If there’s one complaint that has arisen more than any other regarding Ore Monogatari, even from our own writers, it’s that the show’s characters are undeniably one-dimensional. As much as I enjoy and look forward to watching a new episode each and every week, not even I can deny the predictable nature of each personality. But you know what? In the ironic sense, it is this very flaw that gives Ore Monogatari the charm that allows it to stand out amongst its peers.
Shoujo, or manga and anime target toward a younger female audience, is laden with stereotype after stereotype and trope after trope. The genre often attempts to manipulate the heart strings of a teenage girl, something not difficult to do, and that results in the ridiculous drama that many of us may remember from our teenage years. Hormones and bad decision-making seem to form the very genetic makeup of the popular genre.
Yet, while Ore Monogatari undoubtedly falls into the shoujo classification, it does not seem to be characterized by the same tropes as its predecessors (and contemporaries). In three episodes, a misunderstanding that might normally drive an entire season or two is resolved, leaving the anime to go elsewhere for its plot devices. Instead of each (relatively) self-contained episode being characterized by hormones and bad decision-making, each episode is resolved by the best friend archetype simply helping the unsuspecting lead and his romance to resolve their minor misunderstandings and pursue a “puppy love” relationship.
This may sound monotonous, and indeed it can feel that way to some (see Tweet linked in the first paragraph). But from my perspective, I see this progression as an opportunity for a feel-good series that can show the merits of consistent commitment and desire that separates itself from merely physical desire (though there is plenty of that, too, in its own way… and that’s totally fine!).
Sometimes a series like this comes along and it garners equal parts love and disgust from people who either exemplify naïveté or elitism, but it seems like the entire point of the show is missed in the process! What we’re given in Ore Monogatari is an opportunity to reflect on the example of a couple who, honestly, has it together. Instead of laughing off the constant failures of unhealthy relationships (I indulge myself plenty, believe me), we can sit back and watch two off-the-wall and innocently childlike, but put-together individuals explore life together under the safety net of writing that will never irritate the tear ducts too much.
If wanted to draw a biblical analogy here, that would be very easy. There are plenty of verses that refer to childlike innocence as I so referred to it in the title of this week’s article, but my intention is not to arbitrarily draw your attention to something only loosely related (what matters isn’t weak analogies or superficial symbols, but drawing out the essence of meaning). Instead, I simply want to remind you, regardless of your faith, to take a step back and recognize media for what it is. As you will notice in the newest episode (episode 13) of our podcast that goes up tomorrow, you are what you eat (read: watch, play, read, etc.).
Also, in case you forgot, I’m better at liking anime than you are. 😛