*Warning* This rant contains some very opinionated and negative views on love based anime today. Readers Discretion is advised.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I am sick and tired of all these shallow, brain dead romantic comedies/harem anime that are being aired in Japan. I have nothing against romance anime or romantic comedies, some of the best anime I’ve seen have emerged from this genre. But, due to the sheer quantity of romantic comedies out there, a romantic comedy has to do something special to stand out. And quite frankly, this is simply not happening.
Let us look at some general pretence that makes a good romantic comedy.
-A DEEP central protagonist that has genuine, realistic reactions to whatever occurs around them.
The worst pitfall that can occur in this genre of anime is to have a main character that the viewer can “relate to”. What this really means is, the character has to have traits that can be applied to every viewer, which means that the main character is so lacking in character and actual personality that they become downright BORING.
I WANT a character that has severe shortcomings, I WANT a character who has REAL HOPES and REAL DREAMS, I WANT a character to suffer REAL hardships and react to them as a REAL person would. I DON’T want a character that is “perfect” or “typical”, that is somebody as interesting to watch as watching paint dry.
-Non-Archetypal love interests.
Yes we’ve seen the cute girl, the hyper girl, the smart girl, the rich girl, the sporty girl (by the way this can also apply to guys too) etc. But come on, is that really interesting now. The same formula for love interests in romantic anime has been in use for over 20 years, and it’s starting to get dull. Very, very few anime have had the guts to break this mould, and most of those have been runaway successes because of it. And if I see another love anime where the guy falls in love with a “perfect girl” or a complete doormat (ala Belldandy) I will scream.
I like a bit of hard drama thrown into my romantic anime personally. And most anime with a heavy focus in romance tends to have it. BUT, I am sick to death of the heaviest drama being the “Whoops I messed up and have two dates on the same day” formula. We’ve seen it done, its boring and yeah, who cares? Be more cautious jerk. We want REAL drama where people get hurt and bear the emotional scars for the length of the series. We want real conflict when the two girls find out that they both have dates on the same day, not 30 seconds of how could you and then kiss and make up. How long would it take for the two girls to trust the guy again? How will the two girls react to each other?
And the biggest disappointment of all is always the critical moment. The big confession. And the two same problems occur again and again.
1.) You know who he is going to end up with from episode 1, and its that same “perfect girl” or doormat mentioned in my previous point. How about a surprise choice, or maybe one of the other girls in the cast who has a *gasp* PERSONALITY! Oh no we can’t do that! No we, the studio want to tell you that you have to find only doormats or brain dead, physically perfect girls attractive! Oh SWEET JESUS!
2.) Okay, the character gets with the girl, and they live happily ever after. Hello! There ARE other cast members, usually more who have the same devoting admiration for the protagonist. Oh no, we don’t care; yeah we just want the story to end there. Let’s forget about the poor other girls who are completely heart broken and will fight tooth and nail to get the guy’s attention. What happens to them? Again, we want REAL DRAMA! I have restrained from using examples of other anime but I have to for this point. Kimagure Orange Road: I Want To Return To That Day is considered one of the best conclusions for a love anime ever. Do you know why? Because you found out what happened to the other girl! How did she feel? You actually freaking CARED!
Love anime is a genre, which is on a complete downward spiral in quality. Although the genre will never die, it could end up being even worse than the constant stream of mediocrity it is right now.