Love and Lies
In 1975, Japan took drastic action to combat population decline. At age 16, the government assigns partners based on compatibility, sides stepping traditional dating and the like. Romantic relationships outside the government sanctioned one is forbidden.
Nejima has long had a crush on classmate Takahashi, and on the eve of his 16th birthday confesses how he feels, only to discover she feels the same. However the next day he's assigned a different girl to marry: Ririna, an odd but very intelligent and beautiful girl. Complicating matters Ririna takes an interest Nejima's romance and befriends Takahashi. In fact she encourages them to continue their budding relationship. The government has all the knowledge and statistics on their side stating they know they perfect partner, and keeping up appearances will be difficult. Is Nejima's assignment to Ririna the right choice, or should he continue risking a relationship with Takahashi?
Love and Lies has the kind of story and romance I'd expect written from a teen who's read far too much manga. If you want natural flow in the story or relationships this is absolutely NOT the title for you. Love and Lies is a romance mired in being anime-ish. I felt that changed the perception and perhaps even salvaged things, because I didn't take it quite so seriously. It took me a while to warm up to, but eventually found it refreshingly unusual, which is odd due to the many standard anime-ish things.
This is the kind of anime with a intriguing hook (government assigned relationships), but doesn't focus on it with any level of depth. There are many consequences of this I can think of, yet (almost) none are addressed. However this doesn't make it entirely shallow. Love and Lies takes a more philosophical perspective on love. The marriage program matches people flawlessly (assumed true), however is that the right choice? Or is an ideal love what the heart decides? What is love? (Baby don't hurt me)
It takes a while to get to these questions mid way through, but in the beginning the story plays out with frustratingly timid romance combined with occasional heavily sexual moments. And two of the weirdest looking kisses I've ever seen. Just about everything in this show is a little out of place, from the strange character designs, to the music struggling to fit the mood and scene. However if none of this is a deal breaker for you, Love and Lies delivers a very unusual drama, and I found that strangeness refreshing.
It requires patience, wating a few (6+) episodes to settle into a groove which delivers some compelling drama, although it's fairly typical in that reguard. It's hard to say how the premise will play out. I enjoyed the way Nejima is pulled in multiple directions, and I was never sure how things would go. The more I watched, the more I liked each girl, which kept me emotionally invested and held my attention. I considered rating it higher, however the story appears to be in the middle with neither girl ahead, and side plot stuff unresolved. With no conclusion, it's a tough recommend; as the finish will make or break the show. More importantly, if this isn't wrapped up in another 12ish episodes, it will be get very old fast. If in the mood for romantic drama, and okay with no conclusion as of yet, it might be worth a try.
Takahashi: Just having you touch me makes my heart pound. I'm so happy. But these feelings will hurt me later. I know that, but still can't throw them away. I don't understand... What is love?
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