Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

19 June 2017: SukaSuka found romance at the WorldEnd

Best Girl.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? continues to surpass all expectations. That an anime adaptation of a light novel with a ridiculous title (WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?) could turn out to be one of the best shows of the year is somewhat absurd, yet here we are. With 10 episodes in and two to go, I'm looking forward to the ending which was telegraphed in the first episode's 60-second prologue, but I'll also be sad to reach the end of the series, given that successful anime romances are so rare.

Nephren and Ithea
Ithea Seal of Approval

Since the most basic criterion for a successful romance is a pair of characters that the audience wants to see achieve happiness together, you'd think at least this minimum bit would be more common. Unfortunately, anime can't quite rid itself of the worthless dipshits who seem to be the male leads more often than not. They lend a real dubious quality to the frequent arguments about which love interest should "win." Is it really winning when her counterpart is odious? We saw this problem last season in Seiren, for example. When I last wrote about it, I suggested it was getting better. Yeah, it turns out I was way wrong.

Chtholly, Willem, Nephren, and Ithea
Mini-Kashima Double Seal of Approval

Willem, thankfully, joins the vanishingly slim ranks of decent fellows in the pantheon of anime male leads. Moreover, he and Chtholly have genuine chemistry together. It helps that the other characters see it as well. This is not a harem comedy, and there are no real competitors for either character's affections. SukaSuka is very much about Willem and Chtholly falling in love, and the show is a lot better off this way.

Willem and Chtholly
Definitely not symbolism.

If that's all it takes to have an effective anime romance, then why are they so rare? I suppose it probably comes down to the primary consumers of anime having different standards and expectations than I do. Airing this season, for example, I presume some viewers might argue Eromanga-sensei is a "good" romance, even though it is very much a harem comedy where the Best Girl almost certainly won't "win." Additionally, I think you also have to be a bit fucked in the head to sincerely root for Potato-kun and the girl who we all know he will choose at the end of the light novel's run. Thankfully, this season also features Tsuki ga Kirei (The Moon Is Beautiful), which I stopped watching at episode three, but hope to finish eventually because it seems to be another Actually Good anime about romance, albeit of the junior high school variety.

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