Episodes: 1st episode watched so far of this ongoing series (English Dub)
First Love Monster Online: Wikipedia
Genre: [Shoujo] School Life + Romance??? + Comedy
As the title of this post implies, I am doing a review of the first episode of First Love Monster. It really has taken a bit of effort to gain composure enough to write this after finishing the episode and I hope that I can do it justice to what is a remarkable piece of anime. And no, I am not talking about remarkably bad either.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!
Overview: The first episode sees fifteen year-old protagonist Kaho, moving from her pampered life in a mansion (her family are sickeningly rich) into a student housing complex in the city with a group of strangers. As she is “helping” to unpack (something that she sucks at initially), a beloved Matroska doll that her brother gave her falls and starts rolling away. She runs after it and is saved from being hit by a truck by an apparently much older boy that she develops an immediate crush over. She asks his name and he refuses on the basis that his parents told him not to give out names to strangers, resulting in her feeling rejected because she is apparently hurt by rejections even when they are based on a reasonable security measure.
Kaho returns to her new home and later sees the same boy walking up the driveway. A small bit of banter results in him giving out his name (it is Kanade) as living in the same house obviously means that they aren’t strangers anymore. She declares her feelings and says that she wants to go out with him. He is not adversarial to the idea, but suggests that she may change her tune if she finds out more about him. The next day, she learns that he is an elementary student. The idea of dating a fifth-grader becomes the means for another girl living in the same complex to rip on her. Kaho doesn’t want to feel like a pervert by dating a younger boy. She considers whether or not to break up with Kanade.
Over the next few scenes, we see Kanade at school with two of his friends that also look much older than they actually are. It becomes evident quickly, that the boys do act like fifth-graders complete with reenactments of Naruto’s “thousand years of pain”. They also look incredibly wrong in their school uniforms. Between their antics and their appearance there is a level of wrongness that had me slamming my hand onto my desk yelling, “Wrong!!! Wrong!!!” But it got worse after the trio got Kaho involved in a game of high tag. For a good portion of the sequence, the trio spent a good portion discussing the best technique for readjusting their junk, resulting in them running away from the dude that demonstrated the “direct approach” because he now possessed the infamous “weiner hand”. That being said, the introduction of the fourth member of Kanade’s crew Kuzuo, adds the semblance of normality to what is a group of joyously idiotic boys. Cut to after credit sequence where several of the male cast members sit in a classroom breaking the fourth wall by discussing the remarkable use of the word “weiner” in the episode.
What can I say about this show so far? Well, it was not at all what I anticipated going in. It was a lot more silly, making use of much older voice actors for Kanade and the two older-looking boys that he hangs out with. This was just plain hilarious and showed that the writers and casting were willing to push the levels of silly even further. It was already silly, but they managed to step it up a notch. It makes for an entertaining watch.
Our leading lady Kaho is a good example of a duck out of water. She has a lot of adjusting to do, but is a really neat character because she isn’t spoiled by her pampered upbringing. She is adorable, and for the most part seems to be self-aware compared to the heroine in some other shows. She is confident in spite of herself, the want to experience new things after having most things provided for by her rich family. This includes friends, which also created a certain level of loneliness for her as she was never able to make friends for herself. She is still learning about the real world, but has a pretty good shot at surviving the quirkiness of her new circumstance.
As for the other characters, I really like what I have seen so far. Most have their own discernible traits, effected primarily by dialogue. It characters didn’t rely heavily on the archetype ideas so far, which was a relief. The casting for these other supporting characters merely augmented what was already there.
Am I likely to watch more episodes of First Love Monster? Yes. The show is a great outing that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Yes, I am well aware that there is more than enough bad, clone-tastic school life anime around these days, but this is not one of them. It manages to stand on its own in a sea of crap because it doesn’t try to be something that it is not. However, some folks will likely find it too silly and/or too adorable. That’s cool, as there is more than enough anime available to cover various preferences. Don’t forget to review any anime that you watch though as that is a great way to show some love/hate as well as inform folks trying to decide which anime to watch.
If you have any anime recommendations for me, then feel free to post in the comments section. Any rebuttals? Feel free to post as well.