This Week in Anime
Is Tada Never Falls In Love Worth Your Time?

by Nicholas Dupree and Michelle Liu,

Tada Never Falls in Love is the newest original romcom from the staff behind Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, but those are some big shoes to fill. This week, Nick and Micchy explain why Tada and his friends may not be ready for the big time yet.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.


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You can read our weekly coverage of Tada Never Falls In Love here!

Nick D
Micchy, do you believe in the idea of love at first sight?

Micchy
I only believe in love at first smothering.

Okay, well how about love at first drop kick?

Now that's acceptable. I don't know about you, but I think all anime romcoms need to have a little bite to them, whether that's through slapstick or absurditity or light drama.

It's just not a real romcom without some sour to make the sugar all the sweeter. Of course, I learned this from the modern masterpiece of romantic comedy anime, Nisekoi.

I still don't understand why you like that show, but then again, my idea of romance is violent codependence where all parties are on the verge of killing each other at all times, so maybe I'm not that best person to ask. In any case, the sappier of several romcoms this season, Tada Never Falls in Love, is disappointingly lacking in such things.

Yeah, it's hard not to feel a little let down so far with Tadakoi. Especially considering the folks behind it. I mean, Mitsue Yamazaki finally gets her own original series! What could go wrong?

(As it turns out, things could go wrong.)

I've been eagerly following Yamazaki's work ever since her Penguindrum days, from Hakkenden to Nozaki-kun. Coming into Tadakoi, I was expecting sharp comedic timing a la that last series. And I'm happy to report that Tadakoi practically bleeds joy! It just doesn't really have much in the way of jokes.

Pretty much. Rather than outright gags or defined punchlines, Tadakoi is more of a lackadaisacal slice of life sitcom where the humor's supposed to come from the characters' casual dialogue. And there's certainly some nice moments of comedy here and there, but on the whole the show drags more than it should just to get to an underwhelming conclusion in each episode.

These sorts of sitcoms live and die on their casts. You want a balanced ensemble with characters who all have their own quirks and unique rapport. Nozaki-kun did this marvelously by pairing off characters with complementary neuroses and distributing jokes pretty evenly among all of them. No one character was the designated Funny Guy, and everyone took turns being the straight man too. Tadakoi relies on about three characters to be "funny" (kind of obnoxious tbh), while the rest are as remarkable as vanilla pudding.

And sadly, the most outwardly comedic character is also The Worst Character. The show may be called Tada Never Falls in Love but it should really be
Pin-Senpai Never Shuts Up.


There's nice boy Tada, nice girl Theresa, brusque but nice Alexandra, obsequiously nice Kaoru, quietly nice Hinako, guy-who's-basically-a-dog Yamashita, and finally Horny On Main Pin-senpai, who indeed just needs to shut up. They won't even give us a thirsty girl to balance out all the yelling about boobs, and that's a crime.

Pin is the most obvious sore thumb, but the show's second biggest weakness is that the characters just don't have much comedic chemistry. Everyone's pleasant and inoffensive, but without any outstanding traits to make them engaging or any unique rapport to make their interactions interesting.

Though I admit I have a soft spot for Alec, since she seems just as sick of some of these guys as I am.

My personal favorite character is Nyanko Big, the fat cat and occasional narrator who has had Enough Of This Shit. Not coincidentally, he's the only character outside of Alec who ever seems to get annoyed or angry at anything.

Nyanko Big is indeed a treasure who must be protected. Save this horny fat cat from himself.


Now comedy doesn't have to be mean to be funny, far from it. But when the whole show trades in no emotions beyond "that's nice," it gets real damn boring. Like come on, Nyanko Big's crush on the girl cat is funny because it conflicts with his self-professed resistance to love. Meanwhile, the title says Tada doesn't fall in love, but I sure as hell couldn't tell that was an important character trait from his behavior.

Tada is mostly just the stoic nice dude who helps people out and occasionally reminisces about his dead parents. Sometimes his unflappability is used to good effect:

But mostly he fades into the background of any given scene while the louder personalities take precedence. We're almost halfway into the show and it's still not really clear why or how Tada "never falls in love" because he's barely been in the show.

Honestly, I think he's more memorable as a walking Nikon ad than anything else.

It says something that we've gotten more development between Pin-senpai and Hinako than our presumed main couple. Granted, that episode amounted to "he saved me from a dog once so I love him", but it's something.

And hey, the fact that Hajime is the only character who can't figure out that his favorite model is his best friend is at least kind of funny, even if it makes for a really strange ship.

I just can't get behind it. I gotta side with Alec on this one.


It's quite ridiculous; Hinako's not at all discreet about her Hannah Montana double life, but Pin is just that dumb and That's The Joke. The double identity love triangle conceit could be interesting, but the writing in this show just doesn't sell it. The only hurdle in their relationship is a refusal to communicate, which is the least interesting conflict you could write for a fictional couple.

That's generally the problem I have with the show. Even if the comedy was lacking, I could get behind some unusual or sweet romance. But our main/implied couples are either totally banal (Tada/Teresa), opposites attract cliches (Alec/Kaoru) or a half-baked joke (Hajime/Hinako).

the only good couple in the show imo

Not gonna lie, if the show decides to just throw out this whole foreign princess thing and turn into a romance between Kaoru and Tada, I'd be into it.

Either that or go full-on Roman Holiday, illegal tandem riding and all. Nearly halfway through the show, we're FINALLY addressing the elephant in the room: Theresa is a princess, apparently.

I do not care.

To the shock of absolutely nobody, it turns out that the beautiful foreigner from a fake European country is also royalty and presumably betrothed to this dude. I'm sure that'll really throw a wrench into her and Tada's relationship that hasn't been established yet.

I do not care how this revelation might impact the group's dynamics. I do not care about Tada's reaction to the eventual reveal, because he's got about the emotional response of a block of cheese so far.

Four decent conversations does not a romance make, okay? No matter what Monogatari might try to tell you.

Hey, at least Monogatari establishes Horny as a valid motivation for teenage romance. I will not hear your slander.

Tadakoi's occasional ventures into Horny are tame as hell, in any case.

Show us the goods, you cowards. Where are their nips?

Give us some definition to those butts. I know these are just regular high school dudes, but if you can spend five minutes fawning over Hina's boobs, you can bounce a quarter or two off Tada's tadas.

I think the word for Tada Never Falls in Love is "half-baked". It's got a decent enough premise, characters who should be funny on paper, and Yamazaki's direction and timing is still impeccable.

But in execution, it just feels like a halfhearted shrug that doesn't live up to the potential of the production.

Yeah, I have to agree. It looks nice and it's largely good for a smile, but past that, it's pretty empty. No bouncy brass soundtrack or snappy direction can make up for a ensemble cast of whitebread sandwiches.

Maybe things will pick up now that the plot's arrived, but if you're just looking for fluffy romcom shenanigans this season, you're better off checking out WotaKoi.

You're not wrong.

Granted, Wotakoi doesn't have Alec, which is a shame.

Well, you win some, you lose some. Go back and watch Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, by the same team. Now that was a good cartoon.

Do it now, or Nyanko Big will knead ur tiddies.

At least you'll end up on Tada's blog.


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