This review will contain spoilers for the manga and anime series Anti-Platonic. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to cheating, jealousy, slut-shaming, death, illness, sexual assault, violence, blood, prejudice, and a romantic relationship between an adult and a minor, as it appears in the manga.
Ryoya is a player, and that is putting it mildly. He lives his life by the crotch of his pants, jumping from bed to bed and, in turn, wallet to wallet to keep himself fed and housed. His current favorite is his roommate Io, this cold and quiet guy with a strange fetish: for scent. Io likes Ryoya's scent, and he presumably likes Ryoya's body, which leads to Io allowing Ryoya to move in with him. They spend their nights romping around in bed before going their separate ways in the morning; Ryoya often goes to his other lovers while Io goes to class.
It's a playboy's dream, but for some reason, Ryoya can't shake his discomfort over Io's lack of interest in him. With so many other lovers clambering for Ryoya's attention, why can't he get Io's? More importantly, why does Ryoya care so much about the introverted Io?
The Demon's Definitely Lovesick
Rintaro is a sixteen-year-old boy with the weight of his family on his shoulders. Unfortunately, after his father passed, his mother was left to feed herself and Rintaro alone. Then, she fell sick, leaving Rintaro to take on the mantle of the breadwinner for his small family. Rintaro doesn't complain, fishing every day to feed his mother and get money from the market in his village. Things are going well, but he hears whispers of bigger and better fish to be found in the forest, but there are legends of a fox demon in those woods who eat those that dare travel into his territory.
While Rintaro is just as frightened as everyone else, the chance at a large haul is just too alluring. Of course, while fishing, Rintaro comes face to face with the fox demon, Shiranui. Rather than eating him up, Shiranui gives Rintaro a fish and asks the boy to never return. Rather than heed the fox demon's warning, Rintaro is only encouraged to return, determined to return Shiranui's kindness. All the while, whispers continue to swirl, with the village prepared to rid themselves of the demon altogether if need be.
It's worth noting, before we get started that this is made up of two separate stories. The first one, the cover story, is in a contemporary setting, while the second is more historical and fantastical. The second one also has no sex, so if you're looking for a literal bang for your buck, please note that all the banging takes place in the first story, while the second has none. That said, I like them equally, smut be damned, but we'll get into all that in a second.
The art is cute. The first story with Io and Ryoya is cute, but it isn't perfect or all that unique, but it is very, very clean, which is always a plus. Unfortunately, Io's design leans relatively young, much younger than he actually is. Ryoya and Io are both college-aged, at minimum, so they are of age (at least in my country, which is eighteen), but that still doesn't help because of how young Io looks. Of course, there are people who look young despite being of age, but I just want to note this because it isn't my preference, and I'm sure there are others who feel the same. Io is the most mature of the pair, but just know he looks fairly young compared to the other characters.
Where the first story really shines is in the setup. I love the playboy who gets played trope, but it's done in a rather unique and refreshing way here. Io is the very introverted and somewhat nerdy type, but he is cool, calm, and collected alongside it. He really directs every interaction despite how forward and playful Ryoya is. While Ryoya does dominate the relationship in the bedroom for the most part, Io rules the platonic side of their relationship. I love that Io does take a more childish route to pushing Ryoya into admitting he has feelings for him by roping in his brother as a fake paramour. It's fun that the cool character drops a bit into being childish and luring his partner by playing as a playboy himself. I love their dynamic so much, and I'm a big fan of the whole scent fetish thing. It's fun.
More importantly, I love Ryoya. Usually, the playboy is an asshole through and through, and we see it all displayed in perfect clarity. While Ryoya is still that asshole playboy, and we see him with other people, it's clear where his heart and head are. Not to mention, he is just absolutely hilarious, which goes a long way. The comedy in this is great. I wouldn't say it had me laughing out loud, but it pulled a giggle out of me. Ryoya is such a goofball, it's hard to imagine him as a suave playboy type, but Io just does that to him, making their relationship so much better.
As for the second story, there's no need to talk about how uncomfy I am about Rintaro's design being on the young side because he is a minor based on my country's standards. My only comfort is that it seems they don't have a physical relationship, confirmed by a side story that shows Rintaro kissing Shiranui on his cheek for the first time. Very innocent, very fluffy, very cute. It doesn't mean I like the relationship between a sixteen-year-old and a presumably very much older fox demon, but I can appreciate the innocence and fluffiness. I also prefer the designs in this story. They feel more solidified and make the most sense for the characters. The narrative is where this really shines, though, with a sweet love story counterbalanced by a dramatic, painful tale of rejection and betrayal. I love it. If Rintaro were older, it would be ideal.
This one is really fun. Is it strong enough to be a favorite? Maybe not, but it's a really nice time for what it is. It is a bit uncomfy for a few reasons, but it's inoffensive overall. I enjoy the characters, the situations were stereotypical but with refreshing takes, and the art is nice and clean, which is always a winner. I've reread this a few times now, and I think it's well worth the money I spent on it.
Have you read Anti-Platonic? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!