Winter 2014 Harem Hill, Week 9, Nisekoi Edition: Hatsukoi

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Can you guess who ends up falling in love with whom this week? I bet you can’t! Before we begin, I’m going to try something new this week. I want to split the posts up so that I don’t feel as though I have to write one giant post every weekend. Honestly, a series of smaller posts is just a whole lot easier for me to manage. After eight minutes of this week’s episode of Nisekoi, I had already written nearly 1,500 words. I had to stop and say to myself, “This is getting ridiculous.” So without further ado, here’s the write-up on Nisekoi

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• The episode starts off with Tsugumi reassembling a handgun at mach speed or something. I’m guessing this is supposed to impress the audience. Like wow, what a badass! As far as I’m concerned, however, she became a quivering blob of moe last week just because she found herself half-naked in front of a boy. So no, no amount of gun-assembling prowess is going to make up for that pathetic display.

• But try as she might, Tsugumi is forever haunted by those dreaded words: “That’s a big waste, since you’re so cute.” Just standard harem dynamics at work. Cross-dressing not befitting normative anime gender roles? Why, it’s just because she was an orphan who got taken in by the insensitive Claude (all pun intended), who couldn’t even tell that she was a girl. That’s why she’s all tomboyish and everything. It’s not because it’s a legitimate aspect of her character or anything like that! Thankfully, a simple remark from Raku is more than enough to reinforce the biotruths of Tsugumi’s undeniable femininity or some equally insipid garbage. Uguu, no one has ever called me cute before… this has completely flipped my world upside-down, which is sort of sad ’cause this implies my world wasn’t much to begin with.

• This is the sort of shit that harem anime considers to be comedy:

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Haha, what a kneeslapper.

• All the guys at school are like, “Finally, the girls can stop crooning over Tsugumi,” but the jokes on them! Like I’ve said last week, anime girls are always a hair’s breadth away from lesbianism. ‘Cause lulz, it’s hot!

• Hey, remember how in last week’s episode, Tsugumi claimed to have learned a valuable lesson from Raku? Gosh, lemme see if I can look up that exchange again… oh, here we go:

Raku reasons, “[Chitoge]‘s not such a wuss that she’ll be happy to sit tight while someone protects her, is she?” Hm, surprisingly progressive from a harem ani-… “Call yourself a man? Then be a rock for her, and watch over her!” Oh c’mon, what’s the fucking difference? Either way, you’re still being a condescending jackass who thinks a woman needs you to watch over her.

And what a great lesson it was to learn! We should allow others to fend for themselves instead of hovering over them all the time in a paternalistic manner!

Tsugumi: “Young Miss! Let me be the one to make that shopping run! I can’t allow you to take on such chores!”

Nope, haven’t learned a thing. Can’t even let a person do a few chores. Ironically, in protecting Chitoge like this, Tsugumi actually end up dehumanizing her. She’s basically saying, “Your ability to self-actualize and make your own decisions in life is not as important as how much that hard work might “taint” you…” But that’s the puzzling part. Why can’t Chitoge “take on such chores?” Because it’ll make her sweat? Because she’ll get tired? Because she’ll break a nail? Like what are we even protecting her from? The only answer that makes any sense is ‘life.’ There’s nothing gallant nor chivalrous about what Tsugumi’s doing. She’s effectively destroying the real Chitoge in order to preserve some ideal “Chitoge” that exists only within her mind, the kind that should never have to do chores lest it somehow “taints” her for good. Tsugumi wants to protect Chitoge from living her own life.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the anime is somehow critiquing Tsugumi or the archetype she represents. Oh no no no… Tsugumi represents an extreme end of the spectrum, for sure, but her actions are nevertheless respected. Her devotion is seen as some sort of pure, unconditional love that will somehow make up for the other areas of extreme deficiencies in her character. And then it all starts to come together. In life, you may not be very successful. You may not have the best job, the best physique, or even the best personality! But by golly, you can devote yourself completely to a woman, can’t you? You can certainly elevate her up onto that pedestal, can’t you? And as such, you can’t let her carry a few heavy bags of pet food all by her lonesome! I mean, how is she going to do her chores from way up there on her pedestal! It’s okay, though; you’ll be the knight-in-shining-armor that she never knew she needed. You’ll do all those “dirty” things for her.

• And in the end, Tsugumi’s “noble” sacrifice merely sets her up to have quality alone time with Raku, the bland harem lead. Aha, two birds with one stone.

• Likewise, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Chitoge is some helpless victim here:

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Tsugumi’s going to do my chores for me? Better take her out of her functional clothing and stick her in a skirt instead!

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‘Cause I mean, it’s not like there’s any middle ground between a boy’s school uniform and a skirt. Nope, nosiree. Jeans have yet to make their way to Japan’s shores. Slacks and skirts are all we’ve got.

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Uguu, my biotruths are showing, aren’t they?

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Bland harem lead approves!

• But what makes a girl like Tsugumi so appealing to Nisekoi‘s target audience are her imperfections. Case in point, all that walking around in high heels — and remember, Chitoge knew Tsugumi was going to do her chores for her but she still decided to stick her devoted friend in a skirt and heels — has given her a blister. She might be a tough, badass hitwoman who can reassemble a handgun in seven seconds, but our little-wittle girl can’t even walk around in her high heels like a proper woman! What a dork! I guess… I guess I’ll just have to swoop in and save the day again. Shit, you don’t even have to bother reading what I just wrote. Raku literally says the exact same shit I tried to mock him with:

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And so we get the classic piggyback ride that every tsunderekko must inevitably endure because BIOTRUTHS:

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Of course, Tsugumi initially screamed at the guy to put her down, but it was to no avail. It’s not like a hitwoman with a tiny blister on one of her feet could fight off a piggyback ride. Once you hop onto a harem lead’s bean sprout of a back, you’re on for life. That’s how serious piggyback rides are.

Again, just classic harem dynamics at work. The whole point of tsunderekkos or any sort of “powerful” character in a harem is to successively tear them down and bring them to a level below the main character. This preferably occurs when the tsunderekko suddenly realizes that those feelings deep within her is really ~tru3 ruv~ as the undefeatable hitwoman jumps onto the back of the worthless harem lead because she has a fucking blister on one of her feet. Welp, since we’re already here, we may as well assume the position:

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‘Cause bio-motherfuckin’-truths.

• Tsugumi reveals to Raku that Chitoge once spoke very highly of her first love. That lying bitch! Raku exclaims:

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So naturally, Raku asks, “Then what about your first love?” In response, Tsugumi insists that she’s abandoned being a woman! Abandoned it, she says! So here comes Raku’s counterargument: “If you’re the kind of person who can devote herself like that to someone, then I’ll bet you anything there’s someone out there who’ll fall in love with you.” Doki doki, I think it’s you, Raku! I think she loves you! Hurr hurr hurr.

• And of course, later that night, Tsugumi has trouble with her gun-assembling exercise. Hey, I’m just sayin’…

The whole point of tsunderekkos or any sort of “powerful” character in a harem is to successively tear them down and bring them to a level below the main character.

Now she can’t even put together a gun, let alone perform the task at mach speed. But it’s okay! Finding your first love more than makes up for it, especially if it’s a bland harem lead like Raku.

• So now every time Chitoge calls Raku her darling, Tsugumi has to faceplant into a nearby wall and blush profusely. Just biotruths at work. That’s all. But will she admit her feelings of ~tru3 ruv~ for Raku? Of course not, you silly goose! Haven’t I already told you? What makes a girl like Tsugumi so appealing to Nisekoi‘s target audience are her imperfections, i.e. she doesn’t even know what ~tru3 ruv~ is!

Tsugumi: “The thing is, I’ve been feeling strange lately. These physical changes seem to come about only under certain conditions, and they’re like nothing I’ve ever experienced before…”

Chitoge: “Oh really? What kind of changes?”

Tsugumi: “You see… My pulse starts racing only in front of a certain person… It feels like my heart’s being crushed, and my face grows hot, and whenever that person is around, I can’t even manage to speak right…”

Again, you get two birds with one stone, ’cause don’t forget, Chitoge’s a tsunderekko too. As a result, she too doesn’t understand what ~tru3 ruv~ is. Upon hearing Tsugumi’s “symptoms,” Chitoge hypothesizes that it must be some kind of mental disorder. In the end, she and Tsugumi are alike:

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• In any case, Tsugumi decides it might be a good idea to ask around and see if anyone else can shed light on her recent troubles. As you can see, Claude is no help…

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The guy is eating a bento box that has been made to resemble Chitoge’s face. Not only that, he keeps a picture of his ojousama in front of him so that he can stare at it while he eats her face… obviously, this guy has no clue what ~tru3 ruv~ is. He’s just a creepy freak.

• Next, Tsugumi decides to ask Shu, but he’s too self-aware — too meta — so he just ends up in a laughing fit while our poor tsunderekko stares at him with complete exasperation.

• Further inquiries reveal that other people at the school have no trouble recognizing that Tsugumi’s symptoms are the results of ~tru3 ruv~, but they don’t come out and say it for whatever reason. Tsugumi thus gets to remain as confused as ever. Anime’s just gotta anime, I guess. Somewhere out there, Nisekoi‘s target audience is giggling at these scenes as if they’re cute and precious.

• Finally, Tsugumi gets the answer she’s been looking for when she approaches both Kosaki and Ruri with her problems, but she quickly discovers that she doesn’t like what she hears one bit:

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But you know from the wacky sax number in the background that if Tsugumi would only look inside her heart, she’d know it to be true. She just doesn’t want to admit it because — doki doki — it’s so embarrassing. Big, bad hitwoman ends up falling in love with the bland harem lead? No way! Such a thing has never happened before in my anime!

• Oh how the mighty has fallen:

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The whole point of tsunderekkos or any sort of “powerful” character in a harem is to successively tear them down and bring them to a level below the main character.


• So anyway, Tsugumi confides in Chitoge what she’s learned. It is perhaps ~tru3 ruv~ after all. They then start talking about Chitoge’s first love. Y’know, the one from ten years ago that she now has no recollection of whatsoever. If you can’t remember something, it probably isn’t all that important. There are exceptions, but c’mon, I don’t think Chitoge is a suffering amnesiac. But silly me, I forget sometimes that I’m watching anime, where childhood promises are a billion times more legally binding than any written contract in the world. So even though Chitoge can’t remember a single thing about her first love, it’s nevertheless important and meaningful! And thus, Chitoge must stand there all slack-jawed and stunned as Tsugumi tells her ojousama all about that ne’er forgotten boy from days yonder. Now it’s her turn to have her world flipped upside-down. You can tell it’s serious because the song in the background is now being played by violins. Everyone knows violins are romantic.

• You’re right, Chitoge! What kind of loser would cling onto a childhood promise he made ten years ago?

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Oh. Right. Well, I mean, that’s his problem, not yours. So you’re still in the clear!

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What’s this? A diary full of your personal thoughts and feelings that you have somehow conveniently forgotten all about just like that promise you made ten years ago with some little boy? Of course that’s what it is. Duh. Let’s have a look inside!

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Wow, what a brave kid! I hope he grows up to be a hero or something, and not some worthless harem lead! Hey, wait a minute! The kid got a scar on his forehead as a result of that incident. Shit, I think I know who she made her childhood promise to!

harry fucking potter

Well, look who it is… if it isn’t another harem lead!

• You almost have to feel bad for the little boy in Chitoge’s diary if it wasn’t so plainly obvious that it is really Harry Potter Raku. As she reads to us the stories of her childhood love, all I can hear is how the little boy kept saving her life over and over and over and over. And yet, she still had the nerve to completely forget all about him! Then again, if my first love was Harry Potter Raku, I’d bury those memories deep down in the dark recesses of my brain too.

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• C’mon, Chitoge… do you really want to know the answer to this question? Do you really? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you…


• Alright, let’s wrap this post up so I can start working on the next one.

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11 Replies to “Winter 2014 Harem Hill, Week 9, Nisekoi Edition: Hatsukoi”

  1. Good news! I’m hearing that this show will most likely get a second season! I know you’re just as excited as I am! :D

  2. I laughed pretty hard all the way through. Damn, mate, this show just… Wow…
    The word of the day is “biotruths”! haha. Man this show is fucking awful. Makes for fun reviews, though

    Anyway, I’ve been holding back this whole time, but I might as well just spoil it for everyone:
    Raku falls in love with Chitoge but then falls for Gunbitch McBiotruths and then realizes how shitty all of the women in this anime have always been even since childhood and decides he’ll go gay instead.
    Everyone is agape and shocked, but then sakura petals float on screen and Raku is piggy-back carried away by some muscle guy, blushing and saying, “Now I can feel what they felt… At last…”

    Then Tsugumi snaps and shoots him, his boo, and everyone but Chitoge. The anime closes out with Tsugumi going all crazy eyed and zooms in on a quivering Chitoge blubbering in a pool of her friends’ blood.
    Fade to black.
    The End.

    It’s all true. My uncle works at…whatever studio made this garbage.

  3. Usually with these piggyback rides, the female lead’s boobs would rub against the protag’s back and this would cause both of them to go doki-doki along with red lines of embarrassment under the eyes. Is Tsugumi flat-chesto or is our bland male lead too naive to figure out that it’s her in cross-dress?

    1. Nisekoi’s seventh episode would suggest that she isn’t flat-chested. Maybe the male lead is just oblivious. Or Shaft managed to miss one of the many shitty tropes that they wanted to cram into a single episode.

  4. Hey, giving a girl a piggyback ride is awesome. It takes trust for her to be willing to do that, plus you get to show off your strength. It’s super awesome, in a sweet and semi-platonic-slash-potentially romantic way. Oink.

    But no, this show looks like ass. You have my sympathies for watching it. You must be a masochist, E-Minor. :( /hands cookie

    1. But no, this show looks like ass. You have my sympathies for watching it. You must be a masochist, E-Minor.

      Well, I don’t really hate the part where I write about the shows… sorta.

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