“Romantic Killer”… Just in Time for Valentine’s Day


David Molina, Staff Writer

For many decades, anime has entertained large audiences of all ages, and thanks to the internet, there are tons of shows for people to watch whenever they want, at their convenience. And while not all anime will be for everyone, there are always a few that stand out from the rest.

Enter “Romantic Killer”, a recent addition to the Netflix catalog. It revolves around a high school freshman named Anzu Hoshino. Anzu’s life is great: she plays video games all the time after school, has an affinity for chocolate, and adores her cat Momohiki. One day, after receiving a new video game in the mail, she plays it for the first time and a wizard named Riri pops out of her TV screen. Riri (whose gender is unknown) explains to Anzu that to save Japan’s declining population, cupids have been sent to help people with no romantic experience find love, and not only that, but until Anzu falls in love with someone, Riri will confiscate her “three greatest desires”: video games, chocolate, and Momohiki. Anzu also has to live by herself going forward since Momohiki will be in the United States with her parents, who have suddenly been offered work overseas thanks to Riri’s magic.

As part of Riri’s plan, Anzu meets three boys: Tsukasa Kazuki, a seemingly cold and distant boy that rejects the attention he gets from girls at school; Junta Hayami, a friendly baseball player; and Hijiri Koganei, a wealthy, popular boy from Anzu’s school who is introduced in the second half of the series. Despite Riri’s attempts to help her find a potential boyfriend, Anzu has no interest in romance and she becomes “The Romantic Killer”: purposefully avoiding any signs of romance so that Riri will eventually give up and let her return to her normal life, including having her three greatest desires back. Throughout the show, Riri puts Anzu in all sorts of situations to try and increase her romantic connections with the male characters, with varying degrees of difficulty. Riri, being a wizard is also often the subject of comedic violence at the hands of Anzu, oftentimes getting thrown out of her house or bouncing repeatedly when thrown.

The anime is of the “reverse harem” genre, a sub-genre of romance that typically revolves around a main female love interest sought after by male characters. It is referred to as “reverse harem” because “harem” anime focus on the inverse: a male love interest who is sought after by female characters. The reverse harem aspect is subverted in this show, however, as Anzu is a strong female character who stands up for her friends and sticks to her word. The male characters also seem pretty one-dimensional on the surface, but as the series progresses, their characterization and motivations become more complex. This helps the show stand out from most reverse harem media: the genre often gets criticized for poorly written characters and a heavy reliance on racy scenes/situations that may or may not have any impact on the plot, known in fandom vocabulary as “fanservice”. 

I found this show pretty randomly in November, a month after it came out, while I was browsing for something to watch on Netflix. The premise felt interesting and I was willing to give it a chance. Needless to say, it was much better than I thought it would be. Each episode ended at a good stopping point, which helped me retain interest and made me want to continue watching, while the light-hearted yet snarky humor and dialogue was funny and never felt out of place.

WHS senior Emilia Ramirez mentioned how she likes how it isn’t like other anime; in her opinion, she feels that anime characters generally fall in love easily, whereas with Anzu, she is forced into romance when she doesn’t want it, but comes to appreciate the people she meets. Fellow senior Kelly Borrayo also likes how the characters are written, specifically saying how Tsukasa isn’t a stereotypical “loner boy” character who doesn’t want to get close to others, but that his reasons for putting up walls with women are valid.

The show has been well-received online, and has developed a small cult following with fans expressing interest in a second season. All 12 episodes of “Romantic Killer” are available to watch at any time on Netflix. The manga adaptation is also currently being released in English, and the first two volumes are currently available to buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book retailers. Two more volumes are also set to be released soon, with Volume 3 coming out in April and Volume 4 on its way in July.

Make sure you support whatever form of media you can (either anime or manga, or both) and spread word of mouth. I really enjoyed this show and I hope that you might enjoy it as well.

Trigger warning: be aware that the final three episodes do deal with some subject matter that may offend or upset some viewers. Sexual harassment, objectification, stalking, and the after-effects of said trauma are explored; they are treated respectfully and the characters who are victims of these issues are reminded that these experiences are not their fault.

Nonetheless, don’t let that stop you from watching the show; it generally has a comedic tone to it, and I can speak for myself that once I got into this show, I really couldn’t get out.