Romantic Killer is a bit of a different romance title but you can probably guess that from the title. The main heroine isn’t going to make things easy and that’s why she refers to herself as the Anti-Heroine. It’s a nice spin on things which you’ll see once I get to the plot. The ending doesn’t drop the ball on this either so it stays true to the plot and I would say this is a pretty good adventure.
So the show starts by introducing us to Anzu who is really having a great life so far. She has a nice pet cat, her collection of video games, and a whole lot of chocolate! Yeah life is pretty much perfect but one day a fairy named Riri infiltrates Anzu’s home and announces that Anzu’s top 3 possessions in life will be taken away from her. Anzu can no longer eat chocolate, her cat has been taken away, and her video games are also gone. The only way to get these back is to fall in love with a guy. Yes, Anzu is being blackmailed into falling in love by this fairy who basically says that she is doing it for Anzu’s own good. Anzu refuses and says she will not get a boyfriend no matter what happen and Riri puts this to the test by using her magic to summon a bunch of guys in the most contrived situations in order to break Anzu. Can she stay strong?
I think part of the big thing that separates this from the other shows is how Anzu is so completely against getting a boyfriend. In a lot of these shows the heroine technically wants to find a guy but it’s either tough to confess her feelings or things just weren’t working well. Here, Anzu is against this but you are supporting her because of the situation.
If a fairy shows up to ruin your life and said you would only get it back by getting a boyfriend, wouldn’t you want to rebel? You want to control your life and how things go but letting yourself get manipulated is not a good idea. You’re completely rooting for Anzu because of this without a doubt. You could even say that there is a tragic angle to this as it means that Anzu really can’t give any of the guys a fair shake as a result. I can’t say I felt bad for them though…this is just how it goes sometimes.
The show’s almost like a competition between Riri and Anzu or you could also think of it like a video game. Every time Anzu stops one guy she is met with an even tougher challenge in the next level. Since Riri has magic it’s also not like there is any chance of this stopping anytime soon. The game is set up against Anzu for sure because there is no end date to this. In theory Anzu could be doomed to not have her possessions forever which is pretty rough to think about. So time is on Riri’s side as Anzu’s resolve could theoretically start to shake the more the days/months/years go on.
It goes without saying that I don’t like Riri for this reason. She is just trying to force Anzu into love which is absolutely the wrong approach. I know Riri is merely an employee working for some really tough bosses who will do whatever they want but Riri still has a choice not to do this. The only possible way I could defend Riri is if she gave Anzu some kind of a chance and a reward to even things out. For example, declaring that Anzu has lost her 3 possessions for a full year and if she makes it through that period without a boyfriend then she will get something extra. I dunno, a million dollars or something. That would really raise the stakes.
I’d say Riri is also annoying because you can’t count on her when the going gets tough. Things get serious near the end of the series as we get a real villain and some life or death stakes and suddenly Riri’s magic isn’t so helpful. Either the wand is dirty or she’s too slow to help but it’s just annoying. Seriously what’s the point of magic if you can only show up in time to annoy everyone?
Riri also sometimes acts against her best interests by getting Anzu into tricky situations that make the other guys a bit wary. I suppose the long con here is getting the other guys jealous enough to make a move but eh…..doesn’t seem worth it. There’s really no point in Riri shapeshifting into a guy except to make things tough on Anzu and cause misunderstandings. At least Riri does one nice thing by the end but that’s about it.
Now for Anzu, well I was quite pleased with her character from the start. You absolutely empathize with her because her top 3 hobbies are very relatable. Who doesn’t like to just enjoy time with their pet, video games, and eating some chocolate on the side? Those are the top 3 hobbies out there and so when they are taken away you can understand her anguish. The fact that she immediately takes such a hard stance against having a boyfriend was brilliant.
Throughout the show she conducts herself well. One thing I appreciated is that she isn’t rude about it. Anzu is quite straight forward about not wanting to get romantically entangled with anyone but is still willing to be their friend and just a nice person in general. It would have been so easy to make the main heroine a jerk but the show doesn’t do that.
Anzu is also potentially putting herself at a disadvantage by letting herself be close to these guys but she just wants to do the right thing and that’s great. Doing the right thing is its own reward after all. Anzu can also fight a little bit as needed even if she doesn’t get to go hand to hand against the main villain. That would have been nice but she stood in there and didn’t give up.
She is also able to talk back to any bullies and defends her friends. We get a quick flashback later on in the series with her best friend Saki and see how Anzu just squashed all of the bad rumors. Anzu doesn’t let any injustice happen on her watch and this continues into the present when she tells off the girls who were going after Tsukasa.
A lot of times when a girl asks if the heroine can let her meet up with the main guy, the heroine relents. Usually it’s a mix of “Well, he’s not my boyfriend so I don’t care.” or “Sure, I don’t see any harm in that.”. This was better as she just said she wouldn’t be a party to any of this and wouldn’t set up anything since Tsukasa obviously didn’t want to hang out with these characters. Anzu speaks her mind which is a big upgrade from many characters.
Her friend Saki doesn’t get a whole lot to do here since most of the show is about Anzu meeting up with the various guys but she did good in her limited screen time. She had a really rough backstory that also shows why she is so close to Anzu now. She really rebounded from how things used to be to still be popular and nice in the present instead of jaded about everyone.
Now lets talk about the guys. As they’re all effectively boss battles, I’ll describe them like video game fighters. I should note that Riri does make sure to mention that she isn’t mind controlling anyone. That would have been a very dubious moment after all so while she dos create circumstances to play matchmaker, the characters all do actually like Anzu of their own accord. This was a good move by the way as all of the romances would have really been doomed otherwise.
Of course I can’t say that I was really on board with any of the romances here either way. I stand with Anzu in staying strong against these guys since the fairy is trying to play matchmaker with blackmail the whole time. So without that then maybe they’d have a chance but nah that’s game over until the deal is over.
So first up we have Tsukasa. He’s the cool guy in school who is mega popular but really cold to any girls that are around. He’s got a tragic backstory and his best asset is the fact that he is always around. Put it this way, Riri flooded his house so now Tsukasa has to live with Anzu for a while. That means since they are together a whole lot there isn’t a way to really avoid him.
It would be difficult not to become friends after that and so keeping the line drawn is the tough part. For Tsukasa it’s easy to see why he falls for Anzu because up until now he’s always been around a lot of very judgmental people. Anzu is the only one who treats him as just an ordinary guy and is super casual around him instead of putting on a persona.
Then you have to also factor in Tsukasa’s childhood tragedy involving a stalker named Yukana. basically Tsukasa was traumatized by her because of how unhinged she was. She would buy him clothes and follow him around and ultimately even drugged him. He was very fortunate that things didn’t escalate past that. So he’s unable to really feel free outside as he doesn’t want her to find him again.
He easily has the most amount of screen time and development so even though there are a few guys here and it’s more of an ensemble show, it’s fair to say that he is the main guy here. The climax even revolves around him so at the end of the day you figure that while he is the first boss battle of the show, he also works as the final boss. Anzu has to be careful around him.
Then we’ve got Junta and his biggest attribute to watch out for is that he’s the Childhood friend. He moved away for a while but he’s back now and is ready to try and make a move. He’s loved Anzu for many years and never got over her but of course she never really noticed this. I mean that’s on Junta for not saying anything though. When you’ve got a crush you have to either silently get over it or let the other party know but staying silent is the only way to really lose.
Junta is great at sports and is a super nice guy. As the nicest member of the guys that is another aspect of his to watch out for. He gives everyone a fair shake but can be stern when needed. He lacks self confidence which may make it easy to give him sympathy points though so that’s something else to watch out for. On one hand, the fact that he’s liked her for years helps in the romance angle because it’s not super sudden like Tsukasa. It’s more of a believable romance even if Anzu never noticed him before.
Of course at the same time ending the plot as an unrequited love while tragic always makes things a bit more compelling as you get to see him slowly accept that just being a normal friend really isn’t that bad. If he was a bit bolder then I would like him more but I rarely like the characters who really aren’t confident like this. He tends to throw in the towel early until he’s given a motivational speech.
Then you have the third main guy here named Hijiri. Well he’s rich which is always a very tempting attribute in any character. If Anzu ends up with him then she will be set for life and will never have to worry about anything ever again. You should never marry for riches of course…but it is probably the single most tempting thing aside from pure love.
Hijiri is used to everyone throwing themselves at him so of course the fact that Anzu isn’t interested at all just makes him want her even more. He has a tough time acting normal though and tends to throw around insults by mistake and can be generally annoying. Showing him how to live life as a normal person is something Anzu might feel instinctively so she has to worry about that. Of course she also has to be careful that she doesn’t just feel bad for him since he’ll be crushed. Pity dates are never a good idea.
Those are all of the main guys. There are a few supporting characters like Tsukasa’s friend Makoto who is around but it’s not like he’s ever involved in the romance. There is one extra guy for romance but his role is really small. His name is Ryuya and he’s really just annoying. He’s another childhood friend who liked Anzu but unlike Junta who was too shy to make a move and stayed quiet, he ended up teasing her a lot because of his crush.
You don’t see that happening as much nowadays but I do remember it being a really big thing for a while where they say you would tease and bully the person you like accidentally because you didn’t know how to interact with them normally. I gotta admit I always thought this was a super lame excuse. Seriously, your way of dealing with your feelings is to be mean to the person you like?
That’s just awful so nah I wasn’t going to root for him. Ryuya is super petty and nearly messes up the reunion for everyone by getting into his feels like this. It’s just not a good look for him at all. Maybe a tiny part of you feels bad for him…but it’s a super tiny part that is almost nonexistent. Anzu didn’t take any of it seriously at least and barely even remembers him so he should have just taken it in stride and kept it moving. They could totally be friends in the present without all the awkwardness but he really makes a spectacle of himself for a while there.
Finally we have some of the supporting characters from Tsukasa’s plot like his sister Arisa. She’s probably the only super nice member of the family. His father is a bit crazy as he blames Tsukasa for everything and unfortunately his mother tends to be a bit more passive about the whole thing. This really forced Tsukasa to have to move out and live on his own.
In part this would help him avoid the stalker but it’s also because he wasn’t getting any real support here. His father seemed to have a very old fashioned idea that if there were issues with a girl then it means that the guy led her on. He never even tries to hear Tsukasa’s side of the story and blames him entirely. This even continues on to the present. I wasn’t expecting him to stay as a villain in the present but it gave Anzu another really good moment.
Considering how much he went through, Tsukasa definitely turned out well. I also can’t say that he really made any big mistakes with how he handled the stalker situation. It’s really hard to know just how to handle something like that but he tried ignoring her, talking to her directly, but nothing would work. With someone like that who is clever enough not to break laws too openly escape can feel like the only real option. Especially since even once the courts get involved it doesn’t deter her.
Yukana is the stalker and the final boss of the series. It was nice to have some action at the end here for sure and when she took out the knife you knew things were going to get intense. It is crazy that with such a big cast, one person can make so many waves but the whole situation is handled pretty realistically. The show is mainly comedic but the whole stalker situation is handled super seriously. Riri at least helped a bit in summoning everyone at one point to deal with some bullies (Who had the least believable redemption arc in the franchise. They looked awful and were actually going to beat up Anzu so they shouldn’t have been forgiven so easily. I thought they should have been arrested personally) but Riri’s reasoning for not taking down Yukana directly was really weak.
Riri does need Anzu alive and well to get the mission completed so Yukana is an active threat. Ergo it should be reasonable to take her down but Riri is not convinced and can’t make a move without that confirmation. It’s definitely annoying and feels a bit contrived since otherwise there would not really be a big climax like this. With magic ending it all would be easy.
The humor in the series works well. I would say that it is rarely laugh out loud levels of funny but you can appreciate the humor. I liked how fake they made the first dating sim look which helped to illustrate just what Anzu thought of the whole thing. A whole show with those graphics could actually be rather fun. You can also appreciate this from the guy’s point of view here as well since they all like her and she just has no interest in returning those feelings.
Think of it like everyone falling for the popular girl in school. Usually in the movies there is the main guy who ends up breaking past the pack and they get together so this show is more like if there was no guy. Everyone here are the bit players in the average movie who are doing their best to get her to notice them and it’s all to no avail. None of their feelings are being returned and that’s just how it goes sometimes.
Meanwhile the animation for the show is good too. I get the feeling that it wouldn’t work too well with a lot of movement because it feels a bit rigid but at the same time the colors really stand out. Everyone has eyes that are really sharp and the colors are on point. For a show like this where there won’t be big action scenes I think it makes sense to focus on the artwork than on pure animation. Because of that the visuals will really age well even several years from now. It’s why all of the screenshots look so sharp here as well. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side though. I really couldn’t recall a single tune by the time the show was over but I want to say that it did work well while watching the show.
There is an interesting gimmick where any bugs are turned into different cakes in the show. It’s super random but I’d say that it works because of that. It’s almost like the show is throwing in some photoshop and you can’t go wrong with that. I guess Anzu needed one weakness as well since otherwise she was shredding all obstacles. So since she is scared of bugs that throws the guys a little lifeline to use.
Overall, Romantic Killer is a pretty fun show and I definitely had a good amount of fun with it. It succeeds by focusing more on the challenge and comedic aspects than the actual romance. The serious stuff was handled well too but to me the comedic moments are when the show is at its best. I’d be down with a season 2 to see how this continues on and if they stick to those fundamentals then I think it would be in good shape. In theory Anzu should still be trying to stay strong and it would focus more on the guys doing their best to win her over. It would make for a fairly unique spin on the whole romance genre and if it balances in the humor like this one did then I think it would be a success. Of course the ending is always really important for a show like this as well so they do need to make sure to stick the landing. I believe the show can pull this off though. The ending here could have easily been dodgy but it wasn’t so that worked out.