「恋と嘘」 (Koi to Uso)
“Love and Lies”

Well, who honestly did not see that coming? Neji actually making a choice was probably the lowest possibility heading into this week, but goddammit I still hoped he would. Reject someone, tear off the Band-Aid and fully embrace the winner—there can only be one. Instead we got some convoluted rationalization, open regret at the choice, and a final conclusion that if you can have one, why not both? A little convenient I think, particularly finding a matchmaking escape clause at the eleventh hour which allows a dissolution with no adverse side effects. Well, that we know of. Plus there’s also all the issues surrounding Misaki (and her match) agreeing with the plan and going through with it, which (as we saw) is no guarantee.

With all said and done though I cannot complain too much, after all we have Yuusuke to thank for giving us two dresses for the price of one, and that harem(-esque) ending which still amuses me far too much for my own good. Oh and the kissing, cannot forget the kissing. Problems or not, arguable copout conclusion or otherwise, no denying KtU stuck to its guns until the last moment. Sometimes it’s hard asking for more.

Final Impressions

In hindsight KtU was a show I really wanted to like. It had one of romance’s most unique foundations, a relationship setup (and initial development) largely breaking with the usual tropes, and some surprising tangents not at all expected. Yet what began as the new Kuzu no Honkai (if only spiritually) gradually devolved into a conventional romance largely abandoning what made it unique. Instead of an interesting take on love and choice, we disappointingly wound up with more of the same.

Part of the issue KtU had was its lack of focus. The matchmaking system, the driving force behind every action in this show, was never particularly elaborated on after the first few episodes. Sure we cannot expect a romance show to delve into the intricacies of sociopolitical structures, but KtU never really made an effort to give us anything beyond the barest of details. A lot of had to be divined from allusions, off the cuff remarks, or the occasional run in with authorities—and that’s before touching on things like the midnight letter deliveries, sex ed seminars, and corrupted texts. Too much of the setup felt forced and contrived, actions for the sake of rustling the love triangle (square?) and witnessing the resulting chaos. Rather than use the premise to its utmost, KtU chose the easy way and let any “superfluous” concerns fall by the wayside. Yuusuke of course was the big loss in this regard, his situation unique even in regular romance stories and one with serious questions under KtU’s system of love. The poor guy was a great way to explore the challenges and consequences of the matchmaking, but little ever came of it—for both him and us. Even Shuu offered a tangent for analyzing the costs/benefits of arranged love, yet was largely relegated to a one-off drama generator. KtU had multiple opportunities for serious thought, but did not choose any.

Now by itself this isn’t a serious concern, KtU after all is a romance show. The problem is KtU’s romance could not make up for it alone. Obviously a key component here is the lack of tangible movement (i.e. Neji actually choosing someone), but this is nothing new given the likes of Nisekoi or Golden Time—you just expect it in this genre. The deadweight lies with Misaki and her development, or rather lack of it. Unlike Ririna who saw serious change over time (as she nicely summed up in her final monologue), Misaki remained relatively static, a sort of idyllic perfection Ririna had to obtain if she was to win over Neji. Misaki was the childhood friend who just so happened to crush on Neji for as long as he did her, the girl who somehow went from distant observer to intimate lover in the span of 20 minutes. Whereas we saw Ririna slowly grow interested in Neji and open herself up, Misaki just sort of inserted herself and never grew beyond her initial impression. This (IMO) hurt KtU’s story because we need such development to emotionally invest ourselves in the characters. We need a reason to cheer Misaki on in place of Ririna, and a love with little explanation or development is not enough for the purpose. Sure Misaki suffers and shows it on occasion, but there’s nothing like the emotional highs and lows of Ririna’s experiences for us to chew on. This choice arguably stunted KtU’s growth and deliberately limited its potential to be something more. By leaving half the girls developmentally untouched, KtU effectively became half a story, and nearly broke down because of it.

Overall, however, while I have my issues with how KtU turned out, I cannot say I’m unhappy having chosen to blog it. For all the problems and annoying choices it featured, the show still presented some intriguing ideas and offered enough choice morsels for some serious thought. It may have lacked the emotional impact and thematic exploration needed for sustained debate, but KtU stayed true to its premise and showed that romance is not only limited to the conventional setups. There are a lot of interesting situations left unexplored to insert a romance story into, we just need one willing to take the plunge. In the end I hope that KtU (as with Kuzu no Honkai before it) has shown the risk can often be worth the reward.

Full-length Images: 30, 31

End Card


    1. Easy. 1:1 ratio of men to women of reproducing age (14-64). In fact, in Korea and China, there is a shortage of women so allowance of multiple wives would definitely cause social unrest.

      If a man can get multiple wives, other men would get no wives. So monogamy also ensures a gene pool with wide variation within the Y chromosome lineage. We don’t all want to be “Genghis Khan descendants”.

      Also… equality: the more wives a man has, the less he has to tend to his offsprings directly. In modern, affluent Western societies, who value egalitarianism, men are expected to do his share of child-rearing. So polygamy would definitely be a step back.

    2. That’s the benefit of her being the winner though, they were trying to execute her (even though her only crime was killing some characters that the creators kill by the thousands, and some vague and unproved if even possible to be executed conspiracy against the universe) . The correct approach would have been helping her since the start, but things ended up right anyway.

    3. Polygamy is one of the good solutions to solve low birth rate. There you go, problem solved. Why are they holding themselves back? Was it because it looks unethical or somewhat uncivilized?

      Real Xero
    1. Yeah I didn’t get this either, from the scene where he rushes out of the door after having a sudden realisation of something. He goes to see them both. So what conclusion did he come to, that he could have a relationship with both? thats what most people take away from it, but I think he just realises that there is no right choice he can make, so he just wants to enjoy the moment while he delays his choice. This makes the ending a lot more unsatisfying, but I guess that’s just how it is.

  1. Everything about this ending was disappointing. I stuck with KtU because I too wanted to like it, but that ending feels like crap. It doesn’t look like we’ll get a second season, and honestly with that ending I wouldn’t bother even if it did. It’s clear the writers of the anime were either intentionally hamstrung by the incomplete nature of the manga, or complicit with trying to get people to buy the manga. A carrot dangled that there might be a conclusion there when there currently isn’t and may never be.

    There was just so much lost potential here it’s absolutely staggering! Nisaka was criminally under utilized… why even bother having him in this adaptation if he only served the purpose of giving Neji a kiss one time while he was asleep and occasionally moping. Why even have the Yukari system in place when it didn’t really effect the plot any more than any other basic contrivance for a love triangle? Why was nothing addressed about the fact that Neji doesn’t really have anything in common with Misaki aside from an eraser and a hard on? Seriously! There was zero chemistry or shared interest or anything!

    A bad ending may not destroy a truly great work of art, but a bad ending can ruin an okay or middling series pretty easily. That’s where I’m at. I’d never recommend anyone to watch this and I’m upset that I already had recommended it to a couple people at around episode 3 or 4.

    1. The problem is the manga is not finished to the point is still unclear what will happen, right now is happening some developement towards Misaki but not that much, the story is still in the middle. This is a case of an anime made while the manga is popular to make some money, and the endings in this type of animes can be hit or miss.

      1. I think it’s a poor excuse to have honestly. They know when they start that the manga is ongoing, so they should plan around that. Even then, anime exclusive conclusive endings are also often garbage because they try to spring it in the last 10 minutes of the last episode.

        People complain about movies being inferior to books, but at least movie adaptions try to make something that works in the constraints given. So many anime adaptations of manga however do not. They just say “We want to adapt books 1 through 5. What? We know before production begins we won’t get a sequel? Oh well. No need to to change our plans any, books 1 through 5 without any real closure sounds good still.”

        Even all that aside though, this series committed many other sins I already outlined. The ending just made it irredeemable in my eyes.

      2. Agreed with Koji, even with the manga still ongoing the show should have still had a definitive ending, whether anime original or not. In this case for example ending with Neji choosing to go forward with Ririna’s plan would have been perfectly acceptable (if annoying) because it gives up a conclusion. Not choosing either girl is just plain lazy writing made worse by both girls actually being fine with it. It’s too forced and only hurts what good bits KtU had in the first place.

  2. I still wanted the mysterious message in the beginning of the series to be dealt with, I mean I can understand that they have to create an ending that works within the confines of where the manga is currently, but the anime should still be self contained, and something like that could have got more exposition.

    That scene with the text message outlined the premise of the show, and is why I continued to watch, in order to see if there was something more sinister going on with the Yukari system. What an oversight to not at least tie up this loose end.

    For the series we got, rather than what it could have been: I tend towards Ririna than Misaki. We saw how love blossomed throughout the series between Ririna and Neji which felt a lot more genuine then the sparse number of flashbacks of Misaki and Neji’s love. For that reason you feel that the story is leading to the Ririna and Neji ending, with the bleak message that there is no such thing as true love in the world, and in the end, everyone conforms to Yukari system. It also has the message that love does not have to be fated or come from chance encounters to be genuine. I think this ending would have been more powerful. An ending with Misaki just says the opposite of the previous statements, but works well. Either of these would be better than what we got.

    1. Yeah an actual choice is all I wanted here, Neji just picking someone and acknowledging the consequences of his decision. We got the latter half during his talk with Yuusuke, but then the show flew the coop by having him accept/choose both girls and refuse even thinking about picking one. It really hurts the few things KtU had going for it in the first place.

      And as Angelus mentioned the text was dealt with during the two Shuu episodes. I think we are still missing some of the backstory surrounding it (particularly how Shuu intended on making it change Neji’s decision making), but we did learn about it.

  3. I’m very glad I watched Tsuki ga Kirei before this. That meaning behind one particular scene would have gone way over my head otherwise.

    As for Yukari’s “decision”…. I must say, when both options are this good, OT3 all the way. 😀 ;P

  4. Really!? The solution to this is no solution at all. Instead of coming up with a decision go with both. Why couldn’t it be Misaki and be done with it or Ririna? I’m not saying having two wives isn’t bad but, it would have—never mind I really don’t care, Neji is the s*** getting two girls.

      1. You can say whatever you like about Neji but whatever method he used, he ended up with more women than everyone else in his world. Neji’s old man can visit a pub and down a pint saying “Yeah! that’s my boy! My genes at work, Chick magnet! I raised him right!”

  5. I’m pretty confused by the situation with the manga for this show.

    I’ve read the manga up to volume 6, which is the latest one that seems to be out, and it finished on chapter 26. But when I see people talking about the manga, they often mention chapter numbers over 100.
    what gives? did translators re-do the chapters? did the author themselves change the chapters when they released it as volumes?


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