First Impression – Masamune-kun no Revenge

You gonna get ripped…

I’ll just get this out of the way first. The two main characters in this show are pretty rotten and not-at-all-nice…that sort of thing. Some of their supporting cast fall under the same shadow, and others are there to bask in the light. On balance, that blend is what makes it more interesting than other romantic fare, and a unique story to follow…

The Crossroads of Narcissism and Cruelty garlic to vampires, snack chips are to Maa-kun

So, right up Narcissism street (just before the turn off) we have our male lead with a tragic* past, Masamune Makabe – he of the titular revenge. He is of the very stuck-up (a term I haven’t used since my own high school days, so it seems right to brush it off and bring it back for a spell) notion that incredibly handsome men like himself have privileges that the merely average cannot even begin to have, only comprehend enough to be jealous of. As it stands, he is a good-looking dude, but the way anime designs things even the average looking people are pretty darn nice looking; Pudding Prince is kinda cute all things considered. He balances this “burden” out, I think, by maintaining a strict diet of liquid nutrition and avoidance of as many calories as possible; even it makes his kitchen-toiling loli-mother upset by his refusal even when she spent so much time making a freaking awesome breakfast for her long separated, but neglectful, son.


You can just hear the haughty “tsk“, can’t you?

We don’t have to go too far away from Narcissism  before we turn down Cruelty avenue and run right into our female lead, Aki Adagaki. She is the fairly insufferable spoiled princess with her gaggle of peer-admirers and her own personal put upon servant. She’s from a wealthy background, as is Masamune it seems, so this lends her a shade of oujo-sama syndrome – only without the trademark Oh-ho-ho laugh – that manifests itself in her own trademark of doling out horrible nicknames; both horrible in that they’re thoughtless and meaningless, and horrible in how she reveals a series of supposed character flaws in the process, that might even end up buying the nickname-ee some sympathy. She and our male lead share a past in which both of them supposedly suffered some sort of terrible childhood tragedy that set them on opposite streets and their current habits. Aki even eats like a horse and keeps her girlish figure despite that; which seems purpose built by a writer just to rub salt in some of Masamune’s eyes.

How much credit can you give a backstory…?

I have to admit, that for all their faults, I really dig these characters now and ever since I started reading the manga a month or so before this adaptation was announced. It’s pretty easy to fall in step with very nice people with understandable flaws as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of life, problems, relationships, responsibilities, etcetera. In just using Chuu2Koi as an example; both characters lead average lives that they jazzed up by being as chuunibyou as possible, but they didn’t really cause direct harm, and they were generally very nice and understandable young people. Our leads in the show are not that at all, at least not yet. There were two scenes, one for each character that did show some depth, but don’t fall for the narrative tricks just yet; either the ones for or against them. Both of these kids do have some depths and doubts that make them more relatable; Aki feels she doesn’t have much to offer to anyone beyond being from a wealthy family or simply being around, but is still kind all the same – she feels without an identity, so taking on the Cruelty Princess “job” is something she relishes somewhat. Masamune seems to be able to make friends that don’t really care what he looks like, just that he is nice to them. But do either one of them appreciate what they have?

The fools who follow them….

Dude, that is no way to treat your mother…

Show ▼

This is it, Silver Link. This is what I wanted from you. This is a good combination of storytelling, characters, and good animation with a very nice color pallette. This pops in all the ways I’ve grown to love the studio for over the years. In a field of landmines and lemonade stands they’ve had on offer over the past few years, this one is a refreshing time on a bright sunny day with not a technical explosion in sight. My only real concern is that the creative front bench of direction and scripting are relative newbies. But the manga is a solid read, the story is one of  pure character, and they drive all the aspects of the plot, so if they follow those beats and bring them to the screen with alacrity and aplomb, it should be a feather in their caps soon enough. As it stands I’m loving the VA’s. Both Saori Hiyama as the Trap, and Inori Minase as Yoshino are quite welcome.

I will say exaggeration later…

But holy crap, what a plot development! Seriously, how does anyone really want to follow that? It’s like seeing a slow motion disaster. You have to either be a wicked man or a dangerous fool to concoct a romance strictly on the basis of revenge. Even if we take the typical exaggerated levels of both storytelling and character action that anime always bring with it into account, this is beyond the pale. But that’s what makes the story so interesting and followable to me. Now it would be one thing if the show was only about these two, but as it progresses we will get into the supporting characters and all their complexities; both Yoshino and Neko are favorites of mine, but then there’s the ever patient Kujuurou. The is as story where the support has truly done just that, fill in the spots that the leads don’t in the story needs; at least in the manga, I’m looking forward to seeing how well they adapt it – if this episode is any indication they’re doing a great job so far. See you next time.

Well, that’s one way to pickle his disposition…


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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8 Responses to “First Impression – Masamune-kun no Revenge”

  1. HannoX says:

    A romance built around two unlikeable characters has some possibilities. I enjoyed this episode enough to stick around to see where this goes. I’m especially interested in seeing how Yoshino develops as a character.

    • skylion says:

      Yoshino is a great character. If they follow her manga version, she’ll give voice to both of the mains that they “dare not speak” that sort of thing. She also has her own selection of teenage hangups that work well in contrast. Good to see you stick around…

  2. Highway says:

    I liked this episode because, in contrast to what it seems you’re saying, it felt like there were humanizing aspects to both Aki and Makabe. Perhaps it’s partly that they’re both admired by the rest of the school despite their reputations, or also that they both have a self-awareness of what the image they’re projecting is. As such, I didn’t really find them unlikable as such, nor irredeemable the way they were this episode. Maybe it’s just setting an upper limit on their niceness so far, but it really didn’t seem too bad.

    What it did seem like is that Yoshino is going to snap and end up on the news labeled as “suspect”.

    • skylion says:

      I don’t think it stands in contrast, but you do go further than I do in couching it in humanizing aspects. But, given a bit of thought, I think they are admired, in part, because of the reputation and the contrast against it. I think that maybe Kojuuro and Futaba see his the little acts of kindness, the same that Aki demonstrates to her friend, on a daily basis. If they both do have an awareness of the image they project, it’s probably going to stand in the way of things? But no, they aren’t bad people, just smug as all get out.

      Re: Yoshino 🙂

  3. zztop says:

    Apparently the latest released manga chapter of Masamune is a climax of the plot, generally indicating the manga is ending soon. Whether this means the manga is ending soon and the anime follows it is still unclear.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, I was keeping up with the manga but didn’t want to rely on it overmuch for the FI, and won’t be doing so as I plan to review the rest of the series. That and sometimes the details fall out of my memory as I have a tendency to recall the tone more than anything. But, as you say, it’s unclear on how this will effect the show. Personally, I remember feeling that maybe some fat could be trimmed and it would be fine; obviously not the school play as that’s a big lovely mix up and featured in the OP; which may be lying…

      • Smiley says:

        I don’t think the OP is lying, and I fully expect the manga readers to rage. That said, I do find it strange that the anime would go as far as the school play since there isn’t a natural break by the end of that arc in the manga…

        • skylion says:

          By now you know my near-patented response to fan-rage, so I’ll spare us that.

          Yes, from what I recall – which given my memory is not that much – there isn’t a natural break as you say. But I’m not going to go back in as is my usual pattern for the manga while the show is airing. If I forget, fine, then the show is more it’s own thing.

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