- Genre : Romantic comedy, harem
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Silver Link
Do you have a Nemesis? Someone that thoughtlessly hurt you so deeply that it still hurts a little. It left a sore spot that irks you to this day. Masamune has. As a spoiled and portly kid he never got in or had any real friends until he met brash and outspoken Rin. He quickly fell for the no nonsense little girl and when she coldly turned him down with a mocking nickname, it was the final straw. And what would you do if you had a chance to confront your tormentor? Would you forgive them!? Would you try to make them understand what you went through? Would you give sweet revenge by becoming super attractive, making them fall for you and breaking their heart?
It’s no secret that romances are not my favorite types of stories. I just can’t understand why people allow characters to act like irrational nutjobs because feeeeeeeelings. I’ve watched many of the beloved hallmarks of the genre and generally waver between bored and disappointed. What chance did this rather poorly received little offering have?
Well this is the first scene……
Masamune’s revenge is a slight variation of a classic harem show with an old school 80s teenage comedy thrown in. Visually, it’s quite appealing. In fact it reminded me of My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected, to an enervating degree. The two shows just looked so much alike in everything from design to animation. To colour palette that it was almost impossible for me not to constantly compare the two.
For those of you who may not have seen snafu, this isn’t a bad thing. It means the show is quite pretty to look at although Masamune’s pretty boy design is a bit generic. All in all, it’s definitely appealing. Unless you have a particular aversion to this art style, I figure you will find it pretty. I ran out of words for pretty…Attractive just didn’t fit right in that sentence.
Sound and voice acting are fine but, as can be said for many elements of this show, a little too bland for the more emotionally charged scenes. This is just me but I felt like the voice actors for Masamune and Rin simply did not have such great chemistry together. He had a better rapport with Yoshino or Kojuro to my ear.
The similarities with My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected don’t end at the visual level. Perhaps I have not seen enough Harem animes and these are just the standard tropes of the genre, but it seemed to me that the cast was also quite similar. An awkward, occasionally unlikable main character who suddenly finds himself to be the object of a number of girls’ affections, the tsundere princess, the cute and popular rival love interest, the shy effeminate best friend and an assortment of variously agreeable and attractive girls that buzz around the main cast.
I did quite like Yoshino in a half realized slightly ominous role. She serves as both grim comedy relief and unsettling mastermind whose loyalties are never completely established. I’ve rarely seen this in romantic comedies and I found it refreshing. I wish they had developed the character just a touch more as she remains rather superficial and more of a plot device than a person.
I would like to point out that although there are generous amounts of Fanservice for everyone (equal opportunity service is the best!), the instances using Yoshino’s tendency for exhibitionist clumsiness felt very uncomfortable and creepy for me. These were however, blessedly few and took on much less disagreeable implications once we realize that she isn’t as helpless as she appears.
Masamune-kun’s revenge is much more rooted in comedy that what previous entries I’ve seen in the genre. This is probably why I’m inclined to prefer it. It’s far from perfect but it does offer some decent entertainment and bring up a few interesting points.
For instance, the premise hinges on the fact that Masamune was a fat and unpopular kid who is now an attractive and very popular teenager. The old ugly duckling plot. Except Msamune very actively worked towards that end. He didn’t just take off his glasses and ponytail and suddenly become unrecognizable. As a chubby kid myself, I appreciated how the narrative pointedly let the audience know that Masamune’s dedication was ongoing. He didn’t simply magically loose a few pounds, he exercised, changed his eating habits and maintains his routine and attention to calories to this day. He probably always will.It’s also nice that his weight seems to only be an issue in his own mind. No one in fact ever teased him about it, he just assumed they wouldn’t like him because of it.
It’s also nice to see that everyone gets treated differently when they fall into some standard beauty norms. It goes beyond people being nice to you because they want a date. People pay more attention to you, they tend to assume you’re nicer (and occasionally dumber). I know that when I manage to get my figure under control, suddenly, my glass of water was never again empty at restaurants and all the sudden professors and supervisors started praising the same work I had been doing for years (sometimes even considerably less). The world is unfair in many ways, and Masamune’s revenge does attempt to show that, although in a very superficial way.
Much of the criticism I have read of this series was that the entire idea is immature. I’m not sure how justified that is. I mean it is super immature, but the narrative goes out of it’s way to continuously point out that these are a bunch of attractive dorks we’re dealing with. The immaturity and shallowness are part of the joke.
What is justified however, is the lack of follow through in the show. Many characters seem to just give up on their motivations rather easily. More extreme character traits are quickly softened without much reason and conflicts are resolved a little too simply to be truly satisfying.
I remember somewhere around episode 3, Kojūrō is explicitly referred to as a boy. This was very interesting to me as I had assumed him to be a girl, with the pants uniform (a tomboy type). I usually never have any problem telling anime genders apart, even with very androgynous characters but Kojūrō has a particularly feminine voice actress, and all of Masamune’s friends up to that point were girls so I had somehow taken it for granted. This isn’t what was surprising though. What impressed me was that, no one in the show was making any sort of deal about.
No one in the series seemed surprised or confused about Kojūrō’s gender, no huge exclamations or disappointments that he wasn’t a girl. This was being treated as a non-issue. Simply a design choice like any other with no bearing on the storyline. I was so impressed by this. The representation of what would be considered an effeminate character as something perfectly normal and not requiring any sort of commentary! Fantastic! That is until a few episodes later when all the traditional jokes started pouring in and didn’t let up until the end.
But by far the biggest problem is that the show lacks an ending. We were all expecting that things wouldn’t go according to plan for Masamune. A late introduction of new characters (when important players are first introduced in episode 10 of 12, it rarely ever bodes well) lobs the series in a whole new direction, but then the show just ends.
There is no resolve for any of the characters, no catharsis, we are really just left in the middle of the story. Of course, some stories simply need more than one season to develop so I can’t really blame the production for deciding not to rush things. On the other hand, if the show is never continued then all you have is half a story. I can understand why people hate that.
For what it’s worth, if a second season were to be made, I’d watch it. It’s not a deeply incisive show that will make you think and feel but it did make me snicker and I never rolled my eyes. What can I say, I have high standards!
Favorite character: None, these are all horrible people except maybe Kojūrō…
What this anime taught me: Zombie gore romance is the ideal first date movie
- Every time anyone says “Pig’s foot” – take a sip
- Every time we see Rin’s “court”– take a sip
- Every time Masamune looses his cool – take a sip
- Every time there is mention of calorie count – get a snack
- Every time Rin blushes – get some water
- Every time Yoshino goes evil – take a sip
- Every time Rin eat – take a sip
- if her stomach growls – take another
- Every time anyone buys food – take a sip
- Every time we see Neko’s butler – fan yourself