Lovely Complex was an anime I always heard about but never got around to watching it. The promo image I saw was confusing to me since I thought the male main character was really tiny.
But Lovely Complex is one of those classic 2000s anime it seems everyone has watched so it was only natural for me to have it on my list. It had fallen off my radar until this tweet from one of my favorite anime accounts reminded me of it:
I instantly went to my VRV account and put it on my watchlist. A few weeks later, I had a trip to Florida so I downloaded some episodes to hold me over on my flight to and from. I was originally watching the new Fruits Basket, but when I ran out of downloaded episodes, I started Lovely Complex.
After reading the synopsis, I didn’t really know what to expect but I especially didn’t think I was going to be HOOKED after one episode. I immediately loved the dynamic with Risa and Otani from the start. So much so I stopped all my other shows and shifted my focus solely to Lovely Complex. In a matter of a week and a half, I binged the entire show and felt soooo many unexpected emotions. My bff Rose said it would be a light-hearted show and while it was, it definitely had more than its share of moments where I was in TEARS.
Lovely Complex blew every expectation out of the water and it quickly became one of my favorite animes. I was laughing out loud, yelling at my screen, and crying my eyes out. No show is perfect – there were moments I was frustrated and wished things were done differently. But overall, Lovely Complex stole my heart and I’m okay with not getting it back.
The following is a list of my favorite and not so favorite things. As always, it contains SPOILERS. I know LC is an older show, but there may be many people like me who haven’t been put on yet. If you haven’t watched yet, proceed at your own risk…
What I Loved…
Risa and Otani’s Relationship
Immediately I was in love with the dynamic between Risa and Otani. A lot of anime have the main characters suddenly in love, with no way to figure out how they got there except for some “random glances” or a random act of kindness. In LC, the main characters were friends who gradually fell for each other. They have similar interests (their obsession with Sea Monk) and they had a great time together. Even with all the teasing and physical damage, it was clear to see how they fell for each other.
Risa reminded me a lotttttt of middle school and high school me. So much so that at points, I couldn’t help but cringe and really feel embarrassment on Risa’s behalf. Similar to Risa, young Lisa was definitely LOVE crazy. I was also very direct with my feelings and I never wanted to give up on someone even when it came to my own detriments.
Alllll The Feels
Lovely Complex reallllllyyyyyyy made me feel! I truly felt Risa’s happiness and rejection, as well as Otani’s confusion. I think LC does a great job of making the characters and their actions so realistic.
RisaxNobuko: BFF Goals
Aside from Risa and Otani, I loved the relationship between Risa and her best friend, Nobuko. Nobuko is an amazing best friend and she really championed Risa. She worked almost as hard as Risa in making Risa/Otani happen. Nobuko was hilarious in her efforts and was also very honest with our girl. She let Risa know when she needed to step it up or take it back a notch. I think we all need a Nobuko in our lives.
The Bestest Friends You Could Ever Have
Aside from Nobuko, the entire friend group dynamic was one of the best I’ve seen in anime! The entire friend group was hilarious and definitely made the plot more realistic. We’ve all had a group of couple friends that have helped get relationships rolling or played the middle man in setting a couple up.
Best Girl Seiko
I absolutely loved Seiko and how strong she was on being herself. Initially, I was concerned about Seiko’s trans-ness being used as a punchline but I was actually impressed on how it was handled. I hated how it was like an inside joke that she was trans, but Seiko didn’t give a fuck. She was firm on who she was and let everyone know she was a girl. I also appreciated that her kissing Otani wasn’t turned into a transphobic moment. Otani didn’t act crazy towards her post kiss.
OTANIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!! I will admit it, Otani is my favorite part of Lovely Complex. Trust me, Otani is not without faults (which I’ll get into) but ughhhh, isn’t he just dreamy?? I don’t think I’ve ever rooted for an MC more than I rooted for Otani. I can definitely see why Risa fell for him. His dumb/airhead ness when it came to Risa liking him annoyed me to no end BUT he definitely made up for it with the way he showed up and out for Risa!
That first birthday was amazing before he knew Risa liked him. BUT THAT SECOND BIRTHDAY THOO!!!!!!!! ON THE ROOF!! Wooo, I’m still not over it.THAT KISS!! I absolutely rewatched that scene like 3-4 times before moving on to the next episode. I also loved when Otani got upset that Risa didn’t “immediately” claim him when she was unsure of their status.
Otani was just such a different lead than we’re used to. He was sweet but conscious. He acted on his feelings even though he was confused and not always sure how to display them. I think him and Risa’s relationship, with the ups and downs, was very true to high school dating. Otani definitely would have been my type back in my day.
What I Didn’t Love…
Risa Chasing Otani
Risa is my GIRL! But it annoyed me to no end how much they had her chasing Otani. GIRLLLLLL! Listen, I was dumb and young once so I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same, but it was so annoying to watch. Her being so mopey and dramatic had me yelling at my screen. Plus, the whole plot with Otani’s ex. I feel like Risa was so strong headed but the minute talk of this ex, she lost all her strength and became this soft crybaby. It was definitely hard to watch.
Listen y’all, I loved Lovely Complex in its entirety. But to be honesty, they should have cut it after Risa and Otani officially get together! I definitely wanted to see them together as a couple with their friends but then they added all this additional “drama” just when they got together.
Mimi and Kohori were the worst characters ever!!! I get the point of there being additional challenges when they got together BUT these two were definitely unneeded.
First of all, Mimi. How did Otani have this neighbor we neverrrrr talked about? Her sole purpose was to make Risa insecure and we just didn’t need that. Can’t my girl have her dream boy and let it be? Mimi’s arc added NOTHING to the plot.
Kohori was soooo annoying. Who kisses people when they fall asleep? I get that the point was to show that if Otani ignored Risa, she may fall for someone else but I felt like we didn’t need that point. Him studying for the college tests were ENOUGH! I know Risa is air-headed but she spent her high school years trying to get with Otani only to put that at risks with Kohori? BYEEEE miss me with that!
I did like the end of the show, with Risa and Otani making up but I’m pretty sure that all could have happened without Kohori. I also didn’t like that the power was back to Otani, per se. We spend the whole show with Risa chasing him and now she’s in the wrong and he has to forgive her?? NOPE. He should have been the one making it up to Risa, asking for her back.
I will absolutely rewatch this series but now I know what parts to skip. The dislikes were so little and mostly towards the end of the series, so I can live with it. I would loveeeee a reboot or them in the future! Either way, Lovely Complex made its way into my heart and I’m looking forward to loving it always.