When I watched the first season of Science Fell In Love So They Tried To Prove It, I started out by binge watching the show, and I found the show was basically one joke repeated with some variations. Consequently, when I switched to watching just one episode or so a week, I got a lot more enjoyment out of it. When season 2 was announced, I decided to watch this week to week, figuring that that would be the optimal way to get the most enjoyment out of it. It was – but this also lead to me running into a tonal shift brick wall on the last episode of the series, and without any significant foreshadowing. So, this review is going to have to get into some spoilers for the last episode.
Season 1 of Science Fell In Love ended with Shinya Yukimura and Ayame Himuro having the big romantic kiss they were trying to find scientifically. Season 2 ends up more or less continuing their research. But wait, you say, they scientifically proved their love last season! Yes, they did, but between seasons, presumably, the writers of the show (and also the manga) found a whole bunch of existing scientific research and previously run experiments into human behavior and feelings of love. And, because these characters are very scientifically minded, they recognize that it’s important that research stand up to rigor – so, over the course of the series, we get to see them doing variations on some of those experiments, along with doing some new experiments of their own.
This season also comes with an expansion of the sample size – for example, a considerable amount of time spent in the plot is used on the relationship between Ena Ibarada and Kōsuke Inukai, with the plot strongly implying that they both have romantic feelings for each other, even if they’re as overt about expressing it. We also have four new supporting characters introduced from the college as well – Suiu Fujiwara and Chris Floret from the biology department, who are already in a stable relationship, and students Yoshitaka Taniguchi and Madoka Kamiya, who take part in a couple of Yukimura and Himuro’s experiments over the course of several episodes. All of these plots are great, the characters are generally very well written, and there are some great comedic beats.
The problem comes up with the plotline around Kotonoha Kanade and Naoya Shikijou. So, this plot starts off seemingly as a similar lightly-serious plot, related to Kanade’s background where she was basically bullied by her mother for not being “normal” or having “normal” interests – whether it’s wanting a blue backpack when all the other girls wanted pink, or having an interest in the martial arts at her grandfather’s dojo, or even having a crush on her teacher. This has given her some significant self confidence issues. At the same time she starts dating Shikijou, who she’d met at the retreat last year, and who was attached to the group of Pick-Up-Artists who harassed Himuro in that season.
Well, it turns out that Shikijou is a MRA Redpill CHUD. As part of her character arc, at the end of the season, Kanade realizes that she doesn’t really have feelings for Shikijou, and she was pursuing this relationship because she thought it was “normal”, and decides to break it off. So, in the absolute last episode of the season, Shikijou kidnaps Kanade, and he and his buddies threaten to rape her – and indeed are about to – until Yukimura shows up and threatens to go Heisenberg on their asses (following a powerpoint presentation) to stall for time until the police show up and arrest them.
And that’s the problem there. The rest of the series has been a generally light romantic comedy. For it to slam so hard into such tremendously serious territory is whiplash inducing. This is particularly an issue considering that the level of entitled douchebaggery displayed by Shikijou is of a kind that is displayed by people in the real world. Indeed, this is a problem where if you’re a person who has been harassed in real life by someone like Shikijou, or using his bullshit self-justifications, this could be legitimately triggering in something that had literally been up until that very last episode an otherwise light and fluffy experience.
I don’t object to the show covering such serious and grounded topics. I object to the show just springing them on the audience with the elegance and grace of someone opening a door that swings out and hitting someone in the face. I also object to the show just dropping a joke in there of Yukimura busting out a powerpoint presentation showing how he found where their hideout was using Science. I also object to Kanade just having a crush on Yukimura all of a sudden at the end of the episode. For bringing such a weighty and heavy topic into the show, with enough awareness for what they were doing that they dropped a content warning at the start of the episode, shoving that humor in there showed a degree of tone-deafness.
If we get a third season, I’ll watch it, but the show is no longer the near unreserved recommendation that it was before.
Science Fell In Love Season 2 is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll. The first season is currently available on Blu-Ray and is available from RightStuf and Amazon – buying anything through those links helps to support the site.
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