The most surprising anime this season would have to be Kotoura-san. It’s a refreshing take on the stagnated series of romantic comedies where the male lead is NOT, I repeat, NOT a complete nitwit who is either afraid to confess his feelings to the female lead or completely oblivious to his surroundings. In fact, he seems to be the most competent male lead this season. While it seems to have a perfect mixture for a competent romantic comedy, it also knows how to evoke despair within the viewer really well.
Marketed as a light-hearted comedy, viewers were shocked to find that the first ten minutes of the series were dark and, for the unassuming, heart wrenching. After the exposition, it goes back and assumes the identity of a comedy. The anime has continued this pattern throughout the series getting us off our guard with some genuinely funny scenes and then hitting us with a tear-inducing scene.
It’s pretty jarring having the anime switch so quickly between a comedy and a drama. It’s as if the anime doesn’t know what it wants to be. It does both elements fairly well and could have well as either or, however, it chooses to do both and it’s to a degree that might put off some viewers. An anime like Gintama is roughly 80% humor and 20% drama (there is no mathematical backing of this assumption, just how I feel the anime is mad up) and it is easily identifiable as a comedy. Kotoura-san, on the other hand, is nearly 50% humor and 50% drama (again, no actual calculations went into this) and it’s hard to know what the anime is trying to achieve; is it trying to make us laugh or cry?
While this aspect of Kotoura-san makes it hard to categorize, it is not hard to suggest to friends to watch. The constant clashing between humorous scenes and dramatic scenes causes viewers to be tearful during one scene and then completely losing their minds over how ridiculous the next scene is. Kotoura-san is no longer just an anime in this respect; it has become an experience.