KARAKAI JOZU NO TAKAGI-SAN – Anime Preview
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Synopsis: “I swear I’m going to tease and embarrass Takagi-san today!” Nishikata, a middle-schooler, keeps getting teased by the girl who sits next to him in class, Takagi-san. He tries every day to get back at her, but will he ever succeed? Takagi-san and Nishikata’s youthful teasing battle starts now! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Solid animation and vibrant colors give Takagi-san a wonderful and impressive visual appeal. It looks great, but the show’s biggest problem is its dangerously repetitive nature. The series is constructed around one gag: Nishikata, a young middle-school boy, trying to get Takagi back for her teasing, only for her to turn the tables on him time and again. While it isn’t impossible to make a singular premise like that work (Tonari no Seki-kun managed something very similar), it takes a wide variety of creativity in the application of said gag. Tonari no Seki-Kun succeeded at this by developing wildly ludicrous applications of Seki-kun wasting time. But Takagi-san keeps it grounded, very grounded, and that’s working against it. It doesn’t help that the series’ concept would be better serviced by a short 5-10 minute runtime, instead of the full 23 minutes.
Linny: The jokes and plots become so repetitive that you’ll find yourself able to predict exactly how every ‘joke’ is gong to play out by the episode’s mid point. Takagi-san unfortunately falls into the trap of these shows with a basic premise, in that the adherence to the main plot renders the show monotonous, especially when it fails to make its jokes unique or wacky, to the point where it’s completely predictable. On the other hand, because Takagi-san keeps things so simple and grounded, it has this sweet tinge of nostalgia and a high chance of feeling relatable for anyone who had a crush at an early age and was only able to convey it or had it conveyed through teasing.
Tom: Takagi-san is adorably mean, so much so it’s painfully clear to any adult that she’s very much smitten with her ‘tease toy.’ It’s bound to remind people of their own youth. While Takagi-san is pretty adorable herself, I found Nishikata too one note. I think the series pigeon-holes him into a role that’s just too small. He’s always planning to get Takagi-san back, but fails miserably as he gets caught up in her own schemes. It’s this surefire failure that gets repetitive and guides all of Nishikata’s characterization down a rabbit-hole that leaves no room for greater flexibility with his personality.
Linny: A minor quip I would like to point out, though it’s probably evident at first glance, is that Takagi-san employs a character design style that gives everyone giant heads and very prominent foreheads. It’s something that isn’t an actual flaw by any means but could be a visual sore spot for some.
Tom: While cute and heartwarming, as it reminded me of my own happier memories from middle school life, Takagi-san quickly grew stale. The series is too singular in its execution, presenting the same basic gag over and over again just with a different coat of paint every time. Ultimately I don’t have a lot of faith that Takagi-san will change things up and I can only wonder if the title’s lack of translation (The English version would be along the lines of “The Master of Teasing, Takagi-san.)means that Crunchyroll doesn’t have high hopes for the title’s broader appeal either. Still, if you’re someone who enjoys tinges of middle school nostalgia, and early life romance, Takagi-san is worthwhile for that specific group of viewers. Everyone else might want to look elsewhere.
Linny: If you wish to relive the innocence of young love and have a few chuckles along the way, Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san might be up your alley, Unfortunately, it’s 20+ minutes run time per episode could also be its undoing as the show struggles to make its content feel gripping throughout that airtime. While it gets bonus points for nostalgia and being able to sweetly convey the ritual teasing that accompanied childhood crushes, it’s likely to leave most viewers bored by the end of the first episode itself.
KARAKAI JOZU NO TAKAGI-SAN is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.