My Love Story!! is an anime based on the manga of the same name by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko. The anime was produced by Madhouse and directed by Morio Asaka. The 24 episodes of the series aired on Japanese television between April 8 and September 23, 2015. As of this writing, Sentai Filmworks holds the North American license for the My Love Story!! anime.

The main character of the series is a boy named Takeo Goda. He’s a very large high school student, but he also has a heart of gold. His neighbor and best friend is Makoto Sunakawa, who’s very popular with girls but always seems to turn them down when they ask him out.

One day, as Takeo and Makoto are taking the train, Takeo notices a guy who looks like he’s grabbing a girl’s butt and intervenes. Takeo takes the groper off at the next stop, and Makoto and the girl come with him. When Takeo takes the groper to a nearby police officer, the groper says something offensive to the girl, and Takeo punches him in the face. Unfortunately, this earns Takeo a short-term suspension from school.

Later, the girl finds Takeo’s house and comes to thank him. She introduces herself as Rinko Yamato, and she’s brought over something she baked as a way to thank him for what he did. Takeo finds himself falling in love with Rinko, but he’s under the belief that she’s interested in Makoto. After she leaves, Takeo finds Rinko’s cell phone, and she calls from a pay phone to apologize for leaving the phone and asks to meet up. Rinko keeps contacting Takeo to offer him treats she’s made, and Takeo keeps bringing Makoto along thinking that she wants to see him. But Takeo gets quite the surprise when Makoto tells him that Rinko is in love with Takeo. After the misunderstanding is straightened out, Takeo and Rinko become a couple.

Since Takeo and Rinko have never had a relationship before this one, there’s a lot of awkwardness in in their relationship. While most of it is early on, there are still the occasional bouts of it later in the series. However, the awkwardness is adorable, and it helps to make both of these characters likable for the audience. Of course, the tension that comes from this awkwardness isn’t enough to keep the series going, so there are occasional obstacles thrown in for Takeo and Rinko’s budding relationship. The first obstacle is having Rinko’s friends not think much of Takeo when they first meet him, but they start changing their minds as Takeo does something heroic that saves a couple of them. Also in the series, Makoto’s older sister has to deal with the fact that Takeo, who she’s had a crush on for years, has a girlfriend. There is also a girl at school who becomes interested in Takeo, and near the end, a man that Rinko works with at a part-time job falls for her.

But the relationship angle isn’t necessarily limited to just Takeo and Rinko. Over the course of the series, another couple forms between on of Takeo’s friends and one of Rinko’s friends. Also, we get a couple of episodes devoted to a girl at school who has had a crush on Makoto for years and how Takeo tries to help her confess her feelings to Makoto.

My Love Story!! also shows Takeo becoming an older brother for the first time, and from what the audience sees leading up to this, it’s clear that he’s going to be a great brother. Takeo is a very nice person, although he isn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed. While this aspect of Takeo is used for the occasional laugh, it’s not done in a way that’s meant to be mean-spirited.

When it comes to the animation, it’s a rather average-looking production. However, this look works well with the tone of the series, especially during the occasional times that the characters have distorted facial expressions to emphasize their emotions. One thing that was a little frustrating, though, is that sometimes, the thoughts the characters have show up as text on the screen rather than through dialogue. While I commend the translators and subtitlers for translating and providing subtitles for these thoughts, it can be hard to catch what they say if you’re already watching the series with the Japanese audio and keeping up with the English subtitles. It doesn’t help that a lot of the time, the Japanese text for the thoughts is up for such a short amount of time that you can’t really catch what the subtitles for them say before they disappear off the screen.

I also want to give a shoutout to the Japanese voice actors for Takeo, Makoto, and Rinko. Their voices fit these roles perfectly, and the voice used for Takeo is very distinct and stands out in a good way.

I had read the entirety of the My Love Story!! manga before I watched the anime adaptation, so I knew what I was getting into beforehand. Unfortunately, since the manga was still ongoing when the anime was being produced, anime-only fans of the franchise are missing out on some parts of the story. Fortunately, the crew of the anime found a great place in the manga’s story to end the anime on, as well as coming up with an ending that, while it may not be a true ending, still serves as a satisfying conclusion.

When I read the manga, I appreciated how Makoto, the “beautiful boy” character that you would expect to be the lead in a shojo story, is a supporting character. By making Takeo the main character, it helps to make My Love Story!! stand out from many other shojo titles. I also liked how Kawahara depicted her characters in the series, because they were likable and realistic. I think that the anime did a great job of capturing the tone and feel of its original manga source material.

My Love Story!! will have the greatest appeal to anime viewers who enjoy shojo series or romance titles. It will likely also appeal to viewers who don’t mind high school protagonists in a story that provides a good mixture of humor and drama.

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