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A Condition Called Love
Episodes 1-2

by MrAJCosplay,

How would you rate episode 1 of
A Condition Called Love ?
Community score: 3.7

How would you rate episode 2 of
A Condition Called Love ?
Community score: 3.8


Man, going from the finale of The Dangers in My Heart to the beginning of A Condition Called Love doesn't seem fair. I know this series is based on a fairly popular manga, and I was looking forward to jumping right into what I imagine will be one of the more talked about romances of the season. That said, I have a lot of concerns because it genuinely felt like I was watching a premiere that could not settle in on the kind of tone or expectations it was trying to create for its audience. I don't think that's the anime production's fault because while this isn't the best-looking romance series I've seen (I could do without everything looking super white and washed out), and the music has its occasional bits of catch tracks, my problems stem specifically in the character writing of our male lead.

At best, Hananoi comes off as incredibly codependent and unable to recognize someone setting a clear set of boundaries. At worst, this guy has all the charisma of a potential serial killer. I know my colleagues brought it up during the preview guide but I have to echo a lot of their concerns. This guy's foundation of love is overly simplistic to a fault. He seems to brush off people telling him no; he makes a lot of presumptions and is willing to put himself in harm's way, all for really simple romantic gestures. I might be jumping the gun here, but episode two shows that he has a perilous sense of possessiveness. The tricky thing is, though, I can't tell if the show is trying to communicate if these are problematic elements or if these are all just character quirks that I should find admirable. I understand our lead, Hotaru, is a bit socially inexperienced regarding the more emotionally complicated aspects of adolescent love. Still, it's a little concerning that she doesn't see his actions as concerning, especially when he does nothing to hide them.

It's cute that she gives him a chance, and he's willing to explore what it's like to date somebody since she looks pretty detached from the concept of love. Still, I don't know why she isn't raising an eyebrow when he is so blatantly discrediting direct choices and admissions that she is making. He doesn't force himself on her (I doubt episode 3 will go that far), but he also clarifies that he's not taking no for an answer. It's a shame because I like Hotaru as a character.

Admittedly, I am very tired of this trope in romance stories where someone doesn't understand love, and the solution seems to be that they just haven't met the right person yet. I'd much rather watch an interesting romance that delved into the romantic complexities of somebody who maybe genuinely can't experience romantic love, but whatever, the foundation is fine. The point is that everyone has different levels of expressing strong emotions for others, and it's interesting to see how those perspectives clash in a relationship. Sometimes there will be compromise, while other times, people might realize that their ideas of love just aren't meshing well.

I liked some moments in these two episodes, such as when they went to the corner store in episode two to write down what they wanted to try as a couple. I thought it was cute that he only wrote down that he wanted to hold hands with her. But then that was immediately followed up with a rather creepy moment of him lamenting that he wants so much more.

I think the idea is that the writing is supposed to be tragic from his perspective because he's emotionally invested in somebody who might not ever return those feelings. That could be very interesting, but when it's coming from an emotionally and socially off person like this, we're just one step away from turning into a horror story. I can't take the sweet moments in these two episodes seriously because they're almost immediately preceded by something that makes the context for those scenes incredibly uncomfortable. I felt the same way about the bit where Hotaru was trying to show up at a meeting place earlier than Hananoi, only to discover that this guy legitimately waited over two hours ahead of schedule for her to show up. He gets emotional because he says no one's ever waited for him before, but it's partially his fault that nobody does that because he gets there so early, making himself sick in the cold.

This show makes it very difficult for me to understand its intentions. Is this a story about an average, overly analytical girl discovering emotions that she never had before? Or is it about dealing with an emotionally and socially dangerous high school boy who has apparent issues? If it's the latter, will I feel for this guy on any emotional level? If it's the former, are we just going to ignore all the problematic stuff that this guy does to force her to confront an emotion that she seemed fine with not fully grasping? I don't know because I don't know where this series wants to go. Usually, that would be exciting, but the fact that I can see just as many problematic avenues that this series can take compared to the positive and interesting ones doesn't instill a lot of anticipation in my soul. I'm just scared.


A Condition Called Love is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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