In a world of harem love interests falling in love with dimwitted protagonists and living happily ever after, they leave in their wake a sea of childhood friend corpses. Osananajimi ga Zettai ni Makenai Love Comedy (Osamake: Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won't Lose) sees to flip this paradigm on its head with a promise to viewers that, finally, this time, the childhood friend will be chosen for love. However, does this promise live up to what we expected? Let's take a look!
Osamake follows the life of childhood actor Sueharu (Haru). After a traumatic event during his childhood, he has retired from acting and attends school like a regular student. He attends classes, hangs out with friends, but most importantly, crushes on girls. The object of Haru's affection at present is class bombshell Kachi. However, Haru's plans to confess are foiled when he learns that she is already dating another child actor at his school. Wanting to get revenge on Kachi for breaking his heart, he employs the help of his childhood friend Kuroda Shida and the two enter into a fake relationship to make Kachi jealous.
This plotline, however, is relevant for all of four episodes. The bulk of the story is devoted to Haru's return to stardom; learning to accept his past trauma and rekindle his relationship with the world of fame. THIS plotline, however, is even MORE irrelevant when we get down to real brass tacks. We all know what the real meat of this story is, and it's the love dodecahedron between Haru and his many cohorts. The show wrangles us in with the promise that the typically unfavored childhood friend character will emerge romantically victorious here. Yet, the show fails to mention that almost every love interest has some sort of childhood connection to Haru. Sure, the childhood friend won't lose, but this still leaves us with little to no idea as to which childhood friend will win! While the title is slightly deceptive, Osamake makes up for it with each of these childhood friends.
Harem Lovers Rejoice
All your typical harem tropes are in full effect in Osamake. We have an array of love interests, we have a beach episode—everything you're looking for in a slice of life comedy is present. However, Osamake does not really do much to evolve the premise in any way. We've all come to understand that 'love for no apparent reason' is par for the course in harem anime but, truthfully, it becomes jarring at times just how far every single character will push themselves for the sake of Haru. Not only his love interests but his friends and apparent enemies (Tetsuhiko and Abe) all seem ready to throw down their lives in the cause of Haru in hopes that he rediscovers himself and maybe gets a girlfriend. Not to mention that these people oftentimes have nothing better to discuss than Haru's love life. Nevertheless, the characters are fleshed out well enough that their love for Haru is understandable.
Osamake boasts the most love interests we've seen since the age of DxD. With mainstays Kachi, Kuro, and Maria, we also have Kuro's three sisters, Rena the gofer mercenary, and Ohragi the maid. The show doesn't rely on typical harem fanservice cliches too much either. Yes, there may be a beach episode but this is a needle in a haystack of exposition, touching interactions, and life lessons. Even the show's subtle nuances do not go overlooked either. At several points over the course of the show, during panning shots setting up for the following scene, we see a strange girl constantly observing Haru and the gang. We later come to learn that she is the maid Ohragi. Obsessed with Kachi, she is tasked with observing Kachi and Haru after Haru breaks his arm. It's nice to see that she had been planned to make an appearance from the start (dropping her into episodes from the start as a background character). So, then, when she is revealed to have been attending the school the entire time, it makes sense to us and even makes multiple watches enjoyable.
Why Osamake Captures People
Osamake seems to have been nothing more than a corporate plan used to send the world of anime into an absolute flurry. After all, any publicity is good publicity and with a name like this, people will assuredly start talking about it. That is why Osamake's dedication to crafting characters was very refreshing. While not all the characters have a chance to shine, both Kachi and Kuro are developed nicely and you may find yourself flipping back and forth as to who you like more. Kuro instantly captures the attention of anyone watching her but, as she rejects Haru and starts to bicker with him, Kachi takes up the mantle and argues her case just as well. Then, by the final episode, Kuro makes a stand and shows us exactly why she is arguably the main love interest of the series! Even Aoi is given a rather compelling monologue when comforting Akane's sprouting emotions, as we learn that she has been bottling up her feelings for the longest time in favor of supporting her sister's efforts.
We mentioned before that everyone seems ready to help out Haru without ever receiving anything in return except for heartache. While this remains true in regards to his romantic relationships, where these characters truly shine is in helping Haru deal with his adversity to fame and, more so, his grief over his mother's passing. Kachi has a very nice conversation with Haru during an interview wherein she explains how his acting saved her life. Momo expresses how much Haru's mother meant to her and how good of a person she was (allowing him to finally break down into tears).
After finishing the series, we wouldn't blame you for writing Osamake off as yet another uninspired harem anime. While this is definitely true in some regards, those willing to dive a little deeper will enjoy the layered characters and unique premise (having all the love interests be childhood friends). Rarely does every love interest in a harem anime offer such a compelling case but, in Osamake, every character offers something different and we couldn't help but fall in love with all of them. What did you think of Osamake? Let us know down below!
P.S: Paradise SOS is an absolute banger and anyone who disagrees should have their hearing checked! Go listen to it now!