Region: 2 - UK
Volume: 2 of 2
Length: 250 minutes
English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
From The Director of Puella Magi Madoka Magica comes The Breakout Anime of 2014! The vibrant anime series is back and the stakes have been raised - With a gang war set to erupt at any moment, will Raku and Chitoge last the school term?
Raku's life is getting more complicated by the day. Not only does he have Kosaki Onodera as his object of affection, his fake girlfriend Chitoge Kirisaki is starting to have doubts about whether she's still faking being in love or if she actually loves Raku. On top of that, Raku gets Marika Tachibana, the daughter of the local police commissioner, who was promised Raku's hand in marriage by his father when they were five (not this promise stuff again!). So will the path of true love run smooth? Not by a long shot, from the strength of these episodes.
The comedy in the first half of the show is sustained by the introduction of Marika Tachibana, a girl who on first glance looks like a refined, elegant young girl but behind which lies a raucous, quick to anger person who is in some ways more funny and appealing than her "persona". She's from Kyushu so her dialect is a lot of "ain't" and "darn it" as she uses this whenever she becomes too flustered. Marika's introduction shifts the need for Chitoge and laterally Ruri of being the comedic players in the show and this then sets up the more dramatic points that happen for Chitoge and Kosaki. Marika does everything to get Raku to notice her but it doesn't work out the way she wants. She wants him to be in love with her (the idealised version of Marika that is) but he learns to like and respect the version underneath (the one he remembers her being before she changed). It's curious to watch Marika respect Raku's decision based not on a respect for his wishes but the fact he communicates this through surviving all her feints and parries. She finds out what kind of boy he is from his responses and though he gets flustered by her, he stays true to Onodera in his heart even if events will soon overwhelm him in that department.
If the show runs further into its third season along the same line, it might be the first anime I've watched where the male protagonist found out he didn't need to be in love with someone to fall for them. Raku wants to be in love with Kosaki and she is slowly coming around to the idea that she should try to let him know how she feels. As we see them drift toward the other, Raku and Kosaki look like they might end up with each other and they are compatible with one another. They know the other's temperament, they know they're attracted to each other.
But as I said the path to love doesn't run smooth. Without realising it, Raku mistakes a statement by Chitoge to be another throwaway comment about their fake relationship and gives her the same back. This triggers a meltdown by Chitoge and later Raku that threatens to destroy not only their embryonic relationship but drag their friends into the argument. There is one spectacular scene where the two kids angry with their feelings and the other gouge the living daylights out of each other with hurtful comments and body language. I found that scene to be arresting because not so much that it doesn't come out of nowhere. We saw it coming from the episode before as Chitoge really struggles with her feelings after Raku's innocent comment. I found it arresting because it looked so real, full of passion and drama. The total opposite of arguments in anime, you could say. This goes to an idea I've had that Raku and Chitoge are the best couple in the series since both of them think deeper than most. That's not to say Kosaki or Marika don't, it's just that Raku has been under her skin since episode one and Chitoge is so close in having to live in his life that when they hurt, it's goes down to the bone. Fascinating to watch young love faking itself but suffering from the negative results anyway.
The rest of the cast get a great run in the last half of the show with Raku's nemesis Claude (chief bodyguard to Chitoge) getting to be the "final boss" at the end of the show against Raku and Onodera coming to terms with the fact that she might lose Raku to another but he won't ever leave her side as one who cares deeply for her. Ruri and Shu get pushed into the background but that's mostly because Marika and Chitoge take up the slack and leave no further room to exposition. All in all, I thought that the second half of Nisekoi built on the foundations of the first and strengthened my respect for the character development and my delight as comedy and drama met but didn't have to blend if it didn't' need to.
I liked the release by Káze but again, for the price you pay, there's nothing except the show to fall back on. I strongly urge Káze (and by default their parent company) to find streaming outlets like Netflix or Crunchyroll outside of US as currently there's no legal way for me to watch the series online in Ireland (Animax are still dragging their tails to bring the service to Ireland and Aniplex won't allow it on CR in the UK/ROI).
Nisekoi is not your typical high school romance comedy. It has funny moments and hilarious characters but its bedrock runs deeper the more the leads become entangled together. If the second season sustains the same level, it could be worth your time to get the set on DVD and enjoy a really good show.