Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi Episode #03 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Release Date: Friday, April 22, 2011

Ritsu's attempts to just keep working meet with constant disruptions, many of them self made as he tries to avoid Takano.

What They Say:
In Love, There Is Both Dotage And Discretion

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As life goes on for Ritsu, he continues to get an education at the manga publishing business as lots of things go on around him. The opening here is pretty neat as it shows a blow-up occurring in the middle of the office between editorial and sales over how the latest issue sold out and they have to reprint. Ritsu sees it as a good thing, but he learns a lot about how problematic it can be on several levels and in the interpersonal level within the office because of how it can make a particular person or group look bad. Even worse, when the guy Takano argues against, Yokozawa, hears the education that Ritsu is getting, he steps in and gives him a fair bit of grief because of his family name and where he's from. It's a rough moment, but it's welcome to see the others in the office space around him offer Ritsu support.

After the recent events with Takano, Ritsu's been focusing heavily on the job side of his life and doing his best to avoid spending non-work time with Takano. The things that were said before has him on edge and he's insisting to himself that he's a very different person from who Takano knew back in school. It's rattling around in his head a lot, but he's doing the job right and even suffering through some of the more onerous things that Takano puts him through at work, which you know will aid him eventually in understanding his job even more. To complicate matters though, Ritsu sees how Takano acts with Yokozawa when they're out of the work atmosphere and it confuses him since it's not the personality he's been used to for the last month, and from their time earlier in their lives.

When the two do spend some time together, such as an awkward moment on the train, it's really difficult for Ritsu since he's feeling bothered by it but can't seem to tell Takano about the closeness between them and the way that Takano looks at him. It's something he wants to say, or rather, it's something he thinks he wants to say, but is unable to because of the subconscious conflict going on in his head. When they're forced later to spend more time together because of work while at home, it has its moments of comedy, but it again pushes the conflict that's going on with Ritsu over it. Takano's a hard one to read in a lot of ways because he's made certain things clear, but then doesn't clearly act on it, instead letting other things take precedence. He's almost like a very calm and patient predator, waiting until it's the right time to make his prey his own.

In Summary:
Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi is a show that feels like an elaborate dance in a way where things are moving in certain directions, but that Ritsu doesn't quite understand the dance and what's involved. It catches him off guard in interesting ways, often at the end of the episode much as is done here and before with the revelation about who Takano is. These are the key moments, but I'm thoroughly enjoying all the time spent with the characters in the office and workplace in general, seeing how they work through situations and Ritsu's growing understanding of manga publishing and anime adaptations of the works. It's not about the content they're doing, but the technical side which is a nice change since it doesn't introduce additional cutesy elements like some would do. In the end though, this is a boys-love series and one that's very restrained in a way, but feels more honest and real while consistently keeping my attention. It's very pretty and has a real sense of beauty about the relationships that's being developed.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi