Secret Santa Review Project: Lovely Complex – Manzai Can Sigh in Kansai

Note: This is the my review as part of the Reverse Thieves Secret Santa Project.

Romance can be sweet. Romance can be exhilarating. It can be mellow, dramatic, fun, bitter, and much more. But often times the best word to describe this roller coaster ride we call love is “silly.” Not trivial, not foolish, and not frivolous, but the kind of silliness that reminds you that, as serious as love can get, it’s best to approach it with a genuine smile. That is the lesson Lovely Complex teaches over the course of 26 episodes.

Lovely Complex is the story of a girl and the boy who sits next to her in class. The girl is Koizumi Risa, an energetic high schooler who towers over nearly every guy in the class and often believes that love is beyond her long reach. Opposite Risa is Ohtani Atsushi, a diminutive fellow with lots of attitude who is very sensitive about his size. If love is a roller coaster, then Ohtani constantly feels like he can’t meet the height requirement. Though they may argue constantly and are quick to use each others’ height complexes to rub salt in each others’ wounds, Risa and Ohtani are actually friends even if they believe otherwise.

As an anime, Lovely Complex has many strengths. The characters are fun, interesting, and very human. The story moves along at a brisk pace; you never feel like it’s dragging or going in circles even when you think it might be, and the interaction between Koizumi and Ohtani is very entertaining and will have you smiling constantly. The best moments are when the two start to bicker, as even the most heated argument between the two can be defused by their shared enthusiasm for the silliest things, be it arcades, sweet drinks, or their favorite (fictional) hip hop star “Umibouzu.” Watching their bond develop is perhaps the most enjoyable part of Lovely Complex, and the result is that the show gets better and better as it progresses.

If the show has any weaknesses, it’s that not much emphasis is placed on the art. Characters will go frequently off-model and the show often sticks with a “good enough” mode of animation, but fortunately the format of Lovely Complex with its exaggerated expressions and constant style shifts is such that it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary and it doesn’t lessen the impact of any scenes. In some ways actually helps to emphasize the characters’ personalities over their looks.

If it isn’t obvious yet, Lovely Complex is very much about the characters and I invite anyone who watches anime looking for a more down-to-earth, real sense of romance to take a look. Looking at the cast, if I had to pick a favorite character it would have to be Risa. She builds up her courage and makes a big move, and then immediately frets over it the next day. She’s tall but not “sexy,” clumsy but not “cute,” yet still has her own unique charms that make her feel less like an “anime heroine,” and more like a person. She’s a really wonderful character to the extent that I wish that somewhere out there is a “Koizumi Maniax,” because she really deserves it.

Lovely Complex: it’s a good romance anime where the drama is always cut through by good cheer and laughs. It’s silly, it’s serious, it’s a good thing to enjoy by yourself or with another.

8 thoughts on “Secret Santa Review Project: Lovely Complex – Manzai Can Sigh in Kansai

  1. Glad to hear words of praise for this show. The live action was not so bad either!

    The girl that plays Risa in the live action is to die for…

    …I guess that goes without saying because Risa-the-character is to die for.

    It’s a shame no one remembers Lovely Complex which seems to be the fate of a lot of shojo anime (Skip Beat, Aishiteruze Baby etc).

    For all the attention Kimi no Todoke is getting this season I’m sure it’s going to be thrown on the pile of forgotten shojo shows in a few years as well.

    Shojo gets no love.

    At all.

    Maybe things will change when the girls change the status quo i.e. the boys club that is anime fandom and turns this whole thing around.

    Somebody has got to turn this around…

    And while I’m b****ing, where is my Jun’ai Tokko Taicho anime adaption? If something like Chu-Bra can get one, and other more deserving manga series can’t, then we are truly living in the last days.


  2. I’m a big Lovely Complex fan. Haven’t seen the live-action yet but I’m collecting the translated manga as it comes out (part of Viz’s Shojo Beat line).


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  4. I checked this series out after seeing an AMV at Otakon with the LoveCom characters and I was very glad that I did. The story was fun and the characters drew you in to the story. I would definitely recommend this series if you’re a fan of the genre.


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  6. Pingback: Manyax « OGIUE MANIAX

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