My Love Story!!
by Rose Bridges,
My Love Story!! continues following the everyday adventures of Takeo, Yamato and Suna. It's settling into a pattern now: every episode focuses on a different aspect of their lives, or at least a single day in them. This week, the topic is Takeo's grades.
Takeo's a master athlete (in everything except basketball: he always falls for the fakes!) He's not only good at the sports that reward bulk and power, either. Takeo goes ice-skating with Yamato's friends, and he's instantly perfect at it, pulling off graceful triple-axels. Still, even someone as superpowered as Takeo can't be good at everything. It turns out he has a weakness after all: school. Both his friends get good grades, but Takeo's below average.
Yamato doesn't think much of this, because she forgives all of her boyfriend's faults. She admits to Takeo that she wants to go to a prestigious university, and because they don't like being at different schools, he decides he'll go there too. Suna tells him it's a long shot, but Takeo being Takeo, he's still determined to study his butt off. Besides, there are good schools around her if he doesn't get into her top choice. It's like that old quote: "Shoot for the moon, because even if you don't make it, you'll land among the stars." That's Takeo's philosophy for life, and it helps that he tends to hit the moon so hard that he blows a hole through it.
This is different. It's clear that academics really is a struggle for him, even with his friends' help. Luckily, it isn't all studying drudgery this week. Takeo does nothing by halves, and nothing without hilarious diversions and expressions. Also, the show has a lot of fun letting us get to know Takeo's family better, with all the time the three leads spend in his bedroom studying. Takeo's parents find out that Yamato is his girlfriend, and suddenly they're obsessed with projecting the best parts of themselves to her. They dress better, and Takeo's mom goes all-out cleaning the house. I liked the formal introduction of Takeo's dad a lot. (He's a very manly-pretty guy who sings in his deep baritone while taking a bath.) Yet he still resembles his son, as Yamato eagerly points out. Takeo's parents are fun and hilarious in their own way, and I enjoy every moment the show spends with them.
These episodes aren't as exciting or meaningful as the ones that focused on storymilestones. I doubt My Love Story!! will match what it did with Takeo and Yamato getting together, or Suna's breakdown over his dad's surgery. Still, this is a good episodic focus for this show. It shows the everyday trials and tribulations of teenage relationships in the context of their larger lives. That sets My Love Story!! apart from a lot of shojo, where a relationship completely redefines and revolutionizes the characters' lives. Takeo doesn't ace the test at the end of the day, even with all of Suna and Yamato's help. Like he says, he doesn't really understand this stuff. The show even plays this for comedy though; it turns out Yamato's dream school is a women's college, anyway! He couldn't have made it in even if he were a genius! Still, it's implied Takeo performs better than he usually would. It was a step in the right direction, even if it wasn't everything he wanted.
In that way, it has a better message for teenagers about what to expect from romance. Getting a boyfriend or girlfriend won't change your life, but it'll put an extra skip in your step. That special someone can make you really happy and help cheer you on over a tough test or game. That's a more realistic expectation to have, and I'm glad we have an anime that portrays that while still being exciting and fun from week-to-week.
My Love Story!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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