By Matthew Maravilla
“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”
Anime is filled with all sorts of conventions. From the vast number of animes in high school, to how shounen boys are normally these weak nobodies trying to make names for themselves, to how shojo girls aim for the eye of their handsome senpai to notice them, anime is littered with tropes and conventions that once a show comes along challenging all of those ideas, it’s definitely something worth talking about. Thus, here we have “Ore Monogatari” or “My Love Story” in English, a show that not only takes shojo in a whole new direction, it also quite easily stays within those same conventions to deliver a fun yet impactful ride full of diabetes and heart disease with cutesy manliness all over the place.
“Ore Monogatari” is about the giant Takeo Gouda who is unpopular with the ladies and the small Rinko Yamato who Takeo assumes fell for his best friend. As much as a regular drama this show sounds, unlike other shojo’s in the genre, including the amazing “Kimi Ni Todoke”, the leading man isn’t some handsome pretty boy that every girl in the school wants to be noticed by, instead we have this big guy who gets called by a gorilla by his peers with the strawberry-cheeked and clumsy leading girl chasing after him. While trying to imagine a dude who’s as tall as a full story of my house with a girl who takes up an eighth of his total body, it blew any other shojo anime I have ever seen by miles.
Compared to other shows in the genre, “Ore Monogatari” delivers on a well-paced and well-themed story, opting to do mini-arcs during its 24-episode run, instead of this long and drawn out story where the girl chases the guy for 24 episodes to finally hold his hand by the end. By well-themed, “Ore Monogatari” isn’t a show trying to pander to shojo fans with a brilliant light at the end of the tunnel but rather on the idea that love comes in all shapes and sizes, backgrounds, and events. Sometimes we miss our chance to be with the ones we love and sometimes fate just has a nice present for us where circumstance allow us to meet. And, in the middle of that, a random high school girl falls on her face and then goes about her day as if nothing happens.
Yes, there is drama in any relationship, and like other shojo’s in the genre, “Ore Monogatari” doesn’t shy away from some tears being shed, but this was also one of the funniest little gems I’ve been able to watch all year. Because of how disproportionate “Ore Monogatari” is, or at least its main characters, “Ore Monogatari” is not afraid to go crazy with its writing. I swear, I couldn’t stop laughing at a lot of the scenes of the show because of how unrealistic they were, but at the same time, I got a truer sense of what each character was from a lot of those scenes.
“Ore Monogatari” is unlike a lot of other shows in its genre. There isn’t a lot of high school drama about how the main girl’s too shy to talk to her senpai and there isn’t weird cheating or bully arcs in the show. It’s literally about one of the most manly anime characters ever being with one of the most adorable anime characters, ever. Watching the show with my girlfriend, we both felt like we were suffering from diabetes with a dash of habanero to up this weird heroic vibe we both got. Like, my lungs seriously couldn’t take how funny a lot of the scenes were and honest to everything, this was certainly one of the best animes of 2015.
“Ore Monogatari” can be watched on CrunchyRoll for free and I highly recommend that you do when you want a good pick me up.