OP Sequence

OP: 「オトモダチフィルム」 (Otomodachi Film) by Masayoshi Ooishi

“I Can’t Just Leave You”

「ほっとけないだろ」 (Hottokenaidaro)


Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai flew under my radar until I read Stilts’ preview. Then I made it my top pick, for a couple of reasons.

Most of Gekkan Shoujo’s production team have reunited – a cause for celebration, because they’re a truly talented bunch! We can expect something in the spirit of a less conventional romantic comedy, that won’t fail to entertain. But as with any anime originals, the lack of a successful source materials means there are no guarantee to fall back upon, meaning a wild card factor is at play. However, there’s nothing quite like staking such a heavy bet, on the potential of something unknown and getting your hunches absolutely spot on. *cough* Tsuki ga Kirei *cough*.

I’ve also taken a personal liking to the non-generic Asian Male – White Female pairing, which isn’t very typical in anime. While I still expect a straight up romance comedy, that won’t bother exploring societal perspectives on these types of interracial relationships, I retain hopes that my expectations might be met.

Now, the springtime of youth is upon us, and I’m itching to blog a romance show. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

P.S. In Doga Kobo we trust.

Initial Impressions

Throughout 2017, the romance shows I watched were situated in rural areas or sleepy suburbs. Tada-kun (2018) distinguishes itself from the crowd, being firmly set in the roaring Tokyo metropolis that’s full of hustle and bustle. Both types of romance offer different things, and neither hold an inherent advantage, much like town mouse and country mouse. Yet having lived in London most of my life, the city is admittedly where I feel most at home.

To be honest, I was thoroughly charmed by what I saw. Within the first few seconds, I was totally awestruck by stunning backgrounds and exquisite choices of musical direction. So much so, that I let out an audible gasps of fangasming. The choreography was entirely on point, and everything meshed together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle falling into place. Moving away from the high streets, we settle into a comfy and quiet coffee shop, tucked away from the hubbub. In other words, a refreshing oasis hidden in the middle of Tokyo’s urban jungle.

Our male protagonist is the owner’s grandson, Tada Mitsuyoshi (Nakamura Yuichi), a stoic person who likes photography. Snapping shots of sakura blossoms outside of the Imperial Palace, he chances upon Teresa Wagner (Iwami Manaka). They meet under the sakura blossoms, which prompts a standard procedure between tourist and locals. He offers to help take a picture, which he does, only she wanders off before he can return her memory card. Fortunately, they quickly meet again when her handkerchief blows onto his face, and he takes her back to the coffee shop for a bite to eat. Needless to say, everyone is charmed by her beauty. And conveniently, she will be living in the hotel next door, while attending Tada’s highschool as a transfer student.

Alongside her eccentric quirks, my favourite being her love for Rainbow Samurai, the anime goes to great lengths suggesting that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this ditzy girl. I have a hard time believing that Teresa is your run of the mill weeb, who simply came to Japan as a transfer student from Larsenburg (no translation error, and probably a fictitious nation that is loosely based on a European country). I don’t see a reason why royals wouldn’t choose an elite private school for their children, but I won’t rule out the chance that she comes from a distinguished family. After all, anything is possible in anime.

Concluding Thoughts

There were a lot of positive takeaways from this first episode. Both humour and slice of life were elements that were smoothly executed, and I’m thrilled that Rainbow Samurai will become a recurring gag, while we get a regular fix of comfy coffee shop goodness.

Nevertheless, there were some things I could not overlook, and I have questions about where things are inevitably headed. There might be a slight problem with human characterisation, and I’m not referring to our supporting cast being generic stereotypes. The tsundere hothead and narcissistic ouji make for a more dynamic pair, and starting off on the wrong foot, their interactions are fraught with violence that’s intended for laughs. But ultimately, I’m having difficulties connecting with both Tada and Teresa, specifically due to their one dimensional personalities. Also, it says a lot when I have a preference towards the cat, who completely rocks compared to them.

My feelings were mixed on the romantic aspect, which didn’t really help. Frankly, I thought the first encounter between our protagonists sucked. Additionally, I couldn’t seem to detect any real chemistry between our two leads, or even a hint of attraction between the two. In fact, it’s reminiscent of Gekkan Shoujo, where you couldn’t feel any real sparks between the couples in spite of their antics. However, Tada-kun lacks adequate comedic interactions to compensate for this lack of romantic fulfilment, even if some moments got me chuckling.

That said, I’m currently sold on the underlying idea. If I had to guess, the series will work on deconstructing the notion that ‘Tada-kun never falls in love’. He will most certainly fall in love, and when he does, it will be glorious. And do I want a conclusive pairing between Tada and Teresa, where they start dating, and doing couple stuff? Hell yeah! And I hope that Doga Kobo have the guts to go for it.

But so far, I think that one episode is far too early to make a decisive judgement. Based on the OP theme’s foreshadowing, there’s a lot of context behind these characters, and why they behave the way they do. For me, things will largely come down to establishing a concrete premise, then balancing the genres accordingly. If Tada-kun wants to style itself as a love story, have less gags, and more character development + meaningful interactions. If they commit more to humour, then vice versa. I have no doubts that this can become a consistent source of entertainment either ways. But there’s genuine potential, that I would like to see realised, lest I be disappointed if it were to fall short. As such, I’ll be keenly waiting for the next episode or two. So expect me to return for some more coverage, while I figure out what exactly we have on our hands. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

ED Sequence

ED: 「ラブソング」 (Love Song) by Teresa Wagner (CV: Manaka Iwami)




  1. Hello kind people! Wonder if these kinds of shows work better, when you don’t think about things too much. My first impression was positively glowing and my initial draft was full of praise. Then as I went back to review the episode, flaws become more apparent by the second, until I felt a need to completely revise what I had written. As fellow viewers, and (presumably) readers of this post, please let me know what your thoughts are!

    1. this what a 5/10 premiere; it’s kind of derivative so far; not necessarily doing anything noteworthy so far but it was at least pleasant and competently produced.

    2. Yup. While being a critic makes you want to think too much on things and criticised A LOT of things, I feel it’s just ruins any enjoyment of “watching” a show. As a first impression, I already like the show. Though I like my Rom-Coms, it’s great to have a good Rom-Com this season to just mellow out on with all these other big name shows out this season.

  2. this anime is immediately placed on my watchlist. fantastic, excellent 1st episode. i already knew that this have the potential to be great since it was produced by dogakobo. dogakobo as we know, have produced anime this past few years that are very interesting and engaging… mikakunin, new game 1 and 2, gekkan shoujo, plastic memories, umaru-chan you name it. now, we have tada-kun wa koi wa shinai and i can guarantee for sure that this will be another great title produced by dogakobo.

    –the possible plot: this story is probably a normal guy falls in love with someone “higher” than him. in this case, the girl is a princess and probably future queen. the dilemma will be, the normal guy will think he is just a normal person and doesnt have a right to love a royalty of sorts. kinda like nogizaka haruka. anyway i always like such plots.

    —random thoughts: SONY and Nikon but no Canon? deym… be fair dogakobo

    1. Love me some Doga Kobo. Excluding the fujoshi show (Ranbu Touken), I’ve actually blogged the past two of their shows – Hina Logi for the entire summer, as well as Umaru-chan R as a single finale post. Me? I love how they consistently churn out fun shows, and outside of certain niches outside my strikezone, Doga Kobo typically have my number.

      Which is why I’m willing to trust them so much, even if I developed some doubts about the initial episode. I think I need to view this as less of a romance/comedy with a true aim, and more of a unique/fun show that’ll spontaneously go about business.

  3. I thought this was a weak offering. If we’re comparing this to the excellent Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun then Tada-kun’s characters are blander and poorly-defined, the comedy is simpler and tamer, and the premise is just corny rather than comical.

    Of course it may simply be unfair to compare it to Gekkan Shoujo. Gekkan Shoujo was a really silly and fast-paced comedy where a romantic attraction was part of the premise but was rarely dealt with seriously in the plot. I suspect this show will have that reversed, where it’s a romance on the main line with some light comedy as a sideshow. I don’t want to compare apples and oranges too much so I’ll just say I don’t really think Tada-kun is a great show in its own right anyway.

    Teresa is a more subtle example of otaku pandering than usual: a respectable blond-haired foreigner who loves and respects Japan, but is also hapless and in need of rescue. Meanwhile her saviour Tada-kun barely had any presence at all. Is that meant to be a pun on his name? He’s not funny and he’s barely even a straight-man. I found him an almost total non-entity compared to Nozaki-kun. Most importantly, this main pair lack chemistry. That’s something you really have to nail in the first episode, and this show didn’t do that IMO.

    I agree with the poster above who said it was a 5/10. This is what I’d consider a baseline adequate show. It’s by no means terrible, just lacking in flavour.

    1. Hey Puffles, I think you’re onto something when you spoke about pacing. How to describe it… there’s just little sense of things getting done, and the slice of life might be overdone here. I actually felt that the comical moments were on point, and not corny. Then again, I have quite a high tolerance for cheesy comedy.

      As for being more romantically inclined, I most certainly don’t mind, but would like to see proactive steps in working towards making it a focus, because it feels like something on the periphery at the moment. If it wasn’t stamped as a romance show, I wouldn’t even be too sure that romance was even going on, due to the complete lack of chemistry. But that might come with time, so I’m willing to see if it improves. I’m just surprised that Doga Kobo have an easy time creating chemistry while yuri baiting, yet struggle with applying the concept between heterosexual couples.

    1. Ore Monogatari was a romance from the start, and aimed to be wholesome, with many moments being funny in a more homely way. Tada-kun is looking to be a slap stick, featuring romance between high status and a commoner, although we haven’t really gotten any kind of indication of the main couple having any kind of hots for each other.

  4. I hope Princess Marie-Caroline Elisabeth Immaculata of Liechtenstein never finds out about this anime, because I’d say that’s who Teresa Wagner is modelled on.

    Anyway, this first episode was OK, but no more. Maybe if Kaoru wasn’t just so damned annoying I might have given it a few more episodes to see if it would grow on me, but right now I can’t think of a good reason why I should keep on watching.

  5. First off, uh… Is that Duke Togo in the coffee shop?

    Now then, based solely on the first episode, I think I can see a lot of places this story can go, and none of them really seem all that appealing to me. It’s a very pretty show, which is nice to see. I have no doubt that it’s going to be a well made, well animated show, since Doga Kobo seems to do good work. However, I have a sort of love-hate thing with most Romance anime. When they’re done well, they can be a joy to watch, but most end before any romance actually happens. That is to say, nobody confesses their feelings to anyone else before the season ends and you’re left hoping for another season, which may never come. Also, which is quite common, romance anime can be quite predictable, and this one seems like it’s going to be that way. I can already see it…

    Teresa, who is some kind of royalty in her home country, got into Japanese culture through the Rainbow Samurai show, which was introduced to her by some kind of mentor/grandparent type figure, who’s now either deceased or otherwise gone from her life. She’s decided to visit Japan and enjoy herself while she can, because after graduation, she’s to be married to some high-class nobleman type back in her country. Teresa and Tada-kun will enjoy their time together, and eventually probably fall in love, though whether they actually express those feelings to each other in any kind of timely manner is anybody’s guess. There will also be another female character, probably a childhood friend, who also has a crush on Tada-kun, but will soon realize that it’s too late for her to express her feelings since he’s interested in someone else now. In the end, Teresa will go back to her home country for some time, before returning to Japan because her arranged marriage was called off for some reason. Maybe the dude was really scummy, or he died or something. Yeah, that seems to be the way it’s gonna go.

    Oh, also there’s a Photography club that Tada-kun is part of along with that annoying narcissistic guy, and probably also the childhood friend. Teresa and her bodyguard Alexandra will join the club. Also the club leader will probably be overly eccentric in some way, judging by that episode preview.

    With that out of the way, I’m not sure how I really feel about this show. I want to be wrong about everything I just said, which is why I’m going to keep an eye on it a little longer. I’ll wait a few more episodes before passing final judgement… I really like that Rainbow Samurai. He seems cool.

    1. That is indeed Golgo 13, and well spotted! And holy moly, the show was really consistent throughout, with quality frames in many moments, although there were noticeable moments where the quality dropped.

      I typically take 90~ screenshots for the shows that I watch, but with Tada-kun, I had 150+ screenshots to sort through. Doesn’t beat some episodes of 3-gatsu, that took me over 200, but still really impressive for a debut showing. Doga Kobo clearly put a lot of heart and soul into this.

      I’m okay with confessions coming out at the end, but there needs to be clearer indications of interest flying between the characters in question. So far, the series is failing in that regard, though I think it can be fixed with 1-2 episodes worth of content.

      I can see another route, since I don’t think a feel good/lighthearted Doga Kobo show would take the arranged marriage route. Based off the OP, I’m gonna guess that the blonde guy is Teresa’s doting older brother. He’s a good guy who overprotects Teresa while indulging her whims, and is Alex’s crush. We’ll see who was closer to the mark 😛

      The next episode will definitely be important, because it should seek to establish the photography club. If the club comes across as uninspiring, I’ll probably drop potential coverage for the series there and then, because it is not a good premonition for the backbone to come up short. However, I like to have faith, so we’ll see where this goes 🙂

  6. HalfDemonInuyasha
    1. Finally, another person who took quite a liking to Alexandra ^_^;

      I don’t think stereotypes are necessarily bad, especially if you’re looking to set up a slapstick correspondence, which is proven to be particularly effective between two archetypes. I actually realised why it speaks to me – the interactions between Alex and Ijuin really remind me of Tomoyo and Sunohara, who are characters from my favourite anime of all time.

  7. SO CUTE! Loved Teresa and all the cats! The only thing that really annoyed me was Kaoru, even though I absolute love Mamoru Miyano. Tada-kun is also so handsome!
    I hope the anime gets better as the episodes go by.

    1. Hey neko_in_blue! I also hope the animation will improve as the episodes go on.

      Still, poor Ijuin :'(

      I’m quite sure he’s got a heart of gold, since he was crying as a kid at some funeral (presumably for Tada’s parents), because he was so sad for Tada. You never know. Maybe his antics are just his way of keeping his best friend happy, which is why I’ve been so hesitant to call him annoying.

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