With his muscular build and tall stature, Takeo Gouda is not exactly your average high school freshman. However, behind his intimidating appearance hides a heart of gold, and he is considered a hero by the boys for his courage and chivalry. Unfortunately, these traits do not help much with his love life. As if his looks are not enough to scare the opposite sex away, Takeo’s cool and handsome best friend and constant companion Makoto Sunakawa easily steals the hearts of the female students—including every girl Takeo has ever liked.
Basically, Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!) is the story of how Takeo found a love connection, despite his own personal challenges to that endeavor. This is also while he’s learning how to deal with some basic situations of romance, such as dating and showing affection to his special someone.
Takeo Gouda – The main character. It’s his love story being told here. He’s a rather tall and muscular teenager at Shuei High School. He’s very good at sports, but also somewhat intimidating. He often is very selfless and kind, even to strangers. Sometimes, he’s unaware that his friendly actions sometimes contribute to that intimidation factor.
Makoto Sunakawa (Suna) – Suna lives next door to Takeo, is one of his classmates, and has been his friend since childhood. He’s considered good-looking and friendly, and, as a result, the girls Takeo had crushes on often fall for him. Take leans on Suna for advice and Suna sincerely helps Takeo in any way he can, to the point where he’s willing to put his own happiness second to Takeo’s.
Rinko Yamato – A student at Koizumi Girls’ Academy, whom Takeo encounters during a fateful subway trip they both were on at the beginning of the story. She is talented at baking sweet foods, which Takeo happens to enjoy. She quickly becomes Takeo’s love interest.
Ai Sunakawa – Older sister to Suna and a student at Ousaki University in Nagoya. Takeo is also friends with her and admires how kindly she treats others, just like her brother. Takeo sees her much like an older sister…
It all starts with a rescue. Take comes to the rescue of Rinko when she was being groped on a subway. It is then that he falls for her. Most of the remaining episodes deal with Takeo’s efforts and struggles to overcome his own perceived inadequacies, such as lack of romantic skill.
The story takes place from a bit of a mix of perspectives, floating through the thoughts of mostly Takeo, but also from his girlfriend’s when those shifts might make sense. Misunderstandings are often sorted out after those involved tell each other how and why they acted as they did. I’m thinking that this is likely a core takeaway of this series since it’s clearly applicable to reality.
It’s also clear that once those around him who are not his friends are able to understand that Takeo has a good heart, that he quickly begins to have better relations with classmates, gaining friends in the process. His large (for a high-school student) size and good fitness level are also, as he discovers, things that make him uniquely attractive as a person. This likely stemmed from a time where Takeo took further heroic action. After that, there was almost an immediate shift in perception of him. No longer was he seen as an intimidating loner, but as a very admirable member of the community, or even a hero.
It was shown to the viewer, early on, that Takeo was never a loner since he has, throughout this story, had a very good friendship with Suna, who had been his friend for several years. Takeo is, at first, very envious of Suna’s charm and approachability. Many girls are drawn to him and usually ignored or were afraid of Takeo, even after he tried to confess his feelings towards them. Rinko, after the rescue, sees that Takeo is a good person and becomes his best cheerleader throughout.
It’s Takeo and Rinko’s courtship and dealing with the bumps of the early parts of that that are the main focus of nearly every episode, with a brief aside for being good friends to Suna through an emotional struggle he also had relating to his own family.
Speaking of family, it’s also clear that Takeo’s personality is greatly influenced by his parents, with his mom being the strong parent, and his father being sensitive and supportive. Both parents were very supportive of Takeo’s and Rinko’s relationship, and this is while a new member of the family was on the way. Learning about Takeo’s parents was also a heartwarming part of the show. Take would probably not have been who he was if he wasn’t trying to model himself around what he saw as the best qualities of his parents as well as of Suna.
This story is complete and does have an ending that could very well lead to further adventures, but considering that what’s been told so far is very solid, it might (might!) be OK to have a break from this story, to let it settle in.
I wasn’t sure I’d like this upon first glance at the online synopsis (quoted above), and I was not even sure I could relate to Takeo, not being particularly athletic or tall myself. It was the honest romance that hooked me. This is a sometimes light-hearted, optimistic love story. It’s also a story of friendship and family. I think that’s really what makes it worth a watch, even if you aren’t a hopeless romantic like me.