OP: 「かなしいうれしい」 (Kanashii Ureshii) by フレデリック (Furederikku)
Sappy love stories aren’t usually my cup of tea, but when something like Koi to Uso pops up, well, my body is ready. I had some hope (no matter how hesitant) for this one heading in. The premise was eerily possible in real life, the implications obvious, and the potential for some serious drama very real. Sure it leans more Nisekoi than Kuzu no Honkai, but I’m optimistic here. Even if the opening was not entirely impressive.
Right off the bat KtU reveals all: at 16 the government matches you with a marriage partner. You marry that person with no exceptions, you have babies with that person, and by hell you live a happy and fulfilling life with that person because the government says so. Trust the government, you know it never lies. It’s already quite the premise for dystopian fiction, let alone a romance, but with Japan’s lethargic birthrate and looming demographic time bomb, it’s one that’s entirely possible. Most people blame a lack of time from work or a fear of rejection in the pursuit of romance, ensuring the noticeable decline in long lived relationships. Since the modern day love marketplace is apparently so challenging to navigate, who wouldn’t jump at the chance for someone else to do the heavy lifting for you? It’s more likely than you think.
While a meaty premise, I’m not sure yet how far KtU plans on taking the idea. Yes we already have the corrupted text and the black suits magically appearing right at midnight upon our love struck couple—seriously laughed at that one—but these seem to be more elements designed to set up the love triangle (or square) bearing down on us. It would feel like a copout if KtU procured a happy ending from a mislabelled form when the theme is clearly one of courage and bucking the system. Neji (Osaka Ryota) already broke years of romance tradition by confessing and showing the French how it’s done in one episode after all, I want to see this boy keep it up. The struggle to attain an impossible love, the dilemma of losing that love to outside influences, there’s numerous paths open and plenty of room to explore the consequences of one’s romantic choices.
The main concern for me going forward though will likely be how KtU approaches its relationships. No matter how sweet or idyllic Neji’s and Misaki’s (Hanazawa Kana) love appears, it’s certainly feels contrived and a little too perfect. Mutually falling in love over an eraser and a quick thanks? Not impossible, but not all that likely either. And don’t get me started on the four hour late meetup. The benefit for KtU, however, is that this setup succinctly laid the story foundation with minimal fanfare, ensuring the focus now is on the established Neji/Misaki relationship and not how they got into that relationship. So long as the future girl(s) don’t pull similar contrived stunts it’s all good, but considering the premise, I think there is no worries. Still going to take some work getting used to the artwork though, those eyes are weird in places.
With the necessary introductions out the way, the fun should really begin next week. Neji has his match, he’s going to meet the girl, and by god we’re going to get some wholesome drama. One way or another KtU promises to be a fun ride, it just remains to be seen in what way. Considering Neji’s fascination with burial mounds though, I know how I’m betting.