- Alt. Name
- Nisekoi: False Love
- Release Date
- Winter 2014
- No. of Episodes
Nisekoi is a 2014 Harem Romantic-Comedy anime series from one of the most beloved and just as equally hated Japanese animation studios, Shaft. While some anime fans who see any series have “Harem” and “Romantic Comedy” within a series, they immediately head for the door, though not every harem anime series is terrible, and some are truly worth watching. However, when a manga series ranked within the top ten for weeks finally gets an anime adaption, lots of concerns are put into the minds of individual fans. For instance, will it be faithful to the source material, or who’ll be the studio behind this series? Whatever the questions may be, there is one particular thing that always comes to mind, and that no series is safe from potentially getting a terrible adaptation.
Raku Ichijou, a first-year student at Bonyari High School, is the sole heir to an intimidating yakuza family. Ten years ago, Raku made a promise to his childhood friend. Now, all he has to remember the promise he made with the mysterious girl is a pendant with a lock, he has the locket, and she has the key. Hoping to one day be reunited and to finally show each other they’ve kept the promise they made between them.
Now, years later, Raku has grown into a typical high school teenager. All he wants is to remain as uninvolved in his yakuza background as possible while spending his school days alongside his friends and middle school crush Kosaki Onodera. However, when the American Bee Hive Gang invades his family’s turf. Raku’s idyllic romantic dreams are instantly halted: Raku pretends that he is in a romantic relationship with Chitoge Kriisaki, the beautiful half-Japanese half-American daughter of the Bee Hive’s chief, to reduce the friction between the two groups. Unfortunately, the reality could not be farther than from this enormous lie – Raku and Chitoge are the classic anecdote of hate at first sight. Can these two pretend to be in a relationship and fool everyone with each clan?
While on paper, this story seems entirely unoriginal, and it’s not, but that’s one of its positives within itself. It takes the whole overdone Romeo and Juliet type story and tweaks it just enough to make it different for the viewer. Though the biggest positive within this series’ storyline is that it perfectly melds each of the three genre elements together without overdoing it in one and underdoing it in the others. The harem is rightfully done with the realistic amount of awkward moments, as life would have in store for anyone.
Another positive within this narrative is the pacing; it’s entertaining and decently paced. Though not the best, as there were some chunks within this series that felt it skipped something. The story is not the most epic as one would hope for, and that’s possibly its most significant positive and biggest negative within itself. When an anime series has both of the main characters coming from clans of gangsters and mobsters, one would think it’ll be more action-packed. However, with this focusing more on the two wanting an everyday life, those elements take a backseat and only rarely show up for either comedy or to make the situation worse.
There are bound to be a few negatives within a series with an unoriginal narrative, and Nisekoi is no different. As mentioned before, if one is looking for a high amount of action due to the gangs and mobsters, then the viewer will surely be disappointed. This narrative is not an epic tale, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good anime. Many people get those two confused. While some can easily describe this story as having no real plot and possibly even frivolous storytelling, this series gives the impression that it’s less about expectations and more about friends and being there for one another. Though the most prominent negative within this series storyline is that some episodes are highly predictable, that’s more towards a genre trope than a story element.
The art style is quite frankly one of the better elements of this series as a whole. Its easily recognizable characters to its extraordinarily polished and colorful backgrounds will quickly bring anyone into this series. With its warm and pleasant atmosphere, this artistic style is one that’ll please anyone, no matter how old they are. On that same note, it’s very consistent throughout the entire twenty episodes and doesn’t slack on itself when the drama begins to happen; simply gorgeous.
The production within this series is simply outstanding. Not only do viewers get twenty episodes of fantastic art, but they also get multiple opening themes and eight different ending themes, each being aesthetically pleasing. Throughout this series’s various viewings, there were no apparent cut corners, which is remarkable given that most series cut some corners given their remarkably tight schedule. Interestingly, these characters’ voice actors seemed to match exceptionally well with one another, which was surprisingly unexpected. However, if one is looking for movie caliber production for a nonaction based series, this is as close as possible.
While one may assume that since the story is quite generic, then the characters must be just as generic. Though that would be a fair assumption, it’s not entirely accurate. The two main characters are a bit generic, but they genuinely shine once the series gets going. Raku Ichijo, a high school student, aspires to have a conventional career as a civil servant upon graduation. When he is placed into his fake relationship with Chitoge Kirisaki, he hides his feelings for the girl he’s been longing for since middle school. His best character trait is that he’s a decent guy in that age where he’s a little selfish, but deep down, he does the right thing.
Chitoge Kirisaki is the half Japanese and Half American transfer student from the United States. She is immediately annoyed by Raku, who calls her a gorilla. She is the exact definition of a checklist type of generic Tsundere characters, with violent tendencies in spades. While she is somewhat shy at first, she does try hard to make friends and is scared to tell her friends what her family does for a living. With her fake boyfriend’s help, she learns that there are aspects of our family and friends that we don’t always want but wouldn’t give up on for anything.
Within the harem genre, there will be multiple female partners, and this series follows suit. Though what makes this series different is that these characters are best described as clear losing females. Kosaki Onodera is a kind and sweet classmate of Raku and Chitoge. Although Raku likes her, she does not reveal that she also admires him – though it’s painfully apparent and leads to a few comedic elements. She is the shyest of the cast but is the hardest working of the bunch. She is best described as quiet but powerful.
Seishiro Tsugumi is another transfer student, but unlike the others within this series, Claude raised her to spy on Raku and Chitoge’s relationship. She has a long history with Chitoge as they were childhood friends and even shared baths. She does exceptionally well academically; having ranked just as high as Chitoge, she is equally ignorant about common sense in love. She is best described as the series trap.
The last of the harem is Marika Tachibana, whose introduced to the series as Raku’s fiancé. While not much is known about her compared to the other three, she still has a decent character background. However, the series’s biggest flaw regarding this character is that she is introduced way too late within the series. She’s best described as having a terrible poker face when dealing with Raku’s feelings toward her.
While there are a dozen more characters within this series, these are the main characters that the viewers will invest the most time towards. Of course theirs the best friends who are usually the instigators of drama and rom-com elements, but they’re pretty standard overall. This series does focus a bit more on character development than most, which was unexpected, given how generic the narrative was, which was a huge plus.
When it comes to the entertainment value of Nisekoi, one could go two ways with this series: loving it for everything other than the story or hating it because of the narrative. There is absolutely no middle ground within this. With the Romeo and Juliet type family dynamic set in a modern-day anime, one could easily relate it to the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet. However, this series was better than what one would expect. Even with its massive deprivation towards the story, it will still be entertaining to most. This series has four out of the five elements that make a series entertaining, and if it had a better story, perhaps it’d be an instant classic.
Overall, if one is into watching harem anime series or even romantic comedy series, this is a pretty safe choice for enjoyment. After multiple viewings, the viewer won’t get bored or disinterested in the series, let alone the fantastic visuals. Beneath the surface, this series seemed to get bogged down by the harem and rom-com tropes from people’s perceptions of what this series was genuinely revealing to its audience. Still, this series is pretty solid in all categories. It, unfortunately, lacked in the plot. Adding this to one’s “to be watched” list would be a pleasant time, and most will easily enjoy the characters and the shenanigans that come along with them.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.