Nisekoi Season 2 (UK Rating: 15)Shonen Jump doesn't get many romance series anymore, with the majority of creators submitting these types of stories to Shoujo publications instead. The story of Nisekoi is a charming one - the protagonist Raku Ichijo, a young boy in high school who wears a locked heart-shaped locket every day, a memento of a promised love from his childhood. The first season set up a considerable harem of ladies for Raku, with a few possibilities as to who his betrothed could be. Could this second season finally reveal the truth? Nisekoi Season 2 is out on 17th April, courtesy of Manga Entertainment.
Raku isn't just a regular high school child - he's the son and heir of a huge Yakuza boss. His day-to-day is weird enough but it suddenly ramps up to 11 when some American gangsters move into their territory. The heir to this American gang is a brash, aggressive, and beautiful young girl named Chitoge Kirisaki, and she's transferring into Raku's class. Through a series of complex coincidences, the pair find itself at the heart of a gang war between their families; they manage to avert this by playing up a Romeo and Juliet act and faking a relationship. This relationship bleeds over into their everyday life and soon enough everyone thinks of them as a couple, not just the mafia families.
Raku's locket is the centre of the romance as he cannot remember the girl who made the promise with, so he searches for a girl with a key. The problem is that there are a number of bachelorettes with memories of similar promises and special keys from their childhood that could all be the girl of Raku's dreams. It turns out, of course, that Chitoge has just one such key and knew Raku when the promise was made, as does Raku's big crush, the innocent girl next door type, Kosaki Onodera. This love story starts out as a triangle but quickly develops into a harem series, with more and more ladies being added to the cast, each developing feelings for Raku. In this cavalcade of eligible young ladies vying for Raku's heart, there are three potential key holders for his locket. Each is very different: Chitoge is a strong, foul-mouthed, butt-kicking beauty who is double-bluffing her way through her relationship; pretending to be in a relationship with Raku while telling him it's all an act and that she just abides him, while secretly falling for him. Onodera finds out the truth of their relationship thanks to her closeness with both sides of this faux-couple, and eventually becomes a contender for Raku's heart, too, especially when it's revealed she too has a key. The third key-bearer is Marika Tachibana, a hyperactive, lunatic lady with an absolute obsession with Raku and is not afraid to show it.
This second season covers the majority of the Volumes 6 to 12 of the manga and, as such, consists of a lot of small standalone stories; for example, Raku is forced to become a secretary for Chitoge's work-obsessed, absentee, and rather terrifying mother. Chitoge's bodyguard, and hitman, Tsugumi is visited by another deadly hitman from her past who reveals the truth of Tsugumi and her time in America as "The Black Tiger." This new diminutive hitman, known as "The White Fang of the Beehive" (or in her considerably less threatening real name, Paula McCoy), embarks on competition of sorts against Tsugumi to steal something precious from Raku. Onodera's little sister is introduced and is a great foil/antagonist as she sees Raku as this twisted womaniser that is out to get her sister. The episodes are mostly enjoyable, other than a completely baffling episode that sees the series re-imagined as a "Magical Girl" style show. It is a little disappointing, though, to see this season received only 12 episodes and so didn't get to cover much of the story.