they were younger.
I also really enjoyed that they didn’t become awkward and actually acted like adults who had known each other their entire life. I’ve never had a childhood-friend-turned-romantic-interest relationship before, but this is what I imagine it would be like. They’re extremely comfortable with each other and talk about how they were growing up together and how they’ve changed. They also know each other better than anyone else. Of course, there are awkward and blushing moments, because they’re dating, but the core of their relationship is their friendship.
There was so much about this that I loved, I could really go on forever probably. I loved that they were working people with normal jobs, that they didn’t want to hugely expose their otaku nature, that they made friends who were otaku as well and hung out, that there was often a comparison between their relationship and their friends. It was just so much goodness wrapped up into one show.
I also really loved Hirotaka as a main character. It probably helped, that as far as romance anime guys go, I thought Hirotaka was one of the most attractive I’ve seen, personality wise. It’s purely subjective, but he’s cool, calm, and nerdy on the outside, but still pretty much a goofy person on the inside. That combination really appeals to me. I also liked that he wanted to date Narumi from the beginning and wasn’t afraid to speak up about it — and that he wasn’t afraid to kiss her after they started dating. In a lot of anime, the otaku / nerdy guy is usually too shy or absorbed with his games / anime to do anything, but I like that even though he’s a nerd, he’s still a man. I think they got that part of his character right.
As much as I loved this, there were times when I thought it wasn’t perfect. My biggest dislike was the fact that Narumi often treated Hirotaka as less than her boyfriend. She found it weird that other women found him attractive and found it hard to wrap her mind around doing “girlfriend” things for him. That was the only thing that kind of irritated me with watching this, but it does tie into the whole childhood-friend-turned-romantic-interest thing. She’s known him as Hirotaka “The Otaku Friend” all her life and so it’s hard for her to switch him to Hirtoaka “The Hot Boyfriend” which, to some degree is understandable.
Overall, there is so much to love about this anime that I didn’t even touch on, such as their friends relationship — which I think is done incredibly well too. Their friends romance touches on insecurities, hot-n-cold love, compromises, fights, and a comfortable kind of love that I think is more well-rounded in some ways. This anime is 1000% worth a watch if you like romance anime. It kind of reminds me of MMO Junkie. I really enjoyed that one too, but this one takes on the approach of knowing the person on the other side of the screen before you play with a lot less social awkwardness. I’m not sure where else you can watch it other than Amazon Prime Video, but if you can find it, watch it. It’s definitely worth every second of your time.
The Otaku Couple
Mysterious Girlfriend X | 13 Episodes | SUB | VRV
Verdict: Really weird, kind of gross, but very amusing and sweet, but also slightly confusing.
Mysterious Girlfriend X is easily one of the strangest anime I’ve seen in a while. It’s about a boy named Tsubaki who sits next to the new girl who just transferred into class, Urabe. Everyone is fascinated with Urabe at first, but it turns out that she’s actually very weird. So once the newness wears off, everyone starts to avoid her. She sleeps during lunch, and one day Tsubaki forgets his lunchbox in his desk. When he goes back for it after school, he finds Tsubaki sleeping at her desk. He wakes her up so that she can go home, but he sees that she has drooled on her desk.
Things take a turn for the weird after that. She leaves the room, and he sticks his finger in her drool and licks it. I personally almost gagged at watching it. He goes through this whole sequence of thinking it tastes sweet and freaking out over the fact that he just ate a random girls drool off her desk. Apparently, eating it made him really sick. Not because she had a cold and he just injected her germs into his mouth, but because he’s in love with her and going days without more drool made him ill.
This leads them on some weird interactions together, but the end result is them dating. They are super awkward and weird, but I enjoy watching it, because everyone is weird in their own way in their own relationship. They understand each other and they freak out over liking each other and it’s cute. Weird. Really, really weird. But also really cute. It’s also funny, because Urabe is strange and Tsubaki has no idea what’s going on with her 99% of the time and is just trying to play by her rules.
There are some things I felt were forced in some situations, and some things I didn’t understand, but that didn’t make it a bad anime. I didn’t understand why they were keeping the fact that they were dating a secret. They’re seventeen, in high school, and they act like middle schoolers. I didn’t understand it because they didn’t have a reason for hiding it; that just seemed to be the theme of the anime: secret dating.
Tsubaki is a regular guy and wants to do regular (at least I would consider it to be regular) things with his girlfriend, like hold her hand, hug her, kiss her. We never see them do any of this. We see them hug briefly near the end of the series, but we never see anything beyond that. Really, I didn’t see how their relationship could grow from their interactions. They don’t seem to talk to each other during the day, because their relationship is secret, they don’t hang out on the weekends, they don’t appear to text. They just walk home together and swap spit on each other’s fingers. The show tries to play up their relationship as more than what we see, but I wasn’t buying it.
They both have best friends who are dating each other, but Tsubaki never tells his friend that he’s dating Urabe. Urabe’s friend finds out because she sees the spit swap one day. It’s another type of relationship I don’t understand because they don’t actually seem like friends. We never see them interact really (other than eating lunch together) and they don’t tell each other anything. I don’t know, it just seemed like a lame depiction of all types of relationships to me. Urabe and her friend were the only two who seemed to have anything that looked like a “real” friendship. It was still weird, but it was better than we got with everyone else.
Overall, it was amusing. If you can stand to be grossed out by someone shoving a spit-covered finger into someone else’s mouth or someone shoving a finger into someone’s mouth to steal some spit for themselves, then maybe this anime is for you. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you stumble across it one day and decide to watch it, you won’t be worse off for it. It’s a romance story for sure, it’s just… mysterious.
The Otaku Couple