My Stepmom's Daughter is My Ex
Mizuto was always a loner, until meeting a quiet girl named Yume in middle school. The two fell in love and dated for a time. Although inexperienced and not progressing far, their first love left a deep impression on both of them. Which made it hard for either to explain how they eventually grew apart and broke up.
The two are now in high school, with the failed relationship nothing but a memory. Then Mizuto's dad and Yume's mom get married and move in together, leaving the two ex-lovers stuck under the same roof. For the sake of their parents, they pretend to put on a friendly appearance, but are less cordial in private. They argue all the time and are at odds with each other. Now forced to confront how their feelings changed, both reflect on why things ended the way they did and maybe if they actually ended at all.
I was hoping My Stepmother's Daughter Is My Ex wouldn't just be a bad re-do of Marmalde Boy (thankfully it's not). I found it hard to get into a show where two people bitch at each other all the time. Kinda like being stuck in a car with a married couple that do nothing but argue and wishing you got in the car with the anime girl harem instead. It does okay as a romantic comedy, and despite looking pretty dumb the introspection on love I thought worked well (sometimes). Towards the end it did win me over but I'm not so sure it's good enough to rise above the ever growing mountain of anime romantic comedies.
Before I go any further, I should point out that Mizuto and Yume have the hindsight of relationships you'd expect of college students or 30 year olds, not middle-schoolers meeting again in high school. This made it hard for me to buy into, even if I was quite sympathetic to the theme of breaking up and how relationships go bad.
Mizuto is emotionally flat, and Yume is basically all snark. They argue all the time and generally don't get along for the first few episodes. But then some memories resurface, making Yume increasingly confused about her feelings.
At first there are just a few flashbacks but when the fledgeling relationship is gone over in detail, it's a little sad to watch two kids in a sweet happy relationship as it goes down the drain. Seeing more and more details of the relationship made me want to see them back together more and more.
But lets not forget this is anime, where we have to inject "other things", like spurious girls because "reasons". They don't really add anything and seemingly exist to side-track the core story and pad time.
On the topic of relationships, I thought there were some fairly insightful thoughts on that topic. Like feeling the need to stay together and make it work because you're in a relationship, but this pressure unnaturally creates only more friction. I really sympathized with the two getting into an argument, wanting to "make up", doing just that - but not really in a sincere enough way to resolve anything. I still think that's a bit too mature of a reflection for a high schoolers on relationships,
The biggest drag on this show is the point where it ends. By the end Yume has spent a lot of time thinking on things, and learning more about Mizuto that she didn't know before. She regrets letting such a precious thing (love) go to to waste over petty arguments. In a very clever point of the anime; Yume Irido (current name) will declairs she will claim Mizuto's heart from the girl he loved (Yume Ayai - her former name).
This actually makes the perfect pivot point for a second half, only to have the anime stop here. With a second season that sticks a good ending, this could be a pretty good anime. As it stands now it's okay, with some of the more philosophical points scattered towards the middle and good story points towards the end. Even the parts that aren't great are still okay but it struggles a bit with the generic anime stuff. Okay to pick up for a anime high school romantic comedy, but not strong enough on other points.
Yume: When reminiscing about the past and longing to return to how things were, you start wishing to relive things together. But that's nothing more than lingering feelings.
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