I love a good, simple, cliched romcom, and all the more so in the hands of someone that can take the formula and make it something remarkable. I’m not sure that will happen for Nisekoi, but it certainly might in Akiyuki Shinbo’s hands, and at the very least, I do believe I’ve found a series I’m going to absolutely love.
Episode two was almost as fun as the first, following Ichijou and Kirisaki as they navigate the mine fields of a first date neither wants to be on. The “fake love” from the series title is now in all it’s horrid effect for our protagonists. And while neither generally enjoyed their date, there were of course little feelings each seemed to feel for the other at various moments, particularly when Ichijou finds a way to “save” Kirisaki, even though she felt no need for a savior. Still, that little act helped move something in her, and the beginnings of a tsundere love seem to have been sparked.
The whole situation in which the two did “dating type things” that didn’t lead to real lovey dovey feelings reminded me of something else. When many people fall from their faith, or at least struggle with it, they’ll receive the following advice: keep serving at church, because once you stop, it’s hard to go back, or because if you keep doing it, you’ll find your heart matching your actions.
I’m not sure this advice is particularly solid, but I think there’s some truth that can be gleaned from it, and this by looking at Ichijou and Kirisaki. Whenever they did something for each other on the date with only the intention of convincing their “families” that they were in a relationship, the other person would respond poorly. Actions of love without the heart of love led to feelings that were not lovely at all. Similarly, if we serve with a heart of stone, we’ll likely feel bitter as we do supposedly on the behalf of God.
But sometimes, interacting with others and with God sparks something in us. I know that when I’m feeling down or angry or upset, and just going through the motions of speaking to others, I often find my spirit lifted and a feeling of love and peace descend upon me. Maybe it’s no surprise that I feel these emotions when I’m speaking to others or praying or singing to God – after all, He works his love through His people.
And though it’s easier said than done, there seems to be some substance to spending time with other believers, even when we want to isolate ourselves in our funks. And as we find ourselves faking love toward those around us, perhaps a bit of our cold hearts will turn warm, and that fake love will become real. As Kirisaki feels some emotions toward Ichijou when he does something truly considerate, we, too, may be touched by genuine attempts to love others – either on our part or someone else’s.
So a little bit of love, even fake love, maybe isn’t too bad after all.