Oresuki: Are you the only one who loves me?
Amatsuyu “Joro” Kisaragi is an extraordinarily kind but typical high schooler, and out of nowhere, he gets invitations from two of his school's most popular students, Sakura “Cosmos” Akino and Aoi "Himawari" Hinata, to meet them respectively on two separate days. At the climax of these back-to-back dates, Cosmos and Himawari lean in close and confess that for the longest time, they have had feelings for…Joro’s best friend.
This news hits hard because, in actuality, Joro has only played the goody-two-shoes so that he could hopefully achieve the relationship granted to all romantic-comedy protagonists, and it appears his efforts have failed spectacularly. However, there is one person who not only knows of Joro’s true identity but prefers it, Sumireko “Pansy” Sanshokuin, and she is not someone who intends to take no for an answer.
Oresuki: Are you the only one who loves me? (Oresuki) was a bit of a roller coaster. At various points throughout this series, I wasn’t sure how I thought about it. Sometimes everything seemed quite standard; other times, this show was immensely clever and funny; then there were times I couldn’t help be disappointed.
There were incredibly fun aspects of Oresuki, so I can’t say this was a bad series. To take it a step further, I lost track of how many times a joke or reaction got a laugh out of me. It would be a lie to pretend that I didn’t enjoy myself while watching.
The first few episodes, in particular, sold me on a show that appeared willing and prepared to play around with the standard romantic-comedy formula for anime. Episode one pulled an effective bait-and-switch that caught me off guard. I fully expected Oresuki to follow the tried-and-true path many other shows in its genre have gone down, and I wasn’t too thrilled about that.
Main character Joro was the soft-spoken friend who was always eager to lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on when someone needed support. He came off as dense to how much his personality resonated with the people around him, and as the natural result, the thought of a pretty girl, let alone two, having feelings for him was absurd. Then thanks to some stroke of fate, Joro found himself in a position where he was about to be confessed to by two different women, Cosmos and Himawari, so he readied himself for what was surely about to come when suddenly:
I’m in love with your best friend, and will you help me get closer to him.
Yeah, the whole good guy routine, that was an act. Joro carefully crafted himself to be the sort of boy girls would go to when they needed help. He played the role of the stereotypical romantic-comedy protagonist to a T, and it blew up in his face. On top of that, the one person who did like him was Pansy, a take-no-for-an-answer stalker.
Joro, who tried to manipulate the situation in his favor, didn’t foresee becoming the wingman for the two girls he was trying to date. But since he only wanted to date Cosmos and Himawari because he thought they were pretty, there was no real urge to feel sorry for him, and that was a massive factor as to why Oresuki worked.
Everyone in this show was a bit of a jerk to some degree. Characters were often thankless, quick to misjudge, heavy handed, and they were usually looking out for themselves. However, most of the time, people weren’t malicious about all that; they just failed to realize that their actions had consequences. No one was irredeemable, and once someone found out they were being an ass, they were quick to make amends and take responsibility.
For example, Joro indeed wanted a girlfriend just because he wished to have the status that comes with being in a relationship (as per high school logic), and he was bitter that both Cosmos and Himawari chose his best friend over him. Nevertheless, he did agree to help both girls in their romantic endeavors, and though he could have worked it so that everyone was against one another, he didn’t. Joro earnestly tried to make a relationship blossom, and he did a lot for Cosmos and Himawari’s causes.
Conversely, although Himawari and Cosmos might have been hoodwinked into believing Joro’s kindness was genuine, and thus, thought he would be able to help them, that didn’t change the fact that both of them were quick to take advantage of Joro’s help. Additionally, it was shocking how fast each of the girls (one of whom was a childhood friend) turned on him. With no more evidence than mere hearsay, Cosmos and Himawari readily labeled Joro a liar and a leech. His reasons for wanting a girlfriend were shallow, but he never actually lied about his intentions.
Keep in mind; all this occurred in a series that was more than happy to employ healthy amounts of slapstick and silly humor. This was a comedy after all, and a reasonably decent one I must add.
In a lot of ways, Oresuki challenged and poked fun at the romantic-comedy genre, and when it did, this show was great. Unfortunately, how well this series did in this one area only highlighted how frustrating it was in others.
There is an episode thirteen, and as of this post going live, it is scheduled to be released as an OVA sometime in 2020. On principle, I find this annoying because frankly, this series wasn’t interesting enough for me to care about a forthcoming conclusion. I have no intention of reviewing episode thirteen on its own, nor will I be coming back to this review to change anything after the fact. Hell, I highly doubt I am even going to go out of my way to watch it when it comes out.
Unless there is going to be a season two, which I find unlikely, Oresuki had one chance to tell its story, and that chance has passed.
Therefore, you should know that as I am writing this sentence, this series is not finished.
As it happens to be, though, this was not the biggest annoyance I had with Oresuki. Instead, that honor goes to how this show abandoned its primary selling point.
The first few episodes of this series did everything it could to go against what we have come to expect from a romantic-comedy. It changed relationship dynamics; it focused on a single romantic route; it was everything I didn’t expect to get out of this show, and I was excited to see where things would go.
Well apparently, where things went was the same place most other romantic-comedies end up. Not only that, but Oresuki also became a dime-a-dozen harem anime, and there was no reason to do this other than to fill this show’s cast with attractive female characters, half of whom were around to serve as eye candy.
It was bad enough that this show employed plenty of cringey fanservice, but I was willing to look past it at first because at least we were getting something different. So, you can imagine my disappointment when Joro kept having random admirers pop up everywhere, including people who this series went out of its way to say, “No, these characters are different.”
It’s probably a spoiler to say this, but try and guess two characters who somehow became part of Joro’s harem.
Why put in any effort in trying to break the mold when you’re just going to stick with it in the long run? That’s asking for a series to be a letdown.
It seemed as though this story would take a risk on something different and – succeed or fail – we could have, at least, appreciated the effort. Sadly, everything stuck to the norm in the end.
Although this could have been more, what it was wasn’t awful. Therefore, Oresuki: Are you the only one who loves me? has earned a recommendation.
Oresuki: Are you the only one who loves me? Series Review: Two-Faced Love
Writing - 6/106/10
Plot - 6/106/10
Character Development - 6/106/10
Production - 7/107/10
Music - 6/106/10
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