Science Fell In Love So I Tried To Prove It

Shinya Yukimura and Ayame Himuro are brilliant, highly skilled research scientists who share a lab at Saitama University, and who engage in good-natured squabbles based around high-end mathematics and statistics. During one of these squabbles Ayame casually mentions to Shinya that she thinks she may be in love with him; Shinya, having absolutely no experience of romantic love or relationships, is unable to process this new information. Despite being more emotionally self-aware than Shinya, Ayame herself is completely naïve when it comes to relationships and personal interaction; to deal with the situation, she and Shinya devise a research proposal to test whether it is possible to determine the “base conditions for love”. They begin by attempting to replicate romantic scenes from manga, then proceed to measuring various physiological data, and progress to analysing the outcomes of scenarios involving hugging, dating, and staring into one another’s eyes. Along the way, they drag the other members of the lab – unwillingly – into their research: Kotonoha Kanade, a junior who has recently joined the lab and who longs for romance; Kosuke Inukai, whose knockabout demeanour hides his hardcore otaku personality and its associated fetishes; Ena Ibarada, the diminutive senior researcher, who seems to spend most of her time gaming and teasing Kosuke; and even their supervisor, the mostly genial but occasionally intimidating Professor Ikeda. Through all this research and its concomitant embarrassments and revelations, things come to a head when Ikeda invites former student Arika Yamamoto to join the team for a summer science seminar in Okinawa: an aspiring mangaka, she hopes to manipulate Shinya and Ayame in order to create a manga based on their unconventional romance…

Based on the manga by Alifred Yamamoto and produced by studio Zero-G, “Science Fell In Love, So I Tried To Prove It” originally aired on Japanese television from January to March 2020.  Conventionally animated with a colour palette and environmental and character designs that will be familiar to any viewer of comedic, romantic, or slice-of-life anime, “Science Fell In Love” relies less on its visual appeal than on the sheer unusualness of its story, and both the comedic and revelatory effect engendered by the extremity in character types and situational dynamics present in the narrative. The fact that both Shinya and Ayame look like the kind of people one might find on the cover of Vogue magazine ,and who are yet so emotionally and relationally clueless, is central to the joke: it subverts the stereotypical image of the geek as an unattractive social loser whose physical appearance is a cypher for their lack of interpersonal skills. Unfortunately, with the exception of Ayame, about whose past – and thus, inner world – we get to learn quite a bit, the rest of the characters remain essentially one-dimensional blank slates. Kotonoha and Kosuke are, respectively, the straight person and the comic relief; of Shinya and Ena we get a few hints but nothing further; Professor Ikeda is essentially just a mechanism for plot progression; while Arika is only a kind-of villain at best. Each episode contains a short interval in which a mathematical or statistical concept is briefly explained; these are likely to be as clear as mud to the algebraically challenged. Entertaining, light-hearted, and blessed by not taking itself too seriously, “Science Fell In Love, So I Tried To Prove It” is a witty spoof that provides genuine laughs; but one cannot escape the feeling that the opportunity for deeper psychological insight – and thus, greater impact as the narrative reaches its conclusion – was missed because we simply didn’t understand more about Shinya as an individual and why he and Ayame might be drawn to one another. Perhaps this will be addressed in the second series which is scheduled to premiere in April 2022.

Text © Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2022. All rights reserved.