Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 2

I suppose I can just betray my character bias right off the bat so no one accuses me of hiding it later: I think Makoto Sunakawa is being set up to enact one of the all-time great bro roles in anime history. I really do. Of course, that’s not all I came away with from this episode—which was delightful, by the way—but the relationship between Takeo and Suna has really been the big focus of these early episodes as Ore Monogatari!! works to build their characters. Rinko, I’m sure, will get her turn, but right now Ore Monogatari!! is all about the bromance.

Ore Monogatari!!

I mean, heck, the opening lines of this episode are, “My name is Takeo Gouda. He’s my friend, Sunakawa Makoto. I call him ‘Suna,'” before launching into a quick recap of their friendship backstory—and then we tumble into love. Bromance and romance. Can one truly exist without the other? In this show, it doesn’t seem like it. I make a big deal of this not only because Ore Monogatari!! spends almost a full half episode on Takeo and Suna’s relationships, but also because I think I think this relationship is going to be a really important one throughout the duration of the show. Honestly, I can’t believe that they’re going to stretch out Takeo and Rinko getting together over the full two cours and I full expect Sunakawa to play a big role in making that happen.

But, for now, it’s Takeo playing matchmaker in what’s sure some kind of endearing way. It says a lot about both Takeo and about his relationship with Suna that he only thinks about things on his own for a little bit before going straight to the good looking horse’s mouth. Takeo’s simply not a guy who worries or stews over things on his own—he’s an action-oriented guy, hyperactive as a kid, and kind of the same (if somewhat more restrained) as a teen. Of course, it helps that he apparently has no sense of social norms when dealing with Sunakawa, crowding his friend and busting into Suna’s room when he’s ready to know the answer. As we’ve already seen multiple times, though, it’s not that Takeo is just a nosy guy or that he has no respect for other people—clearly, he thinks about others a lot—so this really just expresses how comfortable his relationship with Sunakawa is, Sunakawa’s resigned, “Dude, you always say that after you’ve come in!” demonstrating that, for his part, he’s just as used to their relationship.

Ore Monogatari!!

The interesting thing about Takeo’s quiz of Sunakawa is how reluctant Sunakawa appears to be to talk about himself (although part of that is certainly due to Takeo’s enthusiasm dominating the conversation), quickly turning the conversation around to describe his observations about Takeo. It takes a trip out to the butt tree (/snickers like a fifth grader) for Takeo to really get anything out of Suna, but even then what Suna tells him is pretty limited: thinking about what he’d have to do dating a girl makes him tired, but he’s not disinterested in girls. That’s really not much of an explanation, but for the Takeo’s straightforward personality, all he needs to hear is that Suna is interested in girls—although that’s certainly an interpretation that’s bit filtered through his specific lens.

It really is interesting to watching things between these two play out, as Takeo’s horrified reaction to Suna’s explanation and later lecture on making girls fall for him reveal that there’s a pretty significant gap in the way these two high school guys think about romance and relationships. You kind of have to wonder if Suna’s ever really fallen for someone and what he would do if it were to happen. Contrasted with Takeo, who seems like he falls in love with girls on a pretty regular basis, Suna basically gives them impression that he doesn’t really think about girls that much, if at all. So what is going on inside his head, then? I’m pretty curious to find out.

Ore Monogatari!!Ore Monogatari!!

But what am I doing? I’ve spent half this post talking about two guys. You readers don’t care about that! You want adorkable romantic gyrations! Well, there were certainly plenty of those this episode, too. It’s pretty amusing to watch Takeo essentially involve himself in the opening stages of a romantic relationship without any clue of what’s going on (letting her call him by his first name, texting frequently, and of course the one-on-one date Rinko asks him for), but can you blame the guy? Every girl he’s ever liked has fallen for his best friend; he’s got absolutely no clue what it looks like when a girl likes him back. But, if there’s one person who does know what’s going on, it’s Rinko herself (and, at this point, probably Suna, too).

It’s really quite present to see a female protagonist in a romance anime has so much agency in the romance itself—it seems there are some people out there who have just taken Takeo’s interpretation as the truth, but I think it’s incredibly obvious that Takeo is the one Rinko likes. Sorry to burst your bubble if you thought she liked Suna. Anyways, I really appreciate that Rinko is being allowed by the story to essentially court Takeo. It’s nice not only because it keeps the narrative from getting bogged down in Takeo’s inaction, but also simply by the virtue of the fact that it’s extremely rare to see the girl pursue the guy.

Ore Monogatari!!

For all her cuteness, Rinko’s definitely got a lot of courage—after all, last episode she very definitively chose to join Takeo and Sunakawa as they took the groper to the police station, sought out Takeo’s address on her own, asked for Takeo’s phone number, and started initiating contact. This episode, we see her again “putting the moves on” Takeo (the chestnut prize was adorable), running back to help Takeo and Suna with the steel beam, and even making sure her next meeting with Takeo was just the two of them. Ore Monogatari!! really has struck a nice balance between Rinko making active choice to get closer to Takeo and still allowing her to be a nervous, somewhat bashful high school girl.

And so, with Rinko trying so hard, there’s almost a kind of tragedy in the way that Takeo is so stuck with his mental image of what a romance is supposed to look like. The whole falling beam thing felt pretty shoehorned in, but it was worth it to hear Takeo’s heartbreaking thoughts as the beam (and his feelings) slowly beat him down. Takeo has convinced himself that he needs to be the savior knight for Rinko, that to be “likable” he can’t be himself, can’t be the guy that rushes for the falling beam instead of for the girl. Instead, he tries to convince himself that it’s enough that she’s safe, trying to toss his own feelings to the side.

Ore Monogatari!!

And Rinko won’t let him do things his way! She’s fallen in love with him, so she’s doing everything she can to let him know that, short of just telling him outright. She bakes for him, puts a bandaid on his face, and (for me, this was the coolest thing she’s done yet) supports the beam with him. Who is really pursuing who in this story? To me, it looks very much like Rinko’s chasing after Takeo, not the other way around. That’s a pretty cool place Ore Monogatari!! to be going. I’d absolutely love to see Rinko crash through Takeo’s silly ideas about what romance has to look like and show him that he doesn’t have to be the knight in shining armor to be loved.

21 thoughts on “Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 2

  1. Takeo’s bromance with Suna is definitely one of the main highlights of this story for me, although it’s also really nice to see that neither Takeo nor Yamato is a pushover. He’s a little socially awkward but clearly doesn’t take any crap from anyone and isn’t some kind of social pariah, and she’s obviously extremely sweet but is likewise able to stand up for herself and go after what she wants. The only (very slight) concern I have at this point is that Yamato has no solid defining characteristics at this point other than being a total sweetie who loves to bake. It’s early days yet of course, but I’m looking forward to getting to know more about her beyond these surface qualities.

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    • Yeah, Yamato is definitely the least fleshed out of the cast at this point, but I’m super excited to see what other traits she has besides what we already know. I’m sure well get it eventually, but for now I’m just enjoying seeing the effect her adorable kindness has Takeo.

      Good memories of watching some of my guy friends in high school wandering around euphorically after a good encounter with a girl they liked…

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    • Being the object of desire and mostly a cipher is what the love desire in shoujo romances often is. Except it’s usually a boy. Yamato feels more fleshed out than most male love interests in such shows which are “Dark, gallant, aggressive, aloof,” often are for large segments of their shows.

      It would be interesting to see how they flesh her out, because you’re right, we don’t really know her at all. She’s a moeblob, essentially.

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  2. Yeah, what’s interesting about this show is how atypical the leads are, beyond the most obvious “Takeo doesn’t look like your typical romantic lead” thing. Suna and Yamato are pretty unique characters themselves, and thus it’s really interesting to see these three bounce off each other.

    Yamato’s assertiveness is surprising, but I totally got her; I used to be really pissed off when I asked a girl out and she brought her friend(s) along, haha. I guess you can argue that from a certain perspective her actions can be seen as creepy (not sure if it’s ever revealed, but I suspect she left her cellphone in EP1 on purpose), but you know, it’s still a lot more refreshing than the usual “I want senpai to notice me first while I don’t do anything and wait in anguish!!” mentality, or worse, “do I like him or not…oh nooo, what is this feeling” nonsense. The adorableness helped a lot, too (man, that many smileys in a text should be illegal…).

    I doubt the emotional nuances and resonances would ever come close to the level of Kids on The Slope (by far the best b/romance manga I’ve ever read) as OreImo seems to be way more content in feel-good rom-com mode, but as long as the main characters are these likable, I have no problem with the show being what it is.

    (This is the first time I commented, I believe. Nice blog!)

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    • Yup, this is the first time I’ve seen you in the comments! Glad you enjoyed the post and I hope to see you around more often! 🙂

      I guess you could argue Yamato’s actions are creepy, but then you’d have to argue the same point for every male romantic lead who beats around the bush while pursing a girl. I think it’s more that we’re just not used to seeing a female character be as active in a romance as Yamato has been—obviously, for my part, I’m pretty thrilled about it. ^_^”

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  3. Hmm, they’re taking things a bit slow this episode. Of course, things still flows well and at least that make sure that nothing is left out, so it’s all good. And yes, I think one of the strength of this series is how likable the main casts are. Not only do we have an earnest and different main character in Gouda, Yamato is both cute and assertive, and Suna is just the absolute bro. Like you point out, the bromance is just as strong and importance as the romance, which is another great thing.

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    • I really didn’t get across very well how much I like Sunakawa already. I identify with him (in terms of his relationship with Gouda) quite a lot and I’m pretty stoked to see how he continues to be a player in the show going forward.

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  4. I laughed more than I care to admit when the butt tree made its appearance, and the Gundam joke was great, too.

    I will say, though, whenever Suna talks I expect to hear Mamoru Miyano’s voice, and then there’s Yamato being voiced by Oe’s voice actor from Chihayafuru. The Chihayafuru connection is strong with this one.

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    • The butt tree was a great joke! Especially Takeo’s pseudo-philosophical reflections on how he hadn’t noticed it was a guy’s butt in 10 years.

      I don’t get Oe’s voice for Yamato so much, but yeah—it’s weird not having Miyano voicing Suna. Nobunaga Shimazaki is doing a great job, though!

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  5. This is definitely going to make my top 5 episodes list for next week, unless a bunch of my other shows really step up their games in a big way. Takeo is so endearingly clueless, and yet even as I’m chiding him for not getting it, I can’t stop laughing at the same time. That scene where he was walking around the city in a daze until Suna snapped him out of it just by saying Yamato’s name was comedy gold.

    And yeah, no question Suna gets it. Between that scene, and the earlier scene where he says he can always tell when Takeo’s fallen for someone, he obviously knows Takeo likes her. He may not be as well-attuned to Yamato since he doesn’t know her that well yet, but her signals have been so blatant that it’s not hard to figure her feelings out either. I also appreciate how even when Takeo drags him along uninvited, he keeps looking for excuses to slip off and let them be alone together, like a good wingman. It didn’t work at the cake party since she was too nervous about being left alone in Takeo’s bedroom, but this time he was able to give them some space with the “drinks” excuse. The guy’s a total bro.

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    • Sunakawa’s quiet wingman work is such an awesome sneaky highlight of the show! It’s not big speeches or anything, it’s just that he does what he needs to do to help facilitate this growing relationship. Makes the joke that Takeo’s trying to be Suna’s wingman all the funnier.

      I also really appreciate that Takeo has a pretty valid reason for being as dense as he is and not reading Yamato’s signals—this is just an entirely new experience for him, even though he’s right in the middle of it!

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  6. This episode was so delightful. I love how the friendship/bromance is being focused on first. Now when real romantic tension comes in later, we as the audience will be invested in all three characters, and not biased against Suna because he’s coming between our cuties. 😄

    I agree, I love how active Rinko is in going after a relationship she likes. She’s foward without being pushy nor is she shy and expecting Takeo to chase her all by himself: It’s simply refreshing. 😀

    ~Jamie

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    • Hey, that’s a good point! Without Suna getting character development here, he might have fallen into an unfortunate antagonist role. Instead, we’re being given a chance to get to know him/like him on equal ground.

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  7. Holly yeaah! At last I made it, At last I keep up with Ore!!

    Takeo Gouda is the best male protagonist in romance genre for me. He’s just… the best. A little secret from me, I got a little feel attack every time I see Takeo is shipping Yamato and Suna. I mean, at that moment, I realized that he’s just a pure innocent kid inside a body of a sumo-wrestler, that’s how pure hearted he is and yet, girls around him (Yamato excluded, I think) didn’t notice that and only notice the sexy washboard face Sunakawa! And yet, big guy (in body and heart) Takeo still think of him as a friend… touching…

    But then again, the moment I want to put all the blame to Sunakawa, at the exact same moment Suna shows just how a “quiet bro” he is. When Yamato came to Takeo’s house, Suna, being a good bro he is, decided to leave Takeo and Yamato to got some… private moment (ultimately misunderstood, though). Thankfully, the “I will get you some drink” trick do the thing… more or less, and we got to see just how much more of a bro washboard face actually is when he and Takeo was still kiddies. The falling beam is kinda sudden, but I don’t really care about it though. What I care is just how Suna actually entered the scene to help Takeo instead simply left him together with Yamato (And aww, Yamato helped too. She IS strong!) .

    I haven’t read the manga (And I don’t plan to, I will try to keep my desire to take a peek to the manga and only stick to anime this time. I hope I can), but words are saying that the pace of the relationship is hell quick. This is better be real…

    Also, what if, just what if, this show’s plot (other than romantic relationship) is actually not really a bromance between Suna and Takeo, but actually on a wider scope; a friendship between Suna, Takeo, and Yamato as well? That falling beam scene makes me think that. Why put Yamato too, if you can actually set the scene to: Takeo hold the beam, Suna helped him, and Yamato looks for help. IMO this kind of setting will enhance the “bromance” feel. But then again, it’s actually hard for me to imagine my own “what if” thinking, except…

    Well, I already booked an 8/10 for this show. Will be checking your future reviews! ^_^

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    • Fun fact: Actually, you can see a “spoiler” on Ore Monogatari!! in the manga Nisekoi. check out chapter 88.5 and 90.5, the crossover of Ore Monogatari!! and Nisekoi.

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    • Hey, welcome back! Can’t stay away from your romance anime, eh? 😛

      You’ve heard the relationship pace is quick? Ooo I sure hope so!

      And yeah, the three of them have had some moments of great chemistry together already—I’d like to see it be the story of a couple and their friend, rather than a love triangle. That’d be something new for sure.

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  8. I empathize with Gouda – because I too was mostly invisible to the girls in my youth. I even briefly had a girlfriend like Yamato, who had to hit me with a clue by four to get her point across. Alas, just a couple of weeks later I got orders to the west coast, which put an end to that… but I met the Love Of My Life here, so on balance it worked out.

    Funny part is, I turned down more women in the first year after I got married than I ever approached before I wed.

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  9. I personally found Suna explanation to be completely fair. Not all kids are interested in dating yet at that age and yeah he is right relationships are a lot of work so I think it is great he acknowledges that he is not prepared for it because really why accept a confession of someone when you know you are not being sincere.

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