Netflix‘s new “unromantic romance” centers on a teenage girl who values video games and her cat above any kind of romantic entanglement. When she’s forced into the role of a harem protagonist, will she stick by her no romance mantra?
This series is streaming on Netflix
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Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
Well, here I am all set for this evening to sit down with a big bag of leftover Halloween chocolate, this new video game I’ve been wanting to check out, and my sweet kitty to cuddle with!
I sure hope no jerkwad fairy shows up and takes all these things away until I can find a suitable review partner to talk about a new Netflix anime—
Nicky, could you help me out on this one?
Only because the Evil Netflix Wizard demands it!!
Just as we thought to be safe during a packed season, Netflix strikes again to zap away all of our remaining free time! And what better way to kill time than the feisty new romcom, Romantic Killer?
Anzu, understandably, takes news of her new assignment well.
But Riri’s, the evil potato wizard as I calls ’em, idea of romance is uhhhh…corny? Dated? Unrealistic? It throws Anzu’s life into disarray, removing her treasures and her family, and creating all kinds of wacky situations like a cruel god of fate.
And therein lies the core appeal of the show: watching someone with no interest in engaging with romance tropes in real life wrestle with them as outlandishly as possible. A killer in the world of romance, or something to that effect.
So of course, looking nice aids both the sincere romance elements and the boat load of tongue-in-cheek visual gags this thing has!
It’s a situation where I’ll allow the ol’ anime joke of “we’re explaining the tired trope we’re invoking,” since the objective is to make clear what it is Anzu is trying to avoid at any given moment.
Such as, for instance, being rescued out of a rainstorm by Hot Boy #1!
It, ironically yet appropriately, makes him a perfect fit for Anzu, at least in terms of acquaintanceship. I like how Kazuki seems utterly resistant to any of the kinds of dramatic misunderstandings that would drive up tension in the more typical kinds of romance story shenanigans Riri is trying to orchestrate between the pair.
In terms of simple friend-shipping, absent any romance, they end up rather delightful to watch together.
Though, it also helps that Kazuki is handy around the house, killing unsightly roaches (censored by cake) and cooking delicious meals now that Anzu has no choice but to fend for herself with her parents and beloved kitty, Momohiki, shipped all the way overseas!
Part of me was initially worried that Anzu’s presentation as a thoroughly unromantic weirdo, compared to the fangirls Kazuki was trying to brush off, would paint her connection with him as a product of being ‘not like other girls’. But I think the series threads the needle of selling Anzu’s overall appeal as just that genuine, even if they make some later…choices in portraying the affections of ladies who aren’t her.
It probably helps that Hot Boy #2 really has always been purely attracted to Anzu just for being Anzu.
It means Junta can serve a simply sincere Childhood Friend role instead, providing a window into Anzu’s past and making apparent that, despite her screwball style and alleged disinterest in relationships, her cavalier comradery with boys and girls alike has resulted in her being something of a natural Ms. Popular.
We see how she so bravely defended her friend against bullies, rumors, and attempted assault. It really shows that despite being a lame-o, Anzu has always had the potential to be a great person and I think forcing her to expand her social skills is really just about helping her come into her own as a more well-rounded person even if her Fairy Tot Mother is annoying and rude about it.
Alongside the implication that Saki might prefer to serve the role of ‘Anzu’s girlfriend.’
Anzu using her dumbass energy to attract morosexuals of both genders earns my bi approval, as is tradition.
Even the birthrate-boosting fairy winds up not immune to her unconventional charms!
Hell, her utter dismissal of being a love interest is what ends up drawing in Hot Boy #3.
I mostly like having him around just for Tsuchiya, his chauffeur who imparts to Anzu what a positive effect she’s already having on the little guy, and generally just comes off like a cool, helpful dude.
After the little tip-off from Saki and how a bit dark her own backstory is, I was probably more prepared for the shift and it portrays Kazuki as a surprisingly well thought-out character where there’s a lot of intent in most of his actions and having him come out to her like that about his own trauma is great pay-off for all the time they spent bonding together.
Maybe it would’ve arrived there more gradually and gracefully had the series had more than a single-cour run, but as-is, I will appreciate it for providing a suitably finale-level event to end on for this adaptation, as opposed to simply coasting to a more generic finish.
Genuine connections between groups of friends, as opposed to the singularly selfish idealized obsessions of a stalker. Even shifting from over-the-top comedy to over-the-top drama, the ideals of Romantic Killer remain salient.
Even the Evil Potato ended up with a strong attachment to Anzu, there’s consequences for this but Anzu deals with it in a perfectly Anzu fashion. She’s really an OP non-heroine and her personality colors the whole show. If you love Anzu from the get-go you’ll definitely like the rest of Romantic Killer.
Plus even if things do wrap with Kazuki confirming that he has at last moved past his own romance-aversion and developed feelings for Anzu, I absolutely appreciate that, by the end of things, Anzu herself is still 100% adamant in her dedication to being the Romantic Killer. It’s a last commitment that really seals the whole show for me, since I wasn’t sure the story would actually be willing to stick to that!
She even gets her cat back!