OP: 「CLICK」 by ClariS
Nisekoi is a love-hate relationship.
Well, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement. Believe me when I say I love Komi Naoshi; he was one of my early mangakas when I was a kid some years back, and though I’ve read far better writers since, I’ve never forgotten the charm of his fantastical settings and plots. I remember being very upset when Double Arts was cancelled back in ’08 and enjoying his fun little one-shots, including the one that sparked Nisekoi the series. But the problem is, Komi Naoshi is pretty much the exact mangaka the manga Bakuman depicts in terms of how manga get serialized: he writes pretty good stuff, but WSJ is a tough market to stay afloat in. And if you don’t sell, well, you best try again. Preferably, with a new approach. Unfortunately for me, that meant losing the adventurous fantasy stuff and falling back on something much more familiar, a harem romance.
That’s not to say that Nisekoi is the most awful thing to grace the planet (it’s not), but it really can’t be counted as the best either. So I have to say I found myself rather surprised to see an anime adaptation; as far as I know, many readers of the manga have gotten rather angsty for things to stop going in circles since quite some time ago. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Shaft being behind it either, but not because it was a bad idea. This is definitely the kind of show that would fit with the Shaft touch, but personally I don’t love that directional style, so it had me even more conflicted. In other words, I have been looking forward to Nisekoi for the pretty basic reason that I’m loyal to Komi Naoshi and want to celebrate his first adaptation. So what does that mean for everyone who isn’t Kairi the reluctant pessimist?
It depends what you’re looking for.
If you like the manga, by all means watch the show; maybe you’ll like the Shaft style or maybe you’ll hate it, but this is pretty much the same material with wacky x2. You have the head tilts, the weird intercut scenes, text between dialogue, so on and so forth; there’s nothing hugely special about it as far as being unique or new, but it can be fun and quirky in some ways. As I’ve already said, I’m not a huge fan of what looks very much like Shinbou’s style, but I’m sure for others that’s a big plus. Nothing has really changed with the characters, for better or worse; Raku Ichijou (Uchiyama Kouki) is still a reluctant yakuza heir with an unwanted connection to angry and unfriendly gangster heiress Chitoge Kirisaki (Touyama Nao). Instant dislike between them only worsens the fact that they have to pretend to be in a relationship, especially when Raku already has a crush on the demure Kosaki Onodera (Hanazawa Kana) and has promised himself to a blurry memory of a childhood friend. It’s a pretty simple premise for a romance/harem, and noting the silhouttes in the OP, I can already tell there’s not going to be an alteration to the “harem” component.
If it’s something familiar and stylish you’re looking for, Nisekoi might be for you. There’s plenty of craziness (just look at Chitoge’s insane jumping skill and the yakuza fighting methods) even without Shaft, though the studio does help accent those qualities to a new level. It’s silly, it’s fairly interesting if it’s to one’s liking (it’s not for everyone, I can attest), and if you stick around long enough, there’s likely a few girls to root on; if that sounds like something you want in on, I suggest you try it for yourself.
Note: There are currently no immediate plans to cover Nisekoi on a weekly basis; check back on the schedule next week for any changes.