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The Fall 2023 Anime Preview Guide
Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and The Inexperienced Me

How would you rate episode 1 of
Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and The Inexperienced Me ?
Community score: 3.5

What is this?


Ryūto Kashima, a gloomy social outcast, and Runa Shirakawa, a popular girl at school are dating. Their relationship begins when Ryūto has to ask Runa out as part of losing a game, and she ends up going out with him after saying, "Well, I'm free right now, after all." They have completely different social circles and completely different hobbies, but as they hang out with each other, they begin recognizing and even accepting those differences as something to bond over.

Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and The Inexperienced Me is based on the Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and The Inexperienced Me light novel series by Makiko Nagaoka. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Fridays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

Ryuto is your typical shy high schooler. He has a pair of friends who treat him rather poorly and he just kind of goes with the flow for most things—rather than having any kind of actual passion. He has a crush on the most beautiful girl in class, Runa, and when he loses a bet, is forced to ask her out—deciding it's better to be turned down by her than have his “friends” cast him aside. Surprisingly, she agrees to date him.

The point of this episode is to spell out Runa's rather odd definition of dating. On one hand, parts of it are incredibly open-minded. She'll date almost anyone as long as she's single when asked out—after all, the point of dating is to get to know a person on a deeper level and see if you want to enter into a long-term romantic relationship with them.

On the other, she seems to have an incredibly shallow understanding of what a romantic relationship is supposed to be—especially when it comes to sex. Rather than reveling in physical pleasure or enhancing an emotional connection, sex is a duty Runa feels she must perform—something girlfriends are supposed to do in order to keep their man from straying. It's like going on dates or dressing up nice—just something you're supposed to do in a relationship.

I honestly wonder how she came to think this way about relationships. Is it from TV and film? Has someone in her family taught her this? Or did her first boyfriend convince her this is just how relationships are? It's an interesting mystery and one I am invested in untangling.

Regardless of how her beliefs came to be, all of her previous boyfriends have been happy to reinforce them. They've only been interested in the superficial—i.e., her body—and once they get that, they've either had no interest in the person beneath or didn't like that person when they got to know her.

The thing about Ryuto is that, while he may be your typical horny teen, he knows what he truly wants. To him, a relationship is far more than just sex. He has a chance to be with the girl of his dreams and is determined to go for the gold—and not settle for a shallow, temporary thing. He may be inexperienced but he knows building an emotional connection is at least as important, if not more so, than a physical one in a long-lasting relationship. It presents a good moral about self-worth and gives some hope that, perhaps together, the two of them will be able to build a healthy relationship—despite his inexperience and her own flawed views.

James Beckett

I must admit when I saw that this cute little romance anime was titled Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and the Inexperienced Me, I didn't expect the show to be about that kind of experience. The industry, in general, has gotten a lot better about the topic of sex, romance, and more-or-less believable depictions of young love and the pangs of puberty, but this is still anime we're talking about, you know? Nine times out of ten, it takes a whole season to get a couple of goofy kids to hold hands and maybe smooch once, or else an incredibly wacky or supernatural contrivance speeds them into instant (but still very chaste) marriage. Not only does our protagonist Ryuto manage to cruise past the "Confess to a Cute Girl," "Walk a Girl Home," and "Spend Some Alone Time with Said Girl in Her Bedroom" stages of the usual high school romance routine, he finds himself being beckoned into Runa Shirakawa's bed within maybe an hour or two of her learning his name! He might consider himself nothing more than your average, dweeby Protagonist-kun, but Ryota's got game.

Or maybe he doesn't. That doesn't impact things much, though, because it turns out that Runa has been conditioned by her previous flighty "boyfriends" to expect that all boys want to round the bases to home plate right away and that her failure to meet those expectations will inevitably lead them to leave her and seek out new partners to sleep with. Ryota may be stoked to have the opportunity to cast away his V-card for good, but he also doesn't want to take advantage of Runa's casual approach to sex and relationships. Here's where Our Dating Story gets really interesting. The show manages to have all of these conversations about the pressure for women to conform to men's expectations of access to their bodies, not to mention the difference between resignation to sex and enthusiastic consent, and all without ever shaming Runa or using her "experience" as a source of discomfort or cheap drama on Ryota's part. Imagine that!

Sure, Runa seems maybe a little ditzy, but I don't think the show ever conflates her bubbly personality with an infantilizing, naïve approach to relationships (which would make the whole premise a bit gross). She's just never had the opportunity to date a guy who was interested in her beyond a simple fling. For his part, Ryota cares enough about being a good boyfriend to put off a one-night stand so he might have a chance at being Runa's partner. Seriously, I cannot recall the last time we had an anime (or any show, for that matter) where the main protagonist flat-out says, "I really like you, and I want to be intimate with you, but only if it is something that you genuinely want to do, instead of an obligation, since that's the kind of thing that I know other people have taken advantage of"? Is anyone surprised when Runa responds, "You know, I actually do like you enough to date you!"

This isn't the funniest premiere of the season, and time will tell if this strong first outing will lead to a long-term romance story worth investing in, but I'm proud enough of Ryota and Runa to stick with them for a while longer.

Nicholas Dupree

I waffled back and forth on this one for a while. As a longtime rom-com fan, I like many ideas here, especially the major angle and sentiment this episode ends on for our central couple. On the other hand, I can't help but have misgivings from some of the execution, and I came out of the episode imagining all the ways this potentially interesting premise could shoot itself in the foot.

On the one hand, I like the dynamic that's set up between Ryuto and Runa. Ryuto is your classic timid nerd crushing on a fashionable, outgoing classmate, and his head is filled with all the anxieties that come with being a horny teenager with only the vaguest theoretical idea of what a relationship is. Runa, by contrast, has an incredibly casual and easy-going perspective on dating, happy to test the waters with Ryuto and see where things go after he confesses to her. It's a cool way to diffuse a lot of the pressure and mythos that high school romances build around the idea of dating. It turns out you can, in fact, date somebody because they seem nice and get to know each other while you're together, and that's a perfectly valid way to go about it – arguably, it's healthier than the usual rom-com strategy of building up anxiety about it for seasons on end until you finally have a dramatic confession. It's a refreshing perspective for the genre and a cool angle to take for our central relationship.

On the other hand, Ryuto is annoying for large portions of this episode. It feels like he stutters every third sentence of this premiere, and being stuck inside his head can be tiresome. I understand that getting him out of that head space, where he can see Runa as another person rather than an untouchable icon or an object of lust, is probably the show's point. Knowing that doesn't make it any less eye-rolling when he flinches and screams at her every word inside his head. Also, c'mon, man, even an "inexperienced" guy knows not to go rifling through another person's dresser drawers. Get it together, dude. Thankfully, he does show some wherewithal in the end. He recognizes that jumping into bed with Runa because she thinks it's an obligation to keep him around is a bad idea and standing firm (heh) against his boner. I'm less enthused by his assertion that he's "not like those other guys" and a bit worried that this will become a different, more self-congratulatory kind of romantic fantasy. That would suck and probably make this show more obnoxious than a regular blushy crushy romcom.

Hopefully, that's not the case because it could be really interesting to see all the overwrought assumptions and baseless fantasies of teenage love get tempered and watch these two develop a personal relationship free of all that. Heck, it's already rare to see a high school anime talk this frankly about sex without dipping into salacious fanservice. If the show can tackle the topic maturely, I'd count that as a win. I'm not wholly confident that it will, but at the very least, I'm glad there's a possibility.

Rebecca Silverman

A scene here is almost an exact copy of a similar one from the 1995 anime Neighborhood Story, based on Ai Yazawa's manga of the same name. In it, male protagonist Tsutomu starts dating Mariko, the hot girl at school (nicknamed "Nice Body-ko"), and she assumes that they'll immediately begin having sex. She makes this assumption because that's what all the other guys she's dated want from her. While I don't remember if it's for the same reason Runa assumes she and Ryuto will be sleeping together immediately; it's still a striking similarity, not the least because of the amount of time between Yazawa's series and this one, which is based on light novels that began publication in 2020. That's a long time for girls to have been getting the same terrible, devaluing message, and while we're meant to applaud Ryuto for not giving in to his lust, I find it more depressing than anything. Even if we discount the fact that this is the good boy saving the "bad" girl from herself (a stale trope if ever there was one), poor Runa should never have been put in this position in the first place. It also juxtaposes well with the locker, er, classroom conversation at the start of the episode, where a group of boys joke about Runa's perceived promiscuity and offer to be her next dick.

Maybe it's because I was teaching The Yellow Wallpaper today, but I found a near-total lack of charm here. Ryuto isn't that much better than the other guys, and he spends much of the second half of the episode berating himself for not seizing Runa's body when it was offered to him. He does do the right thing, but it doesn't seem to come from a genuine desire to be better, just a sense that maybe he should think things through more and a begrudging realization that no one has ever respected Runa. He does understand that Runa's dating history is horrible, but I'm not entirely comfortable with how the story sets him up as better just because he lacks confidence. Yes, he does say that Runa ought to worry more about what she wants, but that's still leaving the bar on the floor instead of burying it underground.

I do like that this is set up to treat Runa with more respect than she's been given. The scene where she whips a pretty camisole out of an open drawer because she thinks it's cute is a great way to show that she's more than just sex on two legs, and I like that it never occurs to her to be embarrassed about showing a piece of perfectly normal clothing to a boy. I really, really want her to learn that she matters, even in a relationship, but I'd like for her to learn that herself, not because of one nice guy.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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