by Theron Martin,
The utter lack of any set-up in episode 11 suggested that episode 12 would be just another episode rather than some kind of season wrap-up or definitive advancement of plot or character relationships, and that is exactly what we got. This two-parter, which focuses so much on Chitoge that the other girls only have speaking lines in a couple of scenes, establishes exactly one thing as the overall storyline goes: that as tough as Chitoge is otherwise, she is just as much of a wimp as Kosaki when it comes to confessing her feelings, so she is content for now to let thing be and take her time in building up her nerve. And that's the closest to a conclusive moment as this season gets.
Evaluate episode 12 as just another episode of the franchise and it comes off a lot better. The first story involves Chitoge accidentally losing her precious ribbon as she runs to school one morning, the one that previous episodes have established is dear to her for a number of reasons. She is such an emotional wreck that she softens up considerably, and Raku can't make up his mind if he likes her better that way or not. Still, he and the other girls help search for the ribbon, and he even tries to buy her a replacement when it doesn't look like the ribbon will be found. In the second story, Chitoge contemplates confessing to Raku while reading a manga with a confession scene, and even goes as far as to practice confessing with her gorilla doll and learning how her father met and fell in love with her mother. After being obsessed with thinking about that for some time, she has a conversation with Raku which helps her realize that there's no pressing need for her to confess her feelings right away.
Both stories have more serious bents but still mix in some comedy, making them more a balance between the serious and purely humorous episodes seen this season. Taken as a pair, they are interesting in that they take two different perspectives on Chitoge; the first part is exclusively from Raku's point of view, while the second part is exclusively from Chitoge's. The actual details are mostly unremarkable beyond the crazy way that Chitoge's father met her mother (easily the episode's funniest scene), even though they do spin off of content from earlier episodes this season. On the artistic front, we get to goggle at Chitoge's magnificent bedroom from a couple of different angles and marvel at a couple of other beautifully artistic shots, such as one scene where Chitoge twirls in a chair; shots like this designed to sell the natural beauty of its girls without overtly sexualizing them is one place where Nisekoi: is better than just about any other harem series out there. Hence the artistry dos not disappoint even if the animation does to reduce the hunt for Chitoge's ribbon into a series of still frames as an obvious cost-cutting measure.
The utter lack of an ending for the series means that there is all sorts of room left for more. While this season did take some big steps forward on the dramatic front, it is ultimately still lollygagging around just as much as any typical harem romantic comedy does.
Episode Rating: B-
Nisekoi: is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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