• Titles: Lovely★Complex, Love Com
  • Genre: Romance, school, comedy slice of life
  • Episodes: 24
  • Studio: Toei Animation

Risa is a very tall high school girl. And tall girls always want you to think that it’s a bad thing. That tall’s not cute or something. Cause guys don,t want to date tall girls. Well, let me tell you something. From my five feet of height, I happen to notice that all models and generally considered beautiful women happen to be very tall. Also, if I put on like a single pound, you can literally see it on my tiny excuse for a frame. But if I actually had some elegant real estate to distribute that one pound over, all evenly and gracefully, that wouldn’t be a problem now would it? This is probably my best anime summary yet! Lovely Complex is not about how short I am. although it is a bit about how short Otani is, who is, of course, taller than me. The thing is even though Risa is such a tall girl and Otani is kind of a short boy, they are perfect for each other. Now if only they could figure that out!

I’ve been watching a lot of romance anime lately. No wait, that’s not quite accurate, I’ve been sort of enjoying a lot of romance anime lately. I know!!! Who am I? Horimiya just ended and that’s pretty much a classic school-age romance series, and I already miss it. You think you know yourself and then all of a sudden, you like romances. Moreover, I had been wanting to watch Lovely Complex for a while. I like the gimmick of the show and the fact that it’s first and foremost a comedy was attractive to me. Will I suddenly turn this blog into a romance-centric anime blog and stop whining about being short?

o…k…

Production

The line between classic anime and modern anime is getting blurry. Lovely Complex came out in 2007. That’s the same year as Naruto: Shippuden, Gurren Laggen and 5 centimetres per second. But it looks older than any of those anime. Not bad by any means. In fact, I really liked the characters’ designs and generally enjoyed the visuals. But it did look like it came out a decade earlier. Let me try to explain it.

Obviously, the most important element in giving off that nostalgia vibe is the aspect ratio. In fact, slap that pillbox on any airing anime and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. At least I do. The second big issue for me was the colours. They just looked faded. I liked the palette, in fact, I think the restrained warm colour scheme brought a lot to the visuals but the quality of the colours themselves was a letdown. And finally, some of the animation techniques were a bit old school. Lovely Complex uses a lot of art fails or super-deformed facial expressions and switches up geometric backgrounds.

This said I don’t want to give the impression that the show looks bad. It doesn’t. Like I said I quite liked the character designs and the backgrounds are varied and filled with extras. There are a lot of interesting details. The characters wear different clothes every time when not in school and all the outfits are layered and make sense. Risa, the main character, changes her hairstyle frequently like most real girls do, and all of the styles have obviously been carefully planned. They work with her hair length and seem like things a normal girl would be able to do.

ok some of the colours are great

And the animation is fantastic. The art is very consistent, above average and the movements are fluid. The vice acting is great.

When you take the time to take in the small touches, Lovely Complex is very visually impressive…but it just doesn’t always look that way. You have to see it for yourself to understand. What I’m saying is that it’s a very good production, it just looks dated to me.

not in a bad way…

Story & Characters

Let me just say, Lovely Complex is a romance anime. It’s really the only theme throughout the series. So if you like your sows to have a romantic element and lots of other stuff going on, like a murder mystery in Edo Japan or something, then this is not the show for you. It’s also a shoujo as in Risa is the main character and we see this particular story from her perspective. This matters a lot and I’ll get to it in a bit.

I was pretty charmed by the beginning of Lovely Complex. I would say that up to episode 7 or so, I thought it was amazing! I could wait to watch more and I was so excited by that revelation. Maybe I did love romance. Maybe there is an entire library of romance anime just waiting for me now.

The series starts with the classic setup of Risa and Otani constantly arguing but we the audience clearly see how similar they are and deep down they care for each other. And they do. They are good friends. It’s a light will they won’t they sort of affair and everyone involved is a sweetheart. And then, maybe around episode 4 or 5, Risa realizes her feelings and she starts pining over Otani. And then the will they won’t they intensifies to the point that it’s really the only thing going on.

I really like short guys but then again, everyone is tall to me

And that lasts until episode 20…. Guys! They get to date for like 4 episodes and they break up in that span….

Yeah, that sort of lost me. I just don’t have those sensibilities. But that really a question of personal preference. Some people might really like those types of stories.

What I think is a bit more objective is that despite what I wrote, Risa and Otani make for a horrible couple. They argue all the time. They don’t seem to care about each other’s feelings or opinions at all. They are purposefully hurtful to each other for no reason. And what’s more, Otani was basically bullied into the relationship. He clearly stated he had no romantic feelings and then not only Risa but all their friends as well made him feel bad about it, for years. There is a character that has a huge crush on Risa and she turns him down without being hounded about it forever. I don’t know, it didn’t seem fair to me.

no one said anything…

And because I felt that way, I couldn’t really get into their relationship. I quite like both Risa and Otani as characters but I really thought they would be better off not together so it’s not like I was sad when the series was hinting they might not end up together. And since that’s a huge part of the series,, if you don’t feel the emotional engagement it becomes a bit tedious to watch.

There is a lot of things to like abut Lovely Complex. The characters were almost all great. The setting and base premise is fun. It’s just that I’m not a fan of romance.

You might like this anime if:

Lovely Complex is a classic romance series – if you like those there is probably something you will like in this!

My favourite character:

Nobuko who is absolutely great and also taller than me.

Suggested drink:

Simply Love

  • Every time Koizumi and Otani talk in sync – take a sip
  • Every time anyone says Kotani or Oizumi – take a sip
  • Every time Koizumi gets starry eyes – be worried
  • Every time they mention Sea Monk – nod
  • Every time they go into their comedy act – take a sip
  • Every time Otani plays basketball – cheer
  • Every time Nobu gets mad – take a sip
  • Every time Kouizymi tears up – take a sip
    • if she actually cries – switch to water
  • Every time Nobu says “darling” – cheers
  • Every time anyone goes full blush – fan yourself
  • Every time Risa and Otani walk home together – take a sip
  • Every time Risa has a new hairstyle – take a sip
  • Every time Otani gets freaked out – also get freaked out
  • Every time there’s a flashback – take a sip
  • Every time Koizumi “gives up” – take a sip
  • Every time anyone goes robot – take a sip
  • Every time Koizumi says heartgasm – d’awww

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

6 thoughts

  1. One of my favorites! And it had some good comedic moments, like when they were celebrating New Year’s, or when she was playing that dating game (and her family’s reaction lol).

  2. It seems like the “gimmick” in this series riffs off a well-established philosophical principle, one best articulated by Schopenhauer, who argued that what we experience as “love” is simply a trick generated by our will to propagate the species, and to do so in a manner that makes up for what we imagine to be our various deficiencies and insufficiencies as individuals. Thus, a very tall person will pair with a very short person in the hopes of producing “normal sized” offspring who compensate for their respective feelings of insecurity relating to their height/shortness. I don’t know if there is any empirical scientific evidence to validate this philosophical concept, but by way of anecdotal “evidence” it is something I have observed in others, ie: very tall person with very short person, etc…

    *Has a sudden vision* I see a tall stranger in your future, Irina…. 😛

    1. Opposites attract! You know, I did once date a very tall person. My neck hurt the entire time.

  3. You know, I remember very little about the show and what I do remember I remember very vaguely. I do think I liked the beginning the best, too, and it’s probably no surprise that I prefered them as friends, too. I liked the two main characters, but I don’t remember a single other character; not even when I see the pictures.

    I think I liked the show the least when Otani got sulkily jealous (something about Arisa going to concert instead… of what?), but I’m not even sure that happened, or if I’m contracting things into a bundle. (Jealousy is probably my second least-favourite romance ingredient [after unquestioned abuse that’s supposed to be romantic], and the passive-aggressive sulky kind is my least favourite type [it made me drop Bokura ga Ita].)

    It’s rare that I forget a show this completely; if I watched it again, some of it would probably be familiar, but a lot of it would likely be like watching it all over again. And this surprises me, since I actually remember it fondly. Not sure what’s going on. Maybe I watch too much anime, so that the older ones I don’t revisit either in a re-watch or reminders get pushed out by the new material? It’s not the show’s fault, though, I’m pretty sure.

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