Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san Season 3
In the instant that you experience that special someone, everything else is rendered obsolete. In this experience, the world around you, the people in your life, and the things they need of you lose significance. Your focus belongs to that special someone and no other. Time itself stops to move as your experience unfolds; if that special someone carries on a dialogue with you, it seems as though it is going to last forever. Your heart races, pulsating like it’s going spring forth out of your chest at any particular time. Your nerves quiver, the butterflies fluttering freely within your body. Your vision blurs and your face crimsons, the blood flow through your head at an alarming pace. Clouded with a whirlwind of strange ideas, emotions, and instincts, you respond to this experience in an entirely different manner than you would in any other circumstance. The ideas you consider, the things you say, and the activities you produce are a jumbled mess, shaken and stirred by the heat of the moment. As the dialogue is gathering steam, that special someone departs from you and the experience concludes. Time has moved ahead. As you’re mainly relieved to distance yourself from the circumstance, there is a part of you that pleads to come back to this brief experience, that yearns to conversate with that special someone, that fantasizes of losing yourself in the moment once again.
For the ones that have become infatuated with a beat, for the ones that are adapting to their feelings of fascination for another, for the ones that are stumbling their way in their first connection, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is a manifestation of their lives, their intimate jobs manifesting themselves on a grand scale. While this show arouses and refines the chemistry between its two protagonists, Nishitaka and Takagi, it shows its comprehension of relationships as well as the intricacies they have. Subdued in its tone and serene in its outlook, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san’s handling of its central couple is accomplished with nigh-unparalleled simplicity, with their series of frivolous yet elaborate pranks to gradually and steadily transition to something more, and its evaluation of the relationship is delivered using a somewhat unconventional approach.
When two contrasting personalities try to align, there’s an army of issues that come up along the way because of the differences between these. Although said differences can bring in a rift in relationships, they are also able to strengthen themcontrasting personalities naturally heighten common interests. Although most functions of the romance genre opt for detecting these common interests, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san almost completely ignores this pursuit. Rather, what it values is the way these characters believe and why they’re drawn to one another. Specifically, it values these theories as they relate to Nishitaka.
It’s his point-of-view that Skilled Teaser Takagi-san works from. It’s his series of pranks, his efforts to outwit and”tease” Takagi, this series mainly revolves around. Nishitaka is constantly thinking of strategies to perplex Takagi, possibly by concocting a intricate strategy to use on her or (more often than not) by solving the issues she gives him. Every challenge Nishitaka tackles, every mystery he faces, makes for a satisfying watch. No two obstacles are equally; each different in their own way, they are deceptively simple at first glance but dangerously complicated the more you examine them. And, boy, does Nishitaka examine these obstacles. The music crescendos into a fever pitch, with saxophones crying their way through, and the animation dizzily spirals out of control, its colour scheme constantly shifting, as he conjures countermoves and hypothetical solutions in his mind. To Nishitaka, these pranks are far from trivial pastime activities. To him, they’re conflicts of the intellectual selection, epic in scale, each choice determining the fate.
It is obvious that Nishitaka cares intensely about outsmarting Takagi, making it even more depressing to see him falling short time after time. It matters not what strategy he formulates, what steps he takes, what strategy he participates; the result never changes. Nishitaka is Sisyphus, forever doomed to try changing his destiny, to watch his efforts go to waste, to repeat the identical pattern. It is not his fault, however. With his remarkable tenacity, understanding, confidence, and adorable, Nishitaka definitely distinguishes himself as a gifted person. Were he competing against somebody else, against anybody else, one could assert he’d easily be more than a match for them. However, provided that Nishitaka remains tethered to his present conditions, he will always be defeated. Sure, he is quite intelligent for someone his age however, for all his virtues, he pales in comparison to the titular character.
“Prodigy” is an overused word; it is a term that is often given to individuals who do not deserve such praise. Takagi, however, is an exception. Not only is she able to unravel the most intricate of Gordian knots but she does so effortlessly. Not only does she confound Nishitaka with riddles, traps, and decoys galore but she also manipulates each and every one to obscure her true motives. However, it is not only Nishitaka that Takagi dupes. On several occasions, she readily deciphers the tips her classmates pull on her, along with subjecting them to some of her own, and (in one memorable example ) she is even able to fool her teacher, manipulating him to disciplining someone else for her transgression.
With every competition, with every episode, with every challenge, it is almost pre-determined who is likely to persevere in the long run. On the one hand, this pattern of predictability induces Takagi to encounter as a Mary Sue, a person who’s almost completely defined by her ceaseless victories. On the other hand, you just can’t resist watching her outfox her peers time after time. Takagi is akin to some world-renowned chessmaster practicing against novices of the match, a decorated military tactician competing against cadets in the area, a veteran criminal investigator matching wits with rookies on the job; the inevitable outcome of each encounter never detracts from the entertainment value they provide. While it’s pleasing to see Takagi flaunting her wisdom, it is in distributing this show’s topics where she actually proves her worth.
Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is, more than anything else, a master of subverting expectations. With every issue that arises, the answer to them is not what you would anticipate. Takagi and the series itself fool you into believing, alongside Nishitaka, the motives, nuances, and hints in each situation are contributing to a single solution once the real response is entirely different. Again and again, this series highlights that Takagi’s successes are due to Nishitaka overthinking every circumstance, trying to discover the deeper meaning behind it, rather than picking the most obvious response. Through its titular character, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san asserts that the problems we experience in life are not as challenging or complicated as we believe they are. Through Takagi, this series asserts that if we could push aside the facts surrounding these issues (alongside our preconceived notions of these ) and only examine them for what they are, it would be simple to discover a remedy for our issues.
For Takagi, every challenge presents an opportunity for Nishitaka to acquire more knowledge, and she strives to accomplish that objective. Yes, a part of why Takagi teases him is for her own entertainment; she loves watching her opponent panic, fight and finally collapse under the pressure she puts upon him. However, another part is because Takagi would like to see Nishitaka grow and mature. The puzzles that she tasks him are crafted from love; Takagi provides Nishitaka a tough time mainly because she cares about him, and this detail actually strengthens their relationship.
When Proficient Teaser Takagi-san directs its attention away from the smoke and mirrors, it is really a really sweet and charming show to watch, and the central couple’s relationship highlights its virtues. On the surface, Nishitaka and Takagi could not be more different if they tried. While Nishitaka approaches each situation with caution and tact, Takagi is a lot more direct. While Nishitaka leans towards the innocent, Takagi is incredibly perceptive. While Nishitaka is something of a workaholic, Takagi is more relaxed. But with a closer monitoring, one can observe that, regardless of the surface-level differences, they are basically alike. The two Nishitaka and Takagi are confident and smart individuals that embrace a very timid approach to their relationship (Nishitaka over Takagi). Watching them develop increasingly more into expressing their feelings for one another, while encouraging each other along the way, is easily the highlight of this series. In actuality, the central couple’s bond is so heartwarming, nuanced, and inspirational that it allows one to overlook the more unappealing aspects, the numerous deficiencies and accidents, of the show that materialize just outside the insulated world of the central couple.
100% Unrequited Love is an in-universe anime which not only inspires some of Nishitaka’s schemes but in addition, it serves to poke fun at other functions of the romance genre. By overloading Unrequited Love with genre-specific stereotypes, cliches and tropes, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san asserts that it is different from the other shows of its chosen area, more intelligent and shy compared to the rest. But when it involves its own supporting cast, Takagi-san hotels to the same dull and dull cliches because its peers. Whenever this series transitions from its central couple and towards the people around them, it almost always suffers for this. While the supporting cast strengthens Takagi-san’s youthful charm, they also signify this series during its weakest. With each look the supporting cast makes, it becomes increasingly apparent that, beyond its central couple, Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is not all that proficient at creating its characters.
The association between Mano and Nakai, classmates of Nishitaka and Takagi, is one of the very dull and lifeless that I have seen in recent memory. Mano is the”shy one”, blushing, squirming, and stammering about to no end, while Nakai is but a cardboard cutout, barely worth mentioning, really, and they lack even a faint resemblance of chemistry. Then, there is Mina and Sanae, classmates of the central few that serve as comic relief. The adventures this pair embark on are rife with memorable gags – my personal favorite is a recurring action where they dub over arbitrary discussions, like an exchange involving cats or a conversation between the central few – but they tend to wear themselves out after a while. Mina and Sanae’s experiences are intended to symbolize the protagonists’ shenanigans from another, more carefree, perspective but they (more or less) come across as re-iterations of prior events than anything unique or creative. It will not help matters much that this series stylistically pigeonholes both. One is the”genki girl”, manically working herself into a frenzy over trivial things, while the other is the”quiet one”, silently observing the mess which unfolds around her, and Takagi-san never lets either of them a chance to establish themselves outside these classifications.
When Takagi-san strays from its intended course (mishandling a supporting character , re-treading an old plot line there), it is the central couple’s chemistry that helps re-adjust its own focus. Skilled Teaser Takagi-san is, in part, an elaborate game of chess, a neverending battle of wits, with brilliant strategists on each side. Additionally it is a refreshingly pure and simple tale of love, a love story mostly unchained from the conventions of its peers. And all of it’s deftly secured by the unbelievable bond between its protagonists. Fascinated with their wisdom and awestruck by their fire, you can’t resist wishing to follow the fundamental couple in whatever way their relationship guides them . Time itself stops to move as you rush headlong into Takagi-san, letting its adoring, all-encompassing embrace to overtake you.