「うちの彼氏」 (Uchi no Kareshi)
“My Boyfriend”

Lucky Abrams has nothing on Gouda Takeo…

OK, let me just say up front that I have no idea WTF is going on here. One time is a twist, maybe an asspull, maybe parody – but two weeks out of three we have a convenient disaster allowing Takeo to strut his stuff at exactly the right moment? It’s very odd if nothing else, and totally at odds with the mood of the rest of the series. If it happens every episode I’ll be ready to call it a running gag, but right now I don’t know what the hell to call it – I just know it’s not exactly my favourite part of the show.

Up until things got weird, this was another very strong episode – in fact, I found it to be altogether subtler and darker than the first three, and a real broadening of Ore Monogatari’s emotional palette as a result. Say what you will about the generally sweet and positive nature of this show, but it is built around some fairly painful themes, and I thought this storyline really brought them home.

In the beginning it’s largely more of the same – Takeo and Rinko still in the full flush of new love (in springtime, no less), Suna wryly observing from the peanut gallery that they’ll probably “be like that till they’re old and wrinkly”. Because Rinko has done such a good job of selling Takeo and because she goes to an all-girls school, her friends see this as a perfect opportunity for a mixer – to take the measure of the new boyfriend, and maybe even poach one for themselves.

The girls’ reaction when they see Takeo isn’t at all surprising – it’s effectively the same as the woman whose stroller he carried up a steep staircase, much to her horror until Suna dispelled her fears (and it was he she thanked). I think it would be fair to point out here that while Takeo has a ton of guy friends who see him for the legit bro he is, it’s girls (apart from Rinko) who constantly misjudge him. Is there a touch of misogyny here, I wonder? It’s not as though high school girls aren’t incredibly shallow about things like looks (and height, and voices) but listen, high school guys are too. And most adults of both genders – it’s tough for someone like Takeo not to be categorised and boxed in as something he’s not.

Suna once again dispenses the words of wisdom that frame the story – “Just because someone is friends with a nice person, that doesn’t mean they’re nice too. Sometimes the person is just too nice not to keep them around.” I wonder if Suna doesn’t speak from experience here – he certainly has the air about him of someone who’s been hurt emotionally. It would be easy to assume that if anything traumatic like that had been a landmark enough experience for Suna to have been changed by it Takeo would remember – but we know he’s certainly not an especially observant person.

It really is a shame Kawahara-sensei had to throw that fire in there, because I thought the moments leading up to it were emotionally spot-on. The mixer was suitably awkward, with neither Rinko’s friends or Takeo’s showing much polish in dealing with each other (Suna, as promised, doesn’t participate at all). Naturally two of Rinko’s pals say some incredibly cruel things about Takeo (and by extension, Rinko) once they think they’re in-private, and naturally Rinko and Takeo overhear them. Once again this is a moment when Takeo really breaks my heart, because he’s so used to being treated this way that he’s barely fazed – it’s Rinko that’s upset. It really is the sad truth of the world that most people judge others on that which is shallow rather than that which matters – but most of the time, there isn’t a convenient disaster standing by to offer a proving ground.

I like the straightforward and unapologetic way Ore highlights this problem, and the way Takeo deals with it. In truth it seems like kind of a duex ex machina for him to get the chance to make everything right when the restaurant in which the kids have been mixing catches fire. We know how strong and brave Takeo is, and we certainly don’t need any reminders – and is it really necessary that Rinko’s friends be brought around so quickly that the only way to do so is via the route we saw? If the series is playing it straight with all these coincidences to me it amounts to a flaw in the writing, short-cuts – but if there’s a point or reason behind it (like a vampire curse) I stand willing to be won over. It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, but it is the one off-key note in what’s otherwise been a nearly pitch-perfect series so far.

 

Preview

34 Comments

  1. Okay, I see where this seems to be goin’. Basically, the
    character development is based on situations where Takeo
    is highlighted in some strength-type way which spurs a positive
    growth in the other minor supporting character and the circle
    of friends continues to grow.

    Almost like a healing-Anime, but not quite a slice-of-life either.

    Still love it because it is consistent and adorable!

    mac65
  2. First, thanks for the great review as always.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    LGM
  3. nice coverage again Enzo.

    Dammit. only 4 episodes so far and yet the couple brings too much sweetness every week.

    Yamato is the best candidate for kanojo of the season!

    ant
    1. Well, this is Morio Asaka and Madhouse. Did you follow Chihayafuru?

      Chihayafuru does look a bit like Ore Monogatari without half, no, 3 quarter of the shiny twinkle effects.

      LGM
      1. I never saw Chifiyuu before so it wasn’t from that, but that hair and pouty lips on the girls. I seen it somewhere before it really tickled at my memory. Something about a doll like girl probably? ARGHHHHH

        Duzz
  4. This series is like really sweet candy. You know it’s bad for your teeth but you still can’t help yourself from gobbling it up each week.

    Also: Dat ass. Work it Gouda. XD

    bearzerger
    1. I really enjoyed the soundtracks of xxxHOLiC and Kimi ni Todoke so it makes me happy that S.E.N.S. Project has yet again done a fantastic job with the score of Ore Monogatari!!! I especially loved the instrumental piece that played near the end when Show Spoiler ▼

      ichigo
  5. I totally agree in the Deus Ex Machina extra get events that have been gravitating around Takeo and I’m very concerned that it might affect the credibility of the story. As you stated Enzo it’s lousy writing, and using these kind of plot events to move the story might distance it from a sense of credibility.

    I believe that Takeo can win people’s respect without the help of some deity hand.

    Also, I don’t think that the fact that “apparently” only women seem to misjudge Takeo is a sign of misogyny. It’s too soon to tell. Sadly, women judging and talking in your back is a common trope in anime. Man are usually portrayed doing it in a very aggressive and forward manner.

  6. I dropped the manga because Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m probably going to continue watching because love the characters, but meh.

    Leire
    1. I guess you are my exact opposite,Show Spoiler ▼

      LGM
  7. You are bound to have one or two episodes like this in a shoujo series.

    The entire premise was cliche to the max, and I felt it was a little too convenient plot-wise for the girls’ opinions of him to change so drastically. Let’s face it, though – The series is a saccharine sweet one and I never expected really serious plot or character development aside from the trio.

    On the other hand, Suna is intriguing, seeming like one who has far more worldly experience than his innocent and direct friend. As manly and ‘made for action movies’ as Takeo is, Suna seems to add more depth between the two of them. Takeo, though, does seem rather popular among the guys while in contrast Suna is popular with the opposite sex.

    Let it not be said I didn’t enjoy the episode. Cliche as the girls’ reactions were, I find the relationship dynamics of Takeo and Rinko interesting still and adorable.

    Owaranai
    1. …did you forgotten that this anime somehow surprise most people at the 3rd episode?

      Show Spoiler ▼

      LGM
  8. Nah, do not expect Real Life comparisons. This Show is for watching and feelings, do not take this to serious in how to catch a Girlfriend, boys. This is “Brother” Bonds and Girlfriend. Where the other Brother is not jealous and support him

    I did not saw anything of jealous until now, perhaps it is because Suna has a nice Big Sister.. No not that what you dirty mind is thinking..

    WorldwideDepp
    1. someday in my Work, we was talking about a really nice looking Female visiting us. Everybody was looking after this Hot Babe. They was talking in how to get her.. But i was the only one, that still respected her, and not as an Toy… Now they are thinking i am Gay… so much to dirty small talk at workplaces..

      Perhaps Suna, are looking or respect the Girl in other Way as the most common “driven between Legs” men

      WorldwideDepp
    1. Yeah, that part was always strange to me even in the manga. Even if the person that did that is Suna I would still scream if I’m the mother.

      Guess Takeo never bother to ask because Suna would always help him do the explaining.

      LGM
  9. Agreed, Enzocchi. The first time it was great to see Takeo save the day, the second time (the girder) was silly but still really sweet, but this is getting to be a bit much. I’d like to see him prove himself with normal stuff, like being gentle and making his girlfriend smile.

    Show is still hella sweet though. I squee at least three times per episode!

    1. Well, Show Spoiler ▼

      LGM
  10. [Suna once again dispenses the words of wisdom that frame the story – “Just because someone is friends with a nice person, that doesn’t mean they’re nice too. Sometimes the person is just too nice not to keep them around.” ]

    You see, I thought the double-meaning there is that Suna himself isn’t a very nice person. Takeo is the one too nice not to keep him around. We saw this episode that Takeo himself has plenty of friends while Suna for all his looks seems to only have Takeo.

    Matthew
    1. Haha, good theory, but I prefer the idea that Suna might be that good of a person that he sees himself not as a nice person because of his coldness (which he express his knowledge of when Takeo told him to go to the mixer) & how he rejected all the girls like that.

      Remember, bad people usually don’t see themselves as bad people.

      Of coarse, there is always this theory.

      LGM

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