The Spring 2021 season has been rather downtempo in comparison to its predecessor, and we can chalk that up to the saturation of romance and slice of life this season. Fans of either genre are quite spoiled this season, with titles like Hige wo Soru, Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou (Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway), Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy (Osamake: Romcom Where the Childhood Friend Won’t Lose), Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui (Koikimo: It’s Too Sick to Call this Love), Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san! (Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro!) and of course, the final season of Fruits Basket, fans of the romance genre have had a lot to take in.
However, some of the aforementioned anime have failed to hit the mark or live up to expectations, while others have been nothing short of great from week to week. What the shows this season have in common; however, is the embarrassing moments that have united us in mutual cringe! That being said, it’s time to list this season’s most cringe moments so far! Hold onto your self-respect as we revisit the times we had the worst level of second-hand embarrassment or felt straight-up disrespected by a show this season.
3. Thanks for saving my life, here’s a kiss - Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui (Koikimo)
The *other* age gap romance slice of life title, Koikimo is very aptly named. After a teen saves an older man’s life, he decides that the perfect way to thank her is to sexually harass her constantly until she, uh, likes him back? Anyway, the main dynamic in this show involves consistent sexual advances from an older man on a JK (“joshikousei” - high school girl) and it’s supposed to be funny, but it isn’t. Koikimo is heavier with disgust than it is with love, and each instance of Amakusa Ryo relishing the opportunity to be rejected again, we get further and further away from the light.
2. Seriously? Amnesia? - Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy (Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won't Lose)
Osamake is arguably the romance anime this season that had the most potential going into it, but as we’ve watched the series from week to week, we’ve been more than just disappointed. While the series attempts to subvert some age-old romance anime tropes, it ends up reinforcing them in really creative ways, and in other cases, just making a complete mess. When Shida Kuroha is announced to be amnesiac at the end of the 5th episode, frustration with the show becomes a very loud resentment for the time lost. It isn’t doing what we thought it would, it’s becoming too convoluted and with the amnesia card being thrown on Osamake’s never-ending stack of plotlines and tropes. The worst part is how the entire thing was a ruse meant to outsmart the other characters and it lasted all of an episode.
1. Trigger Warning - Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou. (Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway)
Higehiro, despite how highly we regard it amongst the shows this season, is the site of the worst cringe moment, and oh boy, this one is bad, beyond the level of mortal cringe. She’s a 17-year-old runaway who after a series of horrible encounters with men who offered her a place to stay, she strikes gold with Yoshida, a twenty-something salaryman known for his dedication to work and nothing else. However, when she finds a part-time job, a man she had stayed with in the past just so happens to be her colleague. He threatens to release her secret if she doesn’t invite him over to Yoshida’s house, further attempting to assault Sayu while they were alone. Not much later on, Sayu and everybody else sort of just forgive this guy and carry on like he shouldn’t be on a sex offender’s registry and in jail. Cringe doesn’t even begin to cover this one.
Honorable mention goes to OsaMake for somehow having two different confessions of love in less than 5 episodes amount to absolutely nothing but weird side quests and a heap of juicy failures for the protagonist Maru Sueharu. It’s impossible to steer completely clear of cringe, especially in romance anime, which can be especially corny or unimaginative, and sometimes, the cringe elevates the experience (we’re talking about you, Nagatoro!), but the above moments were all extremely distressing, embarrassing, annoying or any mixture of the three! What were the most cringe moments for you this season? Drop a comment below and let’s smile awkwardly as we try not to swallow ourselves whole in embarrassment!