Calling all fans of romance comedy, get ready to fall in love with the hottest, funniest anime to hit this season! Introducing Nisekoi, a story of false love, fabrications and lots of adorable characters. Sounds generic, but we promise that Nisekoi brings something new to the table for viewers.

Originally, we were going to skip over covering this show for the season. There’s so many shows that premiere each year, and only so many we can follow in our free time. However, after giving even the first few minutes of Nisekoi a chance, we were happy we did. Based off the manga of the same name by Naoshi Komi, our story follows Raku Ichijou, unfortunate heir to the local Yakuza clan and master chef who wishes for nothing more than the straight and narrow path in life. Oh yeah, and years ago he made a promise with a mysterious girl to someday marry her, being given an elaborate lock as a symbol of this promise. The key to this lock is something which only she holds, and Raku hopes that one day he will get to see her again. However, this memory occurred so long ago that he can no longer remember her face or name, with his only clue being that elegant key. His mundane life (about as mundane as it can get for a Yakuza’s son, anyways), is interrupted quickly like a knee to the face. Literally.

Enter Chitoge Kirisaki, daughter of the local American gangster syndicate. Running late to her first day of school, she crosses paths with Raku and violently knocks him out of the way, causing him to lose his precious lock. This fateful encounter would pave the way for their mutual resentment of one another, and the hilarious irony within it all. Upon discovering that both of their clans are on the verge of a violent war between each other, Raku and Chitoge are forced to become boyfriend and girlfriend, in order to save the town and prevent a violent battle. Introduce three more insanely cute girls into the mix, and we’ve got a harem comedy that actually has some substance to it! There are actual motivations for the two to fake a relationship,  good reasons that are well-intentioned and forced upon the two characters to create a continuous sense of conflict. If these two can’t spend the next three years together without anyone finding out, the town will be painted in red. Couple these high stakes with a main character who, while still an unlucky bastard, is actually a good guy and not some douchebag who doesn’t deserve any of the girls around him (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, etc.). Raku is helpful, talented and not stupid. Just unlucky. Which is more than enough to cause hilarious antics.

One thing we noticed while watching all of the episodes currently out now is: there’s no extreme, gratuitous fanservice. There’s a couple of jokes here and there, but it’s not like we’re seeing nipples through clothes or the girls being covered in just enough that you don’t see anything, but really you’re still seeing enough. No, Nisekoi relies more on its awkward moments, plays on words and misunderstandings to carry the story, and focuses more on comedy than service. And damn, is this show hysterical. There are plenty of jokes that we actually don’t see coming, and Raku’s biggest flops are enough to make us facepalm if not completely turn away from the screen for a moment due to sheer awkwardness. Lastly, we have to point out the animation style of Nisekoi. Studio SHAFT is animating this show, and it’s quite easy to tell by all the unconventional angles each scene is drawn in and the immense amount of detail in the environments which surround the characters. Honestly, most of SHAFT’s time is probably spent just on backgrounds. All of their past work has either been grade A material, or gone on to become widely recognized and famous in the anime industry (Bakemonogatari, Puella Magi Madoka Magica). If anything, what makes this anime so unique is not the story itself, but the animation and how SHAFT has handled its production. Hell, they could probably make ANY story appear to be good the way they direct their projects.

Nisekoi is incredibly fun to watch, and it offers a breath of fresh air to the romance-comedy genre which has been exhausted over and over again. The situations are legitimately funny, the animation has been handled superbly, and each character is both complex and memorable. It’s a show that’s already left an impact on us, and there’s still 11 episodes to go! That being said, starting today Advent Seven will be covering new episodes each week as they come out, so stay tuned!

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