Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai is a romance anime aired in Spring 2018, known for the catchy opening bit and cute character design of a main character. It’s also one of the highschool shows with MC’s name on it (e.g., Masamune-kun, Komi-san, Seki-kun). Amongst all the romance anime coming out every season, this one tangled up an interesting concept that made the romance interesting despite being Studio Doga Kobo‘s original work with no source material to adapt from. The show’s visuals look good, the background art is beautiful and the OP & ED songs are decent. Though things may seem typical, the way they implemented the themetics into the story is quite remarkable. It’s nothings crazy, mindblowing, but it is something to take note of. This is a love story of many characters that is one-sided.
One Sided Love
The story focuses on two main characters, Tada-kun & Terasa. The two met while Tada was taking pictures and Teresa got lost wondering when she came to Japan. She is fascinated by Japan’s culture & chose to study there. Later Teresa joins Tada’s photography club in school and we get to meet the secondary characters who also become the center of attention later at some point. They all hang out together doing club activities, sightseeing, & crashing at Tada’s place mostly. As time goes by, the main two begin to understand each other on a deeper level, helping each other on overcoming mental weakness, & eventually falling in love.
Let’s set them aside for a while and focus on the other characters that make the story more appealing. The first one is Pin-senpai whose only obsession is a gravure idol named Hina. Unbeknownst to him, the Hina he falls head over heels for is right beside him. His childhood friend Hinako, who’s always in disguise for obvious reasons, cares for him enough but fails to get his attention. The second pair is Yamashita & Yui. Yui sees the world in Yamashita but he had a crush on someone who only sees him as a brother and that didn’t work out for him. The third pair is Alec & Charles. Similarly, Alec has feelings for Charles but his heart only yearns for Teresa. And like that, we go full circle.
The Core Theme
One more pair that lingers around so much that it became obvious what they symbolize. Tada’s cat, Nyanko-big chasing after Cherry. Times we see, Nyanko-big tries to take a leap, right from the opening theme’s beginning bit, but falls down. And Cherry keeps rejecting him every time as well. In the Yamashita-Yui episode, Nyanko does make it to Cherry by jumping but Cherry rejects the proud way cats are. Soon after, we see Yui realizing how little chance she has with Yamashita. The cats represented the unrequited love that every chacters can relate to.
Another theme that looms over like a cloud which is rainbow. For rainbow to come out, there has to be rain. Tada had a regretable experience on a rainy day which he still hasn’t overcome. He always seems emotionless & gloomy. He has friends but he doesn’t open up to them. One of his friends even breaks down asking if he’s doing ok. Then enter the quote “Always make your heart rainbow” by Teresa. She herself is going through troubles on her own but she idolizes the quote to stay happy and live with a smile on her face. The quote is from a TV show in the anime because of which Teresa decides to come to Japan. She and Tada go through many exchanges about their regrets and they eventually help each other overcome their mental weaknesses. In a curious way, Tada finds the rainbow inside Teresa’s eyes after all the rain he’s been through. In the following events, we see Tada chasing that against all odds because he doesn’t want to let people close to him disappear again.
For Tada to act, some outside party’s intervention makes its way. An couple visit the cafe occasionally who are very happy with themselves. They often talk about that they are glade they are still together and don’t regret their decision. Another pair which is never seen but hangs around in the background waiting to be revealed. Their story is of the regret. All of them wants Tada to be happy. They know from their life experience. The first one don’t act on Tada directly but just their appearance causes Tada to think. The second one helps Tada reach where he needs to be. The don’t Tada nor Teresa to regret like themselves.
Interestingly, while the rest of the pairs are not getting their feelings returned, it’s Tada-kun and Teresa fall in love, even though the title of the anime tells the opposite. He goes against the stream to confess his feelings, which is also visualized when he chases after the letter that fell on the river. It was snowing then which clouded the sky, just like his mind was cloudy. But eventually, the sky clears the next night and the full moon blooms, sets a perfect theme both visually and metaphorically for the main pair’s confessions.
I like how the weather is used as a thematic approach. The rain represents sadness & gloom, rainbow represents happiness, cloudy sky represents being lost & confusion, and clear sky represents clear goal in mind. All of them uses appropriately throughout the show’s runtime. The rain & rainbow is talked about now it’s about cloudiness and how it intertwines with rain. Sadness & confusion both is present in Tada’s mind when it comes to rain and cloudiness. But when Tada finds his conviction & sets clear goal, the sky is shown clearing up too. In the end, when he confesses, we see the moon blooms with clouds moving away. It’s pretty subtle but handled well.
Tada Never Falls in Love is a good romance anime that isn’t bloated with perverseness or brain-dead laughs. It’s one of the rare anime that shows the melancholic side of teenage well. It almost feels like Your Lie in April and ToraDora. It’s a good love story that’s something new & original. Props to Studio Doga Kobo who tackled this genre with several subcontexts and hidden symbolisms, that made this show something to remember.