Mitsuyoshi Tada encounters a strange young foreigner not just once, but several times, while on a quiet outing to take some photographs. The young woman, Teresa Wagner, is a massive fan of a historical drama called Rainbow Shogun, and bases all her knowledge of Japan on this one fictional show. After a few more chance encounters than is strictly reasonable, Tada brings her back to his grandfather’s coffee shop to keep her from getting into any more mischief until her travelling companion can come and pick her up. Not long after they finally part ways Tada discovers that she will actually be staying in the hotel next door for the foreseeable future. What are the odds? Life isn’t going to be peaceful for Tada for much longer…
This was one downright charming premiere! Tada Never Falls In Love is a new original anime from the staff and studio that brought you the anime adaptation of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, and it is apparent that a lot of what made that anime so great has also been applied here.
Right from the outset this is a beautiful production. The artwork is aesthetically pleasing, the character designs have a life to them and don’t suffer from being generic, and the animation is fluid without noticeable errors. The backgrounds are a particular highlight; the episode opens with plenty of beautiful establishing shots of the city that are brought to life with a rich colour palette. The animators haven’t skimped on the detail in the crowd shots either. In several scenes I was pleased to see that even the background characters had their own unique reactions to the events going on around them, rather than staying static. It was a nice detail and made each scene feel more lived in. If Doga Kobo can keep up their usual level of quality throughout this production then we’re in for a real treat.
Despite the fact that not much happens narratively in this episode, Tada Never Falls In Love more than makes up for that by giving us time to get to know its wacky, loveable cast of characters. Tada is easily the most ordinary of the main cast, giving the rest of them a straight man foil to play off against. We haven’t learned a huge amount about him so far other than the fact that he’s a photographer who lives with his family at the coffee shop and has a big fat cat with a blog, so I’ll be interested to see more of his personality going forward.
One of the characters who Tada has the most chemistry with is Teresa, the tourist who sets the whole story in motion. I can see why people wouldn’t like her, because she’s a bit of a manic pixie dream girl, but in my opinion her shtick doesn’t go overboard and I found her pretty funny. She’s obsessed with an old historical drama called Rainbow Shogun (after watching this episode I can see why) and wholeheartedly believes that it is an accurate representation of Japanese culture, which leads to some hilarious misunderstandings. Her love for Rainbow Shogun is so great that she even used the show to learn Japanese, which you can tell from her overly polite manner and archaic use of language. I think that Hidive did a great job of getting her different speech patterns across in the official subtitles.
My absolute favourite character to be introduced so far has to be Ijuuin. To go back to the Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun comparison, imagine Mikoshiba with all of the self confidence of Maeno. You’re looking at Ijuuin! He is the world’s flashiest, over the top, self obsessed little guy, and I love him dearly. A friend of Tada’s, Ijuuin is a playboy who’s obsessed with his own reflection: he doesn’t even mind having a black eye so long as someone tells him that it actually just makes him look like a cute panda and therefore the ladies will totally love him. Well, one lady will always love Ijuuin, and that lady is me.
On top of everything else, Tada Never Falls In Love shows a great understanding of what makes a successful comedy. Obviously that’s a very subjective thing, but in my experience pretty much all of the jokes worked really well for me. My absolute favourite recurring joke was the inclusion of clips from Rainbow Shogun, the historical action drama about social reform. The titular shogun dispatches his enemies with great one liners like “The colour of rainbow is rainbow! Meet your maker!” and looks out for damsels in distress. He is an upstanding man who urges us to always make our hearts rainbow, and you know what, I will carry that advice with me from this day on. I would definitely watch a series of shorts based on Rainbow Shogun, so I hope that they continue to include him as the series continues. I can see why Teresa was so inspired.
You can never tell what you’re going to get with an original anime, but that’s part of the fun, and I think that Tada Never Falls In Love is well worth giving a chance. This was actually one of my favourite premieres of the season so far. If you liked Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun or you’re a fan of romantic comedies then I don’t think you can go wrong by giving this at least half an hour of your time.
- Every scene that includes a reference to Rainbow Shogun
- Every scene that included a cat, especially Big Nyanko and his cool blog
- Ijuuin’s incredible entrance scene
- Those who find manic pixie dream girls particularly grating may find Teresa hard to stomach