Ah, the classic love story. A shy, quiet girl of common birth falls in love with a prince, far above her reach. However, fate plays its part to bring these two together, though many troubles stand in their way. For instance, the jealous noblewoman, betrothed to the prince finds herself at odds with this common child who opposes the nobility. Spiteful and angry, she attempts to poison her nemesis’ love. However the nobleman and our common girl’s love for each other is too strong, and not only is the day saved but the heroine and prince are finally wed in happiness. The nobleman woman gets her just desserts and ends up destitute and dead.
Or should she? What was her deal, anyway? Was she really a rich bitch or was there more to this that a new perspective would uncover? That is where I’m a Villainous Daughter, so I’m Going to Keep the Last Boss comes in. While a technical isekai, this manga likes to play uniquely and so twists a few things on their head, including certain isekai tropes. Obviously, the story is about the jealous rival rather than the “protagonist” of the love story, who in finding out her fiance is actually in love with the protagonist and not her, finds herself suddenly remembering odd things she hadn’t before. Like, for instance, how this is all a game and because she’s played it to death in a previous life, she knows exactly how this story will play out…
Starting the year off right with two of my favorite types of stories: Romance and Representation! I’m a sucker for a fun, no major bummers or big drama, kinda romance where two people can comfortably get to know each other. This is also the perfect way to positively represent various issues and types of lives while being respectful to both, so it becomes a great way to experience another person’s perspective while also getting all those warm feelings about people in love. Love and empathy! Great combo.
Mousou Telepathy is a story that takes a look at what having a super power most consider cool would really be like of it came with no off button. Ayako Nakano is a student in high school who ever since she could remember has been able to see other people’s thoughts. However, after being called creepy by her mother when she was very little, she’s always kept this to herself. Unfortunately, this becomes harder to hide when a seemingly stoic popular boy in her class with a very overactive imagination falls madly in love with her, constantly thinking about her throughout the school day.
Given how it works within the romcom genre of anime, 3D Kanojo is an odd show to begin with. It eschews a number of tropes that make so many of the romantic plotlines in those series feel contrived and samey through how it approaches the awkwardness and insecurities of new romance, and in turn makes its characters feel surprisingly relatable. As we reach the midpoint of the season, however, things seem to have gotten a bit muddied in terms of some of the show’s strong track record out of the gate. While episodes 5 + 6 do have their fair share of heartfelt moments that get to the core of what makes this show so good (in my view), it definitely suffers in terms of a few pretty important story plotlines and character-building moments.
Quick note for any Just Because! viewers outside of America: Lucky for you, HiDive got ahold of this one because still at the point of this writing, Amazon has not translated the signs and text for this show along with the official subs. So if you’re watching this show, might want to head over to HiDive for those translated signs on the last episode given the incredibly important use of text messaging in this show. Us Americans will just be over here crying and raising a defiant fist against our Amazon overlords who will still not turn over the full rights to HiDive.
Well here we are, the end is near, we face the final curtain, and my friends, I’ll say it clear. I’ll state my case of which I’m certain… This was such a good anime. Since the first episode, I’ve been impressed with this show and I’m so happy that Just Because! never let me down. Of the shows that we’ve written about thus far as a group on this site, this one was probably my favorite to watch. And now we’re at the end. I guess if the previous episodes were the wind up, this would be the pitch… and then the aftermath. Though, to be less haughty for a sec, it’d probably be better just to call this the exam arc ‘cause hot damn is there a lot riding on these college entrance tests.
We initially pick up from where episode ten leaves off, with Komiya readmitting her feelings. However, we see that she tells Izumi not to give her an answer until he passes his test, stating it with the assurance that he will. He promises her he will with the same earnest and serious face I’ve come to love on this deadpan boy.
Hmm, yes, the “I’m very tired but I appreciate you as a person” look. Vintage.
The next day, Izumi fills in Souma about what’s going on with him and his exams while Souma in turn explains his relationship with Morikawa and his plans for the future. The standout moment here, however has to be when Izumi tells Souma to stay in touch with Morikawa, as it’ll get harder to message her if he waits too long. It’s thrown out so nonchalant but the meaning is easily picked up by Souma as Izumi alluding to how they fell out of touch, bringing us back to the beginning of the series and the lost friendship they thankfully were able to rekindle. It’s a nice touch to one of the last major bonding moments these two have with each other as we head towards the end. With a promise to stay in touch with Morikawa that also seems to be an affirmation to be there for Izumi as well, Souma then throws it back to Izumi, telling him to stay in touch with Natsume to which Izumi promises Souma that he’ll tell her everything when he passes his test. A lot riding on these exams, huh?
When I talked about some of the previous episodes of Just Because! serving as the climax for a first act of the show, I feel as though I inadvertently hit the nail on the head with regards to the shifts that episodes seven and eight set in place for what might be the last (or at least most central) major arc for the rest of the show’s season. There’s always been a focus on Eita in the show (and rightly so, considering he is set as the central character of the series from the outset), but for about the first half of the season, I felt as though Eita was mainly just playing a support role, and didn’t seem to have quite as active a role in the major plotlines. We knew, for instance, that Eita was quietly doing his best to pursue Natsume and support her, but we didn’t see anything quite as in-your-face as some of the antics surrounding Souma. The central focuses for the first six or so episodes largely gravitated towards Souma and the sort of love-parallelogram that encompassed him, Natsume, and Morikawa. Now that these threads have been resolved at least to a point, it feels like the stage has been set for us to see Eita’s own tangled web of infatuation sprawl out before us.
One of the more interesting shows that I had the pleasure of watching this year was one where I had only heard stories about, yet had never known why it was upheld as one of the more iconic visual novel adaptations and romance stories in anime. It’s not necessarily a popular story, but it’s an interesting one for varying reasons. One of those reasons being how White Album 2 portrayed adolescent romance quite differently from many anime of its kind. This isn’t really comparable to your Toradora‘s, Sakurasou‘s, or even OreGairu‘s in terms of a typical romance story; it’s sort of a mixture of those anime, but decides to go a different direction with its story and characters.