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Anime Review: Nisekoi - Season 1

Shaft, Inc. are famed for some pretty dark anime. Among their series are Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Dance in the Vampire Bund and the Monogatari series, none of which really fall into the light and happy side of Japanese animation. That’s not say that they aren’t capable of creating carefree shows though, they did after all work on Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling back in the 1980’s. Perhaps a better example of their more light-hearted work is Nisekoi: False Love, an adaption of Naoshi Komi’s Weekly Shōnen Jump romantic comedy.

The story is based on the set-up that two teens, Raku Ichijo and Chitoge Kirisaki, must spend the next three years pretending to be madly in love. The reason for this is that if they don’t, their father’s rival Yakuza gangs are likely to start an all-out turf war. The problem is, the two would-be lovebirds aren’t overly fond of each other.

As harem comedies go, Nisekoi isn’t going to win any prizes for originality. From the character types to the standard issue beach and bath house episodes, it pretty much follows the pattern that you would expect. Rather than letting this drag the show down into ‘nothing new’ territory however, Nisekoi does something to give it an edge: it makes sure that it’s consistently good at what it does. The characters, while not exactly original, are not only likeable but are given space to grow as the series progresses. On top of that, both the humour and the heart-warming moments hit the mark almost every time.

The only place that the anime lets itself down is, oddly enough given the studio, the animation quality. It runs as smoothly as you’d expect for the most part, but walking seems to cause the animators some intermittent issues. When the characters personalities are put across in their movements, such as when Chitoge is in a happy mood, the animation easily is on par with the rest of the show. When the characters are simply moving from point A to point B however, things can get a little jerky, leaving it looking like the animators may have used less frames for these particular movements. Thankfully though, such moments are short-lived and don’t really detract from an otherwise decent show.

Rating: 4/5

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