Having included Oresuki in the Season Preview, I already knew what the show’s hook was going to be. Even so, I really enjoy the bait and switch that it pulls in its premiere. Amatsuyu “Joro” Kisragi (Daiki Yamashita) acts as your everyday romance anime protagonist, hoping to earn the affection of either the student council president, Sakura “Cosmos” Akino (Sachika Misawa), or his childhood friend, Aoi “Himawari” Hinata (Haruka Shiraishi). Fortunately for him, the two dates of his dream happen. Unfortunately for him, it turns out both girls asked him out to reveal that they’re in love with his best friend, “Sun-chan” (Yuma Uchida) and just want his help with getting the boy they actually have their eyes on. Dejected, Joro shifts into his actual personality – a cynical and bitter schemer – and decides he’ll help them both just so that he can maybe still date the loser.
Oresuki’s premiere plays the long game with its hook. For a while, it plays out unassumingly as your typical romance anime before hitting you with that double friendzone. Characters and scenarios are the kind you’d expect in this genre and nothing seems out of the ordinary. It’s a risky gambit, I can see someone going in blind getting a bit impatient at first, but the comedic payoff makes it worthwhile. Joro’s shock and subsequent personality shift are appropriately over the top and the show repeating its introductions but with Joro’s harsher and more cynical outlook makes for a comical mirror to the beginning of the episode.
I probably would’ve been content if the show was just about the three principal characters that are introduced first but there is actually a fourth character, Sumireko Sanshokuin (Haruka Tomatsu). Nicknamed “Pansy”, she is aware of Joro’s plan as well as his Jeckyl and Hyde duality, being condescending towards the former and infatuated with the latter. There’s wild card potential with this girl; she could help Joro with his plan just as easily as she could sabotage it for her own gain.
My one issue with Pansy’s introduction is that Oresuki rats her out far too quickly. The cold opening shows the same confrontation she’ll have with Joro at the end, thus weakening her cameos throughout the episode and her last-minute relevance as you’re fully aware that she’s important. It even has her holding up a copy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to the frame, thereby undermining the bait and switch with Joro’s personality. I think it would’ve been better if Pansy was introduced as some random extra in the background. That way, her coming to the foreground comes as more of a surprise.
Speaking long-term, I am concerned about how the execution of the premise will go from here on out. To be frank, I don’t think Himawari and Cosmos comes across as awfully as Joro likes to see them as. Them friendzoning him was insensitive, yes, but their actions hardly seem to have been done with malicious intent. The possibility of them being manipulative is also thrown out of the window. They’re terrible a putting on an act, as evidenced by a scene when Joro needs them to follow his plan to get them closer to Sun-chan. It really just seems like the girls are clueless about Joro’s feelings and that’s problematic as it makes Joro look more unlikable as a result. If you’re going to have your romance protagonist be the bad guy, you kind of need his co-stars to be just as awful. Right now, Himawari and Cosmos aren’t terrible enough to deserve what Joro has planned for them and thus, I don’t feel too incline to root for Joro.
There’s also the matter of whether or not the show will fully commit to its plot. Will it have Joro succeed in a timely manner or will it be like Masmune-kun’s Revenge where it just wastes time so that the viewer has to keep coming back for more? I can see myself running out of patience if that happens but for now, I’ll concede this first episode was enjoyable enough to at least merit coming back to the show.
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