What’s it about? Love is such an unscientific concept… but what if we could quantify it? That’s exactly what graduate students Himuro Ayano and Yukimura Shinya set out to do after Himuro confesses! But… how do you test for romance, exactly?
CONTENT WARNING: Mild fanservice.
Y’all know by now that I love a good romantic comedy about awkward dorks. To my mind, there’s nothing more endearing than two weirdos stumbling and fumbling around their feelings for each other. I absolutely adore Wotakoi and I’m practically foaming at the mouth for the second season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War. But Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It misses the mark.
Comedy, like love, is one of the harder things out there to quantify. So, like our hapless protagonists, I’ve hatched several hypotheses to explain just what made the show fall apart.
Hypothesis A: The characters are unlikable
I went to University of Rochester, a school best known for its engineering programs. I didn’t go into STEM myself; I followed my passions and got a degree in linguistics and Japanese. A lot of the engineering students went out their way to belittle my preferences for the humanities and social sciences. They also, quite annoyingly, tended to try to apply science and engineering to things where it didn’t apply. I got into a lot of arguments about why language is not structured like a logic puzzle.
Himuro and Yukimura’s experimentation brings me back to quite a few heated dining hall conversations, and as much as I enjoyed college, those weren’t my favorite times. STEM people, why y’all gotta be like that? Okay, I know you’re not all like that and sometimes college students are a special type of know-it-all arrogant, but still.
The thing is, even when I had these arguments, I knew the people I was fighting with were full human beings. Their emotional intelligence wasn’t completely stunted, unlike Himuro and Yukimura. The show’s main duo have “science!” as their sole personality trait, which doesn’t exactly inspire warmth and affection in me as the viewer.
But wait… I like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which stars the absolute worst human beings on the planet. And Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun had me from the get-go, even though Chiyo and Nozaki weren’t exactly fleshed-out right away. Unlikable or 2-D characters may be a barrier, but not an insurmountable one.
Hypothesis A is not supported.
Hypothesis B: The jokes aren’t funny
Forgive me for stating the obvious here, but comedies should be funny. They should have jokes. They should make me laugh. I did very little laughing throughout these episodes.
The episode takes the form of several gags strung together, and they all follow more-or-less the same structure after the initial confession. Himuro and Yukimura focus on one sign of romantic infatuation, such as an elevated heartbeat when in close proximity. They test it. The test is inconclusive. Kanade, their more emotionally intelligent straight-man labmate, gets flustered or frustrated or sighs at them.
Comedy lives and dies on the unexpected. Jokes can only be so funny if they follow the expected structure every single time. Without any twists on the formula, it becomes dull and one-note.
But I really did like the first five minutes or so! Himuro’s pie chart and the two of them interrogating one another about the content of their dreams about each other were particularly cute. And all the jokes on their own would be pretty fun, if they weren’t just like the previous one.
Hypothesis B is not supported.
Hypothesis C: It should have been a short
Repetitive and run-on gags work better in short-form shows. This is a fact. They come, they make us chuckle, then they end before overstaying their welcome. Then, when the next episode comes out a week later, our brains are refreshed and ready for the next bit of absurdity. Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It, with its somewhat redundant gag structure, may well have worked better as a short.
Unfortunately, as much evidence points toward Hypothesis C, it is impossible to test for now. Crunchyroll released three whole episodes, but I would have to wait a considerable amount of time in order to feel refreshed, then watch the following episodes in segments of the required length.
Also, I don’t want to.
Hypothesis C appears supported, but is inconclusive.
Conclusion: This is by no means the worst show of the season, and other than some occasional leering of the women’s breasts and legs there’s nothing particularly concerning about it from a feminist perspective, but it grew stale and repetitive way too fast. I won’t recommend you to stay away from it, but I won’t be coming back to it.