Anime Review: Love & Lies Collection

By Drew Hurley 12.01.2019

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Love & Lies Collection (UK Rating: 15)

Taking inspiration from real life, Love & Lies sees a Japan struggling with crumbling birthrates but, unlike reality, it does something about it. In 1975, a new law was put into place, the "Law to Combat Low Birth Rates," otherwise known as the "Yukari Law." After a 16th birthday, an individual will receive notification of their designated partner; it's not optional, and romance outside of these match-ups is strictly forbidden. 40 years later, the system is working, birth rates are stabilising, the genetic matches have resulted in higher average IQ rates, and it's just part of life. For some, though, it's heartbreaking. This is the story of Yukari Nejima, a boy with a crush, and an arranged bride. Containing episodes 1-12, this complete collection comes courtesy of MVM and is available now.

Nejima finally plucks up the courage to confess to the girl of his dreams, one Misaki Takasaki. He's had a crush on her for five years and she just happens to feel the same. As they share their first kiss, his phone vibrates. It's the notification of his arranged partner. Wonderfully it's Takasaki! Like something out of a soppy romance anime. That is, until his phone bugs out, and moments later some government officials physically hand him a folder with his assigned partner's name: it says Ririna Sanada.

It's a great hook for the first episode. Like most romance anime series, it's all based on "Will they, won't they?" and this gives a couple who are both interested a reason to be kept apart. Not to mention introducing rivals. The second episode introduces Ririna and she is a sucker for a love story. She's more than happy to try and get the lovebirds together somehow - at least, at first. Soon enough, she realises she too has feelings for Nejima and the love triangle begins to form - even more so with the reality of the situation. Arrangements can be rejected, but it's something of a black mark, one that could ruin the future of those involved.


 
The love triangle is slightly expanded again by Nejima's friend Yuusuke Nisaka. Yuusuke is super popular with the ladies; cold, cool, aloof, and attractive. It seems obvious he's going to be inserted, but how? This goes for the unexpected, as Nisaka has eyes for someone else. The premise alone makes it seem this would be a Shoujo series, but, it's easy to spot quite quickly this is a Shonen in much the same vein as Nisekoi. It's not quite so light and flowery like many romance stories out there, and there's a bit of fan service here and there, yet nothing excessive… but some bra and panty shots that make it easy to pick out as a Shonen.

The anime adaptation was produced by Liden Films. It has not been around for too long, a little over five years, however, it has delivered something truly memorable, something that got fans talking. It ruined Berserk - one of the greatest series of all time, absolutely butchered. It has actually managed to deliver some decent quality series, but this blemish will forever mark the team. The presentation here is nothing like the CGI disaster that was Berserk, but it's still nothing special. It's a generic slice of life style with characters that are completely forgettable.

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

It's rare to see a Shonen romance series in recent years that isn't the extreme ecchi fan-service of series like To-Love-Ru. Shoujo magazines have had the monopoly for some time. For fans who want a less flowery, more male-centric point of view, Love & Lies Collection certainly fits the bill. It's got an interesting and unique premise; the love triangle builds to actually play with, which is the better choice in love, the idea of love or the reality… giving two girls who represent very different things in adolescence, not to mention playing with how homosexuality would work in this world. Sadly, though, it doesn't go all-in with this, making the story watered down and forgettable.

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