#1 Adorable romance with a size difference
Takeo Gouda is a massive, intimidating man. A teenager so tall and muscular that everybody mistakes him for an adult. Since childhood, he has been best friends with the handsome and quiet Makoto Sunakawa, which has caused them both some problems.
Every crush on a girl that Takeo ever had would eventually fall for Makoto instead and be promptly rejected by him, so Takeo has never had a girlfriend or even had the opportunity to ask someone out. This changes when he and Makoto capture a pervert on the tram, who was feeling up the pint-sized high schooler Rinko Yamato.
Takeo and Rinko soon fall in love with each other, even though Takeo mistakenly believes she is yet another admirer for Makoto and initially vows to help her score a date with him. The anime fortunately doesn’t extend this misunderstanding too far and soon the proper couple starts dating for real.
The romance between Takeo and Rinko is super adorable and frequently had me laughing at their antics. Takeo is an affectionate brute who doesn’t understand girls well, but is so passionately in love with Rinko that he goes to great lengths to learn and adapt. Rinko too is a lovable protagonist with her own self-confidence issues to overcome throughout the series. Despite the obvious gimmick of having such an unusual couple, My Love Story proves itself to be a genuinely great shoujo romance filled with heartwarming scenes and good laughs.
#2 Takeo the Hero
Takeo is such a brilliant protagonist to focus on. He is well-written guy and brilliantly depicted by Andrew Love; almost every line of his dialogue put a smile on my face. He is also a genuine hero.
Several times throughout the series, the romance and comedy storylines are brutally interrupted by action. Sometimes it’s innocent like a judo tournament that Takeo is dragged into, at other times it makes you wonder if the couple might be cursed. A construction site falls apart as they pass, the location of their date catches fire and people are trapped inside, kids fall into rivers, these two can’t go anywhere without putting themselves and the entire surroundings in danger.
The switch from sweet shoujo romance straight into panic and action is a sudden one, but it gives My Love Story!! some very good diversity and it frequently ends up affecting the romance directly or indirectly.
#3 Makoto is a real bro
Makoto is a bit of an enigma. He has the looks of Light Yagami, but a very retracted personality. He is smart and well-spoken, but usually keeps to himself and doesn’t speak much.
The anime really sells the friendship between him and Takeo, often remarking on how it’s peculiar that such different people could be the greatest of friends. Makoto is very much the brains of their duo and even has to trick Takeo to finally convince him that Rinko really does have a crush on him. He helps his friend out constantly and comments that seeing the two of them have fun together makes him happy as well.
But Makoto has his own problems and it sometimes feels like he is keeping a lot of it to himself. He doesn’t open up to people emotionally, unless they are Takeo, who manages to bring out unseen parts of him, both negative and positive. He is capable of putting a laugh on Makoto’s frozen face or finally crack his tough shell when he needs support.
#4 Quality shoujo
I don’t have too much experience with shoujo anime. Add it to the growing list of genres I still dearly want to catch up on. Still, I did read a lot of shoujo manga and frequently ended up loving the stories while expressing disappointment with the lackluster visuals.
Non-existent backgrounds, inconsistent character art, I have seen it all too often. Even the few shoujo series I did see weren’t the prettiest outside of action series like Escaflowne and Yona of the Dawn. None of that here! My Love Story!! looks great, constantly so. It has beautiful backgrounds even in the most mundane of locations, great character designs with lots of different outfits for the protagonists, and it is full of creative scenes and nice angles. It constantly felt like watching something special and passionately put together by a team of great artists.
The show is romantic, funny, it has some excitement and drama in there, and all of it works together wonderfully. I felt wholly absorbed in the emotions of the anime and its lovable characters.