Iketeru Futari Anime Review
US Release By
Ecchi high school romance comedy
16 5 1/2-minute episodes
1999-02-01 - 1999-02-26
16-year old Keisuke Saji is a normal high school student: rather stupid, very perverted and outrageously forward. After nicking his father's mobile, he gets a random, suggestive call from a girl who calls herself Alice, who claims to be offering her body in exchange for something she wants. He goes out to meet her, but is witness only to a number of dirty old men embarrassing themselves looking for "Alice." Saji also finds the idol of his class, the petite Akira Koizumi, enjoying the spectacle, and makes the connection between her and the voice on the phone. To repay him for finding her out, Koizumi goes on a date with Saji. Falling for her instantly, Saji appoints himself her boyfriend, but at school she won't even give him the time of day. Plus, there are disturbing rumours surrounding the mysterious girl--she gets around, she hates men, even that she sells her body. But no amount of rumour or rejection will discourage Saji from his love, and he determines both to find the real Akira Koizumi and to make her his.
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Short, sweet, uncomplicated and extremely dirty, Iketeru Futari is shounen love comedy in its purest, most highly concentrated form. With its short running time there is no time for any messing around or side-stories, but there is a bit of surprising depth (not a huge amount). The bizarre relationship between the ridiculously perverted Saji and the capricious, hot-tempered Koizumi is a constant laugh as Saji glomps her in public, fantasizes about her out loud in class, loots her underwear draw and even picks her up and runs off with her in the street. Yet it can be surprisingly sweet as Saji's idiot dedication begins to (slowly) win over the cool Koizumi. Throw in Koizumi's friends Amakasu and Arigase who think Saji's presence is good for her, and Saji's hugely busty childhood friend Yuki, and there's plenty of character to the series. The series is also extremely ecchi with loads of fanservice and heaps of sexual content, but despite Saji's massive number of dirty fantasies, the series is too immature for anything serious to actually happen.
With its winning combination of charm, ecchi, silly humour and bad English, plus the fact that it takes minimal effort to watch the entire series, you could do a lot worse than Iketeru Futari.
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The shounen love comedy genre is pretty broad, but there are a number or accepted conventions within it. Panty shots, cute girls (often with extremely large breasts), a loser male who has to win over a girl who initially can't stand him, bath/changing room scenes and over the top slapstick--combinations of these are a sure sign that you're watching a shounen love comedy, whether it's Ranma 1/2, Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo, or any of the countless cheap harem anime floating around. So what do you get if you concentrate all this down into an anime with episodes only five and a half minutes long? Probably something like Iketeru Futari.
Based on the manga by Takashi Sano and shown on the late night anime collection program "Wonderful" with other similar anime such as the panty-obsessed "Colorful," Iketeru Futari (difficult to translate, but commonly known as "Cool Couple") is a short but sweet shounen love comedy that makes no pretensions about what it is. Packed to the gills with fanservice, with lots of mature material and a usually immature story, the series is an uncomplicated romance between a love-struck pervert and a mysterious but hot-tempered girl who won't stand for his crap, but is prepared to dish out a bit of her own.
You'd expect this would see Iketeru Futari dumped in the category of "shallow," only a short way from "crap," but this is not at all the case. The short running time of 5:28 per episode, combined with the non-stop crazy (if dirty) humour, makes the series pleasantly entertaining, if extremely light, viewing by not giving it a chance to get old, outstay its welcome, or repeat the same jokes too many times. Everything that happens does so at a manic pace which stops you from getting bored and keeps the laughs coming. Additionally the series isn't actually quite as shallow as it sounds. The male lead Keisuke Saji certainly seems to be--there's only one thing on his mind for pretty much the entire series--but Akira Koizumi is what the series is all about and she has enough depth to her character to keep the entire thing afloat. The series does not feature a large supporting cast, usually just including Koizumi's two friends--the cheerful Maki Amakasu and unflappable Ryoko Arigase--and Saki's overloaded childhood friend Yuki Umemiya. There are a couple of other minor characters such as Koizumi's unusual friend Misa, Saji's idiot classmates Urawa and Kuwabara and the disturbing underclassman Sakurai, as well as the occasional parent, but the series operates on a surprisingly compact cast.
They aren't the deepest bunch of characters ever to stumble between two cels, but Amakasu and Arigase's enthusiastic endorsement of Saji coupled with their genuine concern for the lonely Koizumi gives them just enough character to fill up the gaps of this quick series. Yuki's confused feelings for her childhood friend and concerns regarding her oversized body, as well as her amusing lack of tact when nervous or flustered, give her a certain charm. Even the single-minded Saji has a lot of appeal; a lot of anime perverts come across as absolutely despicable because of their total disrespect for the female characters. Saji is the kind of idiot who does something jaw-droppingly outrageous, gets punished for it, apologizes, then immediately does something worse, but all the drive of his perversion is bent towards his absolute infatuation with Koizumi--even if he constantly fantasizes about getting inside her panties, this stems from a strong love and consideration for her and a serious desire to win her heart (as well as her body). For once it's nice to have a loser male lead in a shounen romance comedy who is a loser because he's consciously an idiot pervert, rather than a sappy "nice-guy loser", but I found myself cheering for him in the hope that he would eventually "get the girl."
Saij's desire, along with his crazily over-the-top attempts to fulfill it, generate a lot of laughs as he virtually (and sometimes literally) throws himself at Koizumi. The way he treats her as his girlfriend regardless of her constant rejection, taking neither "no" nor a serious stomping for an answer and eventually getting her to see the depths of his feelings by pure persistence, is a hilarious comedy of errors in the finest traditions of the genre. The series is fundamentally a comedy after all and most (but not all) of the humour uses the tried and tested pattern of the idiot doing something stupid/perverted, getting punished, and working his way back for a second helping, but Saji's over-the-top nature, combined with the short episode length keeps the jokes from wearing out before their time. And they are very funny--although most of the humour was slapstick and ecchi, the series still managed to make me laugh out loud in places.
Yes, Iketeru Futari is indeed very dirty. The ecchi and fanservice starts right from the top of the first episode and all throughout the series is littered with panty shots and girls in various states of undress (usually Koizumi in Saji's various dirty fantasies) including the short "next episode" screens at the end of each episode, which are basically centrefolds. These range from fleeting to shamelessly blatant to outright confronting and, while basically tasteless, don't do anything to really damage the series' integrity; unlike many fanservice-heavy series, such as Evangelion, Iketeru Futari doesn't expect you to take it seriously anyway, and there's at least one cheeky stab at the audience itself. Fanservice aside, there is an equal amount of genuinely dirty material, including masturbation, panty-obsession, homosexuality, Yuki's concerns about the sexual appeal of her oversized breasts and Saji's over-enthusiastically direct attempts to get at Koizumi's body. Of course, the series doesn't come across as "mature" because of this--nothing serious ever comes of anything that happens, but it isn't something that you'd allow the kids to watch, oh most definitely not. The series isn't totally immature in this regard and there are a few points where it operates on a serious romantic level--even Saji and Koizumi's first kiss is no pansy brushing of lips, but a full on pash complete with tongue action. But in any case the series is definitely not hentai--on content it's probably more in line with Golden Boy (although I haven't really seen that so I can't really comment with accuracy).
Although Iketeru Futari is a 1999 anime, it actually looks markedly older, more like an early '90s piece. The line work is sketchier than most modern anime and the colours look a little faded, but the animation is more than up to the job. Character designs aren't terribly original, although Koizumi's petite, blue-haired figure is fairly memorable and Saji's hair and over-the-top facial (sometimes almost bestial) expressions are just as outrageous as his personality.
Although the animation isn't terribly exceptional (neither is the music, which I barely noticed), the voice acting is, while not stunningly talented, more than solid. Saji's constant melodramatic ranting, passionate proclamations and dirty daydreaming are the core of his character, along with his constant and hilarious use of bad English and babbling about his "cosmo." On the other side, Koizumi's sharp tongue contrasts with the softer tones when her vulnerable side becomes visible, drastically extending the depth of her character, as well as giving her access to a slight mischievous edge with a distinct sarcastic tone. The minor characters aren't terribly notable, except for the unshakeable Ryoko, who almost never loses her cool but sometimes shows a bit of a wicked side when it comes to Koizumi and Saji.
In all, Iketeru Futari isn't any great accomplishment in anime history. On the other hand, it is fun. Dirty without being totally tasteless, silly without being stupid, sweet, funny and totally easy to watch, I just found myself wishing it went on a bit longer. Although I wouldn't say it's brilliant, or suitable for all tastes, Iketeru Futari is an enjoyable piece of work you should watch if you get the chance.
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Similar to Love Hina and DNA^2.
Notes and Trivia
Based on a comic series by Sano Takashi.
US DVD Review
None in English exists as of this writing.
Juvenile and immature, but it IS really dirty.
Violence: 1 - Just slapstick, even if it is a bit rough.
Nudity: 4 - Heaps of fanservice, a fair bit of nudity and it's far from innocent too.
Sex/Mature Themes: 3 - Lots of dirty jokes and sexual situations, but it isn't very serious.
Language: 1 - Hard to say.