In many ways, Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko” is not a conventional romantic comedy anime. You can tell that just from the title alone if you’re knowledgeable about the Japanese language and/or culture that the main character doesn’t quite fit into “normal” gender roles. And yet, it’s because of how unconventional this rom-com is, combined with its outstanding characters, that rockets this anime up my list of best rom-coms in existence. Not just the LGBTQ+ ones either.

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko”: Details

Senpai is an Otokonoko Japanese key visual.
Look at them, they don’t care about no haters.

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko” is the very first episode of this romantic comedy anime series. Said anime is the anime adaptation of the manga of the same name by Pom. Project No.9 (Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Love After World Domination) is the animation studio behind this anime. Crunchyroll is the company licensing this anime in NA region.

Zi Hao Xuan and Keisuke Gouda co-directed Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko”, with Shinsuke Yanagi doing the storyboard, Yoriko Tomita as the writer, and Shōto Shinkai as the chief animation director. As for Senpai is an Otokonoko as a whole, Shinsuke Yanagi is the director behind the anime. Yoriko Tomita is the writer behind the same, with Yukari Hashimoto as the composer for the music you hear in that anime.

Speaking of music: the opening theme song is “Wagamama” (我がまま, “Selfishness”) by Kujira. Meanwhile, “Are ga Koi Datta no kana” (あれが恋だったのかな, “I Wonder If That Was Love”) by Nishina is the ending theme song.

Voice Cast

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko” features the voices of Shūichirō Umeda as Makoto Hanaoka, Akira Sekine as Saki Aoi, and Yuma Uchida as Ryuji Taiga.

When and Where to Watch

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko” made its airing and streaming debut (read: simulcast) on July 4, 2024. You can watch this episode only on Crunchyroll. In fact, you can watch the anime as a whole only on Crunchyroll due to it being an exclusive there.

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko”: Synopsis

Honestly, this trailer will tell you more about this amazing story than I can, but I’ll try.

Alas, Senpai is an Otokonoko is an ongoing anime series. In fact, Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko” only just made its debut a day ago as of this writing. Thus, I will present to you Crunchyroll’s official synopsis for this episode instead of a spoiler-filled plot summary. You can read that synopsis below:

Makoto is surprised by Saki’s confession of love and has to clarify that he is not the girl Saki thinks he is. However, Saki is undeterred and throws herself wholeheartedly into the mission of becoming Makoto’s first love.

That’s not all, folks! Since this is the very first episode, you all will also get Crunchyroll’s official synopsis for the anime as a whole. You can check out that synopsis below as well:

For Makoto Hanaoka, life’s about to get more complicated. Saki Aoi, a lively girl with loads of confidence, confesses her love for Makoto one day. When he fails to reciprocate, Saki declares she will be his first love! She shares her goal with a mutual friend, Ryuji Taiga, who also confesses his crush on Makoto. Stuck in a love triangle, Makoto must find a way to make it work and have fun.

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko”: The Good

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 "Senpai is an Otokonoko" screenshot showiing Saki declaring her love towards Makoto at sunset.
Honestly, Saki is one of the best things to have happened to Makoto in a while.

Honestly, it’s definitely the story of this episode that’s the best part about it. All entirely for the unique premise of the plot, courtesy of Pom. It’s not just that the main character of this story falls into the nonbinary, non-gender conforming, and/or genderfluid spectrum, which by itself would make this story quite unique among anime. No, it’s the way that all of those elements are woven into the story that makes it great. See, even in the first episode, you can see that the entire story is interwined with Makoto’s gender identity and how others react to that identity. It all creates a fascinating story around Makoto, with their rom-com antics with Saki and Ryuji adding that touch of lightheartedness to an otherwise dramatic story to keep it from getting too depressing.

Complementing that story is the animation. Project No.9 may be a little-known animation studio, but they put their all into this anime in this episode. It’s not even that this episode has feature-length anime film levels of quality, although the quality in the detailed scenes is quite good. No, it’s that they frequently interweave the highly detailed scenes with an adorable chibi art style. This is a stylistic choice both on the animators’ part and on the original mangaka’s part, who frequently added chibi scenes into their manga. The chibi art style may not be for everyone. However, for me, I found that it enhanced the comedy and provided an aesthetically pleasing contrast to the detailed animation. It’s this combination that makes this anime one of the best romcom anime in history.

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko”: The Bad

Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 "Senpai is an Otokonoko" screenshot showiing nervously sweating.
You can see Makoto is getting nervous. You might too when you read some of the reviews on this anime.

Honestly, there’s nothing bad about Senpai is an Otokonoko Ep. 1 “Senpai is an Otokonoko” or even the whole anime itself unless you happen to be an action junkie. No, what’s bad is something peculiar you might’ve noticed about the anime’s reviews and ratings on its page. If you actually look at the ratings, you can see most viewers (70% as of this writing) loved it enough to give it the maximum possible score of five stars.

However, there’s a small but significant minority (22% as of this writing) who absolutely despise it enough to give it the lowest rating of one star. A quick glance at the actual reviews will tell you why. It’s being review-bombed by people who don’t like the series for its content. Honestly, that alone should tell you that this anime is well worth the watch.

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