Anzu’s three loves in life are her cat Momohiki, video games, and chocolate. When a new game arrives in the mail just as she returns from the combini with a bag full of chocolate treats and a free arm to scoop up her kitty, it’s as if the stars have aligned just in time for the weekend. But when Anzu pops the disc in the console and a subpar otome game flickers to life instead of the magical adventure she was expecting, things start to get…weird. A wizard that looks like an early draft of Tweety Bird presses its way out of her television screen and into her room while simultaneously banishing Anzu’s three loves in life. (Don’t worry, Momohiki is fine — just inaccessible, curled up atop the air con facing the wall and denying Anzu that fluffy therapy that all sane persons crave.) Turns out, that is the price of the magical spell now rewriting Anzu’s destiny (much against her will)—her destiny to be surrounded by handsome ikemen until she finally succumbs to the thrill of romance and helps boost Japan’s declining birth rates. (It’s always about the declining birth rates with these sorts of things.) Determined not to be manipulated by the whims of a wizard presumably in the pay of the Japanese government and lacking in game-writing skills or anything other than the lamest of senses of humor, Anzu determines to be a killer of romance and steels her heart against love and the flocks of gorgeous youths who suddenly begin to populate her environment. But when she’s chased out of her house by a roach, caught in a rainstorm, and discovered by one particular ikemen from Class 7 who happens to have a generously proportioned umbrella, will her determination stand fast?
We have comedy gold here folks! The Fall 2022 season has been particularly good on the comedic front, and this penultimate premiere (one more tomorrow — stay tuned!) is sticking that landing. The physicality of the humor is on point: so much slapstick, but cranked to eleven thanks to the vivid, lively animation and exaggerated camera angles—the kind of thing that is usually reserved for dramatic fight sequences but also works so well for a character prone to comedic over-reaction, as is our Anzu. There is also a clever use of visual metaphors to heighten the humor, such as when the pixelated roach is replaced with an animated slice of strawberry shortcake to mask its repulsive appearance (which had remained decipherable in pixelated form), leading to some fantastic shots of Anzu recoiling in terror from a Japanese Christmas treat! The art is vibrant and loose, and the dialogue rapid-fire, but not so fast that it makes reading subtitles a drag. In fact, there’s even a self-aware joke early on about the necessity of avoiding overly long, complex texts when establishing the worldbuilding for a game/series. I see what you did there, author! Since this is a Netflix release, the whole season is now available, and it’s going to take all my willpower not to just keep going to the end! Incidentally, probably the best joke of all in this funny opener references the Netflix-induced binge-watching phenomenon in the introduction to the ED, which basically tells viewers to click on ‘watch credits’ rather than skipping on straight away to the next episode—precisely when the count down is going to, ahem, skip the ED. Talk about knowing your audience! Well played.
Romantic Killer can be streamed on Netflix.
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