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

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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.

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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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Here It Is! The Results of the Best of Spring 2018 Reader Poll!

Welcome to the Best of Spring 2018 and while we might say there were slightly leaner pickings this time around, as always it has been fun following the shows with others in the blogosphere and discussing from week to week. Whether that is the discussions around Wixoss, the laughing at Devils’ Line, or just being perplexed by what Grancrest planned to do next, there’s certainly been entertainment to be had this season. But now, even though some shows are yet to complete, it is time to reveal our choices for best of the season.

To my awards…

Best Story – Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love

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I realise this is a really odd choice, but to be perfectly frank the story is what failed on so many of the shows I watched this season so Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love might be a fairly ordinary story, but it was at least competently handled from beginning to end. I nearly went with Wixoss, but unfortunately that story makes no sense unless you’ve watched the three prior seasons, so Tada it is.

Best Visuals – Darling in the Franxx

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This is another category I struggled with more than I should but this season nothing has really visually grabbed me or made me want to discuss it (outside of the anime that have been pretty terrible). Even Full Metal Panic isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece as it is trying to reconcile a look with its predecessor from 13 years ago. While Franxx may have its issues, it does at least have an interesting and memorable look about it.

Best Opening – Steins;Gate 0

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Finally, an easy question. The opening here is distinct and really does set the tone of the story, while also being reminiscent of the original series. I really enjoy this OP each week. The only other one that really grabbed my attention was Space Battleship Tiramisu but that’s mostly because it got stuck in my head for hours after watching.

Best Character – Sousuke (Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory)

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Okay, he had the advantage of already being one of my favourite characters from way back when and his return was greatly appreciated. Most so when I realised that the character progress he made during season 2, even if he had to break apart a bit to get there, was going to continue into this season. Sousuke is a dynamic character who might seem static at times but each event he goes through definitely leaves its mark and it is really rewarding seeing those small advances even if they are interspersed with some backsliding at times.

Best Slice of Life (First Time I’ve Ever Included This Category) – Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori

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I don’t normally get to the end of anything that would actually be described as a slice of life and I got to the end of my awards and realised that this consistent sweetness and relaxation in my week had come up dry. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t a masterpiece or an unforgettable anything, but the number of times it gave me that moment of pure mental relaxation during the Spring anime season meant it deserved a mention here.

And now…

Best Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS

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This season there was probably plenty of doubt given so many shows were very hit and miss. But with Full Metal Panic giving us two recap episodes and then not finishing in time because of needlessly dragging out its run, My Hero Academia having another cour to go, and not much else that really made sit up and take note (though plenty of light entertainment shows this season), WIXOSS kind of won by default.

That isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve the victory. The culmination of four seasons of build up is a hard thing to pull off in a manner that satisfies and doesn’t feel anti-climatic and yet WIXOSS more or less accomplishes this with only a handful of minor areas where criticism could be laid. It isn’t the single most exciting thing ever, but nor does it need to be. It is a fairly solid work delivering a compelling conclusion that feels like it is giving the audience some closure.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting this time round was scattered as it was clear there wasn’t one single title that people were getting behind. However two titles ended up gaining quite the lead and kept it most of the way with My Hero Academia only really gaining ground toward the end of the vote. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen either of the top voted anime and will have to rectify that for one of them soon as it is available. The other I won’t be able to see unless it gets a DVD release or ends up going onto a different streaming service.

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And the winner is… Hinamatsuri!

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Normally I would write something about the show and what I liked or didn’t about the reader’s choice, but I still haven’t actually seen this one so other than noting that it is on my watch list, I really don’t have a lot to say about it.

Wotakoi narrowly edged out My Hero Academia to take the third spot and Megalo Box is sitting in a comfortable second. These two along with Hinamatsuri will go into the poll in December for anime of the year. Interestingly enough, I watched none of these this season which could account for why I had a pretty slow season.

Thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll. Be sure to check back for the worst of the season coming out later.


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

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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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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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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 8: Love Under the Stars

With the club going to photograph stars this week we are prepared for star-crossed lovers to stare wistfully at each other. Problem being, not a lot else happens.

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This anime has done a lot of things right in building up its characters, particularly its support cast. Yet in is running into the problem of the main relationship having peaked fairly early. We know Teresa likes Tada, and even if Tada hasn’t admitted it, he likes her too. So when the anime focuses on them, really all it can do is go back over the same ground of Tada saying something that makes Teresa’s heart go doki-doki and then she’ll say something that makes Tada’s heart do the same. It is cute, but not exactly compelling viewing.

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With the definite end date looming over their relationship and the quite pointed comment at the shrine by Hinako that sometimes soul mate doesn’t mean someone to fall in love with but instead someone who will have a profound influence on you, it seems the final nail has been driven into the coffin of there actually being an ongoing romance between these two. While the anime might yet attempt to give us a final twist to allow these two to fall in love, that would fly in the face of the title and common sense at this point.

Despite that, the episode itself remains easy watching with a fun cast of characters who do not a lot but don’t really need to. Just hanging out with them is sufficient.

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Friday’s Feature: Romance in the Spring of 2018

As always, it strikes me as odd that I’m writing about Spring as the temperature plummets and I am being plunged into Winter. Now Winter in Australia, particularly QLD, isn’t exactly chilling for most people, but when your Summer and most of Autumn days are hovering at the 35 – 39 degrees Celcius, a sudden and abrupt drop to the low twenties with nights dropping to frost levels is more of less like an ice-age swept through. Particularly when you live in a house designed to let heat escape so you don’t bake in Summer.

And that’s an incredibly long preamble to get to the point, which is Spring may have brought in a whole bunch of sequel and spin-off anime, but it has also given us some interesting, and less interesting, takes on romance. While there is one title I’m wanting to watch but can’t, I’ve still found more than enough sweet stories and stories of broken hearts, misunderstandings, companionship and the like to give me cavities this season and this week I wanted to take some time to look at some of these.

On that note, there will be some spoilers for the anime below so if you aren’t watching the Spring season you may want to check out one of my other posts instead.

The Frozen In Time Couple

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Carrying over from Winter, we have the adorably sweet relationship that is Sakura and Syaoran in Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. For fans of the original series, or fans of Tsubasa Chronicles, this is not a new pairing. These two are totally fated to be together and define cute and wholesome. One might suggest the two are in fact a little innocent and naive but when you consider the age they were in Cardcaptor and the time when the original anime aired, it kind of makes sense that their relationship wasn’t exactly flying into the R-rated territory.

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Clear Card continues to tone of their relationship and that’s probably one of its downfalls. There’s been no progress here at all. In the beginning of Clear Card Syaoran returned and Sakura was happy to see him. Since then he’s had some great moments where he’s actually gotten to be useful and protect Sakura and she’s continued to be the fairly independent and powerful character she’s always been and the two of them have had so many cute moments. But that’s more or less where they were when we left them twenty years ago so while nostalgia is a wondrous thing, realistically, if we wanted to see this phase of the relationship, we could just go back to where the original series and watch it through. Then we’d get to see them go through the rivals/friends phases again to actually becoming a couple which was by far the more interesting part of their story.

The Do I/Don’t I deserve Love Couple

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As much as 3D Kanojo: Real Girl has started to bother me, the initial phase of the story set up a fairly standard introverted nerd/otaku falling for the outsider girl who was brash and spoke her mind. It’s a dynamic we’ve seen before and done well can be a lot of fun. Early on there was some promise that this series was going to explore this dynamic however as we’ve entered the mid-season viewers might be struggling to see these initial characters. The introverted guy has a whole group of friends he talks to who like him and the girl who speaks her mind has suddenly become fairly silent.

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What that left us with were two fairly generic high school characters who keep butting heads because the guy keeps devaluing himself and the girl is still hiding something which also makes her wonder if she has the right to be in the relationship. It’s no wonder they aren’t making progress as a couple when both characters are trapped inside their own insecurities. Still, if done well, these characters could still deliver something of note in terms of an anime relationship, but at the moment we’re kind of lost in the maze of miscommunication and teenage angst and my hopes for it lifting its game are not so high at this point.

The She’s A Monster and So Am I Couple

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Yep, we’re back to Darling in the Franxx where the man devouring woman turned out to just be a misunderstood and lost monster who wanted to connect with her childhood friend. After which she becomes a teenage girl obsessed with how she looks, her guy, and suddenly becoming the perfect team player. Meanwhile, he may not have been devoured, but Hiro is definitely transforming into something other than human and the question will become how much he remains Hiro after the physical transformation is complete. Though, given how little exploration has been given to other themes in Franxx, I’m not optimistic on this one being explored either.

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While Hiro and Zero-Two are actually an undeniably cute couple and almost nauseating in their honeymoon period as they bond over drawing a picture book that Zero-Two apparently literally ate back when she was a child, this relationship kind of came at the cost of Zero-Two’s actual personality and character. She’s a far less interesting presence in the series now that she’s resolved her past with Hiro. As for Hiro, he seems to have lost any drive he had either. Previously he wanted to pilot the Franxx, then he wanted to be with Zero-Two, but now he just kind of is. There’s no real motivation pushing him any more so the relationship coming together has more or less cut the guts out of what story there was and left viewers wanting the next step but there’s no real clue as to how we’re going to get there.

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Of course, if we’re talking about couples on Darling in the Franxx, the undeniably adorable couple is Mitsuru and Kokoro. Now there’s a girl who knows how to get what she wants and yet she seems so unassuming.

The He’s a Monster and I’m Suicidal Couple

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Devils’ Line… There’s only so much you can write about this one. However, I’m giving this one props for having one of the stupidest female character from any of these anime relationships this spring. Forget the fact that her chosen partner is a vampire (devil). And forget the fact that they never actually had a conversation before he stuck his tongue in her mouth and somehow she fell madly in love with him to the point where she became obsessive. The sheer fact that she knows the sight of blood sends him crazy and hurts him as he tries to stop himself from killing her and that she still goes near him while bleeding just kind of hurts my head.

The Classic Hollywood Couple

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Tada and Teresa, you two kids are so cute. Of course, given the title is that Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love, I have to wonder if they are setting us up for an ending where Teresa does in fact return home at the end of the school year to face her obligations and they just have the photos of their year together to remember. That would be very sweet and very Hollywood from an early age, and yet somehow kind of annoying. It would make all the Roman Holiday comparisons for this anime fairly conclusive at the end of the day.

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That said, Tada as a protagonist has served the role of being perhaps the least interesting character in his own series. He does have good moments and interactions with other characters, but it is the other characters who seem to drive things forward. Teresa is also a little too over the top at times in her portrayal of a foreigner obsessed with Japan due to love with an old anime. It is adorable at times, but at others just makes her a little hard to take seriously. Still, the two of them together have undeniable chemistry even if that chemistry seemed to form in a near instant of sharing a shelter during a shower of rain.

The Action Couple

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Finally, we have the return of Kaname and Sousuke in Full Metal Panic. If you don’t know why these two characters are amazing already that’s probably because you haven’t seen the original series. Go and watch it. Both characters start out in a very stereotypical manner, but unlike so many other romance/action leads, they don’t allow those roles to define them. They grow and adapt and bounce off one another and their development individually and as a couple has been extraordinary with the first four episodes of Invisible Victory show-casing the incredible bonds between them, right before it ripped them apart.

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Your Favourite Couple

With so many relationships and couples on parade, and I’ve missed a huge number of them, I know, I’d love to know which couple have grabbed your attention this season. Or even which couple you find the least convincing. Sometimes we learn more through observing failure than success.


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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 7: Capturing the Human Element

This week Tada manages to nail two character moments beautifully once again helping this anime remain feeling like it is just that little bit better than it should be.

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While the little sister’s crush on Yamashita seems to have come out of nowhere (unless I’ve just utterly and completely missed it in previous episodes), that didn’t stop this episode really hitting the mark. Over the course of twenty minutes, and once again with Nyanko Big acting as a story catalyst (though not narrator this time) we see the sister’s crush and what she likes about Yamashita before we see her hopes dashed in the face of the girl he has a crush on and then her dealing with a broken heart and sobbing to Teresa. While it might seem rushed, it really isn’t. Each part of this character arc feels complete. First love come and first broken heart all laid out cleanly for the audience.

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The fact that her story seems like a parallel for Charles, who is clearly in love with Teresa who doesn’t love him and he knows it, and quite possibly parallels Teresa’s crush on Tada which is most likely impossible due to circumstances, just makes this story more bitter sweet. And that brings us to the second moment this episode got right.

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Last week Charles was flawless and larger than life but this week we see him jogging in the park and stop to have a conversation with Nyanko Big. The whole talking to cats gag isn’t as interesting as it might look on paper, but Charles explaining to Nyanko Big that he fell in love with Teresa’s smile is a moment that feels very genuine, and Teresa’s smile is certainly something that you could imagine would win someone over.

While Tada Doesn’t Fall In Love isn’t exactly masterful, these moments that it gets right keep the story and characters going strong and buy good will for the less nuanced moments in the series.

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