With a title like SAY, “I LOVE YOU,” this sounded like it was going to be the most saccharine, schmaltzy show imaginable. Seriously, it sounds like some stereotypical chick flick that Jerry would’ve have been forced to take a date to on SEINFELD. So, it’s worth noting that I was rather surprised by this; finding it to be probably the most thought-provoking slice-of-life anime I’ve encountered for this column.
That statement should raise some eyebrows. What could be simpler than the premise of a popular guy falling in love with a pretty social outcast? Shit, that’s only a notch or two off from SHE’S ALL THAT, isn’t it?
Well, for whatever reason, this pilot got me thinking about how so many high school stereotypes - - and all the angst that usually results from their misinterpretation - - are really rather arbitrary when you break them down. Like, you get a little taste of what the popular guy’s minute-to-minute life is like here, and it honestly doesn’t seem that appealing. Dude seems a little bland; his interests determined by whatever the gaggle following him wants to do. Honestly, the only time he does exhibit a personal interest (and this is taking a bit of cynical angle, I know) is when one pretty girl finally isn’t interested in him, and it flares up his compulsive because he kind-of needs every girl to like him.
Again, that’s the cynical angle on the material. But what impresses me about this is that it seems to leave events up to both cynical and idealistic interpretations. Like, from one angle, it’s real solid of this guy to come rescue this girl from a stalker. But from the other angle, it’s kind of scummy of him to exploit the situation to steal a kiss from her when it’d probably would’ve been just as effective to tell the creep to buzz off.
And the girl’s on the other side of that coin. Even keeping her past betrayals in mind, she’s got a legitimately anti-social attitude that should be a buzzkill to any guy paying attention to anything other than just her good looks. It seems like unusual circumstances that have made her like this, on the inside, and it’s unusual (almost arbitrary) circumstances which have set her on the path of (presumably) getting dragged out of the shell.
Yeah, and it’s cute too, all right? That goes without saying. Cute and thought-provoking - - an unusual combination.
Watch this episode, "The Man with Lightspeed Legs" here and decide for yourself.