Nisekoi – Exaggerated Anime Expressions
Nisekoi is a romantic comedy, or romcom, for short, as it is more commonly abbreviated. From my general experience of romcoms, it usually involves a slice-of-life setting, and have the characters mess around in the setting. It puts a grin on our face as our boisterous characters had their fun time playing around, and I feel that the latter part of the phrase “romantic comedy” – “comedy”, came about from this very element. It’s an additional term to tell us that this is not your soap opera romance story, but a lighter tale with the characters having fun, telling corny jokes, and dealing with romance in a less stressful and serious manner than that of the former. The second word of the phrase – “comedy”, is something added for that very context, and it does not necessary mean that the anime is actually funny. At least, that’s how I see it personally from most typical romcoms I had watched. But, you see, Nisekoi isn’t just your typical romcom.
It’s actually funny.
The peculiar thing about all this is that I find Nisekoi’s jokes don’t really differ that much from other romcom series, so what makes it funny? In my opinion, the source lies in it’s exaggerated anime expressions.
Anime is known to exaggerate their character’s expressions by visualizing their faces to an almost unrealistic manner, to the point that it is a daunting task, or rather, just impossible to mimic in real life. That exaggeration is one of the many magic of watching anime as opposed to watching live-action drama, you can say it’s an advantage that 2D media like anime can make use of, using that advantage to manifest unrealistic expression, but genuine emotions. And Nisekoi took this advantage to the very extreme.
Because the character’s facial expressions are expressed in such an exaggerated and humorous manner, the usually corny, dirty jokes became that much more funnier. It is as though jokes which weren’t originally funny were turned 180 degrees due to the character’s exaggerated faces. The show’s main lead, Raku, for example, had made one of the most ridiculous faces I had ever seen, and it is always so fun looking at his reaction to all the romcom situations around him. Of course, the show being produced by Shaft adds a nice touch overall. The neck-tilting, unique visual subject, panning/zooming at certain angles, and various visual styles that Shaft is just so well known of, help amplify this exaggeration aspect of the show to an almost classy feel, despite the ridiculous facial forefront.
It had been a long while since Seto no Hanayome that I had watched a romcom this hilarious, ridiculous and classy at the same time. Now, Nisekoi definitely nailed the “comedy” part, what about the “romance” part? Well, it’s actually pretty touching.. perhaps.