My Love Story!!
by Rose Bridges,
My Love Story!! tries for many different tones. It's a goofy, quick-witted comedy, but also a sweet-as-pie romance. Rarely does it get as serious as this week, though. "My Friend" starts out as a lighthearted, slow story about Takeo planning out Yamato's birthday. It's yet another thing she's embarrassed to admit to him. The date's coming up soon, and she doesn't want him to fret! Of course, Takeo being Takeo, he does anyway.
Then, around the two-thirds mark, it suddenly turns into dramatic territory. The story focuses on what we expected from the title: Takeo and Suna's friendship. Suna's father is in the hospital with a heart problem, and that's why Suna can't make Takeo and Yamato's birthday celebration. His surgery is scheduled for the same day. It also explains why Suna has been so glum all episode. While viewers could probably tell that it had nothing to do with him being lonely (he's with Takeo and Yamato all the time, and leaves when they get too gushy), I didn't expect the story to go there. I almost wondered if Suna had a girlfriend of his own.
Anime comedies have mixed success with dramatic shifts. Some of the zaniest ones can make them work, while much more conventional comedies stumble. I'm not sure how I would classify My Love Story!!'s attempt. The revelation itself is nothing new in this genre, and we don't know enough about Suna's dad to really feel the tension here. We do care about how this affects Suna, and that's why I think it ultimately works. It brings a new dimension to Suna and Takeo's friendship.
So far, Takeo and Suna have the ideal friendship. They're always willing to put their lives on hold for each other. Takeo even proposes dropping his date to go to the surgery with Suna. He says "Yamato would understand" (and he's probably right). Suna brushes him off, insisting he's prepared himself as well as he can and Takeo being there won't make him feel any better. Suna doesn't want his friend to sabotage his relationship for him. It shows how much Suna means to Takeo that he'd even consider doing that, with how much he dotes on Yamato. He even insisted on making her birthday a huge to-do when she didn't really want that. This episode also reveals that Suna can be excessively self-sacrificing. He's known about his dad for years, but hadn't told his oldest and best friend anything. He makes himself lonely in order to keep Takeo happy. Is that the mark of a perfect friend or someone with a few of his own issues?
Yamato and Suna actually have this in common, hiding info to protect Takeo's feelings. They both know Takeo well enough to understand that he worries and obsesses about everything, at least when it comes to the people he loves. So they keep things from him in order to protect him. Yamato isn't really embarrassed to tell Takeo about her upcoming birthday, but she knows he'll make a bigger deal out of it than she wants. (I'm eager to see how the birthday date goes down next episode, based on the preview.) Yamato may seem like the perfect girlfriend and Suna the perfect friend, but both of them have hidden depths as well. Yamato doesn't appear to be taking it to the potentially unhealthy level Suna does, at least not so far.
My Love Story!! is an adorable romcom, but it can also be more than that when it wants. The focus on Suna and Takeo's friendship turns it into an interesting character piece. These are three seemingly perfect people, but they have edges to them that aren't as easy to see. I hope My Love Story!! gets more chances to dig into those flaws, while still keeping up the laughs from time to time. This episode balances that well, getting zingers in about how precisely Takeo schedules the date, and how he can't fit his fingers in bowling balls. There are some great visual gags too, like Takeo being surrounded by Cupids with his own face.
This wasn't the best episode of My Love Story!! However, it's one of the most interesting, and reveals the show's potential for greatness. This show is my happy place, but it doesn't need to just be that. I'd like to see where it could go if it stretches itself beyond those boundaries.
My Love Story!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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