Premise: Misaki Ayuzawa is the student council president at a formerly all-boys high school. She also works at a maid cafe on the side to earn money to support her family. Misaki has problems relating to the male members of her class so she comes off a little more than brusque and overbearing. One of her classmates, Usui Takumi, happens upon her by chance as she’s being intimidated by a group of men. It just so happens that he comes to her rescue as she’s working so he learns her secret. Thus, begins the saga of Misaki and Usui, she trying to keep her secret and he trying to get her to open up to him. It’s obvious from the beginning that Usui is in love with Misaki but she’s about the only person in the cast that doesn’t realize it.
Is it worth watching?: Yes. The humor makes up for the slow pace of the story, but the payoff at the end of the series is worth waiting for over 26 episodes.
Breakout character: Misaki Ayuzawa. She’s the lead in this romantic comedy so she should be standing out at some point. Ayuzawa comes into her own by the end of the series, and you see her development as the main character come along nicely.
Funniest episode: Episode 26, “Too Cruel Ayuzawa & Usui the Idiot!” Not so much funny as it is a great way to wrap up the story in the anime adaptation, Episode 26 is one of the best payoff scenes in a recent anime. The way the story comes together to the inevitable finale — which you knew was coming after the first episode — is well done and satisfying.
Where it’s going?: This is the finale for the series but the story continues on in the manga with a nice epilogue.
Your protagonist — male or female, it doesn’t matter — is going to conveniently forget his or her’s first love. They will struggle to remember just who the person is, will struggle with their feelings for this person and then miraculously remember every detail, down to exact conversations they may have had when they were young.
2. Young romance grows up
The protagonist is quite outgoing and will make a friend or two that they will inevitably leave behind. They will encounter this person years later and will find a way to reconnect based on their previous dealings with each other. In this new age, they will rediscover that which they have in common and it will recreate a long-forgotten romance between them.
3. Opposites attract
The main characters that are destined to be together will not like each other. In fact, they downright hate each other. They can’t stand each other but somehow keep finding themselves thrown together in situations that require them to interact and learn something new about each other. Before long — usually by the end of the series — they will find themselves together.
Anime: Kimi ni Todoke
4. Valentine chocolate is strictly forbidden
Giving the gift of chocolate for Valentine’s Day is a ritual for school children worldwide, and more so in Japan. It’s so prevalent that it’s usually an episode in a romantic comedy series or any type of romance series that involves school. What usually happens is that the main characters will attempt to bake chocolates or buy chocolates for their intended special person. It will either be extremely problematic or won’t happen at all. Hilarity or drama can and will ensue.
Anime: Lovely Complex
5. The payoff scene
Required for every romantic comedy by the third to the last episode in the series, the main characters have to have a confession scene. One of the characters has to be obvious about their feelings up to this point, and the other has to be oblivious to it until a revelation occurs that makes them take notice of the fact that the other character has been panting behind them since the first episode. What happens next is important: There has to be payoff for the buildup. They have to confess feelings and kiss, enter a relationship or resolve everything by the end of the series.