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.

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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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Karandi James

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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

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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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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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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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 6: No Surprises But Still Cute

If you were looking for something novel, this anime would be unimpressive, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t super sweet to watch.

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The royal fiance has arrived and will of course need to meet all of Teresa’s new friends. He instantly charms each and every one of them and they have coffee together. The one interesting part about this segment is Tada’s reaction. Even his usual deadpan expression kind of wavers, though in his case it seems to be jealousy. Once again, I’m not sure when Teresa and Tada got so close, but we’re kind of just expected to accept that these two are crushing even though Tada’s not letting on and Teresa’s pretty determined she’s going home after her study tour.

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We are then sent to a party where all the friends are, though why I’m not sure, and clearly Teresa is there is a somewhat official capacity. however, instead of a royal reveal, we get treated to a sequence mirroring Tada and Teresa’s first meeting where they took shelter from the rain. It’s adorable but hardly mind blowing. However, I’m still wondering what the connection between the death of Tada’s parents and Teresa is, though it seems more and more clear there’s something going on.

All and all, this series kind of sticks to its consistent tone and delivery and remains elevated by the attention to detail in its settings.

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Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love Episode 5: This Seems Anti-Climatic

So the anime shows us Tada’s parents leaving before the accident and reveals Teresa’s identity (is anyone shocked) and yet neither of these reveals feels like it has much weight. While this story continues to be pleasant, it really isn’t all that memorable. Your thoughts?

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Another school free episode and this time the focus switches to the anniversary of Tada’s parents’ deaths with his annoying friend attempting to cheer him up (not that Tada ever seems all that emotional about much of anything). Despite that being the episode focus, there seems to be far more moments focusing on Teresa smiling or the interactions between the others in the group than Tada himself.

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That isn’t really a problem because the cast are really pleasant and even with the fairly obvious development at the end of the episode this story remains pretty fun just to tune out and watch.  With some nice food shots, some reasonable cast interaction, and a visit to a bathhouse that only played a couple of the usual cliche moments, this episode was another fairly entertaining entry in an anime that isn’t exactly knocking my socks off but it is quite an enjoyable watch each week.

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