Im a sucker for fluff romances. I dont understand why but I like watching simple undramatic romances play out in anime. I like this format more than an overly melodramatic romance or a romcom that executes the same formula that 100 other shows have done prior to it. Id rather watch 12 episodes of a romantic couple being... well... a couple then watching 24 episodes of them struggling to get together and failing to communicate like normal human beings. Tonikaku Kawaii which I have been told is a close comparison to this show is one such show I like thats like this. Taishou Love Story is no exception to this rule. It is at the very core a fluff romance. Its also one of the few series that I had read the source for prior to watching the anime. I really like the manga it was fluff cute and had some really good character development. It was a 1sitting binge for me. I was super excited for the anime when it was announced as a result. Yet as I was watching the anime I began to realize that reading compared to watching means that all of the stuff that you could easily skip over when reading a manga becomes front and center when you have to watch it on screen. Taishou as fluff as it is has a lot of baggage behind it that the show fails to address meaningfully and instead ignores it for the sake of writing a cute fluff romance set in a historical period. Yuzuki Tachibana The majority of both the good and bad of Taishou stems from the main heroine of the story Yuzu. Yuzu is a 14 year old genkigirl brimming with energy and determination with nothing more than a desire to help Tamahiko not be depressed anymore and to fall in love with him. She is a fun character to watch on screen and she is the main driving force behind Tamahikos character development. The majority not all of the scenes she is in make for very enjoyable scenes to watch. In general she pulls of the genkigirl vibe very well. However there are two problems with her character one glaring one not so much. Lets start with the less problematic aspect of her character. The majority of her actions and personality can be seen as in service of Tamahikos own character development at the cost of her own. Now Tamahikos character development is probably the shows strongest point but I really wished that Yuzu got some of her own character development as opposed to just being an avenue or reason for another character to grow. It feels off that a character that the plot deems so important is relegated to pushing the development of the main guy of the story and basically is left to be the perfect housewife which is a whole other set of weird implications. The second and probably the biggest issue with Yuzu and possibly the show is that she is by definition a slave. I say slave because Yuzus reason for being in the story is that she was BOUGHT yes BOUGHT for a sum of money to be Tamahikos wife and caretaker. She a human being was PURCHASED for a SUM OF MONEY to do a specific task. She is by that logic a slave. Now I am no expert on slavery in Japanese society especially not its legal status in the 1920s the decade in which the story takes place but the writer of the story choosing to bring Yuzu and Tamahiko together via this method leaves a lot of questions as to why. Why not make her a maid paid to look after Tamahiko? If you want the Tachibanas to still pay off a debt why not just have her work for Tamahiko instead of being sold to his family as a slave? Yuzu being bought leaves a lot of questions as to why this method was chosen. Perhaps the author just wanted to bring Tamahiko and Yuzu together in a way that forced them to stay together in order to create romantic situations. If so I feel like other methods could have been better or the author just didnt realize or understand the implications such a dynamic could bring. Yet the show constantly pays lipservice to the fact that Yuzu being a slave is fed up. Multiple characters throughout the series bring up that Yuzus situation is terrible. Tamahiko himself addresses it but its more a you dont deserve to be with me cause I am depressed and not you dont deserve to be with me cause you are only here due to an fed up exchange. There are multiple scenes where Yuzu is looked on with pity or Tamahikos family is looked on with anger over the fact that Yuzu was bought and forced to reside with Tamahiko. Yet the one character who doesnt express any anger or sadness or regret over this... is Yuzu herself. Yuzu never once is sad or angry or upset at the fact that she was purchased like a piece of property. We never see her longing for her old life before the show though the show does give us a lot of scenes of her preshow life we never see her feel upset at the injustice she was put into and we never see her regret her turn of events. Spoiler for the last episode In general this aspect of Yuzus character her being purchased puts a giant elephant in the room an elephant the show constantly acknowledges but then turns around and immediately tries to do a fluff romance piece. Had the show actually acknowledged it in a meaningful manner or had Yuzu be affected by it via insights into her thoughts on the situation it would have made a much stronger show and helped solve the lack of major characterization of Yuzu as a whole. Oh and I completely forgot to mention why the hell does a 14 year old have giant boobs? What was the reason behind that? Its brought up once in the anime and never addressed again. It doesnt make any sense besides fanservice which is really weird given again shes 14... Tamahiko Shima The shows strongest points though come through with its main guy character Tamahiko. Tamahiko starts off the series as the son of a ruthless businessman who gets injured and is effectively ostracized by his family to the point where they even consider him deceased for all reasons. Realistically this puts Tamahiko into a giant downward depression spiral you try not being depressed if your family decided to declare you dead to them for something silly. I would argue that the strongest point of Taishou is seeing Tamahiko start off as a depressed guy meet Yuzu and with her help become not depressed and actually learn to be happy. We see him slowly break out of his spiral meet new people make new friends and figure out his future. Of course this is all egged on by a desire to make Yuzu happy and to be a husband she can respect but its still really nice to see Tamahiko develop in this way. It also helps that even though Tamahiko and Yuzu met under fed circumstances Tamahiko himself is actually probably the best case scenario for someone in Yuzus position exemplified by the fact that we see characters in similar but worse situations which leads me to wonder if those were used to make Yuzus position more justified? there are no gross things that happen between Tamahiko and Yuzu and ignoring the slave aspect their relationship on an emotional level grows to be very healthy though there is a caveat I want to address later. In general Tamahikos character starting off as depressed and becoming a man who would trek miles for his love is the kind of character development I really like to see and honestly that is probably my favorite part of the story. This kind of character development might be more common or better done elsewhere but I still really enjoyed watching it The Relationship As mentioned before Tamahiko and Yuzu emotionally have a rather healthy relationship despite how they are introduced. Yet there are some caveats to this that were a little bit unsettling. The first is that Tamahiko and Yuzu have a rather traditional marriage Yuzu the wife does all the housework and Tamahiko sits and either reads or does some job. Now this might sound nitpicking but generally those kinds of relationships are rather flawed and can easily be seen as wishfulfillment having a cute girl keep your place clean? AWESOME. Historically speaking those relationships never really existed which again points to kind of wishfulfillment as the reason this relationship dynamic exists. There is also the fact that Yuzu getting covered for warmth is all she needed to trust Tamahiko after just meeting him but that definitely feels like nitpicking. Besides that though their relationship is really nice to see play out. It is basically a fluff romance and their interactions with each other are cute and wholesome and nice to watch. I am a sucker for this kind of thing so it was really nice to see play out. Nothing more I can say about this Yes I am aware that he is 17 and she is 14 but a threeyear age gap is not as bad as other shows I have watched with even worse agegaps so I kind of am ambivalent but also understanding if that doesnt sit well with a viewer. The Side Cast Tamako Shima Ryou and the Shiratori twins I feel fall in a lot of ways under the same characterization as Yuzu that their existence is mainly an avenue for Tamahiko to grow as a character. Tamako and Ryou at least also have their own character progressions though they arent as profound as Tamahikos and Ryou gets off to a rather unnecessarily antagonistic start before growing. The Shiratoris are mainly used to help Tamahiko grow for they dont really get their own development and stay relatively the same throughout the series. Its also obvious that the main antagonist of the series is Tamahikos dad. Tamahikos dad is a ruthless businessman but in a lot of ways it feels the show makes him out to be some comically evil villain. He buys people he ostracizes his son for a broken wrist and we basically see him treating his family like garbage. Its very clear the show wants us to hate the guy and to make one of Tamahikos character goals to grow to a point where he doesnt have to pine for his fathers affection. Conclusion I dont want to really talk about the historical aspects of Taishou since that would involve a lot of spoilers for the last arc so I am going to leave that aside. Also the work was written by someone in todays society so I feel like judging its more weird aspects like the slavery from a 1920s perspective is not the best way to approach it given that a modern writer chose to make Yuzu a slave. In total Taishou Love Story is a historical fluff romance that shoots itself in the foot trying to make a historical fluff romance with its controversial elements. While the fluff is good and Tamahikos character progression is very satisfying Yuzus character brings a lot of elephants into the room of the show that the show does not address in a satisfying way. My final verdict is that the show itself is still a solid fluff romance just understand that there are weird aspects of it that bog it down. If you dont mind that kind of stuff I would recommend it but if that kind of stuff turns you away maybe dont watch it.
75 /100
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