“Lies” We Tell Ourselves

March 25th, 2021 in Anime, General Reviews by

I will never understand the Japanese mind, especially in the anime way. It’s that a lot of shows I see tend to reinforce the idea that the government is going to take care of you, but it comes off as quite authoritarian. So, you have no say in how the government takes care of you. It’s good for society, but not necessarily for you. Despite this rather dour opening, we look at the dramedy of “Koi to Uso” (“Love and Lies”).

It is the slightly distant future (no more than 2030, but no time frame is set for us. Still no hoverboards). The government, doing what is best for itself and its citizenry, has established a broad program which might as well be called “Yenta”. (Look, we can discuss later this is NOT a Yiddish term for matchmaker, but we go with what we have). Children who have turned 16 years old are assigned by the government to a partner based on compatibility calculations, in order to increase the country’s birth rate. (“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…..”).

Those who do not follow the government rules of going with their assigned partner suffer severe penalties. Yukari Nejima (Mr. Upset Stomach) finally confesses his love to schoolmate and long-time crush Misaki Takasaki (his right-side maiden) and discovers she has liked him back. However, when he turns 16, he is assigned another girl, Lilina Sanada (his left-side maiden). Lilina is not that thrilled about being assigned, not merely to him, but at all, and is very willing to let Yukari be with Misaki so Lilina can learn what being in love is really like. The story follows the adventures of the teens as they try to relate with one another while keeping up appearances with the government. Oh, helping them along is Yukari’s pal, Yūsuke Nisaka (far left).

In one sense, it is a tad like “Nisekoi”, in that we are putting up pretenses, but it is far more dire than that. You see, just before they were hunted down (and I mean that. Yukari and Misaki were talking about things in a park at midnight and they were found!), he got an email on his phone that confirmed he would be with Misaki, but then it was overturned with the written statement from two bureaucratic wonks.

We see all the missteps and false starts and the complete misunderstanding about how this all works. There is a rather hilarious episode, where the government practically forces Yukari and Lilina to have sex, and it goes right off the tracks, but there is poignancy to the whole thing. Sometimes the government doesn’t know best and there seems to be no recourse to get out of this. Or is there?

It was a very odd series, in that this kind of intrusion seems to be OK (it’s not, but people seem powerless to fight against it) and reinforces that it is more important that society is happy. But it ain’t. The non-conclusion to the series indicates hope for a second season to be able to wrap this up, stick it to the man and have our true lovebirds joined at the end. But you feel for Lilina. She wants someone to love her, but she seems unable to return love or comprehend what it’s all about. Hey, welcome to the party, pal. It don’t get no easier as an adult!

Another strong candidate for binging, you can really feel the angst and anxiety as this foursome tries to put one over on everyone while pretending in the best and worse sense of the word. The desperation becomes more manifest as each day passes, and they are locked into an uncertain and potentially unwanted future.

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           7 (It’s the eyes. It’s always the eyes)
Plot                  8 (Holding its own)
Pacing              8 (Moves along in fits and starts)
Effectiveness   8 (Good use of confessions)
Conclusion       7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability     9 (A rough hand to play)

Overall            7 (A large degree of hopelessness)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Go ahead and kiss her.

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