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The Spring 2015 Anime Preview Guide

How would you rate episode 1 of
Nisekoi: (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.7

Theron Martin

Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

Review: After three seasons off (except for a trio of OVAs, which are not legally available anywhere in the West yet), the Nisekoi franchise is back on the air for another run of wackiness centered around Raku Ichijo, a young man with a pendant, a promise made to a girl 10 years ago which he still cherishes (even if he cannot remember the girl's face), and at least three girls whom he associated with that summer 10 years ago who all have keys and all could be the girl he promised to. Of the three, Marika Tachibana is the only one open and brazen about her love, while timid Kosaki Onodera quietly holds onto her affection and is utterly unable to admit her feelings. And the third, Chitoge, is the one that Raku was in a fake relationship all throughout the first series as a ploy to keep their respective families (who both have underworld ties) from warring. Despite their contentious connection, Chitoge gradually started to realize that she might actually like Raku after all, and that is where the second series (and third season overall) begins: with Chitoge waking up, accepting for the first time that she now in love for real, and feeling pretty good about herself because of it. The problem is that she doesn't know where to go or what to do next.

And neither, apparently, does the franchise. It finally got over that big hump of getting Chitoge to accept her growing feelings, but now what? Does she turn into a romantic aggressor, a diffident scaredy-cat, or something in between? Most of the episode ends up focusing on her, getting into her head and letting the audience explore her thought processes as she mulls over why she feels the way she does, how she should approach things now, and what she should do to subtly get Raku's attention more. That she keeps trying things that boys wouldn't easily pick up on – new lip gloss, new shampoo, a new hair ribbon – and then gets frustrated with Raku when he doesn't notice is apparently meant to be funny, and it can, indeed, generate a snicker or two. More often, though, it's just sad, because in her own way she's as dense and clueless as Raku is. Undoubtedly that's the point, but the fun in the franchise comes much more from characters bouncing into and off of each other rather than trying to engage in self-examination. This is a worrisome direction which could bog the new series down if used too much.

Fortunately the new opener strongly suggests that a couple of new girls are soon going to be added to the mix, and past experience with such additions in this franchise suggests that they should give the series another burst of energy. The locket mystery also will continue but with a fresh angle: it's back in Raku's possession but the lock is still broken, as something else is still stuck in it. On the downside, the artistry has taken a bit of a dive, as except for some nice background shots it is more consistently in line with the weaker visuals which sometimes popped up in the first series.

The first Nisekoi series was generally a fun and funny viewing experience. The second season, though, starts off with one of the weakest episodes to date.


This series is available streaming at Crunchyroll.com.

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