Going into Masamune-Kun no Revenge, I’d be lying if I said I expected anything more than an average series. Before I divulge my thoughts any further, I should mention I’m not completely unbiased: I knew just exactly what I was getting myself into as I’ve already read the manga. While I wasn’t impressed with it, the series does contain enough entertainment value to warrant giving the anime a try. The story doesn’t have much to offer besides that as its message, layered in a multitude of inconsistencies and convenient plot devices, comes off as radical nonsense.
My main issue with Masamune-Kun no Revenge lies within the story’s premise. Right from the beginning of the episode, the series makes apparent what it’s all about: the petty revenge story of a pretty boy who was once burned by a girl he loved. This message is revealed to us through inner monologue as our protagonist admires his reflection, clueing us into his philosophies on how the world works: “Everything depends on whether you’re hot or not.” This type of cynical and misguided theory comes across as if the story condones pick-up artist techniques. I get that the Masamune-Kun no Revenge attempts to be different, but this is a little too trying for my tastes.
The rest of the episode is plagued with inconsistencies, exaggerated drama, and convenient plot devices to push the narrative along. One would think if you were driven to the point of exacting revenge on someone, you would at least remember what they looked like. This isn’t the case for Masamune, as he completely forgets the appearance of the girl who rejected him, Aki Adagaki. Even in Masamune’s daydream, Adagaki appears exactly the same in appearance and demeanor. It seems far-fetched to think he wouldn’t recall her after her daydream portrays just how devastating the rejection was to his self-esteem. This conflicts with the establishment of the tension between the two to a degree. It would hold more weight if the situation were reversed with only Adagaki forgetting Masamune, as it is implied his character has undergone massive mental and physical changes over the years. While this gets addressed later on in the episode, it doesn’t change the fact it makes for sloppy character development. And this is only one instance of the many convenient moments that happen to move the plot along. For instance, there’s the scene with Masamune’s sister where she just happens to be lounging in his room for whatever reason while he’s getting ready. Then there’s the moment with the spider which happens to trickle down and scare Masamune out into the open when he’s spying on someone. Lastly, the one moment that truly got to me; Masamune just happens to be at the right place at the right time to save the day when someone gets harassed. These moments all come off as short-sighted, sloppy storytelling.
For all its flaws, Masamune-Kun no Revenge does have some redeeming factors in that the characters are at least fun to watch. Their strength lies in their playful exchanges of dialogue, filling the story with some much needed humor to pull away from its weak narrative structure. The characters also show some depth to them. Masamune’s inner thoughts suggest he is more naïve in matters of love than he lets on. Beneath that pretty boy exterior lies the shy piggy he used to be known as. This is shown through the myriad of circumstances where he counts calories or comments on people’s diets. When someone is accused of perverted acts, Masamune sometimes even pulls back in hesitation of backlash from the girls, only to remember he’s in the clear because of how hot he is. The series also suggests that for as much of a tough girl front Adagaki puts up, there are insecurities that affect even her. For instance, she refuses to eat with anyone besides her servant as she has a big appetite. Her hiding in the shed to eat felt consistent with her character as she was portrayed as the headstrong type that doesn’t want people to know her vulnerabilities. It also helped to establish that just like Masamune, she’s conscious of her image. There’s also the moment with the girls at lunch, where Adagaki shows a compassionate side to her by spending time with the group before she heads off to eat alone. It suggests perhaps she’s not the jerk Masamune’s mind suggests she is.
With that said, there was enough enjoyment present within the first episode to warrant following the series for now. While the story is largely centered on a superficial premise, the cast of characters make it engaging enough to overlook its glaring flaws. Sure, some of the convenient plot devices will most likely become grating over time, but it’s a small price to pay for mindless fun. The playful teasing between Adagaki and Masamune creates a power-struggle that is actually that entertaining to watch.
— Palpable ¯\_(ツ)_/¯