“Cupids are so…….interesting!”
Many comedies have a tricky time demanding the viewer to accept serious moments without it feeling out of place, but this show continued to impress me with how well they pulled off this feat. With every new episode, we learned about what makes the cast tick, what their motivations and passions are, and the reasons why the Kiss Note’s contract means so much to them. At the same time, the visual gags, slapstick, and meta humor take up a good chunk of screen-time. The genius of it all is how natural it feels fused together.
What makes the show a fresh breath of air is how they take the characters seriously. As the show moved forward, we learned that the characters are so much more than what the jokes write them as. Whereas Akane and Yuzu’s affection are revealed to come from a place where they had fallen in love with those who had given them a reason to let down their protective walls, Seiji’s sister Akua used her love for her big brother to gain the strength she needed to face her fears. Sure, it was in the form of a sexual harassment demon penguin, but fears nonetheless. They even made some of the morally dubious characters like Shikimi and Maoh sympathetic with the alienation and rejection they faced during earnest attempts at finding love inspiring them to achieve their goals through underhanded methods. The fact that they gave side characters such as the teacher/student couple and the couple that Guri almost Ghostbusted a sense of sentimentality in their relationships and pursuit of love was nothing short of impressive. And I love myself some side characters!
The most moving development, however, has been Guri trying to find out what love means to her. As a cupid, she was mostly concerned with pairing up the hottest guys together, and to her, love was an impulse. Throughout the show, Akane and Yuzu, who had a definite answer for why they feel love, questioned Guri on her feelings for Seiji. Was it the kind of love that leaves a funny feeling in your chest, and creates a magnetic bond towards the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? Is it an impulse driven by infatuation, or that sense of belonging you get when you’re around that special someone? She’d always say that she loved Seiji, but it took manifesting a demonic form from her own sorrow and Seiji’s realization of how he feels about Guri for her to really put her thumb down on why she felt how she did around him. Despite the fast pace the show took to get to everyone’s resolution, it was still poignant when Guri finally found the answer she was looking for, and returned to her old self to continue the wacky hijinks of her harem.
As a comedy, Renai Boukun delivers the laughs regularly, depending on your tolerance of the character’s eccentricities. Guri continued to exude an over-the-top, bombastic approach to anything she did, Akane would be possessive of Seiji to the point of making anyone who did so much as touch Seiji pay the ultimate price, Yuzu’s carried on worshipping the ground Akane walks on, and Shikimi kept butting in when she wasn’t particularly wanted or needed. A bulk of the show’s humor came from the characters’ interactions with one another as well as the different brands of crazy dysfunctionality Guri would introduce to any scenario. It can be overbearing at times to see so much happening at once, but the frenzy is part of what makes the show as unique as it is.
In other shows, the impulse to drive their personalities in the ground would be the highest priority, but this show sidesteps this problem with just the right balance between pushing the boundary as far as they can with slapstick goofiness, and exploring the subtleties that romance and budding love can give to someone. Guri’s motivation to find out whether the feelings she has around Seiji are as genuine as Akane and Yuzu’s love form the emotional center of Renai Boukun. It’s quite something that a show with such a silly head on its shoulders can be as touching as it is.