The winter season of 2018 has provided me with not one, but two anime adapted from manga I had started reading long beforehand. I can’t even remember if that’s ever happened to me once. Hell, I didn’t realize Takagi-san was going to have an anime adaptation until a week before its premiere! I could look forward to two anime I was guaranteed to enjoy because I like the source material. Nothing could go wrong!
Unfortunately, the warning signs were present. I chose to ignore them—signs that spelled doom for one of these series. I made it fourteen minutes through the first episode and decided to spare it the mercy of being labeled “dropped” on my MAL and just erased it from my list entirely. I was that bored with it; despite being fond of the manga, I couldn’t stand to see it in animated form. Care to take a guess at which of these two series (whose manga art is listed above) I’m referring to?
If you guessed Karakai Jouzou no Takagi-san, you would be correct.
So what happened? Why was I so excited to see it animated just to “drop” it after fourteen measly minutes? Note back to the “warning signs” labeled earlier, pushed aside until now for further dramatic effect. The truth behind the matter is that, seventy-two chapters in, I’m starting to grow tired of Takagi-san’s shtick. For those who have embarked on the journey of Takagi-san’s anime expedition, allow me, as someone who is up to date on the manga, spoil you on an unconscious thought you may have had watching the first episode: yes, this is likely what’s going to happen for the entire series. Because, seventy-two chapters in, Nishikata is still trying to find his first victory against Takagi. He’s still a stubborn lad who refuses to acknowledge his feelings for her or the fact that he enjoys her company. And Takagi still teases him to no end, with only slight hints at her affection for him.
With that context in mind, could I see myself wanting to go through all those moments again, seeing as the charm of the series’s innocence has already been dulled by prolonged repetition? Nope. Lesson learned: some things you just wanna see once.
Flip the focus to Koi wa Ameagari no You ni, whose first episode was as splendidly grounded (outside of stiff animation) as I imagined it while reading the manga. It had all the potential for quiet introspection and self-confidence that I would expect from a series more focused on character development and an overall story. Despite already half-knowing the events that are to come, everything still feels fresh in animated form, as the type of imagery the manga tries to incorporate can only go so far in still images. Koi was a series I had long anticipated watching in animated form because it was just on the cusp of artsy-fartsy flavor that makes the series’s predictable ventures more tolerable. Of course, the idea behind a teenager being in love with a middle-aged man certainly isn’t the norm within the anime mainstream.
In a sort of “Layman’s term” nutshell of this entire post, I don’t like re-absorbing “Flavor of the Day” type stories. It’s soup every day, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The flavor varies by meal, but in the end, it’s still just soup. I want some god damn chicken sometimes. Takagi-san is this type of story, with every chapter (or episode in this case) being a different way to frame Takagi’s schemes to tease Nishikata and subtly drop hints at her infatuation with him (or vice versa). Another example of this is Tonari no Seki-kun, whose manga I recently dropped after having it on-hold for over a year because I was tired of its soup. I imagine its anime adaptation is the same way. Koi has an actual story to it, which develops at a pace that leaves one guessing at what will happen next, rather than knowing a fuller extent, but not the precise details. Those are the types of things I can revisit.
No Tease No Life.