- Alt. Name
- Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
- No. of Episodes
- Winter 2018
- Shin-Ei Animation
Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san (Teasing Master Takagi-san) is a 2018 Romantic Comedy, Slice of life anime series that takes its viewers back to their adolescence. While this series doesn’t have any action-packed scenes or any cliffhangers, but what it does have is something that doesn’t happen in any series no matter what country the viewer is in. Nevertheless just because a piece of entertainment has something that is unusual doesn’t make it good, perhaps there’s a reason why it’s not used more often. Throughout this review, I believe that it is important to note that this series has more than one season, and since each season came out separately means we need to judge each separately.
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When I first heard about this series coming out I was somewhat intrigued by the tagline “Having a friend that knows you inside out should be a good thing, but in Nishikata’s case, the opposite is true.” Simple, yet doesn’t give the premise away. While the story isn’t anything out of the ordinary, what happens inside the story is the heart of the series. His classmate Takagi loves to tease him on a daily basis, and she uses her extensive knowledge of his behavior to predict exactly how he will react to her teasing, making it nearly impossible for Nishikata to ever make a successful comeback. Despite the constant defeat, Nishikata promises to give Takagi a taste of her own medicine.
Since this series doesn’t have any overarching arc, meaning no good versus evil or what have you. Gives this series a great amount of room to work with, which doesn’t disappoint, like in the very first episode the viewer finds out that both main characters are interested in each other. Considering that it is the biggest downfall of any slice of life series revolving around romance, this series, on the other hand, makes the topic a little more interesting. Throughout any series, there are 4 categories’ that a series must follow; Art style, Animation, Story, Characters and lastly the entertainment value.
The story itself is pretty bland, but that’s mainly because it’s set in a middle schooler “slice of life” and doesn’t fall into a plotline. This usually is a negative aspect of any series, but for this series, it’s actually a plus. Since we already know that both characters have feelings for one another there isn’t any wasted time on “do they or don’t they” which was a huge pitfall that this series successfully missed. While it is important that the viewer does know they both like each other, the series never really confirms their relationship. Which is great because it adds tension and realistic problems of that age group.
The few negatives I have on the story is that since it has no season arc, at some points the story does get boring and repetitive. Now keeping that in mind show did however giving the audience the ability to know that Nishikata and Takagi both like each other in the first episode made this problem happen. Having said that, this negative part of the episode is sprinkled in throughout the season, which is great considering that some series in this category have either way too many fillers or make the viewer question if they even like them.
The art style in this series is quite interesting its realistic, but not too realistic – characters’ foreheads for example – which through me off upon first viewing. The viewer will automatically notice that there are a lot of vibrant colors and gives the viewer the assumption that it’s a “happy” series. The problem with this art style is that it makes it unrealistically happy upon the first assumption, but in this instance, it fits with the premise of the series. It’s beautiful, but with the few flaws in the style like foreheads, overly vibrant colors, and facial features of some of the characters shows that it’s perfectly set in the story.
While I will admit that this art style, although I am a fan of, I can’t lie and say these negatives aren’t apparent. They are basing it off of the manga, and upon viewing a few pages they look exactly the same. So outside of the uncanny aspects of some of the character’s designs, I will give it props for not using common tricks like Moe characters (the quality in a fictional female character of being youthfully innocent and vulnerable in an idealized way) or fan service to keep viewers interested. Which makes this series a little more enjoyable due to it not having any cheap shots, which could make a potentially perfect series fail.
The animation quality of this series is outstanding, especially when it’s mixed with the art style. It’s clean and considering that this series has a slow and peaceful tone to it makes it look even better. While the part that deserves the most love of this series is the amazing attention to detail, the blushing when someone says something, and they aren’t even in the focal point of the shot. However, what really is outstanding from this is that the attention was so spot on even the pupils of characters dilate when they talk to their love interest. That is something that is rarely done in a series especially something that unnoticeability.
Everything about the attention to detail shows that the creators and artists knew how to create characters who are actually relatable. Having said that it is important to note that although the attention to detail is wonderful, it doesn’t, however, make the viewer forget that already knows that Takagi and Nishikata already like each other and if the series didn’t share that detail would’ve made that detail even better. Although the attention to detail has been done in anime films, with series it feels better probably due to the artists having less time to focus when they have deadlines to meet.
One of the aspects of Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san that the series did surprisingly well, is that the two main characters don’t show all their cards right away. Nishikata, a classmate of Takagi, who loves to tease him. Although he dislikes Takagi teasing him, he also has a crush on her but is blind to the fact its reciprocated. Nishikata also overthinks a lot, which makes it more entertaining to watch as the show goes on. Although he is unsure of her feelings towards him, there are many instances where he has a vague idea.
Takagi on the other hand just is the type of character that knows how to handle emotions. You can tell she’s happy but doesn’t overtly express it outside of blushing. Although her sublime characteristics such as big doe-like eyes and affectionate smile could easily melt the darkest heart. Throughout the series, her maturity cracks a little, but that’s what makes her character so precious. She acts – and probably is – more mature than her counterpart, but at the end of the day, they’re still children who are probably experiencing their first love.
The secondary characters in this series are pretty sparse, given there’s only three. First is Mina Hibino, a student who is in Nishikata and Takagi’s class, her biggest character trait is that she is the shortest of her friend group but sometimes acts more mature – and usually fails – than she really is. Next, Sanae Tsukimoto who is Mina’s stoic best friend. Her blank stare and expressionless face towards her friends make her personality work within the group. Lastly, Yukari Amakawa is the class president and is friends with both Sane and Mina. Throughout the series her semblance of maturity as the class president, she is still a great friend due to her letting others copy off her, so no one fails.
Overall this series was not what I expected when I first watched it, but as it went on it grew on me. Albeit each episode is slow at times, one must assume that risk with any slice of life series. This is a great series that not only has a great simple premise, but also one that doesn’t take a lot of effort to follow. This would be a great anime to show to someone who’s trying to get into anime, but unsure where to start other than the names they’ve heard of (Dragon Ball, etc.) Outside of that, I’d consider this anime to be wonderful, but not perfect. The slow pacing at times made this series flaws start seeping through, although it was still vastly entertaining.
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.