Hey guys, Samurai here. In my time watching and reviewing anime, I’ve come across my share of love stories from the subtle to the blatant, to the “What the heck could you possibly see in this person?” I’ve seen rom-coms fall victims to the same old tired cliches of “does he/she like me?”, “how should I confess my feelings to him/her”, “why does she keep scissors in her panties?” and of course “Why am I suddenly on the right hand of my love interest?”. Then this show comes along and says “Alright, let’s cut out the bull-pocky and get right to the point”. I’m the Cajun Samurai, and this is my reivew of Ore Monogatari!!
Warnings and Other Objectionable Content:
Ore Monogatari is about as clean as clean gets. Maybe a little PG language, but nothing besides that. You can show this show to anybody and there won’t be any problems.
At the time of this printing, Ore Monogatari!! is slated to get a home video release by Sentai Filmworks in the near future with a full English dub. No date has been announced at this time, but as it stands right now, the only place you can catch this one is through Streaming sites like CrunchyRoll.
Story Premise: (25 out of 25)
Ore Monogatari!! is a 24 episode series based off an ongoing manga by Kazune Kawahara. The story follows the budding relationship between large and in charge Takeo Gouda and petit and sweet Rinko Yamato. After having saved Rinko from a subway creep, Rinko falls hard for Takeo, who due to his humble and dense nature, believes she actually likes his best friend, Sunakawa, as all girls tend to fall for him. Thankfully, Sunakawa is a true bro and clears up all the misunderstandings before they get too far out of hand and guides the two lovebirds together through their lovey-dovey relationship.
Ore Monogatari!! is unlike any other rom-com anime I’ve seen in quite a while…if ever. Typically in anime like this, all the tropes are dragged out shamelessly; the one sided crush, the But with Ore, we get all the misunderstandings and other cliche stuff out the way and we are allowed to focus on and enjoy the actual relationship of these three characters. Yes, I said “Three Characters”. This “love story” in this show goes beyond the typical boy-girl variety. It also explores the brotherly love and closeness between Takeo and Sunakawa; these two truly look out for each other and support each other in their own way. In a way, this whole dawg gone anime is about love in different forms.
I also like the fact that this anime deviates slightly from the main couple and focuses on the relationships (or POTENTIAL relationships) of other characters. It helps give this show a more well rounded feel. The ending to this series is absolutely perfect. The final two episodes shake up the tree just enough to leave you guessing as to what’s going to happen, but in the back of your mind, you know exactly how this one ends.
So yeah, with regards to story, Ore Monogatari!! is a much needed different take on romantic comedy anime.
I love the confession scene in Episode 3. Not only is it hillarious, and not only does Sunakawa solidify his “Suna-Bro” status, but this show actually does what I don’t think any other rom-com did before or since; IT GOT THE MISUNDERSTANDINGS OUT THE WAY! So many times a rom-com can falter because of stupid misunderstandings between the characters. This time, we get it out the way in 3 episodes and the relationship proper can get started.
Characters: (20 out of 25)
Our male protagionist. He’s your typical first-year high school student…if your definition of “Typical” includes having the physique and strength of at least 10 grown men. However, underneath all those many, many, many, MANY muscles, is a heart of pure gold, though sometimes his good intentions and desire to help others tend to fall victim to misunderstanding due to his large size and imposing nature. Takeo is a textbook gentle giant, always helping out those in need and looking for someone to love and for someone to love him in return. However, due to his prodigious physique and intimidating outward appearance, girls tend to repel away from him and flock to his good looking bro Sunakawa, causing him to believe that no girl could ever fall in love with him. Takeo has to be one of the coolest anime characters around and, in my humble opinion, one of the best male leads in an anime for that season; complex but relateable, adorable yet not a pansy. It’s easy for a male lead in an anime like this to be diluted by the many cliches of rom-coms, and thankfully, Takeo doesn’t fall into ’em, which is probably thanks to his bro Sunakawa.
Our female protagonist and Takeo’s girlfriend. Rinko is a little sweetheart who falls head-over-heels for Takeo after he saves her from a groper on the subway. Rinko is completely devoted to Takeo, and frequently gets flustered whenever she’s around him. While I do love Rinko as a character, I found myself wanting to know MORE about her. In the anime, we hardly get any backstory about her; in fact, compared to Takeo and Makoto, the later getting an entire episode worth of character development, we get next to nothing aboutour little baking cutie. We know she likes to bake, but where does that come from? Is she from a family of bakers? While we get whole episodes devoted to Takeo and Makoto’s parents, the closest we get to Rinko’s folks is a phone call in one episode.
Takeo’s best friend since childhood. Though he is very handsome and can get any girl in the school, he tends to turn them down quickly if they even hint at whispering a disparaging word towards his best friend. Sunakawa also acts as the voice of reason and logic in the series; gently guiding Takeo and Rinko through their relationship while obliterating anime cliches and misunderstandings that threaten many a rom-com anime. Sunakawa is probably the best “Best friend” character I think I’ve ever seen in an anime. Normally the best friend character is a goofball who brings little to nothing to the show except maybe causing a cliche love triangle. Sunakawa is actually the guardian angel for this show, offering advice and help wherever he can…all for the happiness of his best friend.
Takeo’s mom and one of the most awesome moms in anime. Though, age wise, she is about 40 years old, she has the body and physique of a 25 year old. Normally, I wouldn’t waste much time on secondary characters, but I have to shine a light on this awesome woman. It’s through her that we actually get an idea about who Takeo is and where he gets a lot of his personality (not to mention physical strength) from. Also, without getting into spoilers, Yuriko does something that VERY FEW moms in anime are capable of. Through this one simple act, Yuriko has shattered a trope typical of most anime, and earned herself a spot in the Samurai Hall of Fame! Again, I won’t spoil it, but if you follow me on Twitter (@KhakiBlueSocks) you can probably guess what it is!
So, yeah. The characters from Ore Monogatari!! tell the tale really well, but I just can’t overlook the fact that our female lead character, one third of our main cast, gets less background than our two male leads.
Animation: (12.5 out of 12.5)
The animation for Ore Monogatari!! is really nice. It’s nothing really groundbreaking, but there’s just something about it that makes this anime stand out from others. Everything is bright and colorful, but not annoyingly so. I love how the creators really play up the size difference between Rinko and Takeo–how she’s so small her uniform is a little baggy or how Takeo is so freaking huge that his stride is somewhat different than the other characters. Studio Madhouse has once again shown itself to be a jack of all trades. One minute, they’re doing a blood bath of an anime like Parasyte, the next they’re doing a squishy-sweet show like Ore Monogatari.
Music: (12.5 out of 12.5)
The opening theme, “Miraikei Answer” by TRUSTRICK, is a light and bubbly affair, matching the delicate opening animation very well. It’s borderline sappy, but the guitars keep everything in check. The ending theme, “Shiawase no Ari ka” by Local Connect is a great wind-down song for every episode. The animation that follows it is also well done. Incidential music is actually well done. As I type up this review, I’m listening to a track that plays in one of the earlier episodes called “Fond Memories” and it is absolutely beautiful. The incidental music can be a little quirky and video-game like at times, but it’s not bad enough to where I have to deduct points. Overall, you’ll like listening to the music in this one.
Performances and Production: (25 out of 25)*
Ore Monogatari!! was created by Studio Madhouse with director Morio Asaka at the helm. Asaka-san has had his hand in quite a few projects including Chobits, Rozen Maiden, and Gunslinger Girl among others. Here in the US, Sentai Filmworks has picked up the license but at the time of this printing, there is nobody assigned the directors chair. Now, I’m not a betting man…but if I were to lay down a couple dollars…I would say that they will go with their franchise QB, Chris Ayres for this project. Since this show is pretty close to getting a Dub, I’m going to forgo grading “Performances and Production” until it actually comes out and I get the chance to properly compare the two. However, I would like to note that the Japanese V/A’s are really awesome. I love Takeo’s deep, rough, yet somewhat gentle tone. Rinko’s super-sweet high-pitched voice might grate some, but for me, it’s pretty dawg gone cute.
STORY BREAKDOWN – 25/25
CHARACTERS – 20/25
ANIMATION – 12.5/12.5
MUSIC – 12.5/12.5
PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTION – 25/25*
FINAL SCORE – 95/100 = 95% – (A)
*Pending English Dub Release
So where does that leave us? Well, pending an English Dub, Ore Monogatari!! looks like it’s on the road to being a complete success. The story is great, the characters are adorable (if not fully defined in some cases), the animation is sweet, the music is okay and the acting, at least on the Japanese side, is well done. Ore Monogatari!! is an example of what happens when you do a rom-com anime without gimmicks or manufactured drama.
And that’s another review in the books! I think I’m getting back to normal, guys! Heaven only knows how long it’ll last, but I’m gonna enjoy it! Coming up next, I’ll do a bit of housekeeping and finish up some reviews and projects that I meant to finish up before my extended hiatus…and I’ll also be working on a brand new review. You’re not gonna want to miss my next “equal opportunity” anime…
Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches