Masamune-kun's Revenge

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Masamune-kun's Revenge

Post by Sour Puss on Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:36 pm

The basic premise for this manga-based series sounds like something ripped out of a teen melodrama. A pudgy boy who was cruelly rejected several years earlier has remade himself into a total hottie, and now he seeks to use his good looks to get the girl who dumped him to fall in love so he can dump her, thus getting his ultimate revenge. In this case, it's being presented largely as a romantic comedy, which puts it in stark contrast with Scum's Wish, a series airing on the same day that takes a dramatically different look at unhealthy teen relationships. Taking the romantic comedy bent may be more appropriate for Masamune-kun's Revenge, because if you can't laugh off some of what's going on here, you'll be left dealing with some pretty unpleasant individuals.

That threatens to be this series' biggest problem from the get-go. Masamune Makabe seems like a decent guy at times, with episode 3 in particular reinforcing that niceness is probably his default nature, but he's gotten so wrapped up in his revenge scheme that he crosses over into “secretly manipulative narcissist” too. He seems like he'd be much happier giving up on this plot and being a genuinely good guy rather than using niceness as a cover, but he just can't let his long-standing anger go. He's also developed an unhealthy cynicism about human nature at a teenage level – in particular, about how the “hottie” can get away with just about anything – which is borne out so clearly in the way his fellow students admire or swoon over him that it seems more like social commentary than a familiar anime joke. (Anime rarely puts us fully inside the head of characters who get this kind of attention.)

Throughout the following three episodes we know considerably less about Aki and what makes her tick; has she just gotten so annoyed with unwanted attention over the years that she's gotten testy about it, or is she just that arrogant and unpleasant by nature? She's definitely got a story of some kind, as a scene where Masamune talks to her about the origins of her heavy-eating habit is so infuriatingly cut off that it has to be a major plot point, but so far the hints presented are maddeningly inconsistent. Episode 3 seems to suggest that she may have been taking a “tough love” approach with Masamune in earlier years, but if so, then why the supremely ugly nickname? Some other aspects of her character seem inconsistent too, such as how she has no problem curtly rejecting boys most of the time but gets flustered enough by the male otaku who wants to take her picture in episode 3 that she uses Masamune as cover. While episode 3 is softening her up as well, the series has a ways to go to make her likable.
What saves the series is its supporting characters. Kujoro is pure comedy relief as Masamune's spacey friend/classmate, who's so girly that jokes about where he would stand in a BL power dynamic are made regularly, while Tae makes for a cheery and highly likable presence as a class rep who may be sweet on Masamune. However, the shocking true supporting gold comes from Yoshino, Aki's personal servant. The series gives no indication that she's anything other than an unglamorous stock servant character until late in episode 2, and her real nature comes out a bit more in episode 3. Beyond that placid, expressionless look lurks the heart of a devil. She claims that she wants to take Aki down a peg for her own good, but I'm not buying that; you wouldn't play a cruel joke on your master like convincing her that a cosplay outfit is proper attire for a first date if that's all you intended. It will be interesting to see how long things go on before Aki and Masamune both realize that she's messing with them.

The presence of some decent story hooks is good because the artistry isn't impressing too much at this point. It's not bad, but definitely not all that sharp either. Both Masamune and Aki have been shown in their skivvies by the end of episode 3, so the light use of fanservice cuts both ways, even though this feels like a decidedly more male-targeted show. A jaunty musical score tries its hardest to play up the comedy side, with mixed results.
So far, my opinion of the series ranges up and down. I liked episode 1, but I had a much more negative reaction to episode 2. Episode 3 is a nice recovery (even if it also moves the story in a more anime-typical direction), giving me more confidence that there may be something here worth watching after all.
Sour Puss

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