Early Impressions: Renai Boukun

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Three episodes in, I’m having flashbacks to 2013.

What I mean by the above statement is that, for a time, my choice in anime was along the lines of satiating my base interests. This is a vague way of saying I watched a lot of stupid romcoms that one would categorize as “The cancer of anime.” Series such as MM!Mayoi Neko Overrun!Asobi ni Iku yo!, and other series ending in exclamation points. While I know they’re bottom of the barrel, there are a number of series like these that hold a dear place in my heart, nostalgia playing a part of heightening the rampant stupidity. What does this have to do with Renai Boukun? It has that same vibe to it.

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This “vibe” wasn’t immediately present, as the first two episodes were something of a chore to sit through. Its debut ran through the introductory stages like a madman, leaving nothing out of the imagination in terms of unashamed fetishizing and appealing to base romantic affections. Like a rollercoaster without a safety bar running at hyperspeed, Renai Boukun seems to thrive on being spontaneous and rebellious. Coupled with some incredibly one-dimensional characters and a ridiculous plot that loopholes itself into cheesy, embarrassing situations, it has the potential of setting the brain ablaze.

Episode three seems to have latched onto my spirit and given me a feeling I haven’t felt in a very long time. Flashbacks of those stupid romcoms of years past began to show themselves around one of their kin. Renai Boukun has that sort of quality that almost makes fun of itself along with shows with such horrendous sexual bait as plot devices. Evidence of this exists in the first two episodes, though it wasn’t until episode three that the characters showed a tad more of their softer sides… or so I tell myself. Frankly, there’s so serious reason as to why it happened in episode three that I became accustomed to its tomfoolery. It happened suddenly, almost like the execution of the anime itself.

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Enjoying a series like this hinges upon a viewer’s expectations. It’s dumb. The premise tells you that. The cover art tells you that. Going into this expecting anything more than it being dumb and flaunting its ridiculous brand of humor would be dumb. As unusual as it sounds, there’s potential here—not so much that it’ll become a masterpiece among anime, but as a top-tier dumb show. The type of anime people with guilty pleasures (like me) will be able to look forward to to appeal to their inner interests, shrouded behind a glossy persona of staunch cynicism. Renai Boukun will never be anything more than a dumb show, and for what it’s worth, it’s perfectly aware of that. From this point on, maximizing the potential of its place among dumb shows should be the aim for its twisted aloofness.

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