iSugio

Oreshura – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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Eita enters high school aiming for the National University School of Medicine. Because of his parents’ divorce—and his goal—he shuns anything to do with romance or love. One day, Masuzu, the school beauty with the silver hair who has just returned to the country, enters his life in a most unexpected way. Chiwa, his childhood friend since elementary school, will not let this go without a fight.

Stemming from the light novel and manga series by author Yuji Yuji, Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru’s title literally translates to “My Girlfriend and Childhood Friend Fight Too Much”, an intriguing description that will surely pique the interests of many viewers as to what it actually entails. But as a title that can be classified as falling into the often uninspiring romantic comedy genre, OreShura is a series that starts out on a rather promising note considering that it initially offers a tale surrounding suppressed emotions that derive from a legitimate philosophical stance practiced by protagonists Eita and Masuzu. This practice sees them promising never to fall in love, both viewing such an act as simply an unnecessary obstacle that hurts those around them. But for all the refreshing qualities that OreShura showcases, it does not quite reach the emotional level as one would hope for.

From the outset, OreShura does look like a series that is trying to be different though, attempting to invert the entire romantic comedy genre by subscribing to a premise of “anti-love” by its two central characters. With both Eita and Masuzu sharing a dislike for romance, the two embark on a shallow relationship that is merely viewed as conforming to the social pressures that surround them. Masuzu simply wants to have a boyfriend so that other males will stop gawking at her, with Eita really getting sucked into the whole ordeal without much say. Of course, Eita has his own reasoning for not wanting to fall in love, with the two developing a strange, but plausible connection. If the series just focused on these two individuals, OreShura would have offered a refreshing take how love can be interpreted, but it unfortunately introduces a whole slew of other characters that simply bog the series down, ultimately transforming it from being a romantic comedy to that of another uneventful harem series.

It obviously does not take a rocket scientist to conclude that Masuzu and Eita start to develop true feelings for one another as the series proceeds, but the narrative never truly seems to want to focus on the development of these two characters and their relationship in a manner that genuinely questions their stance on being anti-love. Instead we receive a myriad of female characters that all eventually like Eita as well, in turn forcing him in due course to have to select the one that he truly loves. One can see the potential of the series reaching considerable heights if only they focused solely on Masuzu and Eita as two seemingly opposite characters who slowly break down each other’s emotional barriers, helping one another to grow into individuals who can in fact love. It would have been nice to see this take place, but the series continually resorts to tired motifs that go against the strength of the series’ first several episodes. Whereas the narrative of the series started out showcasing the peculiar relationship shared between two characters, we soon find ourselves enveloped in mediocrity as banality the norm.

Coinciding with this unfortunate approach, the female characters all increasingly become harem stereotypes as the series progresses. They each stand out like a sore thumb, whether this is seen in the shy Himeka, the tsundere-like Ai, or the tomboy Chiwa, each of the girls show very little if any originality or distinction as convincing characters. The only really saving grace here is Masuzu, a character that remains a focal point in Eita’s life as his technical, current “girlfriend”. Even then, Masuzu’s presence is largely reduced throughout the series as the narrative struggles to keep up with all the the characters vying for Eita’s attention. As for Eita, we at first see that due to his parents’ divorce and subsequent abandonment of him that he never wants to hurt others through the act of loving. But throughout the series we slowly see him play around with practically all the hearts of the female characters, never having the courage to simply tell them he does not like them so they can stop bickering over if he does so or not. It is actually kind of cruel when you think about it, considering that for a majority of the show Eita knows that every girl likes him – it simply can not be avoided given that they constantly remind him every opportunity they get. He is rather oblivious to the entire matter, going against he own code of ethics in order to appease them.

While the premise of anti-love makes OreShura an appealing series to say the least, it just does not do enough with that premise to really stand out on its own. It is like the series just gives up attempting to be a reasonable examination on the particulars of romantic relationships, instead wanting to focus more on the female characters and their attention getting schemes to get Eita to like them. This approach does work at times, but we have all probably seen such an approach done before and much better than what is shown here. It it unfortunate – and largely regrettable – to see OreShura turn into yet another harem series devoid of much originality, but then again, most of the series that derive from this genre do start out relatively well before they stumble. In the end, OreShura is a series that had significant promise that sadly befell to the hackneyed tropes that removed much of what made the series engaging in the first place.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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