I dub 2015 the Year of Romance, both in anime, and in my own life. There weren’t an abnormal amount of romantic shows through the seasons, but there was a notable addition to the genre with Ore Monogatari!!, an unconventional story in quite a few ways from its characters to its early successes. The anime fulfilled almost all of the wishes I hold for romance stories, ones that tend to end up unfulfilled or on an open ending.
It’s immediately apparent from just the promo art that Gouda Takeo is much different from the standard shoujo protagonist–which is almost always a young female with an attractive appearance. The worst you might get is one who considers herself plain, but that never gets in the way of her eventually making friends and finding a love interest. Takeo has a number of people who already consider him a friend, but the vast majority of them are males. They admire him for his character, physique, and general “manliness.” Girls, on the other hand, shy away from his large frame and “ugly” face. They do so at the cost of getting to actually know him; if they did, I’m sure they would realize what a treasure Takeo is.
And here is where the story begins: an unlikely encounter with the most feminine of girls and an even more unlikely kindling of attraction. While Takeo has experienced many crushes, he has also met with an equal number of walls. The usual disinterest makes him oblivious to romantic intentions aimed his way by Yamato Rinko. She sees Takeo completely, the inside and out, and appropriately falls for him. Actually seeing them come together as a couple and successfully maintain a relationship through any misunderstanding because of their mutual trust and communication was extremely satisfying.
Then there’s Sunakawa Makoto, Takeo’s best friend and arguably part of the best relationship portrayed in Ore Monogatari!! One of the first assumptions I had about the anime was that Suna would form part of a love triangle. As if to play along with that expectation, the show inserts Takeo’s misunderstanding of Yamato’s advances as aimed at Suna. In past cases he would have been correct, but here he is comically proven wrong. Suna shows time and time again his care and thought for his friendships – sometimes going too far and putting others’ needs before his own. One of my favorite Suna moments was during the hospital scare with his father. The surgery was set for the same date as Yamato’s birthday with Takeo, and Suna pushes his best friend to share the day with her. But as true friends would, they cut short their plans to stay by Suna’s side in a motion of solidarity. My respect for all three characters grew tenfold.
My own good fortune of meeting my fiancé and now planning our wedding has turned me into a dreamy, excited, and nervous mess. I feel like I’m experiencing my first love anew, only this time with all the good cards in hand. Seeing the love shared by Takeo and Yamato while in my own relationship inspired me to always be hopeful and communicative, yet true to myself. It may sound cheesy when I say you can’t find happiness in life in someone else. Once you first find your own path, stumbling across that special someone who can face forward by your side will strengthen your already firm foundation.