First Love Monster – Preview
First Love Monster:
Original Air Dates: July 2nd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Fifteen-year old Kaho Nikaidou, born into a rich family, decides to leave behind her sheltered life and start anew in a Tokyo based high school dormitory. But as she’s moving in, Kaho nearly gets run over by a truck! She’s saved at the last minute by a handsome stranger that Kaho falls in love with at first sight. When it turns out the two live together in the same dorm, Kaho confesses her feelings– only to discover that the bishounen man she’s fallen for, Kanade, is a really young boy despite his mature looks! He’s only in fifth-grade! What’s a girl to do!?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: I entered into this show with hesitation seeing as how it toted itself as a romance comedy about a girl falling for a fifth grader. Thankfully, it’s nowhere as offensive as some might have dismissed it to be but on the other hand, all the characters were definitely disappointing right from the start. For instance, Kaho is a self proclaimed spoilt child from an extremely well to do family who has never had anyone yell at her thanks to her family’s influence. Apparently all this lack of being scolded made her feel like she was an extremely worthless person…well, I guess it’s a unique attitude to have for someone who’s clearly lead a life of luxury. Personally, I’m tired of timid heroes/heroines who have ridiculously low self esteem despite having access to tons of wealth or innate talent. I guess it’s to evoke either sympathy or comedy, but for me, it fails to do either, even more so in this case because our heroine is such a cookie cutter romance heroine, filled with tropes and completely devoid of originality and personality.
Tom: Kaho is pretty annoying with the constant belittling of herself. It’s meant to be funny, but instead it becomes increasingly agitating the more she rambles on about how useless and pathetic she is. Outside of that, the series hinges itself on the humor of having ten year olds in near adult bishounen bodies. It’s an amusing juxtaposition, but it doesn’t really work in the long run. Our grade school boys Kanade, Ginjirou and Tomu are very juvenile, spending a significant chunk of the episode going on about wieners. Because the series is lacking an explanation for exactly why they appear so old despite their age, the humor starts to feel very forced and random. It’s almost like the show is going “Isn’t it funny seeing adults behave like they’re ten year olds? You didn’t expect that did you? It’s really clever huh?” But the source of the humor is painfully obvious and once you understand that’s all First Love Monster is offering, any real sense of fun is lost, unless of course wiener humor is all you need, well then here you go.
Linny: Besides our heroine, her bf and his friends, we also have three other characters who I deduced to be residents in the same building Kaho moves into. The other, MUCH older male characters look the same age as our fifth grader protagonists, all dreamy josei and bishounen archetypes with sparkles and such. Not only are their looks common but they have equally textbook personalities to match. From the shy guy who’s so shy and awkward that he won’t even show his face, to the college going serious guy with glasses. The one other female character is snarky as can be and if you’ve been a long time anime watcher, you’ll probably have seen these archetypes before. Now if you like these kinds of characters, then get on this show right now because it seems like they will deliver exactly what you expect.
Tom: First Love Monster throws a heap of characters at us with little name cards whenever someone new is introduced, along with what grade they’re in. Unfortunately, none of these people really stand out, or is all that interesting as First Love Monster can’t tear itself away over its “Haha, he doesn’t look his age” obsession. It’s the same joke again and again making the humor feel forced or even try hard. It wants you to find its premise far funnier than it actually is.
Linny: It’s really frustrating to sit through an entire episode with not a single person explaining why our three fifth graders look so much older. They constantly stand out and while I could see some viewers fawning for them over their looks alone, anyone who wants something more than just “guys who look cute” is going to be sorely disappointed with this show. When it comes to the scandal of a fifteen year old dating a fifth grader, it actually is really easy to ignore it because physically Kaho is drawn to look so much tinier and younger than Kanade that it’s hard to remember the age gap..until Kanade opens his mouth to make yet ANOTHER wiener joke. Kaho herself sounds like an angsty and immature child herself so it’s not like she comes off as so much more mature than Kanade.
Tom: First Love Monster is an amusing idea, but upon execution it becomes painfully obvious that this amusing idea doesn’t transfer into an going series, let alone a twenty-three minute episode. Surprisingly, First Love Monster isn’t nearly as scandalous as one might have feared. It’s certainly no Super Lovers (although that didn’t truly get scandalous till four episodes in.) and remains far tamer a series than last season’s uncomfortable scare. Though, being inoffensive is definitely a poor consolation prize and not really a reason to spend your time on this series.
Linny: Do you like pretty boys and are content to just stare at them being their pretty selves? Well, First Love has not just one but a whole handful of them..just be prepared for most of them to shout wiener and other wiener related gags at you nonstop. As someone clearly not part of the intended demographic, I cannot say I enjoyed it at all. However, if you find the summary amusing, or enjoy wiener jokes ad nauseam, or you just like staring at cute guys, then this show is for you.
Tom: First Love Monster might just not be for me. The humor is too juvenile and one note for my taste, but if “wiener wiener” uttered by bishounen dudes running around the playground like middle schoolers sound hilarious to you then I guess I can give it a recommended in that regard. If that doesn’t sound rip-roaring hilarious though than listen to the little angry chibi me below.
First Love Monster is available for streaming via Funimation.com.