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AKA: 双恋, Twin Love
Genre: Bishoujo Harem, Comedy Drama
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: 5+ (Nothing Objectionable)
Related Series: Futakoi Alternative (Retelling)
Also Recommended: Rumbling Hearts (if you like these kinds of shows), Clannad, Amagami SS, Kanon, Denpa Onna To Seishun Otako, Tenchi Muyo!, Futakoi Alternative (for a much more entertaining version)
Notes: This series also exists as a Visual Novel and Manga (which was serialized in Dengeki G's Magazine, apparently as its flagship title), although both have since fallen into obscurity. In addition, the series was remade into an anime entitled Futakoi Alternative approximately one year afterwards; this version retains all of the original female characters but changes the story and setting.
Rating:
 

Futakoi

Synopsis

Nozomu Futami choses to stay in Japan when his father travels to the Hawaii for his work. He returns to the town he had lived in as a child, where a legendary stone is rumored to create a preponderance of twin births. Nozomu soon becomes the target of some of said twins' affections, leading to the predictable harem antics as six pairs of girls attempt to woo him.

Review

Note: The reason that my review of Futakoi Alternative expresses unfamiliarity with this series is that I only completed the latter several months after writing said review.

As much of a cop-out as this may seem, I really have almost nothing to say about Futakoi. It's a show that embodies basically every cliche about the bishoujo harem genre and is thus completely indistinct as an entity, and while it's neither creepy nor truly excruciating to watch, it's a bad sign when what little praise I have ceases after two negative statements. The art certainly doesn't make it worth the time, as the cartoonish character design (courtesy of the same pen that has brought us Myself;Yourself, Memories Off, and other "triumphs" of the bishoujo genre) and overly bright background colors look straight out of bad fan-art or that terrible Saturday Morning cartoon your parents used to always beg you to turn off. The girls are at least somewhat cute, but only vaguely so, and the preponderance of sparkle-ridden shots and the endless parade of smiles and squeals quickly began to grate on me. Out of twelve girls, hardly a single one has a distinctive personality (aside from one token tsundere and her annoyingly delicate little sister), and virtually all of their time is spent fawning on the equally boring (and significantly less attractive) Nozomu, who gives them virtually no reason to like him so much aside from being vaguely pleasant. Indeed, the entire show has a feeling of insincere happiness akin to the atmosphere at an awards ceremony: one smiles, and smiles, and smiles, and in the meantime quietly hopes that someone will get drunk enough to provide at least a little bit of entertainment. The plot, as it is, involves some token beach episodes, an episode where one pair's little pet goat gets sick, some vague notion about one pair having to complete a series of challenges (which feels straight out of the visual novel framework), and at the very end, some drama that results in a cop-out ending and virtually no changes made to any of the people involved. It's the most inconsequential type of harem show, the type in which the main character is such a floozy that he can't even settle on a single pair, and without even the comedy or science fiction of the similar but more entertaining Tenchi Muyo to make up for that fact.

About a year after this anime was produced, someone had the idea to rework it into a much more entertaining version called Futakoi Alternative, which takes all of the same girls but transports them into an entirely different setting. If you're curious at all about this franchise, that's the series to go with: it's funny, it breaks down the harem framework to tell a rather good love story, it actually makes some use of this show's characters being twins, and best of all, most of its characters have something resembling a brain. This original series, on the other hand, hardly even qualifies as entertainment. It has so little to reward the reviewer with that I really can't say I'm sorry that it's stayed in obscurity. There's just so much better anime out there.

I'm not sure if Futakoi even gave me enough substance to warrant active dislike. It's just incredibly boring to watch. Those who have any particular enjoyment of harem may add a star, I suppose.Nick Browne

Recommended Audience: On the whole, the content of this show is very tame. None of the "relationships" lead to any sort of sexual situations, and what little violence occurs is harmless slapstick content.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital Source
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Futakoi © 2004 Futakoi Production Committee/Mediaworks