Although I was less than thrilled by the the unoriginality of Nisekoi near the season’s beginning, that was mostly because I’ve so enjoyed the show that I want it to be more than it is. And as it progresses, I’m liking it all the more.
In episode 11, the main characters finally get to know a little bit of what we as the audience have known for a long time – that either Onodera and Chitoge may be Raku’s promised girl (or, a la Love Hina style, I’m guessing they both are). Onodera reveals that she may be during her date with Raku as the two look for a birthday gift for Chitoge. The birthday girl starts to reveal as much at her actually birthday. So while the birthday could have been the centerpiece of this episode, it’s the reveals that take center stage.
That’s not say, though, that the birthday isn’t played up for laughs.
The invitees and other adore the yakuza heir with birthday gifts, the most notable ones being a Chitoge-like gorilla from Raku and a Maybach from Claude. The earlier is accepted warmly by the Chitoge, while the Maybach is rejected because, in her words, “I can’t even drive.”
Claude is deflated. I know the feeling. In fact, lots and lots and lots of guys know the feeling. Just as many guys (maybe a smaller percentage of otaku than the general populace) try to help their beloveds by attempting to fix their problems, they also try to make their significant others happy by doting on them with gifts. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t – at least not with the gusto that the guy would expect.
I’m guilty of this, too. When my then-girlfriend used to get down, I would try to solve thing by buying a gift. And not always with a super expensive one, like Claude’s – I would sometimes sacrifice, whether it meant by going well out of my way or having to use creative muscles I didn’t think I had – to buy or make something that would uplift the soul. And though I wasn’t outright rejected like Claude, the bright smile I hoped to see wasn’t always (or usually) forthcoming.
I later realized that a lot of this had to do because her love language and mine weren’t the same. The concept of “love languages” is central to the teachings of a Christian counselor, Gary Chapman. He identifies five:
- quality time
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- physical touch
While we can feel love through all these avenues, we typically feel most loved by one or two. And chances are that your loved one and you have different love languages. So if yours’ is “acts of service” and you try to serve your girlfriend, whose love language is quality time, you might not be “filling her love tank.”
It’s a simple idea, but one that my experience, and those of many of my friends’, has rung true. And it’s a deeply meaningful and powerful idea to demonstrate in a relationship, because not only does it help the one you love be happier, it also helps you demonstrate love by sacrificing to shower the other with the affections they would like, even if that style doesn’t come naturally to you.
In Nisekoi, I would say that Chitoge’s love language is most definitely not gifts. I might peg her as an “acts of service” gal. Onodera values quality time. Raku is always thinking about what people say, so maybe he’s “words of affirmation.” Tsugumi is definitely “words of affirmation.”
What about you? Although I’ve only briefly covered this concept, do you have any idea of what your love language might be?