There's always that one show you find that starts off excellently and you expect it to go to greater lengths and remain consistent if not become better but then that does not happen every time, partly because a show doesn't bring any originality with it and partly because it doesn't strive to make things even a little unpredictable, that is the case with Tada-kun Never Falls in Love.
Right around the first and second episodes I felt it was amazing since it started off so well, showing a bright artstyle not unlike Doga Kobo’s other more popular (and obviously better) anime, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. The characters felt cheerful and the whole anime gave you a cheerful vibe, now this vibe was obviously continued in the rest of the anime but the differing point is that it was cliched to the extreme. Don't get me wrong, cliches aren't bad, but they have to be handled properly to make the show watchable and not lazily copy over cliches and skin them with your colour and post it as your anime, this is unfortunately what Tada-kun continued to do and it certainly was heartbreaking for me to see that the show I loved in episode one became a cliche machine by the 5th episode (and I'm talking about myself here, others may have started seeing effects way earlier than me).
Being a Slice of Life meant that a concrete plot wasn't exactly on the list of priorities for any anime studio for that matter, so it comes by no surprise that this show as well didn't have one, and since this is very normal and common with most Slice of Life shows in general, I'll make this the one step I'll forgive. But what comes is the rest. One problem only, cliches. Each episode was filled to the brim with cliches, be it a situation, a backstory (not Tada’s), the characters, and unfortunately, the romance.
A cliched romance isn't exactly something I'll throw over to the Lions for, but when it's not even trying to add a dash of originality things start to get messy. I mostly went “Oh so in the next episode preview this is going to happen? Then this cliche will be followed” and it killed my enjoyment in the anime as compared to the first episode. And this isn't a hot springs episode thing, sudden bumps, blushes at the same words, a situation being ruined by the characters’ actions, are all examples of cliches that the show followed (forgive me for being vague, as of the time of writing I've been watching a lot of anime this season so my memory is slightly hazy). “Why is this guy focusing so much on the cliches?” you might be asking. To me, cliches were the one biggest problem the show had, if this was fixed, I doubt the show would disappoint me, but then again, improving cliches is very much easier said than done. And fixing them is important because to keep a Slice of Life fun, especially a romance, you need fresh ideas, Tada had none of that.
Tada-kun’s characters weren't the most unique of ones but I'll have to give credit, they were cheerful but their personalities were once again riddled by the C word (pretty sure you're as tired of reading it as I am writing it, but then again, this was the biggest problem of the show anyway). Although fans were gleefully picking out the ships right from the first episode going “Alec x Ijuuin” and the like it kinda felt a bit boring. I mean, not trying to act nitpicky but a little bit of a surprise is always welcome in a romance isn't it? “No” according to this anime. Although not having a surprise isn't 100% bad per se but yet again, Tada-kun didn't try to make it work. At best this can remind me that the show felt lazy. Doga Kobo tried to make something fun but a little different but didn't want to make the effort for it and got itself trapped within its own plans. Apart from the cat, every single romance in the show was horribly implemented. Tada X Teresa has got to be one of the most irritating romances I've ever seen because both of them acted so stupidly and their shyness for normal things like talking to each other (especially when they first met) has got to be a pathetic way to go about the “falling in love” step of romances. I mean, I despise the “love at first sight” view and Tada didn't help make it better at all. Pin-head and Representative-san’s romance as well wasn't explored and was left shallow. But then again it in itself was shallow from the start. Him not knowing that his childhood friend is the idol he idolises so much? Could you be any more cliche? Before you answer that, Tada already did. Yamashita Dog and Tada’s sister as well were just a one blush game as well. Coming back to Tada, his “romance” with Teresa was random, pretty much non-existent except for the last 3 episodes maybe if you don't count stupid “Oh I saw you look at me and I don't know what to say” crap as “love”... I'm not saying shy romances are bad, but Tada and Teresa made them look pathetic with their random shyness. Sometimes they're super shy and the other second they're pretty much flirting?
People went memeing around saying that the cats had the best romance but funnily enough that turned out to be very much true, until that happened. On the other hand the other romances felt average and not out of the box. At many times I found myself predicting what the next situation could be for the characters and when and how the blushes would happen. Perhaps the one romance I could like was of Ijuuin and our secretary Tsundere, Alec (since it is of a cliche I could say I don't have a problem with). The rest meanwhile, were… average like I said. It seemed as if the writers wanted to do something different, they wanted to try to make the show enjoyable in episode one, but the sad contrast in the later episode showed that they were the teenager who after getting bad grades thinks “I'm going to work hard from tomorrow onwards” and right the next day get caught in their usual routine, without any thought or apology for not doing what they promised themselves they'd do.
Now, this show isn't filth, far from it, it's not FranXX, but it's average, it's mediocre. Why? It doesn't ruin everything and burn everything to the ground. It is still an anime you could watch in small increments (perhaps once a week to you binge watchers who are going to watch the show after it airs). It's still an anime that can leave most with a normal face, since it's charm is still present, only drastically reduced from what it could have been, perhaps a mere shadow of itself. Is Tada-kun the show I like to call “wasted potential”? Definitely. Although it didn't go it's own way it didn't veer off into the abyss either, therefore putting it in the middle. What wasn't in the middle would be the artstyle, which I've iterated thrice here was cheerful, bright and very much like Doga Kobo. Apart from reminding me about Gekkan Shoujo, it made it's characters look cute and attractive. Be it Hinako, Teresa or Tada-kun himself, everyone looked cute, and that's not to say about the colourful backgrounds and eye-catching scenery either, those were fabulous and my favourite part about the anime. But then again, cute characters and a great artstyle don't make for a good romance.
Now something that was almost decent was the voice acting. Although it felt bad in terms of the female voice actors the male actors made up for it. I can forgive the female voice acting only on the grounds that Alec and Teresa’s voice actors aren't as experienced in the field as the males were (but I must admit, Teresa’s high pitched voice was VERY IRRITATING) and to be honest, apart from these two, on the male side I found Ijuuin a bit irritating with his voice, I was absolutely shocked to discover that Miyano Mamoru voiced him as a result. But in the end it boils down to how much you enjoyed the show. I for one don't hate the show (NANI), it's just that I felt let down because again, I wanted the show to continue the direction it had in episode one, if it did, it would be an 8 today or maybe even a 9. But not everything goes your way.
There's always that one show that clearly shows the idea the writers had in mind in the beginning but lazy writing can turn the best of starts into an average okay-ish show AT BEST, and it's sad to say but, Tada-kun stays as an example of that. I do hope that we see some improvement in Doga Kobo’s next show, but as of now, I doubt a sequel to this show could carve out something better like Nozaki-kun, although I'd love to be proven wrong. Amaze me Doga Kobo.