Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
Episode 4 of Masamune-kun’s Revenge was full of twists and turns. Masamune tried the next phase of his revenge plan, Adagaki’s myth as the Cruel Princess crumbled under the weight of her cuteness, and Yoshino’s motives behind her revenge tutelage were questioned. I’m not sure where the title actually refers to, but the only clear and present danger I can see is the danger of Masamune-kun’s falling in love for Adagaki and then having to explain that all this time he was approaching her to exact his revenge.
All in all, this one is quickly turning into a regular rom-com.
NEXT TIME: 今そこにある危機
Masamune-kun’s Revenge is not a cheesy romance, that’s for sure. But what Masamune needs in order to realize his revenge is a cheesy romance situation, and what better way to research such a scenario but in a shojo manga. Aimed at a young female demographic, they depict almost unrealistic love situations where the main couple is either destined to be with each other, or their love is so great that their happiness will forever remain frozen in that cheesy The End last scene. And since ‘the execution of revenge is like studying’, Masamune-kun studies the cheesiest lines to use on Adagaki-san. However, these cheesy lines have an uroboros effect: because they come from rom-coms and shojo, they only work to girls that base their romance fantasies on these kind of stories. Adagaki-san is not that kind of girl and considers Masamune-kun’s approach as creepy. To be honest, they were a bit creepy:
Step 1: Stare like a puppy in love. Make her uncomfortable.
Step 2: Say cheesy line 1, ‘I have eyes only for you’
Step 3: Say cheesy line 2 which was something incredibly stupid about rain and tears.
While every fantasy has its basis on reality (after all, every fantasy has come from a human mind with human experiences and is based on ‘possible outcomes’) Masamune takes the manga advice a little too literally and makes a fool out of himself. After a Scottish shower of showing affection to Adagaki and then taking it away only to give it back again, we are only reminded that feelings are not developed because of petty schemes. Adagaki-san probably liked Masamune-kun before he started making silly things to enhance her affection. It just doesn’t work that way. On the other hand, all that façade has created a few moments where that affection could manifest itself in actions and words.
Why are you ignoring me? I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
It was that moment, that confrontation, which told us more about Adagaki-san. Her ‘Cruel Princess’ mode is just a protective bubble. A shield against hurt, against disappointment. She is an insecure girl who just doesn’t understand if she has anything that a boy could like her for.
What is there to like about me?
While Masamune did think of some pretty solid reasons, he refrains and runs away. But Masamune-kun and his inevitable fall into love was not the main focus of the episode. Adagaki-san was. Adagaki-san and her confusing flashbacks about a time when she fell for someone who broke her heart (maybe Masamune-kun? that would be an amazing twist); Adagaki-san and her loving maid and best friend who is probably not seeking revenge after all; Adagaki-san and the myth of the Cruel Princess, a myth that was built on insecurities and lies.
I’ve always hurt other people so I wouldn’t get hurt
In the end, Masamune-kun and Adagaki-san have that ‘fall-in-love’ moment that would have made for a very ‘cheesy’ ending indeed, if only we didn’t have 8 more episodes to build on the revenge plan and have some drama going on. And here is a new character to help us build that drama. The religious girl that appears is quite mysterious and I can’t wait to see the reason of that over-affectionate response towards Masamune-kun.
Hot and Cold: Masamune-kun was visibly suffering when he had to act cold in from of Adagaki. In each scene his eyes were closed and flickering. Small detail, but it’s the details that make all the difference.
Batman-Yoshino: Yoshino is amazing. Not only is she orchestrating her own little plan that I’m pretty sure that it has nothing to do with Masamune-kun’s revenge, but she is also the in-between person this relationship deserves. Her Batman-like exodus from the scene had me laughing.
Romance Fantasies: Rom-com flicks are incredibly popular. Romance books sell more that all the other genres combined. The world starves for love stories and the industry is more than ready to provide some. The people who read romance stories don’t want realistic tales of boring relationships, save that for drama and reality TV. They want the steamy affairs, the fated couples, and the ‘we-were-meant-to-be’ struggles. They want to share a story that they will probably never experience for themselves, unless they force it. And believe me, many people who long for such a fated encounter will many times fool themselves into a state where they resemble a literary character more than a real person. And that can lead to all sorts of problems.
Masamune-kun is balancing on a very thin line. On one hand it’s trying to stir away from the usual romance comedies, but on the other it can’t really navigate far from a cheesy romance that just happened to blossom under unusual circumstances. I really want to keep an open mind and try not to think of all the cliché paths the anime can (and probably will) follow, but it’s hard to avoid comparing the premise to the abundance of campus love stories we have been bombarded since the birth of the medium. It’s hard to deviate from such strong influences, but to its defense, at least Masamune-kun tried to do something different.
Also, I have to give praise to the music direction. All the background melodies were amazing. Background music is like the bass guitar: almost no one notices it in a band, but everyone knows that something’s wrong when it’s missing. The same applies to music and sound effects. Each scene managed to get its message across partly because of the background music.
Not a cliffhanger per se, but there is always that lingering effect when a new character is introduced in the last seconds of an episode, especially if she is a mood killer, like the religious kawaii lady that almost killed Adagaki-san. Was it fate? I guess we will learn in Episode 5.
Did you like Episode 4 of Masamune-kun’s Revenge? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic anime reviews for Winter 2017.
Official Website: http://masamune-tv.com/
Official Twitter: @masamune_tv