What prompted me to consider watching Masamune-kun no Revenge was that the description of the show sounded humorous. This first episode sets up the entire plot pretty well, as it introduces the main character, Masamune Makabe, and his driving motivations.
The first time we see Masamune, the camera pans through his bedroom, which consists of pretty high-end workout/exercise equipment. We get the idea that he takes his physique seriously, and the episode starts off with him having just completed a workout and proceeding to check himself out in the mirror, admiring his body.
When he goes downstairs to breakfast, which his family has made for him, he immediately calculates the calories in his head and rejects the meal.
From there, we’re taken through Masamune’s reflections and views about life as he goes to school. In a nutshell: your value only comes from how “hot” you are.
As the episode progresses, we see that this mindset is the norm throughout the school, and good-looking people are treated like royalty.
We also meet a very important character right off the bat, Aki Adagaki, whose nickname is the “Cruel Princess,” as she turns down a very popular and good-looking guy in front of the entire school, using a megaphone.
As we learn that she’s basically the queen of the school, we also find out (to Masamune’s surprise as well) that she’s the girl who, long ago in childhood, made Masamune obsessed with turning his former “chubby” self into the prized specimen he, and others, now consider him to be.
This begins Masamune’s plans for “revenge,” which the episode sets up as the premise of the entire show.
I found this first episode pretty amusing, as it exaggerates the typical high school concerns of relationships and looks, and emphasizes them to the point that they are the very meaning of existence. Going into this show, I was expecting a satirical feel from the story, and, on that front, Masamune delivered pretty well.
The story is told from Masamune’s perspective, which is complimented by his observant inner monologues. I find his character pretty genuine and believable. A person who’s obsessed with his appearance would probably have similar thoughts to Masamune’s, such as, “How many calories is this?” or just completely shun any junk food available to him. Similarly, Masamune’s forms of “punishment” for falling short of his ideal goals echo with realism. For example, if he does eat “unhealthy” food, he thinks: “I’ll have to do an extra hundred crunches when I get home.”
In addition to his realistic monologues, what makes Masamune interesting is that he seems to realize that popularity is an unspoken “game.” While other characters seem to think that looking good on its own is enough, Masamune plays around with his demeanor as well, knowing that it’s an important factor.
Another character, Aki, quickly peaks the viewer’s interest. During her introduction, she is revealed have a little “secret” that Masamune discovers, and her mentality seems to be different than the norm. The way she “judges” those who want to ask her out focuses more on who they are and what they’ve done, versus their looks alone. One of her lines near the end of the episode is, “Looks don’t matter.” This takes her away from being the typical, mean, popular high school girl archetype, and toward a more intriguing character that makes the viewer want to learn more about her.
Masamune’s style of storytelling and art is on the more “realistic” side of typical anime, meaning that the show limits sudden changes in art style common (such as when the characters get all big and crazy when they’re portraying some intense emotion). Masamune carries a more realistic style, similar to other easily-accessible anime, such as Death Note or Attack on Titan, which will likely make it attractive to those who are new to the medium.
Overall, the straightforwardness of this first episode effectively sets up the plot and makes the story easy to get on board with. At the same time, it dangles a carrot in front of the viewer, teasing them with the prospect of how things will turn out for Masamune… and how he’s going to get his titular “revenge.”
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.” – 1 John 2:15-16
Obviously, the show and characters portray a very world-centered mindset. Concern over yourself and what others think of you, especially your physical appearance, being the driving force of your life doesn’t line up with Jesus’s life or teachings.
There are many verses that teach against being “of this world,” as Jesus himself says that His “kingdom is not from this world” (John 18:36). Another verse explains how you can’t serve two “masters.” You either love and serve the world, or love and serve God (Matthew 6:24).
This first episode (and most likely the entire show), revolves around characters who are attached to the world, in the form of popularity, how good-looking they are, and who they’re in a relationship with (as a representation of status, not love). It’s good that the main character desires to stay healthy through exercise and nutrition, as our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit,” (1 Cor. 6:19) but his motivation is from a self-centered, rather than God-centered, view. To Masamune, physical beauty is nothing more than a means to put him “above the ranks” and earn himself some respect.
However, this may be the very thing that the creators of the show are going for: displaying the ridiculousness of a society that takes physical appearances to the extreme. Satire can often show truth in a very subtle way.
Spiritual Content: None; the show is very world-centered.
Violence: The extent of it is Masamune stopping someone from snipping off some of Aki’s hair with scissors. He grabs them by the blade, cutting his hand.
Language/Crude Humor: The extent of crude language in this episode is “crap”, “hell”, and “d*** it”.
Sexual Content: There is some fanservice in this first episode–unnecessary close-ups of girls’ cleavage while Masamune gawks. Also, the intro video suggests more fanservice to come, as some of the shots also emphasize girls’ cleavage. As Masamune deals with looks and relationships, there’s some slightly suggestive/mature content discussed, such as someone being called out for staring at Aki’s exposed legs (while she’s wearing shorts), mentioning gender-swapping, etc.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None
Other Negative Themes: None other than previously stated.
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