Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo—stylized as the far more catchy Oresuki—is an interesting show from the outset. On the surface, it’s a romance anime, but the truth of it goes much deeper. A self-aware parody of romance anime specifically targeting romcoms in many instances, you’d think it’d be a comedy, except it isn’t—it takes the mockery that it makes of those age-old stereotypes very seriously, even though it has the capacity to be funny a good chunk of the time. And yet further still, it’s not about the budding romance between the male and female protagonist, nor is it about the eventual crushes the other female characters develop for him. Instead, it’s about the relationship between the male protagonist, his friends, and most importantly of all, his best friend; and all throughout each of the story’s arcs, the show explores themes of twisted love, manipulation, inferiority and superiority complexes, selfishness, and even selfishness disguised as selflessness among many others. Now, before I get too ahead of myself here, I’m not about to completely lavish Oresuki with praise like I did with Re:Zero because, quite frankly, it’s not nearly at the same level. The show loses a lot of its steam during the second and third arc (of which there total four), mostly because it plays all its strongest cards in the first few episodes—which are fantastic—and can’t quite match that performance until the very end. If I had to pick a reason why that is, it’d be because those episodes are the setup for what happens at the end, but can’t really manage to hook you in by themselves; instead, the payoff comes much later using the character development and newly established relationships that are formed prior. Why is that, you might ask? Well, it’s because the true aim of the story I mentioned before—the relationship between the male protagonist and his best friend—is told almost entirely within the episodes at the beginning and the end, which is the part of the show that’s actually riveting. In fact, I would argue that the male protagonist’s best friend is easily the most well written character in the whole show. In general, the show has quite a lot to say, and there’s some hard-hitting moments and lines that caught me off guard. When all is said and done, what I liked the most was its ultimate angle; the idea that all along, the story was about the male protagonist’s love for his friends, even with the male protagonist himself going out of his way to make the audience believe that he’s little more than a scumbag wearing the mask of a generic pretty boy. Not only is the approach taken with it relatable, but the anime’s very nature as being a self-aware parody makes it cathartic. As I mentioned prior, the male protagonist has a bit of a dual personality, split between his self-proclaimed less-than agreeable “true nature” and the kind act that he puts on for others. We’re told at first this is for the sake of making himself appear desirable to others, but that turns out to be far from the whole truth, and overall the male protagonist ends up being a very interesting and relatable character, even if not the most likable and occasionally a bit irritating. The other characters are interesting too, the aforementioned best friend of our main protagonist foremost among them. Besides him, though, the other characters are also well written and manage to win you over despite being portrayed in a rather negative light early on. Redemption and forgiveness are two more themes the show explores, and it’s almost funny how ultimately simple the answer is to some of the problems the main cast faces during some of the arcs. But honestly, I’m playing a lot of it up; Oresuki is a really interesting self-aware romcom parody with a really well done beginning and end that struggles during its somewhat slow midsection, and while it definitely isn’t perfect and can be a bit confusing or overdone at times, it’s a solidly good show that’s worth your time. Other small things; the OST is good and the opening song was surprisingly catchy and fun to listen to, and I liked the art style, but do be warned of the rather predictably boring recap episode before the beginning of the final arc. And speaking of the final arc, the ending is a bit confusing in its presentation; the final episode seems to be a cliffhanger at first, except that the hour and ten-minute long OVA is the actual conclusion of the show and you are required to watch it in order to get the full story. On the bright side, that fact gives the ending a good sense of finality and means there’s more show for you to watch then there’d normally be, so I didn’t mind it; it was a smart way for the writers to scrounge up the time necessary to properly wrap things up. If it sounds interesting to you, definitely go check this one out.

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