For the past four days, I’ve been watching the dumbest anime ever. The story can be described as: “A girl who falls in love with an asshole and then has to live with him while bearing the burden of her unrequited love.” It’s simply the absolute worst. Thankfully, I finished the 25th and final episode this weekend.
I’m a sucker for teenage love stories. Especially ones where a beautiful, but underrated high school girl bags the most popular guy in school, regardless of whether or not he’s an asshole. I may even gravitate to the stories about assholes. Ugh.
I picked this show on Hulu after reading a brief description along the lines of, ” girl confesses her love and gets rejected.” As long that was the opening plot and not the ending, I figured it could be good. When I started watching this particular story play out, I was disgusted. It was a tale of unrequited love! The guy didn’t come crawling back to the girl who had rejected her, he taunted her episode after episode. I couldn’t stop watching.
After the girl courageously attempts to nab Naoki, the guy of her heart’s desire, he proceeds to say that he “doesn’t like stupid girls.” I said, “What!” and proceeded to wait for his beating. Unfortunately, it never came, but at least our heroine, Kotoko, has a friend who wants to fight for her honor. For a while, nothing more happens, and then suddenly, Kotoko and her father’s house crumbles to the ground and she moves in with…Naoki’s family. More bullshit ensues.
Naoki is polite – if you can call a stuck-up prick polite – and simply tells Kotoko to never talk to him at school. This might have worked if Kotoko and her friends didn’t need Naoki’s help graduating high school, and if they didn’t live together and thus, occasionally cross paths. The two bump into each other more times than Naoki can bear and he often belittles her publicly to make a point – he’s not interested in little Kotoko. What’s worse is when Kotoko tries to get over Naoki and he kisses her, classic manipulator style. And does she punch him in the nuts? No, she just sits there dazed, just like he wanted. They graduate, go to college together, and everything’s mostly the same. Kotoko’s still madly in love with Naoki, and Naoki has only admitted that she makes his life challenging.
Kotoko’s next opportunity for redemption comes when Naoki agrees to marry an aristocrat’s daughter to secure his father’s company. Kotoko’s dad is all like, “Yeah, we should probably move out so you don’t have to watch this shit go down and be miserable,” and Kotoko just sobs and agrees. I almost forgot to mention that around the same time, Kotoko’s friend from high school proposes to her, too. This is important because she has a chance to be in a loving relationship, just not with the guy she loves. Womp womp.
By this time I’m really into the story. It looks like Kotoko’s gonna give Naoki hell. Finally! She’s gonna either leave him to his boring life or make him care more than he ever intended. Also, it’s the first anime I’ve watched that plays life after high school graduation in slow motion.
Kotoko’s walking in the rain, obviously bearing the weight of the mess that is her life, when Naoki approaches her. He’s come to tell her not to fall in love with anyone else but him. What a selfish, fucking bastard.
But wait! He’s also decided he wants to marry her?! That was quite the development. The two go home and Naoki announces he plans to marry Kotoko after medical school and ditch the aristocrat’s daughter. Whoa. It took me a while to process the sudden change. I still wasn’t ready when an episode and a half later Naoki’s meddling mother speeds up the wedding timeline and gets the pair to exchange vows mid-medical school.
So now they’re legit married, and I’m flabbergasted because I can’t decide if it’s a happy ending or not. Is it masochistic of Kotoko to so easily commit to a man who ridiculed her over years of unrequited love? Or is it a super win that her dedication landed her the man of her dreams? I didn’t know, so I had to keep watching. My real question was, did Naoki even love Kotoko, fa real?
Luckily, the plot proceeded through their married life, and Naoki had to prove his love more than once. It only took like two more episodes for Kotoko to leave Naoki because another man learned how to appreciate her while Naoki was busy being a cold, self-absorbed prick. I tell you all this detail because this is the meat of what makes the story interesting. I was really dying to know if the author could turn this into a legitimate love story. (Spoiler: kind of.)
Eventually, it appears that Naoki is getting in touch with his emotions. He publicly proclaims that he loves Kotoko because he can “be himself” with her. I would’ve said “Awww” if it still wasn’t so selfish. The couple survives their first post-wedding snafoo, and Kotoko follows Naoki into the medical profession. He’s going to become a doctor, so she’s going to become a nurse! Insert facepalm.
One bit of joy I get out of watching Kotoko continue to chase Naoki is that she’s pretty determined. She’s a terrible student, but he motivates her to get into nursing school, and later to pass her exam. I would much rather she motivated herself, but I guess she’s a winner nonetheless. Over time, Naoki also begins to appreciate this virtue in his wife and brags about her more than he berates her. He starts becoming more attentive, and “showing up.” You know, how he should have all along. And eventually, they have a baby girl.
At this point, I’m exhausted and happy to see that the story’s run its course. I cheer lightly when Naoki acts like a sensible man, and groan at Kotoko’s attempts to please him. I both envy her and hope I end up nothing like her. I hope I can land the man of my dreams, but he also better be ready. Who has time to make someone love them?