Akane-iro, through Ep. 3

This isn’t exactly an overall review, nor is it an episode review. It’s just some random thoughts that started stringing together as I was typing a response to Owen’s comment

I’ve watched through episode 3 now, and I just can’t make up my mind. The writing and dialog was great– up until Juunichi and Katagiri(technically, I should be calling her Yuuhi) actually met as the betrothed couple — and since then the show has been at its best when the focus is not on the main couple. Compared to the first episode, the 2nd and 3rd have been a bit disappointing for that reason.

Ok, here’s the structure of the series, which includes some serious spoilers, so it’s below the fold.

Juunichi and Minato Nagase are siblings, living alone. Their parents are secret agents, off living the exciting James Bond lifestyle, and occasionally calling in to check on them — usually from inside a trap, or a firefight. At some point prior to the beginning of the series, the elder Nagase-sama met the elder Katagiri-sama. The Katagiri’s are very traditional, and the women are put into arranged marriages, because the men will inherit a share (or possibly all) of the family fortune, so they are very careful in selecting the potential heir. Nagase-sama impressed Katagiri-sama as “a formidable man” and upon discovering that Nagase-sama had a son the same age as his daughter, they agreed to a betrothal. Katagiri-sama returned home, and informed Yuuhi of the arrangement, much to her dismay. Seems he hadn’t noticed he was raising a modern girl who didn’t like the idea of arranged marriages. She demands the right to go meet and see him for herself; in fact she insists on living with her fiancé to see what he’s like. Katagiri-sama agrees, but tells her not to bother coming back and saying she doesn’t approve of him; it’s already decided.

Meanwhile, Nagase-sama is a bit busy, and neglects to call Juunichi and tell him he has a cute, rich fiancé. So, Yuuhi first goes to the town Juunichi lives in, gets a hotel room, and makes arrangements to enter the same school. Then she decides to take a walk for some reason…cue the opening scene and first encounter between the two not-lovebirds. Yuuhi has no idea the “Geno Killer” is her fiancé and Juunichi has no idea he’s even affianced. The first episode plays out against this backdrop, although we don’t get the details until the second episode. Meanwhile, a mischievous redhead is spying on them both and sending reports back via an unusual looking radio…it’s a glowing bauble.

It’s got some elements I like, but the problem is, the central couple of Yuuhi and Juunichi just isn’t quite clicking for me. It’s just too obvious that they actually are at least somewhat attracted to each other, but anytime it looks like they might start getting closer, something happens and Yuuhi goes berserk. Or she just goes berserk for no good reason. Dere-dere one instant, yandere the next. Well, no good reason except her real problem is she hates the idea of an arranged marriage. She wants to find a reason to hate him.

He’s a nice enough guy but finds the whole thing annoying and stupid and aggravating and (the violence starts about here). They’re both trying to keep anyone else from knowing about the betrothal, or that she’s living with him. Unfortunately, their own actions are slowly giving the others clues, which they’re gleefully misinterpreting to mean the two are serious about each other. Which they are, if you mean, “seriously want to strangle each other.”

Given how cliché that is, the humor is actually coming from the secondary characters, with a few other bits of interest thrown in. There’s usually one or two action scenes involving the senior Nagase’s, and the mom is definitely stacked– she’s the most fanservicey thing about the show, despite its ero-game origin. Juunichi’s friends invariably cause their own sort of chaos, the school student president is now getting into the mix — seems she considers Juunichi her henchman for the serious work that can’t be entrusted to the council, and then there’s their teacher, who is a handsome blithering idiot that I hereby dub “Sensei CO” (as in “carbon monoxide”) for the rest of the series. You just have to see it… an utter, WTF WAS HE THINKING???? moment. He’s working on his beloved motorcycle, revving up the engine to a fine roar, and producing tons of smoke — inside his apartment!!! The nice, pretty landlady evicted him… with an iron skillet. Ow.

I still plan to follow only two series, but it feels like I have about five on the bubble right now…and this is one of them.

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