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I might change my mind on this series based on subsequent episodes, but I don’t see myself being able to follow a romance series very well. The series has an intriguing idea of setting a traditional romance in a world where marriages are determined by the government. I still feel like the series is asking me to take a lot of the setting at face value, like the fact that everyone would be willing to consent to arranged marriages determined at age 16 and be perfectly willing to accept eugenics as the driving force for choosing those marriages. But I don’t really know Japanese people perceive the birth rate problems in the country, so I might just have the wrong perspective.
I would have expected more of a compromise where people could choose their spouse, but the government stepped in if you didn’t find one by a certain age. It feels odd that our main character’s case of loving someone other than his government-appointed wife would be unique. As it stands, it sounds like the series is trying to suggest that the only thing stopping the Japanese people from having kids is that they’re unable to find a suitable spouse, which seems like a gross simplification of what is presumably a complex issue. Eh…I can probably look past it for this show, though.
All of that being said, the scene near the end does make me feel a bit better about this series. The corrupted notification on Nejima’s phone with a conflicting partner to the notice he receives in person suggests that there’s something more to this system. Is the phone notification his real match or is it the notification in the envelope? Additionally, the episode mentions that Misaki doesn’t have her own pairing yet despite being 16. While it feels natural for this to be the case given that the system can’t just pair up people with the same birthday, adding that to the glitch in Nejima’s phone makes it a bit more suspicious.
My reservations about the setting aside, I still thought this first episode was entertaining enough. It sets up an interesting case of expectations vs. reality in our main character’s love life. I kinda wonder how much it will dwell on the forbidden love aspect, but I guess I’ll have to see as it comes.