Set in a middle school setting, Teasing Master Takagi-San revolves around a strange romance that develops over the 12 episodes of Season 1. Unlike your typical romance-themed anime this approaches things roundaboutly, with the titular character, Takagi-San being the initiator and the person who pushes the story as a devious puppet master. During the evolution of the story, she thrives on pranking her fellow classmate Nishikata, who is the second protagonist. Here is our Teasing Master Takagi-San Review.
As the entertainment evolves and Takagi-San pushes Nishikata more and more over the course of the 12 episodes, he starts to develop in a way that is not totally unpredictable. The most notable is his adaptability to the situation and his thinking that the answer to Takagi’s teasing isn’t always the obvious one it looks like. Although only 12 episodes, each one is split into separate incidents. Because of this each episode can feel like it is way longer and a lot more happens.
Where you might think the season would get boring after an episode or two, it really isn’t. In true anime tradition, the protagonist is as dense as they come, and Takagi-San gives all the hints needed to solve her teases, unfortunately for Nishikata he doesn’t think about it, in the right way. Along the way, she drops all the hints about her true intent before twisting it to be something else. This of course makes Nishikata think about what Takagi-San means before she alters it.
It’s hard to pinpoint the absolute best part of this season, however, the magical perspective, which is close to fantastical, from Nishikata, and the logical but playful nature that Takagi-San has, is probably it. This isn’t entirely true, Nishikata has a perspective that is powered by his determination to beat Takagi-San. This narrows his view to the point that a win is all he wants. The development between these two characters is pretty interesting to watch and seeing Takagi’s constant “entertainment” compared to Nishikata’s “torment” gives a nice dynamic. This goes doubly so when the roles are flipped in the back end of Episode 11, where Nishikata score’s his “Critical Hit” on Takagi, however, she doesn’t give him the pleasure of knowing she was beaten.
Although a linear story each episode is an independent incident featuring either 3 or 4 (a few have 5) events, for example:
- “Fortune Telling”
- “Critical Hit”
These little events elaborate on a bigger scale than can actually be seen, realistically they are only separate events in which Takagi is teasing Nishikata, however, they go deeper than that and form the bigger picture across the season.
Out of all the 12 episodes in season 1, the most confusing one is the 12th. This is because one event is set before the current events in the story, and returns to the first day of school for the entire class. Essentially this is an origin story for the characters explaining the meeting. This is also the first and only real instance when Takagi-San actually gets into trouble with the teacher, every other time it is only Nishikata who is taking the brunt of the agro from the teacher. The only other confusing part of the 12th episode is that both Nishikata and Takagi-San are upset about having to change seats in class. Takagi-San you can understand, However, Nishikata being upset has a far deeper meaning than just wanting to get revenge on Takagi-San.
With Teasing Master Takagi-San being set in a Middle School, there are some things you expect from the anime right from the start. The first one of these is that there is some sort of festival, and School trips, during the 12 episodes comprising Season 1 there is nothing like that. There are however things that School kids do like Tests of Courage, Cell phone conversations and, of course, school classes. Where the setting is predominantly in a school there is a surprising amount that is not in class or taking part in the school over the 12 Episodes. That being said, about 8 of the total 12 Episodes are based mostly in the classroom. This only adds to the development of the characters, however, and provides some interesting perspective to the characters outside of school life. One of these driving forces is introduced in Episode 5 when Takagi catches Nishikata at the Bookstore buying a manga for the reoccurring “joke” series 100% Unrequited Love. Where it is mentioned in Episode 4 it has more important roles in Episodes 5 and 7. The reason for the joke is the characters in the manga are the reverse of Nishikata and Takagi. Although this is the case Nishikata is still dense and doesn’t quite work it out even with the events of Takagi’s teasing.
Another driving force is introduced in Episode 3 where Nishikata decides to make use of Takagi-San’s teasing and every time Takagi teases him, he will do 3 Push-Ups. Although this looks to backfire on him with the amount of teasing varying, it eventually pays off and Takagi-San remarks on it. Where this is only a minor force and not highlighted much if at all across the remaining episodes in depth, it still helps Nishikata move forward. It and other factors also play a role in Nishikata enjoying Takagi-San’s company more over the course of the episodes.
Although it’s a late thing, Episode 9 has a driving force however small and late it is, the phone is an integral part of school life in this day and age. All this kicks off with Nishikata getting a phone, shortly after this Nishikata and Takagi-San start communicating over the phone.
On the flip side, there is Takagi, who is more of a calculated character who seems to always be 5 steps (at the least) ahead of most situations. From the onset, you are introduced to the fact that she likes Nishikata and she enjoys teasing him, however, she has a kind and more gentle side which isn’t really shown to Nishikata. This side of her is first really shown to him near the end of Episode 3 when it is pouring rain and Takagi-San didn’t bring her umbrella. Seeing this, Nishikata tries to tease her but ends up walking Takagi-San home under his umbrella, and he is teased for his trouble. If it was normal Takagi-San probably wouldn’t have held back as much as she seems to, in addition to this she also seems to generally open up to Nishikata upon seeing his right shoulder getting wet, whereas Nishikata feels awkward and feels like they must look like a couple. As good as this sequence is there are a lot better ones for showing Takagi-San’s gentle and kind side on the horizon, like Episodes 6 and 11.
Where Takagi-San and Nashikata are the “heroes” of the story they are not the only ones who come into the spotlight. Joining them are three girls from their class, who from time to time have leading roles even with them being background characters. They don’t do much other than add more comedy to the story, however, what they do when they are stand-alone from Takagi and Nishikata is equally important. These 3 are Mina, Sanae, and Yukari. In most of these events, they show that time is passing, therefore you can gauge the time of the year. Although you can do this without the need for these characters to do this, it adds a little clarity to their own development and roles in the class.
If you are someone who prefers the dub for whatever reason, there are some pretty interesting Voice Talents included in this kind of low-profile anime. This isn’t just the main cast of characters but even the sub-characters have some pretty interesting talents added in this short 12-episode season, dubbed by Funimation.
- Nishikata – Aaron Dismuke (Dr Stone/ Blood Blockage Battlefront/ The Devil is a Part-Timer!)
- Takagi – Sarah Wiedenheft (Dr Stone/ The Devil is a Part-Timer!/ My Dress-Up Darling)
- Jerry Jewell – Season 1 (Attack on Titan/ My Hero Academia/ Dr Stone)
- Kristen McGuire – Season 1 (BOFURI/ That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime/ Dr Stone)
- Leah Clark – Season 1 (My Hero Academia/ Fairy Tail/ Assassination Classroom)
Although only sub-characters in the series they play an important role in the overall outcome of the events that take place. As highlighted there are a good number of talents from two big series, these being Dr Stone and My Hero Academia. Mostly you can’t identify any of the talents as the other characters they play, and from my perspective that is an incredible talent, for example, and although the main character, Aaron Dismuke, who plays the voice of Nishikata here also voices:
- Senku Ishigami – Dr. Stone
- Leonardo Watch – Blood Blockade Battlefront
- Lucifer – The Devil is a Part-Timer!
Where you can sometimes hear Senku coming through or even Leonardo in how Nishikata says some of the lines, and yes it is not 100% possible to eliminate how things are spoken for voice actors, but this is nice and can, in some cases lead to you finding hidden gems.
In conclusion, the 12 episodes that are presented in the first season are pretty well done and, exciting to watch. Even if you can predict what is coming you are kept on the edge of your seat waiting for the comedy to come, and seeing Takagi-San flustered in the rare moments that she is taken by surprise is worth the journey through. The downside to the 12 Episodes is you find you still want more from them, and there is somewhat dissatisfaction from not having a longer season. In addition to this, some episodes feel a lot shorter than others where some feel like they go on for what can only be described as hours with how they’ve been done. This isn’t a bad thing note, it is just how it feels. The main episodes that felt like this were 4, 6, 7, 11, and 12. The events in these Episodes were some of the best that the 12 have to offer.
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