Rikei Ga Koi Ni Ochita No De Shoumei Shitemita / RikeKoi – this is a new release this year, and the reason for the late review, is due to the great experience that the anime caused me. But that good first impression made me want to enjoy the anime more before evaluating it.
The plot of the anime and very simple, Himuro, Ayame a scientist at a university, one day she aborts her fellow scientist and says “I am in love with you” . Despite Yukimura, Shinya being shocked and embarrassed by the sudden statement, his response then starts the main plot of the story “how are you sure about this without proof?” .
All Rom and no Com. RikeKoi couldn’t fully cement itself as a really good show for two reasons, its inadequate comedic directing and unfortunately containing the anime classic, the cringey, contrived drama towards the end to create a more...memorable finish? (Seriously though, why does every show feel the need to do this?)
Just like the number of negatives though, there are two things that do make RikeKoi a pretty acceptable experience to watch. The first is the charming cast of characters (besides the Manga-ka girl, obviously) and the other is the actual romantic progression that is decently fleshed out. RikeKoi is a show about scientists, and that is where the comparison to scientists ends. The way our scientist friends are presented is about exactly how you would expect someone who maybe took a few science courses in college and decided to give writing a manga about “science types” a shot. That doesn’t mean to say they are overly obnoxious stereotypes, and a lot of the science tie-ins and references relating to love isn’t shoved down your throat, they are actually quite playful most of the time. The author does in fact have some fascination with science, but it definitely isn't obsessive Otaku-like. If you were expecting a more accurate depiction of science type people falling in love, you probably would have been stopped at the door judging by how hot all the characters look. The show's humor mostly relies on the wacky hijinks our main couple get into, they want to prove love can be analytically determined, and that's the joke, because obviously it can’t. This may sound like it gets stale, but to me the worst part isn’t the style or the continuous set-up of the jokes, it has to be the comedic directing and timing. Of course, some blame also goes to the original creator of the manga. Lets face it, RikeKoi just isn’t very funny, like at all. You will chuckle every now and again, but it’s not even close to being hilarious. You would think that would be a death sentence to a Rom-Com manga adaptation, but in its case surprisingly not. The cast of characters are fine without being funny. They manage to have a good chemistry together, whether it be the main couple Himuro & Yukimura, or Yukimura & Kanade, Ibarada & Kosuke etc. etc. This is mostly because they all have certain archetypes about themselves that work well when clashing with others in the lab. The real main character is easily Himuro, she does a good job containing the joke of the show inside of her character. She's a devoted scientist, but she can’t shake the feeling that she's in love. It isn’t like she’s not honest with her feelings, more so she literally just doesn’t know how to process them. Yukimura is all in on the idea he can “prove” whether they are actually in love or not. Kanade is more of the normal emotional thinker, so she can straight man them. Ibarada and Kosuke are a cute little side relationship. This setup managed to be amusing and simple enough for me to want to watch the show to completion. The character design is also very pleasant. One of the best ways to create an engaging couple is to make them look even better when they are next to each other. RikeKoi gets it.
The show was going well… obviously until the end. They introduce a character in the later episodes that is only there to manufacture a conflict. To RikeKoi’s defense, this seems to be a trait in far too many anime, the rush to produce a dramatic ending. As a result, the “drama” is almost always terrible, almost always cringe, and almost always means ultimately nothing in the end. At a certain point, I was so invested in Yukimura and Himuro you could have given me ANY ending that gives a good meaningful push in their romantic relationship, and I would have been sold. I’m sure most people could agree. So why give us the hardest possible ending to sit through? Ahh, it's just so disappointing.
Final verdict: If you’re interested, go for it. You will be rewarded, but also punished.