OP Sequence

OP: 「言わないけどね.」 (Iwanai Kedo ne.) by Oohara Yuiko

「消しゴム / 日直 / 変顔 / 百円」 (Keshigomu / Nicchoku / Hengao / Hyaku En)
“Eraser / Day Duty / Funny Face / One Hundred Yen”

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san is easily the cutest show about psychological warfare. The first episode establishes the tumultuous yet close relationship between Takagi and Nishikata as they work to try to pull the wool over each other’s eyes. Unfortunately for Nishikata, Takagi always has the upper hand in teasing him, and counters every attempt he makes to get her back with a clever plan to use his decisions against him. It’s a slightly more mischievous version of Tonari no Seki-kun, but it’s also extremely adorable in how smitten the two seem with each other despite Takagi’s pranking and Nishikata’s failed counterattacks.

Takagi helps the show work at its finest with how charismatic she is as she playfully teases Nishikata, reveling in every victory she has against him. Takahashi Rie does a particularly good job evoking both the devious delight she has in teasing Nishikata and the warmth that gives us a slight hint that she does have feelings for him in the reverse notion of the “teasing because they like you” trope. In a way, the anime’s ultimate trick is how stricken we are by the cuteness of how Takagi occasionally lets it out of the bag that she likes him. Writing his name on the side of the eraser that Nishikata didn’t see after planting the seed in his head to give hers a check was one small inkling, but the small moment they have before classes alone and the couple seconds before Takagi challenges him to a staring contest were extremely cute, and have me hoping that there will be some romance along the way.

While Takagi is the source of many of the show’s laughs and feels, Nishikata is our eyes and ears in the anime, and acts as the perfect target for her pranks. I’ve heard some talk that there is a mean tinge to Takagi’s teasing, but it is depicted in the show as being good natured, and the first episode has most of her trickery stem from Nishikata’s attempts to get her back. For instance, Nishikata only gets fooled by Takagi’s paper spring after trying to make his own, and the trouble he got into for making funny faces was because he was so determined to make her laugh in class that he didn’t realize the best way to get her to giggle is to have his prank attempts backfire. It also helps if you want to hear Kaji Yuki get mercilessly teased. However, his feelings for her are a little more on the surface as her hints at interest make him very blushy and taken aback. Had Mina, Yukari, and Sanae not come in, it looked like we were this close to seeing him ask if she likes him.

Speaking of the three, sadly the only flaw within the first episode was how short the Ashita wa Doyoubi segment was. It did explain where the token Mina stepped on came from, but they wedged in the spin-off’s adaptation near the end, and didn’t give us nearly enough time to get a good feel for what the tone and humor of the three girls antics would be like in relation to the trickery between Takagi and Nishikata. It was funny to see Mina act suspicious about hiding the token under the assumption it was a 100 yen coin, but it went by so fast that it was hard to gauge what the group dynamic is. Mina’s the spontaneous one and Yukari is the pragmatic one, but they don’t give those two or Sanae as much to work with as our leads, and it dampers what the Ashita wa Doyoubi section has to offer by being regulated to a minute or two. The good thing is that even with Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san‘s formula being rooted around seeing Nishikawa’s prank attempts used against him, it didn’t feel like it needed to be a shorter series, and I’d be perfectly fine with spending a half hour a week with those two tricksters. I’d just hope that the three girls are incorporated more smoothly throughout the season.

ED Sequence

ED: 「気まぐれロマンティック」 (Kimagure Romantic) by Takahashi Rie


  1. This show…. You dont know if takagi just really likes tease or just plain bully or she just wants attention from the person she likes. Nishimiya on the other hand, you dont know of he is just plain idiot. Or some dork or slow or is misinterpreting takagi’s action… So many unknown. Me hooked.. Me watch

  2. HalfDemonInuyasha
  3. I hope they add in an NTR original ending.

    Something like on the last day of school Nishikata finally thinks he won. When he rounds the corner to yell gotcha he sees Takagi making out with a boy a year older than her. The series ends with Nishikata in his bed Show Spoiler ▼


    1. Have to agree. I had my doubts about Rie Takahashi, because she tends to bring a distinctive, energetic and high pitched excitement to her roles. Megumin, Emilia and Ernesti all kind of blend together…

      However, she went for a lower pitched and raspier voice, which really fits with Takagi’s cooler-than-Nishikata front. She definitely surpassed my expectations!

  4. As someone who was bullied this one gives me mixed feelings. I was a goody two shoes to the bone though so I would never tried revenge ever. As one of the fairly large minorities of people with ADD who do not learn nonverbal communication skill while a young child I would have had no clue if someone liked me like she seems to I would have hated her with a passion and never thought she liked me ever even if she said so. Without nonverbal communications skills, I had zero friends until the last two years of high school. I kept wondering why everyone around my lied all the time because I could not tell what the nonverbal part of the communication would have indicated their words really meant. This was late 60’s and early 70’s so they did not have the ADD diagnosis for me let alone the lack of communication skills. In the modern world hopefully, most kids like me get the help they need way earlier than learning nonverbal communication in College Business Classes.
    I still find teasing painful now even if I sort of get the joke.

    I have been told by a counselor that Lucy did what she did to Charle Brown because she liked him. But to me, Lucy is still the hateful devil who made Charle Brown’s childhood a living hell.

    1. I don’t really think that’s an analogy. Lucy was mean-spirited and cruel, and anyone who attempts to frame what she did to Charlie as “lovable teasing” or anything of the sort is pushing a deeply demented agenda.

      That said, one thing I enjoy about anime is that it’s pretty much the only visual media where I actually *am* able to pick up on nonverbal communication. In real life, I’m left constantly guessing. And the tone of Karakai Jouzu is very clearly “friendly and playful,” on both sides, so I don’t see much cause for mixed feelings. We’ve gotta be careful, I think, not to bring too much (or too little) personal baggage when it comes to judging media.

  5. Based on this episode’s initial premise, one could be forgiven for thinking that Takagi may be a manipulative, sadistic, schadenfreude-loving *bleep* who finds enjoyment in making fun of her target of choice–a classic example of “Kids Are Cruel” or “Teens Are Monsters.”** A person who–for those unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of bullying–brings back ugly memories of those experiences. Hell, Takagi already got an Alternative Character Interpretation over on TV Tropes’ YMMV page for the series.

    But I guess I can forgive Takagi because she hasn’t harmed Nishikata yet. Left him with a bruised ego and scoldings from the teacher perhaps, but no physically-scarring harm done so far–and I hope it stays that way. (Please don’t stray into “Comedic Sociopathy” territory…)

    Though I can still empathize somewhat with Nishikata wanting revenge, as I like characters with earnest personalities (and Yuki Kaji voices those kinds of characters so well). That being said, I did hear that there are some heartwarming moments in this series, so I hope the studio does a good job in animating those moments. (Especially at season’s end.)

    (** – Considering Takagi, Nishikata and most of the class are in middle school–tweeners, basically–it could go either way.)

    1. ^
      Indeed, if Nishikata didn’t allow himself to be fooled so easily and wasn’t too focused on payback (lowering his awareness in other aspects of his life), then yeah, perhaps he won’t be teased as much. But then again, youth usually goes hand in hand with inexperience and foolishness. And perhaps Nishikata’s foolish innocence is what attracted Takagi to tease him in the first place.

      However, I do hope that Takagi doesn’t take her pranks far into “Dude, not funny” territory. That would only make her unsympathetic as a character.

  6. I hope the Ashita wa Doyoubi segments get more airtime later, as I rather enjoyed the manga. Speaking of which, anyone else think the final episode (possibly the *whole* episode, or at least a big chunk of it) will be based off of Yamamoto’s *third* manga series, “Karakai Jouzu no (moto) Takagi-san?”

    Anyway, the three Ashita girls fit into pretty familiar archetypes. They’re maybe not as obvious in the final scene of the episode, but they’re clearer in the earlier scenes. IE we’ve got the energetic idiot (Tomo) the normal/tsukkomi (Yomi) and the weirdo (Osaka).


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