Anime Review: Actually, I am

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Actually, I am going to make this review fun. Lately I’ve been doing so many serious reviews, that even I’m starting to think I’m incapable of writing about anime that I enjoyed simply because they’re entertaining. That being said, I will attempt to wrap up all that I have discussed this month with a brief analysis, and then get to the fun part!

In my review for School Live, we discussed how we can make our life worth living.

In Plastic Memories, we discussed how we are defined by our memories.

In The Perfect Insider, we discussed how we are always seeking answers.

In Charlotte, we discussed how our aspirations help us to grow.

For this review, I will not be discussing the details of some bigger theory, but I will be implying a final answer to what makes us who we are, something that encompasses all five of these series that I have presented this month. So in the spirit of something that sounds totally Beauvoirean, who are we? We are a situation!

Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about one of my favorite shows from last year! And unlike the other shows, this shōnen romantic comedy can only make sense if we have fun with it!

Shonen-ai

Wait, you mean it’s not this kind of shonen romcom?

Actually, I am (Jitsu wa Watashi wa) follows a very unlikely student duo: Asahi Kuromine, a boy who can’t keep a secret, and Yōko Shiragami, a strange girl who aspires to be a “cool beauty.” All he wanted was someone who will accept him for who he is, and all she wanted was to find friends she can count on. When Asahi finally gets to talk with Yōko, it would seem like a perfect opportunity for them to fill each other’s void.

Except there’s one little problem. Actually, Yōko Shiragami is a vampire!

Yoko

At least she doesn’t sparkle?

Well, this would be a problem for Asahi, seeing how he can’t keep a secret! How’s he supposed to make friends with her? But what came of these two that day was the start of a beautiful, wacky friendship that can only get better. And by better, I mean introduce as many weird things as possible! And so long as everything else about this show is weird, being a leaky basket and a vampire… sounds pretty normal to me.

Glasses

Oh come on, glasses aren’t that weird!

Yōko may be a vampire, but she’s not the kind of vampire you’re thinking of. Sure, she may have wings and fangs and whatnot, but the laws of pop culture vampires don’t exist here. For one, Yōko can’t be killed by garlic or crosses. Garlic only makes her feel woozy and crosses just make her really angry for some reason.

Yōko will also not turn into dust when she’s in the sun. However, her vampire genes will make her tan very easily!

Yoko tan

Hmm… I wonder what the SPF is on her sunscreen.

Speaking of vampire lore, Yōko also doesn’t drink blood! At least, not in her regular diet. Vampires may have done that in the old days, but in the present, sucking blood is only okay if you are doing it to the one you love. In other words, sucking blood is for marriage!

Blood Sucking

You would, Asahi…

But Yōko is not the only strange person at this school. Now that the leaky basket is friends with the strange green-haired girl, of course everyone’s going to know about it! And everyone’s going to give them a hard time about it, too!

So who’s going to cause problems for them? Why, the resident alien Nagisa Aizawa, the childhood friend with a tsukumogami pair of glasses Mikan Akemi, the wolf-man girl Shiho Shishido, and the little devil principal Akane Kōmoto, of course!

Nagisa

Uh oh. Nagisa’s screw came loose! So riveting!

MikanFriends don’t let friends go without the vilest of spicy concoctions!

ShihoLike what you see here? Send her a picture of the Moon!

AkaneThat’s no devil! That’s the most well-adjusted principal that any school could have! Silly me.

Class

Shit! Sensei is watching too!

Some people might label this series as a harem, seeing how it’s got one guy surrounded by very unique girl characters. But I never thought of Asahi’s situation as such. From the beginning, the focus has always been on both Asahi and Yōko. And to some extent, we can also experience this series from Yōko’s point of view as well.

To that effect, I think a case can be made to say that this series is actually a shōjo romance, albeit a very odd one. But whether this series is for boys or girls doesn’t matter to me.

Shojo romance

And besides, Yoko hates shojo romances!

Asahi may be Yōko’s friend, but everyone knows that he’s actually in love with her! As the leaky basket, his feelings are too obvious to everyone else. Asahi has had a history of people exploiting those obvious feelings of his, so it would seem that pursuing anything further than friendship would be impossible when it comes to her.

But actually, Asahi’s friends have decided (although not without conflict) to let him be for once. And maybe that’s because they’ve grown to recognize that there is something more important at stake (not the wooden kind): Yōko’s feelings.

Prank

So lay off, dudes!

There are many times when Asahi is asked to not only keep Yōko’s secret safe, but also to be the best friend he could possibly be to her, even if it’s all for ulterior motives. This might strike some folks as reinforcing Asahi’s masculinity, and that may very well be. If so, we would get the same recycled lesson as we’ve heard: “a man must protect his woman” and all that shenanigans.

But even so, Yōko keeps telling Asahi that he doesn’t have to worry about her at all! She even goes to the extent to say that she doesn’t mind if anyone else knew her secret! And why is that? Because Asahi was already a special person to her from the beginning. After all, it’s because of him that she has made so many friends!

jitsuwa-friendsI’m sure a lot of us are hoping that they will become a couple. Everyone else seems to agree, even if they had to wrestle with the idea. But to me, I never really thought that Asahi had to try so hard to make it happen.

Sure, a lot of people would laugh at the fact that Asahi had essentially “friendzoned” himself, but he was being genuine about it. Had he tried to force the issue, he might have had the same problem with girls as he had in the past, trying to be something that he’s not. Asahi may come across as someone who can’t keep a secret, but actually, he can if he doesn’t think too hard about it! That has to be worth something!

He may not be the hottest guy and she may not be the coolest beauty, but from what I see, Asahi and Yōko make a better couple just on the grounds that they can fill the void for the other. That’s much more valuable to me. And perhaps that’s what makes them a good pair.

But I promised that this would be a fun review. So to end, I will leave you with a quasi-SPOILER moment… when Asahi meets Dad!

Dad

OH GAWD WHY!?

So if you want a romantic comedy that is totally bonkers and tells the story of very strange friendship, watch Actually, I am. And if you haven’t guessed, actually, I am another year older as of today! Thanks for reading!

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