Yuuki KajiMikako KomatsuKouki UchiyamaNisekoi
Nisekoi season 1 OVAs
Also known as: False Love season 1 OVAs
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2014: N
Medium: OVA
Year: 2014
Director: Akiyuki Simbo, Naoyuki Tatsuwa
Original creator: Naoshi Komi
Actor: Kana Asumi, Kana Hanazawa, Kouki Uchiyama, Mikako Komatsu, Nao Toyama, Yuuki Kaji
Keywords: Nisekoi, anime, harem
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 3 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=16607
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 3 July 2015
It's more Nisekoi. I enjoyed them, although the third episode is wall-to-wall fanservice and a bit stupid to boot. They're also far sillier than the TV series had ever been, although that can be fun in itself.
There are three of these episodes, all released as DVDs bundled with one of the manga's tankoubon collections. They're like free gifts, basically, except that each book+DVD bundle costs 3400 yen. They're also all two stories in one, so I'm actually reviewing six half-length episodes.
Episode 1 (27 minutes, October 2014) shipped with vol.14 and adapted "Loss" (chapter 58, vol.7) and "Shrine Maiden" (chapter 64, vol.8)
Episode 2 (28 minutes, February 2015) shipped with vol.15 and adapted "Change" (chapter 65, vol.8) and "Work" (chapter 71, vol.8).
Episode 3 (23 minutes, April 2015) shipped with vol.17 and adapted "Bath House" (chapter 81, vol.10). There's also a second story, "Service", which I can't find in wikipedia's list of Nisekoi's manga chapters and so I'll be assuming that the anime production team made up some nonsense out of whole cloth for the fanboys to wank to.
1. "Loss" is a Ruri/Shuu story, which is pleasing. They're second-tier characters (or perhaps third-tier in Shuu's case), but they're entertaining and I was pleased to see them getting more time in the spotlight. Particularly amusing are Ruri's dumbstruck reactions (visualised as lightning bolts and fireballs) to Raku's dense questions.
That said, though, I'm not convinced by Ruri's acceptance of the argument for the status quo. It's a debate that probably had to happen, since it wouldn't make sense for Ruri to stay silent forever to Raku when she could clear all misunderstandings in a single sentence. I just don't think it's been satisfactorily answered. After all, we all know that the real reason for keeping schtum is because spilling the beans to either Raku or Kosaki would kill the franchise. They'd clamp on to each other and never let go. Bye bye, harem comedy.
2. "Shrine Maiden" has another spectacular reaction shot, this time an explosive nosebleed. Call me shallow if you like, but this show is a comedy and it has a real knack for reaction shots. Anyway, this is a silly story, in which Raku has been cursed by the ghosts of unpopular boys and so he's going to die if they aren't exorcised. That's what a white-haired old spiritualist says, anyway. She might just be a nutter. Anyway, the girls' exorcism techniques will include kissing him, hugging him and attaching a magic seal to his bare backside. I laughed, but boy, is this one daft.
It's also a funny idea, I think. If you knew an anime harem hero in real life, you might want to curse him too.
3. "Work" is a Marika episode. Again, it's silly. Marika is working part-time as a waitress, with her daft manager being a not-very-undercover drag queen. Why? No reason. He just is. Anyway, it would appear that Marika's so clumsy and incompetent (what? since when?) that you'll refuse to believe that she hasn't been sacked yet, despite the anime's attempt at answering this question.
It escalates amusingly, though. Lots of gangsters show up and Marika gets to be Marika. I do like her. She'd be a nightmare in real life and I think we can call her mentally unbalanced, but she's almost heartbreakingly sincere in her stalkerishness.
4. "Change" ...and the fanservice begins. It's only momentary, but whew. Near-nudity is sexier than the full monty, especially in animation. When Kosaki sobers up and remembers what she did, she'll DIE. Anyway, the gang all drop in on Raku for New Year and he gives them chocolates, only realising too late that they're alcoholic. Very alcoholic. Chocolates of this potency do not exist in the real world. Again, daft, but funny.
I enjoyed both of those OVA episodes. They can be ridiculous, but they had enough charm and comic timing to carry me over that. More problematic is the April 2015 episode, which is still funny but basically exists for the purposes of fanservice (in what until now had usually been a fanservice-light franchise). The contrived plot points don't help either.
5. "Bath House" is the one that's adapted from the manga. Everyone goes to a bathhouse and gets naked. What's more, they didn't go together. Someone even says, "What's with all these coincidences?" Raku tries to leave halfway through, only for the nice old granny at the front desk to ask him to step in as substitute manager, i.e. the mug who'll have to go in and sort out any customer problems. Even if they're in the girls' pool.
6. "Service" involves a hot spring and has the girls nude throughout. That's not the real problem, though. You'll laugh at what comes next. All the girls' possessions and clothes, wrapped into a big ball, fly through the air and land in the boys' pool. The only person in there is Raku. The girls now have two choices: (a) call out to ask him to give it back, or (b) sneak (naked) into the boys' area and try to steal back something as big as themselves without being noticed. What would you do? Hint: they do the other one. I was also surprised that Marika didn't just walk straight in there, waving hello, in order to give him an eyeful. Then there's the question of why Shuu isn't dead after falling off that mountain. (Maybe he is? I suppose we'll find out in season two.)
On the upside, though, the collage dolls in the end credits are weird and cool, while this episode also has the distinction of including series regulars we haven't met yet. It's set further ahead in the manga than we'd got in the twenty episodes of Nisekoi season one. Thus we meet Paula McCoy (another hitman) and Haru Onodera (Kosaki's little sister), although we're told nothing about Paula and in practice she's just another face in the crowd. Haru gets a proper introduction, though.
So that's that. Six episodes, some sillier than others. I liked two of them and even the third is still pretty funny. All are entertaining, but the stupidity in "Service" is bad enough to break the episode. You'll just sit there saying "no one would do that". I'm still positive and optimistic about this franchise, but I'm wondering if I'll think the show goes downhill in season two now it's permanently shifted to romantic harem antics. The status quo has set in stone and now only the end of the series will ever shatter it. The only permitted variable will be a shuffling of the harem composition (e.g. more girls). That said, though, it's still funny, I still like the characters and I'm assuming (perhaps over-optimistically) that a full season of the TV series will be more careful about avoiding silliness and stupidity. If they made more OVA episodes, I'd watch those happily too.