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Koi to Uso
On paper, the premise of Love and Lies would seem like a unique one that could have delved into the societal issues that arose from the Yukari System, where the Japanese government mandates arranged marriages between its populace to curb its decreased population. This issue is delved into with focus on Yukari Nejima, a young man who finally works up the resolve to admit his feelings to childhood crush Misaki Takasaki until he receives notification that he has been arranged a marital partner by the Japanese government. However, Yukari's marital partner, Ririna Sanada, has no interest in Yukari as a marriage partner and tries to mend relations between him and Misaki, the latter choosing to distance herself from Yukari upon learning of his arranged marriage. At the same time, Yukari and Ririna try to publicly maintain the mandated arrangement made for them by the government, as rejecting it has serious societal consequences.|
In spite of its rather unique premise though, Love and Lies mostly focuses on the love triangle between our main trio of Yukari, Misaki, and Ririna. While this typically wouldn't be so bad a case as romance anime has made some memorable lover triangles over the years, this isn't really the case for Love and Lies as the characters here are too shallow to give much of a hoot about in their romantic endeavors as Yukari's too milquetoast as out male lead and the two girls connected to him are not much better off. Worst off, the love triangle doesn't really go anywhere either as Yukari is too hesitant to make any major move, Misaki seems to be holding back on her feelings and doesn't have much to show as a character to get a read on her emotions, and Ririna is mostly focused on trying to hook up the two other characters (though her character does get some gradual development compared to Misaki and Yukari). The anime does devote some focus on the flaws of the Yukari System with the government pushing developments on the arranged couples they make, but this is largely window dressing in focus compared to the anime's focus on its shallow love triangle. These major issues are bad enough as such where the anime ends inconclusively in resolving how the three lead characters get around the Yukari System to get their ideal relationships.
Perhaps the only praise I could give the series is its artwork. Scenic shots are vast and highly detailed with vivid colors and the characters are drawn with realistic body proportions in mind, though female characters are drawn with the "big doe-eyed" character design style traditionally depicted in many anime titles.
Otherwise, Love and Lies is mostly quite messy as a romance anime. While its premise had potential to be an interesting piece of social commentary, this mostly played second fiddle to the rather pitiful love triangle that the series attempted to push as nothing went anywhere with it and the characters were mostly too shallow to care much for them. Fans of romance anime should definitely skip this one.
Last updated Thursday, December 27 2018. Created Thursday, December 27 2018.
Koi to Uso
(Seven-and-a-half episodes watched):|
Here was a show which had an intriguing premise, namely what do you do if the government decides who you will marry, and the one thing I knew was that there must be countless different directions the plot could go, all of them delicious. But having an intriguing premise is one thing, and being an intriguing, complete anime is something else. I felt that the love between Neji and Misaki seemed rather generic; the old 'I've known her since we were kids, so let's get married' spiel. It felt too good to be true--he hasn't dared say a word to her for five years, and suddenly he discovers that she feels pretty much the same way about him as he does about her. The characters were too shallow to get emotional about and to really want things to work out well for them (character designs were also rather simple with what seemed to me to be even larger than usual eyes). Still, this government arranged marriage business is interesting and I want to see what happens next, so I'll continue watching for now.
Episode two featured some cheap fanservice fluff to titillate male viewers. Although it could have been focused more sharply, imagine the situation you'd be in if your arranged wife and the girl you really like meet and hit it off and become good friends. Awkward, to say the least. But I wish the basic premise--that the government decides who you will marry--got more attention. You would think that this would be a pretty sensational issue, but the characters here don't seem to resent it all that much. They seem largely resigned to their fate and don't complain about injustice much. They are Japanese rather than Americans, of course. But I can't help feeling that this show is largely a conventional romance which uses this government arranged marriage business as nothing more than an excuse for a guy to wind up with a second-choice mate. He might just as well have lived in real life Japan but have been pressured by his parents to marry someone other than the girl he really loves. The notion of what life might be like in a high-tech arranged marriage system was what most intrigued me about this show, and as a result I'm disappointed that it is treated almost as an afterthought. It seems like a great waste of potential to me.
In episodes six and seven the basic premise of government arranged marriages does get more attention. But the whole thing still seems vague and unfocused. Just how much trouble would refusing to obey get you into? The teens weren't taking it all that seriously but we get a suggestion--that's all it can be called--that maybe the government is serious. But what really annoyed me was something very stupid that Neji did to his government chosen bride, because he was supposedly pretending to be amorous with her in order not to get them both in trouble. You have to tell her that you're only pretending in order for her to play along, but he didn't. It just felt like a cheap stunt to arouse simple minded viewers and left me feeling that I don't like Neji quite as much as I used to. It also left me thinking that maybe I ought to drop this show, which had once been one of my favorites of the season, from my viewing schedule. I have lost track of just how each of the three main characters feels for the other two. The plot seems like a lot of small problems that need to be solved instead of one big, basic one--again, 'unfocused' is the word. When I got to episode eight, I found that I could barely remember what had happened in the previous one. I had no sense of what the message behind this show was, and therefore couldn't care much how it would work out. I guess the basic problem was that an intriguing premise--government arranged marriage--is introduced, but not all that much is done with it. If a person who hadn't seen earlier episodes watched some later ones at random, he/she might easily never realize that there was anything different between the Japan where this story is taking place and the real world one at all.
Last updated Tuesday, September 19 2017. Created Monday, July 24 2017.