When Ritsu goes to work for a new company as an editor, he never expected to work on shoujo manga.
What They Say:
Worlds Greatest First Love
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the boys-love manga of the same name by Shungiku Nakamura, Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi is a new twelve episode series directed by Chiaki Kon of all people and animated by Studio DEEN. The manga series has had five volumes in its run so far and had a special episode bundled with the volume that came out last month in order to get people hyped on the series. Boys-love series aren't all that common in the greater scheme of things so having a new one in this season is definitely welcome since it can offer up some different possibilities. Especially since at the moment, they're likely to focus on older characters than the usual teenyboppers we get in many series these days.
The series revolves around twenty-five year old Ritsu, a young man who has just arrived at Marukawa Shoten Publishing where he's looking to get further in his editing career. He's always looking at the next step and even before he meets his new editor in chief, he's already thinking about his next company he'll work at and how this job will help him. The problem comes when he learns he won't be working on literature but rather will become a shoujo manga editor. And Ritsu positively hates shoujo. When he meets the other editors in his group, he realizes just what a strange group of people they are and that they're pretty much his view of a certain segment of publishing that's annoying, doesn't smell good and always trying to get out of things. What really gets him is his editor in chief, a brooding type that's tall, handsome and definitely a dominant person because of his personality and position.
What makes it worse in the long run is that even after getting dressed down in the work place by Masamune, Ritsu will learn in another episode that he actually changed his last name some years ago and is actually an upperclassman that he had feelings for back in high school and confessed to, which we see at the opening of the episode. That sets the stage for a difficult, if not hostile, work environment for Ritsu but the job is important even though he doesn't like it and Masamune has a certain style. Before Ritsu even knows who he is, Masamune pushes him up against a wall in a public work space and gives him a good, hard kiss. Ritsu's not the only one surprised, but things settle down a bit from there and work continues apace.
The focus in the episode on Ritsu with all the internal monologue coming from his is pretty well done as he tries to cope with the strange work situation he's in, both from the kind of material he has to work with but also the interpersonal problems with Masamune. With the revelation about Masamune not coming until later, though the viewer knows it from the start, watching these two go through the work experience together without realizing it is a fair bit of fun. It has a very, very detailed look at times and feels like a great environment brought to life but it also knows how to have a bit of fun. There's a real passion for manga that's shown here and Masamune makes it clear that he has to realize that there are many people who would kill to be in his position because of their passion for shoujo manga. There's some background material that creeps in about Ritsu's past as well, with his family connections that likely will be more important as the show goes on, but it simply adds a nice bit of mystery for the start here to be exploited later.
Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi, better known as World's Greatest Love, has a really strong first episode here that largely does everything right as it introduces us to Ritsu and the awkward work environment he's thrust into. It's found a really great balance between the comedy and drama and the boys-love material, which is definitely here, is done in just the right way to not be over the top yet will drawn in the female viewers. I've watch a lot of gradations of it over the years in both anime and manga form without any problems and a series like this looks to be a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out, from the characters to their stories and the quality of the animation itself. If you're squeamish, you'll avoid it just because of what it is, but you'll miss out on a very well made and fun series.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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