Valentine’s Day has come and gone again for another year. For some people it is a day of romance and affection while for others it is abhorred as a disgusting lovey-dovey, excuse for spending money and sickening PDA’s. This is an article for those of you in the second group: these are five anime where a perfect romance is not all that it’s cracked up to be (expect major spoilers throughout).
Boku dake ga Inai Machi (Erased)
Let’s start with something to ease everyone in slowly if you’re a bit unsure about the concept of this list. Erased is a time-traveling mystery which sees protagonist Satoru Fujinuma rewinding time in order to stop tragedies occurring. The ‘tragedy’ that he faces over the course of twelve episodes is saving childhood classmate Kayo Hinazuki from being murdered by an unknown serial killer.
As he spends more time in his elementary school past, Satoru finds himself getting closer to Kayo as he tries to find out more about the circumstances that led up to her death. After all they go through, the viewer would be forgiven for being convinced that they are destined to be together forever.
Flash forward after a terrible accident of his own, we find that not only is Satoru not with his childhood sweetheart Kayo, but that she has had a baby with someone else! Take that you sentimental fools!
Shakugan no Shana
Some people might argue that Shakugan no Shana is the antithesis of the type of anime I’m going for on this list. For those of you that haven’t seen the show from episode one it has got main character pair romance written all over it and as it happens that is what you get at the end – no great surprise there.
The reason it’s here then is because of the ridiculous way the romance unfolds. At the end of season two, the romance element may as well be all sewn up and ready to go forward into a dramatic conclusion in the final 24 episodes.
But is that what happens? No, of course not. Idiot male lead, Yuuji Sakai, is kidnapped by the most evil being in the world but instead of being brutally held hostage, Yuuji agrees to join him! Whether this was an attempt to be original or edgy I don’t know, but what we get instead is a case of world-defining black mail which goes something like this: “Give up all of your principles for me and let the bad guys have what they want”.
You’re glad you’re not in love now, aren’t you?
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
Oregairu is, to some extent, a romantic comedy. It might even be, when (if?!) it finishes completely, a perfectly romantic story. After two seasons though, it certainly isn’t. Hachiman is a cynical high school student who knows how to manipulate people into getting things done – the down side is, he doesn’t realise (or care about) the negative affects it has on them.
Yukino and Yui are the only other members of the Volunteer Service Club. Oregairu is a love triangle that everyone refuses to talk about until the very final scene of season two. No one is ever happy with the situation: not the aloof Yukino, the bubbly Yui or even the nihilistic Hachiman.
If you’re looking for an anime that exemplifies how love doesn’t work, even when it’s staring you in the face, this is the one for you.
Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish)
My personal favourite show airing in Winter 2017, Kuzu no Honkai is the story of a group of people who settle for anything to make the sorrows of their unrequited, forbidden love go away.
Hanabi and Mugi appear to love each other to the point where they are envied by all those around them. Unfortunately for them, they don’t love each other, but someone else: the relationship they have with each other is simply to satisfy their sexual desires.
To make things even more difficult the two of them also have admirers who, as a result of their fake relationship, are consigned to the lonely persons group. Hanabi’s real love is pathetically infatuated with Mugi’s interest who also happens to love playing with people.
This is the one to watch if you want to see everyone burn.
Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)
Ah, Yuno. Some crazy people might see her as an attractive partner. They are generally wrong.
If this has passed you by, Yuno loves Yukki. In fact, Yuno loves Yukki a lot. Though that would sum up what I need to say about Mirai Nikki, I will elaborate. Within the game of survival that pertains to being the main point of the show, Yuno protects Yukki using one of twelve supernatural diaries – the ability that Yuno’s diary possesses you ask? To check up on Yukki, and every little thing that he does.
Regardless of the ending, a violent girlfriend that will kill thoughtlessly to protect you is unstable and unsafe.
Maybe this is what you wanted for Valentine’s Day, but let me give you some advice – you really shouldn’t.
All five of these shows are great regardless of your views on the 14th February so make sure to check them out if you can!
Thanks for reading 🙂