I’m not too sure what Rikekoi is trying to be. I don’t know if it’s trying to be something completely different, or if it’s trying to tag onto the success of other anime and wrap it all into one. And I think not knowing it’s goal really makes me unsure about how I feel with this anime. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be getting out of it.
Now that I’ve caught up on episodes 2 and 3 I no longer see this anime as a comparison to Kaguya-sama. The conflicts in Kaguya-sama were more like rivalries and competition one where we wanted both sides to ultimately win, but deep down we were hoping for one to be just a little bit more successful than the other (i.e making the other confess). Rikekoi… to me, is kind of like watching two players on the same team get into a fight on the field. It’s obvious that every little thing one does for the other is cute and increases their affections for the other… but as an audience member I don’t feel interested in these acts, because nothing comes as a surprise. The fact that I already know what cute thing they are going to do before they actually do it just doesn’t make an impact. I think the only time something actually made my heart skip a beat is when Yukimura and to ask Himuro on the date. But other than that… right now I’m not really interested in their relationship because it doesn’t feel like it’s really gone any where. HONESTLY I feel like Kanade’s “Just get married already”
Personally, I don’t think either of the characters have really developed in the first three episodes. I mean, we get back story about how Himura was the weird bug girl and now grew into the best girl material that she is today, and that Yukimura is the kid that she fell in love with and has fallen in love with all over again. Yukimura flips between the “everything is objective” characteristic and then the bashful “oh I stepped a bit too far”. He just kinda flip flops between the two. But in episode 4 we should be seeing the two going on a cute “natural” date, so maybe that will change up their dynamic a little bit!
Like with the previous episode, I’m still not a huge fan of the little asides that happen with the bear. Don’t get me wrong he’s a cute mascot character, I just zone out whenever it comes up. And I get that he’s explaining the “scientific” reasoning behind Himuro and Yukimura’s actions but, personally I think some of the jokes might have landed better for me if we didn’t get the explanation. I don’t know, I’m definitely not a “Science-type” so maybe this just goes right over my head.
But let’s step away from our protagonists and talk about the other characters in the lab. In the first episode, I wasn’t really sure about Kanade, but now she’s probably my favorite of the bunch. She’s pretty darn sensible and generally her thoughts and reactions mirror my own. Also, when they made her food that was really cute :). My favorite part of episode 2 though, was when she straight up slams Yukimura to the ground. In these two episodes we were also introduced to Ibarada and Kousuke. Ibarada is a gamer girl and man I wish I was as skilled as her. From the moment she talked about pulling for gachas I connected immediately. (Except I have objectively the worst gacha luck so I can only dream orz). I like that her whole purpose is to cause a bit of chaos, put others in their place, and sleep. Wow I wish that were me. Kousuke is your typical playboy type character who can’t get any girls. It’s a pretty common archetype except this time it turns out that his only real love is from a Dating Sim. Which, you know, is also pretty relateable. The anime does hint about potential feelings that he has for Ibarada, but I don’t know if that ship is going to sail quite yet. It probably is, but I’m afraid to get my hopes up.
Now that I have seen the first three episodes, would I recommend this anime? Honestly, it’s a toss up. It definitely has enjoyable aspects to it and some of the jokes are a lot of fun, but at the same time I personally find it hard to stay invested for a full 24 minute episode. It by no means is a bad anime, it just might be a little generic. Which feels weird to say! The whole gimmick of the anime is new and fresh, but it’s hard to get invested because we essentially already know what the endgame is going to be (or maybe we don’t and we’ll all be surprised). Ultimately, I think this anime is going to be either a hit or miss for people. So I would strongly recommend checking out these first 3 episodes to see if something like this is your cup of tea.