How Takeo Broke the Mold in Ore Monogatari!!

The start of a unique love story.
The start of a unique love story.

Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!) has recently garnered interest, as Kazune Kawahara’s manga was adapted into an anime on April 2015 and a live-action to be released on October 2015. Despite being a shōjo anime, which is geared towards female viewership, Ore Monogatari!! has intrigued both genders, because of it’s mix of comedy and romance as it follows the unique love story between two individuals. Although Ore Monogatari!! still contains shōjo archetypes, (such as the demure love interest), what makes this manga popular is Takeo Gouda – the ‘gorilla-esque’ man who this manga’s love story focuses on. Not only does Takeo not look like the stereotypical male protagonist, but he also has his unique charms to make this character likeable.

However, in order to showcase how Takeo ‘breaks the mold’ or defies shōjo stereotypes, let us analyze Takeo in the first season of the anime and use his best friend, Makoto Sunakawa, to contrast the differences.

Takeo vs. Suna

In majority of shōjo anime/manga, the protagonist is always a bishounen character – an attractive male whose beautiful looks attract the majority of girls in his high school. Examples of shōjo mangas with bishounen characters are Takumi Usui from Kaichou Wa Maid-sama, Kyouya Sata from Wolf Girl and Black Prince, and the Host Club from Ouran High School Host Club.

Hence, in the first episode, Takeo explains how many of his love interests fall for his best friend, Sunakawa (or Suna for short), as he rushes to confess to his middle school crush before graduation day is over. Sunakawa perfectly fits the archetype of a bishounen character – he’s tall, slim, and has sharp facial features. Girls have developed crushes on him since kindergarten, but he always casually rejects them. He thinks girls are troublesome and doesn’t seem to notice them fawning over him as he walks down the street. In short, Suna looks like a typical ‘ice prince’.

Rejection isn't pretty.
Rejection isn’t pretty.

In comparison, Takeo is a tall, gorilla-esque man that looks intimidating despite his kind heart. For example, Takeo is always quick to help strangers, whether it’s by carrying a stroller up a steep flight of stairs, or rescuing a drowning child in a river. However, these strangers (usually mothers) only pay attention to Suna and thank them for his help, despite Suna telling them that it’s all thanks to his friend. Although this adds to the comedy of Ore Monogatari!!, it demonstrates how bishounens always attract attention, despite the fact that Suna is not the main protagonist in this series.

However, Kazune Kawahara breaks the mold by having Rinko Yamato – a cute, demure girl – fall in love with Takeo on first sight when he saves her from a molester on the train. Yamato fits the archetype of a demure girl because she is cute, gentle, and caring. She shows housewife qualities, such as her love for baking, and always takes care of Takeo and Suna. Usually, such girls are attracted to the handsome bishounen, thus Takeo is quick to assume that Yamato has fallen for Suna when she asks Suna not to leave the room. This leads to an internal conflict, as Takeo struggles to support Suna and Yamato’s relationship while suppressing his own feelings. Eventually, Kawahara introduces her plot twist, as Suna tells Takeo about Yamato’s true feelings after Takeo accuses Suna of making her cry in episode 3. As the love story progresses, Suna continues to remain on the side as he constantly third wheels Takeo and Yamato’s dates.

Suna and Takeo acting out Red Ogre and Blue Ogre - a story about friendship.
Suna and Takeo acting out Red Ogre and Blue Ogre – a story about friendship.

It is uncertain whether or not Suna will find a love interest in the series. His main goal is to support Takeo through his first relationship, such as creating a schedule for Yamato’s birthday or help shop for a gift. Perhaps this is to highlight the friendship between Takeo and Suna, and the brotherhood these two men have between each other. This is proven when Suna tells Takeo in episode 3, “Who’d want to date girls that talked smack about their friends?”

Nevertheless, what can be taken from the first season is the fact that despite Suna’s attractive good looks, it is Takeo that shines in the spotlight. After all, it’s his love story – a chapter he wished for since the beginning of high school.

Lack of Romantic Rivals

Suna is not the only one that has a friendship with Takeo. For example, in episode 7, the Judo club members kneel before Takeo asking him to temporary join the club so that they can defeat their opponents. In episode 8, the customers in the Bro Café admire Takeo’s deltoids and ask him how he achieved them. This admiration of Takeo proves that Takeo has no ‘love rivals’, which is another aspect that breaks shōjo archetypes.

This is considered uncommon, as many shōjo animes/mangas include a love rival to test the couple’s relationship, as the rival tries to interfere with the development and confuse the individual’s feelings. The rival is usually more attractive or just as attractive as the protagonist, and poses as a threat that can last for the entire series or an arc.

The only person that can be considered to be Takeo’s rival throughout the series is Tsuyoshi Iwayama – a friend of Takeo from his middle school judo club. However, this character is considered more as a sports rival, as Takeo and Tsuyoshi face off to determine who is the strongest between the two. Although Tsuyoshi accuses Takeo of focusing on relationships rather than sports, this cannot be considered a romantic rival because Tsuyoshi has no intention to steal Yamato from Takeo. Rather, his jealousy provokes Tsuyoshi’s competitive side and Takeo to question what is strength – neither of these aspects being obstacles to the relationship.

Takeo's sports rival - Tsuyoshi Iwayama.
Takeo’s sports rival – Tsuyoshi Iwayama.

Perhaps Kawahara has not yet interject this plot device into Takeo’s love story because she prefers to explore the innocence of Takeo and Yamato’s relationship. The only scenario in which a love rival is introduced is when Hayato Oda approaches Takeo in episode 13. However, the circumstances are different, as it is Hayato who thinks of Takeo as his rival because of the feelings he has towards Ai – Suna’s sister. But throughout this arc, Takeo remains clueless to the rivalry Hayato feels towards him, as his attention is only focused on Yamato and the amusement park’s jinx. He does not even realize Ai’s feelings towards him, which demonstrates Takeo’s naivety towards his surroundings.

But it is Takeo’s naivety that makes him break shōjo stereotypes, as his innocence makes his relationship with Yamato refreshing in comparison to other shōjo couples.

Innocence

That's not how you hold hands, Takeo.
That’s not how you hold hands, Takeo.

In many shōjo animes/mangas, the male protagonist is devious and more experienced in relationships than the female. They will slyly perform actions to make the female blush, such as stealing their first kiss or pinning them against the wall. In Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Takumi agrees to help Misaki and uses a kiss as his reward. In comparison, Ore Monogatari!! takes a more innocent approach as Takeo awkwardly stumbles through his relationship. For example, he does not know how to hold hands or kiss, and asks Suna to help him practice by bringing plastic wrap (so that it doesn’t count).

He is more innocent than his girlfriend, as one of the conflicts Ore Monogatari!! presents is the struggle of intimacy. In episode 5, when Takeo is prompted by Ai to tell her what he likes about Yamato, he states that he likes Yamato for her purity. Unfortunately, this embarrasses Yamato, and the audience finds out later how much Yamato fantasizes about him, as she states:

“Takeo has really nice skin… and his eyebrows and sideburns really get to me! And his broad shoulders and nice pecs… and his lips are so sexy! His hands are so big too, they make my heart race. But Takeo-kun says he won’t lay a finger on me until I grow up.” – Episode 6.

Yamato embarrassed to see Takeo's body.
Yamato embarrassed to see Takeo’s body.

Takeo never reveals whether he has the same thoughts about Yamato, which demonstrates how innocent Takeo truly is. The only thought that runs through Takeo’s mind is how much he loves her, as he sees her smile or dress up beautifully on their dates. This innocence is what makes Ore Monogatari!! so refreshing, as it highlights the precious moments of first love and the struggles high schoolers face in their first relationship. There are other mangas that focus on innocent relationships as well, such as Hibi Chouchou, but no other anime has been able to combine humour and romance while breaking the shōjo archetypes as Ore Monogatari!!


There have been other animes with live-action adaptations, such as Death Note, Ouran High School Host Club, and Nana. The fact that Ore Monogatari!! is included in this list demonstrates the popularity of Kazune Kawahara’s works. Ore Monogatari!! proves that the male protagonist does not have to be stereotypically handsome to achieve a love story, as it is the personality that makes them attractive and how much effort they put into the relationship.

From left to right: Kentaro Sakaguchi as Suna, Mei Nagano as Yamato and Ryohei Suzuki as Takeo.
From left to right: Kentaro Sakaguchi as Suna, Ryohei Suzuki as Takeo and Mei Nagano as Yamato .

For those who are interested in watching the trailer of the live-adaptation, you can watch the video below.

『俺物語!!』特報

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40 Comments

  1. Aaron Hatch

    Awsome article. While I have never been a huge fan of slice of life animes, Ore Monogatari!!! sparked my interest enough for me to take a look at it.

  2. DClarke

    I really enjoy this article, I think that it handles the subject matter well and you make the anime seem really interesting. Nice style!

  3. I’ve come to enjoy the romance genre in manga and anime less and less over the years to the point were to even watch 4 episodes without calling it quits is quite an achievement for me, but Ore Monogatari is very refreshing to watch and I really enjoy watching each and every character, like seriously Takeo is one of the funniest character I’ve ever seen and together with Suna they make quite a nice bromance. In most anime or manga I find characters like Yamato to be annoying, but here I think she is just too damn cute and so adorable and I love how she and Takeo make a very very lovable couple. Mini Spoilers: I love how Yamato and Takeo only have eyes for each other so you know that no matter what happens they are end game, I just hope Suna will get someone soon in the upcoming episodes.

  4. Knudson
    0

    This show has kept me coming back week after week with how hilarious the interactions between Takeo, yamato and suna are.

    I can’t recommend this show enough, although you may find it difficult to enjoy other Shojo after this one because it gets the whole question of whether they will get together or not out of the way very quickly. Something that other Shojo will spend their entire run time going back and forth on.

  5. This anime destroyed other romance animes, it has the potential to be one of the greatest romance animes ever

  6. Alycia Fenner
    0

    Ore monogatari destroys common plot tropes that normally happen in every shoujo.

    • I agree. I stopped watching romance animes because I was tired of seeing the same stuff. I don’t think any other anime can top this without being a rip-off.

  7. I’m actually getting really interested in this anime.

  8. Rosario
    0

    Thank you, I loved it, my boyfriend was actually just talking about this anime.

  9. JacalynHess
    0

    Can’t wait to see where it goes, it reminded me about how in anime when they introduce a girl’s parents the father is usually a giant monster of a man and the mother is a mature version of the daughter and how interesting it would be to know how those to got together and with anime we may see that.

  10. This has convinced me to watch Ore Monogatari. AWAY I GO!

  11. hmm, strange name though. Ore Monogatari literally means “Me-Story” or “Story about me” if I’m not mistaken. Well, my love story is just as dull. I wonder if there’s an anime out there that is just called “anime” or “A Story” or something.

  12. Blueman
    0

    I’m gonna wait for this show to finish airing, and then I’ll decide whether to watch it or not depending on whether the ending has an actual conclusion or not.

    • Findley
      0

      It depends what an “actual ending” is. It seems like it will end the way real life ends. As in, there is no end. What could it be building up to? they are already dating. It will probably have a satisfying conclusion though, just not a “and the world stopped existing at that moment because everything is perfect” ending.

      • Well, real life ends at death. But that would not feel appropriate as a conclusion to a sweet high-school comedy romance anime :D.

        Anyway, the finale aired yesterday, and it was satisfying enough imho – it wrapped up the theme of the show as much as it could for a story so naturally “open”, and of course resolved the current mini-arc plot thread (just a two episode thing anyway). Definitely satisfied with it.

  13. I’m loving this one! It’s a bit over the top goofy sometimes, but goodness do I love the characters and the story and basically everything, lol. Underdog stories where the geek gets the guy/girl are some of my favorites.

  14. You should check out Zankyou no Terror if you haven’t already.

  15. DORTHEY
    0

    Yamato is my favorite!

  16. cambell
    0

    oh my gosh yes!

  17. latonia
    1

    I loved the first few episodes of Ore Monogatari but then for some reason like EVERYTHING about it started to annoy me! I hate how melodramatic it is and I don’t like how the eyes look. And I reaaaaally don’t like Yamato xD Her voice is just…

  18. Love this anime not the typical love story but the best .

  19. The show is very adorable. Almost wish real life can be like it

  20. Charmaine Ivy
    0

    I love this anime! I was wondering… Do you recommend any good shoujo romance anime? Like ones that aren’t as popular as a lot out there. I might have seen the majority but I know they come out with many new anime every year so I still cling onto the hope of an anime out there that is perfect for me

    • YsabelGo

      Have you heard of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun? That has one season, but the manga is finished! The female protagonist is more level-headed, and isn’t really whiny.

      I also love Kamisama Hajimemashita (Or Kamisama Kiss), and that has two seasons. The female protagonist likes to take matters in her own hands, and it deals with Gods and monsters.

      Try those out and see what you think!

  21. karapale
    0

    I watch it mostly for Gouda’s dad.

  22. Just watched the first episode on Hulu last night. I’m so hooked and I’m rooting for Takeo. I think of him as a cute panda bear.

  23. After binge reading Gate – Jietai Kare no Chi nite, Kaku Tatakeri, glad to have some warm and fuzzy anime to watch to end the day. Thanks for the read.

  24. Blalock
    0

    I think you would have a hard time finding anyone who isnt enjoying this show. Cause its Flipping Adorable.

  25. I love such a laid back comedic romance, we never really get these anymore which is a total plus. Because of Ao Haru Ride, there was a chapter that merged the characters from ore monogatari and ao haru ride. Thats how i found out about ore monogatari ^^ love this cute anime, Takeo is soo funny, Suna is just the sweetest best friend u could ever have and i wish yamato and i were best friends so i could eat her pasteries. They look so good!

    • YsabelGo

      There’s also a two-part crossover between Ore Monogatari!! and Nisekoi if you’re interested!

  26. pushinit
    0

    this anime is really good!!

  27. Takeo and Yamato kissing is going to look weird

  28. Finally, an anime with a main character that I can easily relate to! I think this is definitely one of the best shows this season has to offer.

  29. Its a really good show so far, which I’m loving it so much nwn

  30. This was a really good article, analyzing the heart of what really sets this anime apart from the usual recycled shojo plot material. Gouda is such a fresh character and while there is nothing spectacular about Yamato, her being with Takeo makes her refreshing in a sense.
    Sunakawa takes the cake for me as the best character who really makes the anime shine. It’s as if he’s so concious of the fact that he’s in a shojo series and deliberately avoids every sterotype and trope possible.

  31. The show itself was great but it lacked character development with Suna even though the was about show was about Takeo’s love story it could of been a better to add more character dept in someone who played such a pivotal role as Suna did.

  32. This was a really good article. I started watching the anime with a group of people, and it leaves us laughing but it keeps us interested because it breaks the mold and does it with style. 🙂

  33. Jordan

    I first heard about this show through this article and I’ve given the first episode a try. It’s very sweet. I find it interesting that ‘attractive’ characters are often used in media, although I found Takeo easier to relate to in a lot of ways. My identical twin sister and I often liked all the same boys in school, and often they dated her and not me, so I could feel for Takeo’s struggle. I’ll probably get around to finishing the series at some point. Thanks for the article!

  34. Not usually a fan of romcom but I Love this anime! I hope they make a season 2

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