I personally really enjoy a romance, particularly those which don’t follow the more conventional route. The synopsis of Koi to Uso certainly piqued my interest because of this, but, really, it wasn’t going to stand up to the expectations it had created.
Koi to Uso, also known as Love and Lies, is set in a Japanese society somewhere in the future. In this society, a rather complex match-making system has been implemented in order to encourage successful marriages and combat low birthrates. The system matches people at the age of sixteen with their soulmate and, unless you want to suffer through severe punishment, there’s no way out of it. Spurred on by his love for his long-time crush, Yukari Nejima confesses his love to Misaki Takasaki. After being reluctant for a brief moment, Misaki reciprocates his feelings and the two of them have a moment of passion – a moment that Yukari has only dreamt of. However, before the two can continue their love story, Yukari receives his marriage notice and his assigned wife isn’t Misaki. Suddenly thrown into a web of love and lives, what will happen to Yukari, Misaki and Yukari’s newly-assigned wife?
The synopsis really does make for an intriguing, dramatic story and, at least for the first half of the show, that’s what was presented. However, as the story progresses, the show simply puts more focus on asking the rather existential question: what is love? As much as I don’t particularly mind anime asking the type of questions that make the viewer think, this wasn’t what I signed up for. I only wished to watch the drama unfold in front of me, not cause a dramatic scene in my own mind, especially after the fact that my first watch of Neon Genesis Evangelion not too long before finishing Koi to Uso did a perfectly good job of doing that in the first place. Of course, Koi to Uso‘s psychological element is pretty tame in comparison to NGE’s and I’m not saying that it is meant to be psychological for the viewer, but the amount of times that Yukari asks himself the same questions really does either make the show boring or makes the viewer overthink somewhat. (Unless this was just me, in that case, just ignore me.)
The show being boring wasn’t exactly helped by the protagonist, either. He is, of course, made boring on purpose, but there wasn’t a moment where I even saw decent qualities in him. Yukari is often messing things up with both Misaki and Ririna (his assigned-wife), yet he hardly resolves these ‘blips’ at all. He’s definitely more of a thinker than a doer, but when he does eventually act with his own initiative, it’s not exactly always the lesser of the two evils either. As for the other characters, they’re pretty underwhelming too. Sure, they actually have personalities, but they’re nothing special. Sure, you can look at this and say, “Well, they’re made to be boring because they’re representing real people.” I wouldn’t necessarily blame you, because I do agree with that. However, I grew tired of Ririna’s tsundere attitude and, well, there wasn’t enough character development for me to actually form an opinion on Misaki, despite how prominent she is in the show. Nisaka – Yukari’s best friend – is just seemingly there. He’s never really given enough screen time to be given development and is instead just seen as a main background character. With such a show having a story around people’s relationships and emotions, I did hope for more character development than what was given.
Despite it being a drama, it does add some comedic elements to the story, but it definitely isn’t the best humour. Jokes are often made around the misunderstandings between characters, sexual fantasies and, well, that’s about it. The humour just seems forced, repetitive between episodes and it definitely doesn’t add anything to the show itself.
Moving on to some of the more technical aspects of the show, I’ll start by talking about the art style and animation. It definitely isn’t the best animation I’ve seen, but it’s also far from the worst – it’s distinctly average. However, saying that, the fireflies scene in Episode 5 is one of the prettiest scenes I’ve seen in recent times, so I will give credit where it’s due. LIDENFILMS have managed to grip onto some of the beautiful animations that I once saw in Kanojo to Kanajo, but the fact that the rest of the show is just distinctly average means I can’t really give it too much credit.
As for the OST, I personally love it. The music in Koi to Uso is without a doubt one of its high points. Sure, it might not fit perfectly with the show, but the music itself is forty tracks of music that is just ‘pretty’. Some of the tracks are joyful, pizzicato-filled strings and piano-played-in-major tracks that I could really listen to all day. It often creates a sort of antithesis and it’s this that I actually quite like. Even the tense music isn’t exactly tense, but more relaxing and like they could quite easily fit on an instrumental study playlist. The OP itself is one of my favourites of the anime I’ve watched from 2017.
Koi to Uso isn’t a bad show by any means, even if I have slated it in this review, but it’s certainly not a good show either. It’s watchable. For me personally, if I wanted a dramatic romance that debated what love actually is, I’d prefer to watch Kuzu no Honkai, where everything is just done just so much better. Would I recommend Koi to Uso, though? Sure. I guess. I know I recommended it in my recent Anime For All, so me being quite negative about it seems quite hypocritical, but it is one anime I’d still recommend if you’re just starting out or you simply take this review on board and don’t build up some sort of expectation of extremely dramatic romances.
Personally, I will be watching the OVA when it airs in hopes that it improves the overall enjoyment of the series. I will, of course, update this post when the time comes, but for now, I am personally unsatisfied with the show thus far.