Sukitte Ii na yo. - 01
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Out of the three shojo anime airing this Fall, Sukitte Ii na yo is definitely the closest to fulfilling shojo stereotypes when it comes to characters and plot, though its execution is quite good.
It really must be a great season for shojo anime if all three series have managed to impress me with their first episodes. Granted, Sukitte Ii na yo didn't top Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and I can't decide if I liked it more than Kamisama Hajimemashita, but it certainly managed to do well in this competitive season.
A story about the loner Mei Tachibana, who gets the attention of the most popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, who then starts semi-stalking her. Yamato is your typical shojo prince and Mei the shojo heroine - pretty but not obvious. The entire contents of the episode, down to the ending when the Prince had to come and rescue the heroine is right out of the "How to write a shojo story" handbook.
As I said, there is nothing here that is new or original when it comes to the genre but the way the anime is presented makes up for all that. In particular giving some interesting artistic direction to this series, with a generic plot, made it more distinguishable. Advocating that this should be done every time is wrong, but I felt it did a nice job in framing Mei's timid and lonely character and at the same time made me appreciate the animation a little more.
This won't change the story or characters from being stereotypical and that's where the doubts come in. In the end, a series like this will be compared to Kimi ni Todoke which also has almost exactly the same premise and main characters. Truth be told, even Kimi ni Todoke was generic but it stood out because it was character driven series and I don't see this being able to stand out because of that.
The characters seem interesting enough, but some of future plot developments just seem eminent and that is what worries me a little. Remember when Mei said she doesn't have anyone's number in her mobile How much do you want to bet its going to be made into a big deal. What about Yamato making her popular Seems plausible enough. It is this type of predictability that makes watching this series a little pointless.
When all is said and done, I don't think I'll mind watching this series. This year has been dominated by Romance anime with a supernatural twist, and even Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun isn't a typical shojo series, so if you're looking for something simple I'd say Sukitte Ii na yo. is perfect.
Final Note: With this episode, all 3 shojo series this fall had the kiss occur in the first episode.