First Impressions: Say ‘I Love You’

Manga adaptation of Sukitte Ii na yo by ZEXCS
Currently unlicensed.

Premise: After her friends betrayed her in a childhood incident, Mei Tachibana has spent most of her life as a silent loner, doing her best to interact with people as little as possible. However, that changes when the most popular boy in school takes an unexpected interest in her.

Dragonzigg’s Verdict: Don’t say it yet

It’s weird that this is airing in the same season as My Little Monster since they’re both based on pretty much the same central concept – cold, introverted girl is accidentally fallen for by charismatic guy. It’s a standard shojo manga story that’s been done hundreds of times, but what’s fascinating is how much these two shows contrast each other. Whereas My Little Monster seems to be a breezy, effusive comedy powered by Brains Base’s bright and colourful art, Say I Love You is a dark, heavy, almost cloying take on the subject.

That’s not to say that playing the cliches straight can’t be done well however, and Say I Love You executes superbly on them. Firstly, this is a fantastically produced show, one which offers beautiful, classically styled characters, smart background art and a moody soundtrack which fits perfectly with the slightly melancholic air.  The proceedings are treated with a seriousness and straightfowardness that’s refreshingly down-to-earth and though we’re not given too much time to learn these characters they still manage to make a strong impression.

Mei probably comes off the worst here, emerging as a fascinating mystery, but also perhaps as a slightly over-the-top example of the emo girl, sometimes straying dangerously close to parody. Leading man Yamato is great however, featherblown mullet and all. It’s a refreshing change to see a male lead who is smart enough to acknowledge  he’s a girl magnet yet also doesn’t throw himself at them, and his friendly yet slightly detached charm makes it easily believable that he’d turn down all the female attention for a shot at the mystery girl. Even his pervert friend Nakanishi is written smartly enough to make him more endearing than creepy, despite his antics.

In fact, I would argue the show is weakest when it tries to integrate the sort of goofy comedy that’s well outside its range, and the lapses into goofy cartoon gags are easily the weakest part of the episode and a annoying distraction from the otherwise great atmosphere. There’s also another forced kiss, which I get is a shojo manga trope by this point, but that doesn’t mean I have to feel comfortable about it. t’s difficult to say how this one will go – it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, as Life points out below, and there’s major potential for this one to go all sorts of places, be they misguided or just plain boring, but I have to say that this first episode was very strong and I’ll be back for more.

Lifesong’s Verdict: Kill Me Now

There is nothing to like about this protagonist unless you have a quite moody girl fetish; however, that is in fact the point as she is clearly a pair of shoes for a quiet moody audience… The music failed to back up her broody personality or the supposed charm of the hero; to call the atmosphere flat is to put it lightly.

This introduction was trope filled to the max, and really did nothing to sell me on it’s cast or characters, instead relying entirely on trying to appeal to my inner fragile teenage girl; which for the record does not exist. Maybe this is an enjoyable experience for a young teenage girl? I won’t pretend to know.

Marlin’s Verdict: Like a Poor Man’s(Woman’s?) Kimi ni Todoke

Honestly I didn’t hate this show. I think most of the things negatively affecting my views on it came because I watched the show with Life, who kinda accentuated all the negative aspects. However, its not really doing a whole lot of new things. Still, all the parallels really came in strong. Quiet girl who has a hard time making friends? Yup. Pretty boy who’s everybody’s friend develops a crush on her? Yup. At least Kazehaya had a better excuse for falling for the girl other than “She scorned me, must be love!” I’m also seeing some comparisons to this season’s My Little Monster, with confessions and forced kisses right off the bat.

I suppose to its credit it’s more taking the “I can’t trust anyone” approach to the protagonist as well as a more cynical world view as opposed to the lighthearted fluff-fest that was KnT or the goofy world that MLM inhabits. I can respect it for having a character a bit more grounded in realism, but I hope this isn’t a license for her to be mopey all the time, that would just become irritating. At the very least, I’ll probably give this show another episode’s worth to see how it pads out.

3 thoughts on “First Impressions: Say ‘I Love You’

  1. I like this anime. Side note, this is very similar to My Little Monster for sure in a variety of ways. It even has a rabbit’s death as a story device. :O

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