I'm going for a change of pace here (I'll post another blog entry in a couple of days - the one I was planning on doing), and so what follows is a non-spoiler review of the anime series Lovely Complex. Even if you haven't seen it yet, I hope this review inspires you to check it out. It's really quite good. Also, it's my first review of anything - ever! - so please be gentle with me....
As I sit here contemplating my life, looking back on my many missed opportunities and my many regrets - I think about the bitter-sweet memories of what it was like being a teenager. The turning point of many people's lives begin here in these awkward formative years. The first kiss, a failed exam, establishing friendships, dating, breaking up, or even crashing one's car into another car that's parked right out in front of a police station (I can at least say that one happened to me! Police response time was awesome, by the way).
The point being, is that life as a teenager is never an easy journey. This is especially true when one falls in love, which oh so complicates matters does it not? However, more complicated still, is when there are many things (both spoken and unspoken) that are deemed the socially accepted norm when forming relationships. And so things like girls dating shorter guys, or dating with insurmountable age differences, or dating country and western singers - are often frowned upon.
And with that in mind, let me introduce the leading lady, Koizumi Risa, who - at a height above that of the average Japanese girl - often feels awkward among her peers. Adding to her discomfort is the fact that she is the only one in her circle of close friends without a boyfriend - and so hanging out with them makes her feel even more out of place.
Problems ensue when she meets Atsushi Otani, whom she supposes - because of his short stature - is her natural born enemy. And indeed, much conflict results, often to the amusement of the surrounding classmates and teachers. However, it isn't long before a common interest is discovered and their initial relationship as rivals turns into friendship - and to their closest friends they appear to be perfectly matched. It is unfortunate then, that both feel insecure with their height, and can't see themselves as anything beyond friends or rivals.
The story proper begins then, when Risa realises that she is forming feelings for Otani. But what will she do about it? And will Otani feel the same way? Cue the tissues, prepare for the emotional roller-coaster ride, and tune those vocal chords in readiness for yelling in frustration at the two leading characters! LOL (and yes, I cried dammit! hehe)
Lovely Complex is now my fourth High School based anime that I've seen (the first three being Azumanga Daioh, Minami-ke, and Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), and for a fourth time I found myself enthralled and captivated by the slice of life that are the school years.
However, this would be my first anime I've seen involving romance (unless you count 5 Centimeters Per Second), and so I wasn't sure what to expect. I really like it that the lead characters aren't your typical flawless male stud and big-breasted blonde cheerleader types. Risa with all her insecurities was a goofy, funny character, and allowed for much emotional range. Oh, and boy, does she have the most malleable face in all the history of anime, or what? LOL She is hilarious, and ultimately, you form an attachment to her that lasts the duration of the series (and beyond!). Which is a good thing, because most of the story is related from her perspective.
Otani, while more popular with the opposite sex, was also a fun character I grew an attachment to. The chemistry between himself and Risa was undoubtedly fascinating to behold (even though most of the time he was probably getting beaten about the head, or called an idiot. I sure did my fair share of yelling at him. LOL).
But what an emotional roller-coaster! Probably more so too because I watched it in about 2 days. I laughed, I cried, I shouted, and I ate pizza. When a series can get me out of my chair slapping my forehead and shouting "You IDIOT!" or bawling like a baby, then it's done a remarkable job. If ever I felt sad at seeing the end of a show, then this one would be up there.
Just a few more asides before I give my final score - the opening theme song for Lovely Complex is definitely one of the most catchiest tunes I've heard, and among my list of favourite anime songs (not counting the change midway through the season), and the closing song is appropriately melancholic and reflective for the way the episodes generally end. Voice acting in this series is sensational, and especially perfectly suit the leading characters.
I give it my Gold Seal Award of Excellence.
9.5 out of 10.
You will be missed Risa and Otani.