Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Series Review: The Classic Hollywood Tale That Doesn’t Quite Stick

Tada Doesn't Fall in Love Episode 10

I will admit that Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love was one of the more consistent titles of the Spring season, but being consistently above average isn’t really something that will get you a rave review. That said, while dismissing this title might seem easy, there’s still quite a bit of charm to be found here. That said, there will be spoilers in the review.

Review:

Let’s take our typical stoic high school protagonist who lacks parents, has a strong sense of responsibility, and a single hobby that we can exploit to make him seem well rounded and have him literally bump into a foreign princess on student exchange in Japan. It is all pretty formulaic and if you’ve seen the likes of Roman Holiday, you already know more or less what you are in for.

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Teresa, as the blonde foreign Princess, is adorable in her excitement over Japanese culture, her involvement in the photography club, and her general outlook on life. She’s sweet but not to the point that it makes the viewer nauseated or unable to see her as a real person, and she’s certainly fairly responsible about dealing with her obligations regardless of personal feelings which becomes the major point of tension toward the end of the series as you might expect.

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Even Tada, as dull as I made him sound in the opening paragraph, is actually quite a solid male lead. While on the surface he is much like any other anime protagonist, there’s a depth to how he represents his fairly repressed emotions that makes him quite an interesting guy to watch. Examining the clutter in the cafe his grandfather runs that he works in or around his house there are endless traces of the personality of Tada and his family. And that is something I have to praise the series on all the way through; there’s a phenomenal amount of background detail in most settings filling the club room, the cafe, and Teresa and Tada’s rooms with enough things to give a sense of who these characters really are.

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The romance that develops between these two is pretty standard and goes through more or less what you would expect. The very close friends but are they more position lasts through most of the first two thirds with Tada’s jealousy only really being triggered when Teresa’s fiance shows up. While there’s potential there for high school drama and tension with your standard love triangle, the show actually avoids going for the low hanging fruit and for the most part Charles, as the fiance in question, is quite an interesting contribution to the cast and ultimately the resolution of the series hinges on his decisions far more than anyone else’s. He definitely could have taken the ending in a very different direction had he decided to play the jerk.

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The rest of the cast consists of Tada’s family and friends and Teresa’s friend and bodyguard. While these characters will vary in their appeal, they each bring something to the mix. What needs to be remembered though is this is strictly Tada and Teresa’s story and while at times it might seem the support cast have a more critical role, they really don’t. Part of this is because of the episode run count and the other part of it is probably because less is more in this case. While these characters are all charming and work in varying ways, more of them on screen may have just left them open to the obvious criticism that they really don’t have much purpose or existence outside of either of the main characters.

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Visually this is a very pretty show. I already mentioned the detailed in a lot of the backgrounds, but just the colours in general and the many views of the sky (stars, rainbows, and clouds all feature heavily) make this a visually satisfying though not extraordinary show. The music is a little on the average side but works. Just don’t expect to remember much after it is done.

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That’s really all there is to Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love. It is a straight forward boy meets girl story where both characters are genuinely nice people who find something in common. While there are plenty of other stories that do something similar, this one does it well enough to make it worth the time for those who are inclined to enjoy these kinds of stories, but it isn’t great enough that I would tell people who aren’t into romance that they should spend their time on it.  I had a lot of fun and found it quite charming but I know even from reading reviews from other bloggers that mileage on this one varied greatly.

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3D Kanojo: Real Girl Series Review: Average Is Being Generous

Self-proclaimed otaku with a dislike of flashy girls draws the attention of a flashy girl. Must be love.

Review:

3D Kanojo: Real Girl falls into a couple of pretty obvious traps that prevent this anime from ever rising above being fairly ordinary and actually make it pretty painful to watch at times. And I’m not talking about the characters themselves, though many viewers did seem to find Tsutsui pretty hard to take early in the series as he is a fairly unlikable protagonist (kind of the point though).

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No, what this series does wrong is set up a premise that is pretty standard, made only even vaguely memorable by the strength of the character personalities (whether you like them or not) and then essentially spent the first half of the season eradicating any discernible evidence that the characters ever had a personality outside of their romantic trope. It’s painful to watch as the characters are leached of all defining traits outside of boyfriend and girlfriend from a standard high school romance and even the few attempts to recall that Tsutsui was supposed to be an otaku and Iroha had a reputation for playing around just kind of fall flat as these two generically empty shells of characters go through the motions of every cliche misunderstanding that can occur in such a story.

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Which brings us to the second trap which is that this anime has nothing new to say or bring to the table. While being derivative or basic genre fiction isn’t a death sentence in and of itself, if you aren’t bringing anything new then you have to at least bring your A game and 3D Kanojo: Real Girl is anything but.

I won’t lie. I actually quite enjoyed the first episode. While I didn’t like the main characters, given they were both pretty unlikable, I found them interesting enough and was curious as to how they would come together. Unfortunately, they got together in fairly quick order and then proceeded to do that on again, off again thing where the story would have them being happy and then just throw a random spanner into the works of one or the other’s emotional make-up to have them suddenly get annoyed at the other for being who they were. It didn’t help that literally every issue the two had as a couple could have been solved by a conversation.

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However, the narrative isn’t the only area where this anime falls a little short. The pastel colour scheme and character designs work well enough, but are also fairly unremarkable. Then we had some fairly obvious character off-model moments in the latter half of the season which weren’t a complete game over for the series but certainly made watching it less enjoyable as you had to wonder if one of the characters had just turned sideways or if they’d actually morphed into a different human being.

The OP is also pleasant enough but totally forgettable.

Then we have the support cast who all seem like they might be important. And yet not one of them ever brings anything of consequence to the story. Occasionally they are a catalyst for some kind of drama but then they just kind of fade into the crowd of generic ‘friends’ that Tsutsui somehow has and at the end they all go for ramen.

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Which brings me to my other concern with this series and that is that things get forgotten fairly quickly. Iroha says she can only date for six months. Tsutsui never asks why and the audience never gets an answer. Another character literally frames Tsutsui as a potential child-predator and yet that’s also forgotten. Tsutsui just goes about his normal life afterward and the guy who did it is never actually held accountable for being a liar and making false reports to the police (defamation of character, etc). In fact, he becomes one of the friends in the background. The kids at school go from being completely anti-Tsutsui to exactly as they were at the start which is ignoring his existence, but someone who has gained infamy for potential trouble with the police probably isn’t regaining their peaceful life that easily.

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It all just adds to the overall feeling that no one really knew what the point of this story should be. Nothing has weight and nothing matters. Stuff happens, it is overcome and then the next things happens. While it never becomes unwatchable, nor is there much reason to watch it.

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Ultimately, there’s no real way to recommend 3D Kanojo: Real Girl. It won’t be the worst thing you ever watched, but it isn’t really something you need to watch either.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 13: Who Needs Reality?

Watching this episode I was impressed by how seriously the anime seemed to be taking the story and then we get the post credits scene and Tada Doesn’t Fall In Love officially takes the path of least resistance in the name of happy endings despite common sense.

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From a logical point of view it is very easy to be snarky about this final episode of Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love. And yet, the romance fan within me couldn’t help but be happy that they decided to forego reality and brought the two together at the very end. Of course, there’s no reason why it will work out for a happily ever after given Teresa is still a Princess. I mean, why does she no longer need a body guard? Who just lets the Princess of their country flit off unattended? While the anime also insinuates that Charles and Alec might get together, that seems equally unlikely given their relative stations so while it seems sweet and all, realistically it isn’t all that plausible.

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The ending was always going to make or break this story and to be honest, this ending makes this show a pretty standard romance in the vein of Roman Holiday. It has some smile worthy moments and a few moments that brings us tears, but ultimately, this final episode tells us that this anime is all just fairly standard. While it wants to deal with real human drama, it doesn’t want to do that at the expense of its feel good moments, and so we’ll get an ending that emotionally satisfies even as logic is completely ignored. Still, I had fun with this title this season and I’m glad I watched it through. I’ll get to a full season review soon.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 12: Who Stole Teresa’s Smile?

While this episode felt overly drawn out, the emotions being conveyed are very real. Tada and Teresa are both hurt by circumstance as truths are finally revealed in Episode 12 of Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love.

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After 11 episodes of watching Teresa smile and be exuberant about life, seeing her this episode was kind of painful as she is resigned to the life she knows she needs to live. her confrontation with Alex over her feelings for Charles, her discussion with Tada, and finally watching her cry in her bed are all fairly heartbreaking. And that’s what this episode did very well. it brought the emotion of the moment. We also see this with Tada as he leaves a little shell shocked and finally, finally, we see him cry.

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However, there’s a lot of downtime in this episode with the scene at the airport dragging on overly long, sightseeing through Larsenberg, and even the flashes to the crew in Japan, all just feel unnecessary to the story being constructed and made this episode feel overly long. It isn’t enough to stop this from being a pretty good episode, but it does stop it from being a great episode.

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3D Kanojo: Real Girl Episode 12: Is That It?

There are some stories that when they finished they leave you wanting more because they were just that good. This is not one of those stories.

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Wow. So the brother shows up, rips the broken glasses off the face of the guy he assaulted, has them fixed but then essentially demands that said guy breaks up with his sister. Then he just kind of creepily hangs around, dropping the ‘we’re not blood relatives’ into a conversation with his sister (because that’s totally a normal thing to say). We won’t ever know where he’s actually been or why he’s so possessive of his sister, or even how they became not blood relative brother and sister because this is the last episode and this character arrived last week and somehow became significant even though, like most everything else, he isn’t.

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Worst logic ever.

Then we get the continuation of Itou and Ayoda’s non-romance which just kind of continues along its status quo going nowhere. Again, this is a final episode and we have a relationship that is essentially in an ongoing holding pattern. While this does happen in real life, it does not make for compelling viewing.

Finally we have our main couple who will, for reasons unknown, go through yet another communication break down as Tsutsui works to earn money to buy Iroha a ring. She insists she trusts him but gets all teary about it and so he hands over the ring and they get a kiss and that’s pretty much all she wrote. The kids all go for ramen.

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That’s is it. No actual mention about the six month time limit on this relationship that was somehow a big deal way back when. Nothing to address Iroha’s family situation. Just nothing. It is all just kind of blah.

Full series review coming soon.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 11: Too Late

With Teresa’s disappearance, Tada finally realises that he fell in love with her. Be prepared for lots of anguished expressions from the usually stoic title character.

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There’s something wrong with Tada. He’s not taking photos, he’s messing up orders, he’s staring blankly at strangers. The usually unshakable character is definitely a little bit off. And the obvious reason is that Teresa has gone. While it takes most of the episode for this realisation to actually be admitted by Tada, it is obvious from the get-go and kind of cute the way it is depicted. That said, they certainly stretch this as far as it can go in terms of run time and by the end of the episode you just want the revelation so we can get on to the last stage of the story.

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That said, I’m not sure I buy the argument that he couldn’t have taken that picture of Teresa without being in love with her. That kind of implies you can’t take good pictures without falling in love and I don’t particularly like that idea. Still, this episode is mostly lovely and it is a great continuation of this story.

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3D Kanojo: Real Girl Episode 11: Reality Is Not A Rom-Com

Well, Tsutsui is finding out this week that just because you want someone to be happy doesn’t mean you can achieve it. Right before he gets punched in the face.

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I’m going to complain about something that doesn’t normally come up in my reviews, and that is the number of slightly off-model shots this episode has. The character faces are distorted and slightly too wide or too long so many times and the whole thing just ends up looking a little bizarre like the characters are made of clay and have been left in the sun too long. It is a weird thing to worry about wen the show has only had average visuals and animation in the first place, but it was actually distracting during this episode.

Onto the episode itself and we see Tsutsui realising that Ito like Ayoda and has him trying to set them up. It understandably doesn’t end well because Ayoda likes Tsutsui and leaving the two alone just results in Ito realising that Tsutsui is always going to be Ayoda’s first choice.

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We then have the touching recap of events with Iroha and Tsutsui where a random guy shows up and punches Tsutsui. Turns out he’s Iroha’s before unmentioned brother who has been overseas (love how many characters in anime have a parent or sibling conveniently overseas until the plot decides to drop them in, even though they’d never been mentioned before). And naturally, the best opening when meeting someone for the first time is to punch them in the face.

Oh well. I guess we’ll see what happens in the final episode.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 10: Prepare For The Heart Break

Tada Doesn't Fall in Love Episode 10

Despite the rain clearing this episode, it feels like things have never been more cloudy as Tada and Teresa enjoy their ‘date’ before Tada gets quite a shock at the end of the episode.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love continues to impress with its fairly reasonable handling of the central two characters. They both respond in most situations like fairly normal humans without the extreme anime tropes that so many characters might fall into. Certainly Teresa is similar to many a perky heroine in a love story, but she manages to keep her ebullient nature within the realm of reality, while Tada’s stoicism also feels convincing and is a nice counterpoint.

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The date makes for a perfect pivot point for this narrative and while there is nothing new or surprising in store for us, this is a narrative crafted in the full knowledge that it isn’t trying to break new ground, just trying to tell its story well. The end result is fairly satisfying this week and continues to build on the strengths of the series so far even as we turn toward the end.

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3D Kanojo: Real Girl Episode 10: Is Confessing To One Girl While Rejecting Another Considered To Be In Poor Taste?

I think we need a word that means to confess to someone while rejecting someone else. A portmanteau could be conjection or rejessing, though neither one seems quite like it would catch on. Then again, let’s hope this kind of scene doesn’t catch on.

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Other than making up new words, I don’t have much to say for this episode. Tsutsui goes and rejects the gardening girl but has texted Iroha to wait in the bushes while he does it. He then withholds an actual rejection from gardening girl while he goes on about how his relationship developed with Iroha before finally he asks gardening girl if she sees how it is. I’m guessing part of this in some-one’s head came off as sweet, but to me, this was one of the scummiest moves Tsutsui has made yet. You forced the girl you were rejecting to listen to your happy love-love story, meanwhile you simply staged your rejection in the first place to get closer to the girl you actually liked. Wow. Be still my heart.

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They then go to karaoke. By they I mean Iroha and Tsutsui. And it isn’t actually the same day because there’s some stuff with the cat-eared guy and Tsutsui first as they re-establish their bond as friends, which was never really established in the first place other than they were seen talking together and clearly don’t have any other friends.

So, quality episode. Really feeling the characters this week. Counting the episodes until this middling melodrama is done.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 9: It Isn’t Not Like That

Teresa perhaps made anime heroine history when she didn’t instantly declared ‘It’s Not Like That’ when Alex called her on being in love with Tada. This anime just continues to be a pretty solid and sweet romance.

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There’s no denying that mini-Teresa and Alex here are adorable and they both grew into fairly beautiful young girls. What I’m loving about this series is it doesn’t seem to be forcing melodrama for the sake of it. Alex asks Teresa point blank if she has fallen in love with Tada and Teresa admits it but also tells her not to worry because she’s going to return home and become Queen anyway. There’s more than enough drama in that situation without bringing in unnecessary complications. As a result, Teresa’s sudden awareness of how she is acting around Tada, and the stiff reactions she ends up with at school, seem very natural and add to an overall charm.

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But she’s also a teenage girl who has fallen in love for the first time. Despite rationally knowing what needs to happen, she’s still very much in love with Tada. That just leaves us with finding out exactly how he feels about her (though it is also pretty obvious) and then the either heartbreaking separation or the happily ever after depending on which way this anime chooses to go. And it really could go either way and be satisfying regardless. Looking forward to Tada and Teresa’s date next week.

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