This is review number three hundred and eight four. This anime is part of the Winter 2017 lineup, and it’s called Masamune-kun no Revenge. It’s a twelve episode anime about a guy ruining his life to ruin a girl’s life or something like that. It’s not really that dark, but I kinda wish it is. Let’s read on.
The anime follows Masamune Makabe doing a plan of revenge on this girl named Aki Adagaki. She once dumped the guy, and she gave him a cruel nickname. The tables have turned though, because Masamune now plans on having Adagaki fall for him and then reject her outright. It’ll crush her completely, and revenge will be sweet. Of course, plans don’t always happen the way you intend them to and Masamune just don’t quite realize that yet.
Taking the Pants Off
Ok, so a guy gets dumped and then swore to ruin the girl’s life. It sounds like a fun premise, right? I was completely fooled by this anime, because I thought this was a light novel adaptation. My wires are a bit crossed, but this damn thing really behaved like an LN anime. It has the wish fulfillment and the fan service you’d expect in a show blatantly pandering to its audience, but it also has a defined story so it feels a bit off. This is actually a manga adapted anime, and I am honestly amazed. For a manga adaptation, it’s pretty awful. If this is an LN though, then I think it’s actually a superior LN anime. I think I understand though. This anime is kinda like Nisekoi where the romance is dangled to the audience like carrot on a stick, but it doesn’t really lead to anything substantial. Nisekoi pandered to its crowd as well. It’s full of wish fulfillment and fan service, but it also has this thin story to work with. The romance is so unsatisfying though, and the author desperately tried to lengthen it despite knowing the entire thing doesn’t have a lot of mileage. So yeah, Masamune’s Revenge is kinda like Nisekoi. It stretches its thin plot, and it just drags whatever it can drag. It’s not really a bad thing, but I honestly saw something in this anime I really wanted to love. There’s a lot of potential here wasted because the show is focused on stupid things. It’s also a manga adaptation, so I just can’t believe the potential wasn’t achieved. This show could’ve been so much more, and that’s really bumming me out.
Anyways, the anime follows an ex-fat guy using revenge as a driving motivation to lose weight. He then comes back to the girl that rejected him, and he devised a plan where she’ll fall in love with him. When she does though, this former fat bastard will break her heart. Yes, this plan included him doing a lot of exercise to lose weight, date someone he hates and then break her heart simply because she dumped him when they were young. It’s a fool proof plan, right? To be fair, this is kinda a cliché in most romance anime. In Kare Kano, the same thing happens. This guy came back to make the girl fall for him, but he also realizes he loves her still. Of course, there’s a big difference between Kare Kano and Masamune’s Revenge. The former knows how to tell a love story, build up its characters and get the audience invested. The latter does not. It simply does not know how to tell a love story. The manga is billed as a “romantic comedy” but it really isn’t. As I said, the entire thing is as shallow as Nisekoi and that show is as romantic as a nail getting pounded by a hammer. This is entirely the biggest flaw of Masamune’s Revenge. It’s not romantic.
Whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I dive into that, I will point out one thing that works in this anime: it is relatable. As a fat guy, this is the wish fulfillment anime that works for me. I’ve personally also had some choice words and plan of revenge for people that bullied me in the past. It mostly relaxed when I realized they made poor life choices, and here I am chugging beer at the pier at 3 in the morning. As a fat guy, you always dream about getting your comeuppance and Masamune’s plan is kinda the ideal way to do it. I know this is weird, but I kinda relate to Masamune a lot. He is an over thinker and he plays a lot of his plans in his mind. He’ll often panic though when his plan goes out of order or when they don’t work at all. That is exactly how I operate. I calculate a lot in my mind, go smug at the thought of it working out and then just feel deflated when things don’t work out for me. For the very first time, the wish fulfillment of an anime caters exactly to me. I like that about the anime, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate to the character of Masamune as well. He is just pathetic in a lot of ways, and it just rings true to some of us who’ve been in his shoes at times.
It’s not just Masamune that I can personally relate with. His interaction with Adagaki also feels painfully familiar. Let me point out though that there might be a cultural thing about the way the romance is presented in the anime. For me though, it’s pretty spot on. The girl isn’t throwing herself to the main character, no one falls on top of the girl and she doesn’t get naked for any reason. She doesn’t get naked at all. Instead, she’s always on the defensive. She wants to be cuddled and romanced, but she won’t really say it outright. She says one thing one minute and then says the opposite another minute. She is complex, and she is hard to figure out. She has simple motives and desires, but she’s too stubborn to admit it herself. She’s a voracious eater, but she won’t show it to just anybody. She uses barb words to communicate, but her face is the most honest thing about her. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a normal girl. I’m very sorry for generalizing the whole bit, but this is how most girls react to people they like. I’ve personally experience this myself, and I’ve had way too many students that behave the same way. There are some girls that just got unlucky in love once, and so they’re always on the defensive. They behave just like Adagaki, and the author must be referencing a girl in real life as well when he came up with the story. And it’s just fun seeing Masamune so perplexed at how Adagaki reacts. The wonderful interaction between a girl, always on the defensive, and a guy, who doesn’t like his plans getting messed up, is just really fun to watch.
The first few episodes of just Adagaki and Masamune interacting is really entertaining. It’s different, but it feels familiar. It doesn’t really feature that much fan service, and the complicated setup of the characters give you an unexpected scene each time they meet. Masamune’s plans don’t really work for a girl like Adagaki, except it does but the girl just won’t let the guy have any lead on her. It’s a really fun give and take between the two characters, and I instantly loved the series for it. I just wished the anime actually featured the romance, instead of going all Nisekoi on us.
This anime has one goal: Masamune will get Adagaki to fall for her and then break her heart with a stern rejection. Nisekoi has one goal as well: to find out who has the key to the main characters heart locket. That can be done in one season, right? Yeah, that’s the problem. It’s too simple, so we’ll overcomplicate it. If this is just a simple romance anime, then we’d actually feature backstories and flashbacks. I was honestly expecting, because it’s just the natural progression of such stories. We’ll see scenes about the characters’ past that reveals why Adagaki is so much on the defensive and why Masamune is so hung up on one rejection. That is too simple though, so we’ll Nisekoi the formula.
We’ll add another character!!!
Yeah, did I mention I hate Nisekoi with all my being? I like the show but, gawd damn it, other manga are following suit. This is not good at all. Nisekoi avoided its simple goal by shoving more characters in the story effectively turning the simple love triangle into a harem situation. Masamune’s Revenge goal is also avoided by doing the exact same thing. When a new girl appeared, the story kinda took a big dive and the main problem of the anime really surfaced. It also just lost direction, like what the f*ck is going on now? The strong dynamic between the two main characters is suddenly muddied by another character, with no real motivation or strong addition to the anime.
The new character just hi-jacked the show, and it happened during the transition phase. I wanted to see the backstories and the flashbacks, like how the two were as a child, but the anime suddenly shifted focus towards something else. This is annoying, because there was something growing in the story already. There is this nice subtle idea that Masamune is so consumed by his revenge that he forgets the flowers growing on the side of the road. When a girl asked him out to watch a movie, he rejected her simply because he wanted all his time dedicated to his convoluted revenge plan. There’s also the cute way the maid girl looks at Masamune. Like really, I’m not convinced she’s only helping him to execute his revenge. Nope, there’s something there but Masamune is too consumed breaking Adagaki’s heart that he can’t notice it. He let this revenge plan consume his life, and some additional flashback stories would’ve helped in gaining more depth to this character. Like seriously, one hot girl rejected you. Why does it bother you so much?
Instead of character growth though, the new character just took over. We were suddenly focusing on her, and she suddenly has her own sub plot that just intrudes to the gentle pacing of the anime. The infuriating thing is that we don’t really know this girl’s motive as well. She just shows up, establishes a love triangle, hints at the impending harem and just does her own thing. While she does add some fuel to the slow burning fire, her entire presence just doesn’t really sit well with me. She helped intensify the interaction between the main characters, but why are we spending so much time focusing on her? We already have a lot of interesting characters to work with here. This character also gave us the most contrived thing I’ve ever seen in anime where a girl staking another girl ended with a setting off fireworks with everyone wearing kimono, like what the hell is this? This character’s subplot also reached a climax towards the later parts, and it just feels so ham fisted. Oh, I’m supposed to care about her now. After doing meaningless things, rattling cages for no reason and secretly making plans with no real reason other than to upset the natural balance of the story, I’m supposed to care about her now? No. F*ck that. Where’s the juicy backstory?
I kept asking for this because the anime kept hinting on it nonstop. During a random flashback, it was hinted that Adagaki was dumped by a guy once and it could’ve been Masamune as well. The timeline isn’t right though, but it explains so much. The setup is there, but it’s clear as well. The author is willing to drag this thin story out, giving us hints of the flashback from time to time while he cheaply adds more characters to lengthen the story. After the new character appear, can you guess what happens next?
Another character appears. At least it’s not a girl though, because I just don’t want a harem just yet.
But wait….Sh*t, no.
We have an accidental harem already. Oh gawd, in a manga adaptation? Why?! That’s an LN thing, why is it here? Get it away!!!! Oh gawd, it’s happening. The mediums are taking influences from one another, and taking all the formulas that make each one work.
I’ll cry about that later. Let’s just finish this. So, another character enters but this one actually shifts the focus back to the main characters. Masamune and Adagaki’s relationship takes a weird spin when a new character appears and threatens their romance. It felt good to see this character do his thing, because it kinda peaks the little point about Masamune being too consumed with his plan. This is the biggest wrench that’ll be thrown at you. What do you do now? It also has this “serves you right” kinda karma to Masamune, because the guy is just too stupid to take the lead. It’s been hinted at several times that Adagaki is just waiting for him to take charge, but he never does. Well, it seems his reluctance is going to cost him big this time. His chance to carry out his plan might be closing soon, and I love that. There are stakes now, and it’s going to be exciting to see how Masamune gets himself out of this dilemma.
The story is also smart to give Masamume his needed karma, but still make the audience root for him. The new character is really annoying, and it just makes our lead looks good by default. It also tells a lot about Adagaki suddenly getting caught in such a situation. You know what would’ve made the entire sub plot a lot more interesting? If we had some f*cking flashbacks and backstories to explain the way the characters behave now. If we painted a picture about why Masamune is so keen on revenge or we explain why Adagaki is so defensive, then the sudden tonal changes in the story would’ve meant so much more. The stakes would be a lot higher, and it just had a potential to be a lot more entertaining. A lot of romance story wishes they could get the kind of tension this anime had, but most romance are also smart not to rush into anything. In most shoujo manga, the story goes as far as the characters having kids. That’s because the plot has enough content to make the series go that far. Using the all-important flashbacks and backstories, so much can be achieved. It’s not something you should dangle to get the audience’s intrigue. That’s just mean. Give us the story these lovely characters actually deserve.
If you’ve seen Nisekoi, then there’s really no need to talk about the ending or anything. All you need to know is that Nisekoi is an unsatisfying experience that I understand, but I just cannot accept. Masamune’s Revenge gets the same reaction for me. You’ll soon realize nothing really happens, and the author is just dragging it now. I also won’t talk about the characters. I mean, besides the two main characters, there’s really no one to talk about in detail. Some are even stereotypical to the point that it’s insulting. I swear some of the supporting characters in this anime also appeared in Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, and I don’t think it’s by accident.
This is my favorite character though:
It’s the K-on head. Look at it. Her head is too fluffy for that frail body, and I feel like KyoAni has such a strong influence that it’s scary. I default love the character that looks the cutest among the bunch. Damn it all to hell.
This anime is presented by Silver Link. This is certainly their speed since they kinda like featuring serious high school romance from time to time, in between their marshmallow shows. I’m two years behind on their works though, so I don’t really know much about their growth. Did they really grow? They made Chaos;Child as well, and I am really tempted to try that show out. I am glad Silver Link is producing a lot of shows now. They had an awkward start, but it looks like they’re keeping up with the demand of the industry. That’s good. I like small studios growing reputation over time. This anime is directed by Mirai Minato. He directed the Fate Kalied Prism series, and it’s about young yuri magical girls or something. I don’t know. I instinctively avoided that show. I do love the way he frame most scenes though. I’ll talk about it in length below but, in terms of pacing a story, the dude does have some problems with it. A good director can make a contrived scene work, and this guy cannot. I can tell you though that a strong script can save a bad director. It’s made by Michiko Yokote and Kento Shimoyama, and they’re heavyweights in their fields. Having a veteran and the guy that series composed Bleach really added something to the anime. It’s pretty clear though that the manga itself is the biggest problem of this show.
Sight and Sound
The manga is illustrated by manga artist named “Tiv”, and this guy is incredible. In terms of just illustrations, his works are clean and they’re just amazing. The characters are so expressive, and they’re just really incredible to look at. The details are always present in the panels, and it just adds to the incredible visual storytelling he does. Character design is pretty strong, and this is actually one of the rare time that I actually think the manga’s design is a lot more superior that the adaptation. There are nuances in Tiv’s design that the anime doesn’t keep. For example, Adagaki is a lot more innocent in the manga. Remember how she’s a girl with a sharp attitude but her face is honest? This is more apparent in the manga. She is a lot more relatable in the manga as this defensive girl that is afraid to love, and this detail is shown only in the visuals. Tiv’s style is so strong that the visuals tell a silent story beneath the words the characters are saying. He also does proportions extremely well. I love how all his characters have beautiful proportions, and not just one particular character. Everyone is given extra care and attention, and it just makes for a wonderful experience. I personally love how Masamune looks. He is hella handsome in the manga, but his face is so mischievous that I can’t believe the anime left it out. He has this air about him that he knows he is handsome, and it’s a lot more entertaining seeing this character knocked down his high horse. It’s really rare to see the print version being more expressive than the moving medium, but I guess it can happen. I also love the timing in the manga. The panels have a smart way of presenting the setting and the punchlines that it’s just incredible. It took way more artistic approach than the anime ever could. It’s a shame the director never took Tiv’s style and actually adapts that into the anime.
The animation is still pretty great though. The feel of the manga is still captured by the anime. The story, written by a different person, is still nicely presented in the anime. Characters still had a chance to look really beautiful in the show, and their personalities are nicely adapted in the show. The animation is also one of the big factors why the interaction between the main characters is fun to watch. They do a nice back and forth with the camera that makes the scenes interesting. I also love the establishing shots the director used. While it’s a lot lazier than Tiv’s actual intentions, it does have this subtle feel that the characters are having a showdown. It feels like the big personalities are clashing, and it’s about to get ugly. The facial reactions are also nicely animated. The main characters have such expressive faces that I’m glad the anime was able to capture it nicely. I especially love the way the animation featured Adagaki’s innocent vulnerable scenes. They’re the highlight of the show for me.
The anime’s OP is “Wagamama MIRROR HEART” by Ayaka Ohashi. This is sung by Adagaki, and it’s not really that impressive. The lyrics are cute about how it references the two main characters in a smart way, but it just sounds really generic. I also skip the OP sequence because some smart banana decided to just spoil everything in it. Every stand out scene is spoiled, including the show’s climax of the characters’ very first kiss. It’s upsetting that the show can’t sit still enough to actually present it. They just have to montage it, and it’s annoying. I also hate how the new characters are also spoiled in the OP. Like really, you spoil your own story? Why? The anime’s ED is “Elemental World” by ChouCho.This is a very deep song about realizing who you are and how you got here, but it definitely doesn’t fit the anime. The ED sequence is also weird a sit features the girls of the anime as if a harem exist, but no such thing does. The anime just wanted to lineup all the girls and make them look deep, just like the song It’s stupid. I’ll give points for style, I guess.
7/10 “It has two strong main characters that sadly aren’t the focus of this romance anime, if you can even call it a romance.”
The show has potential, and I love the characters. I also love the blossoming romance and the bright possibilities of where their relationship will take these crazy kids. It’s just annoying that the plan is to drag this story and just keep diluting it instead of just intensifying what it already has. I do think the main characters carried the show though, and it made the contrived scenes a lot easier to watch. The anime has some annoying negatives, but it also has some lovely positives so it’s really a mixed bag. If you’re expecting a revenge story though, then you won’t find one here. If you’re expecting a cute romance, then sorry but the author changed his mind at the last second. If you’re here for the wish fulfillment and the fan service, then there’s not much here as well. This is really just a mixed bag, but it’s a decent one.