I recently watched the first episode of the anime Actually, I Am, which revolves around a love confession. It wasn’t my thing, but while watching I had to ask: do Japanese kids actually do this kind of thing?
See, the classic love confession from anime and manga goes like this: a school-aged character approaches in private their secret crush (normally a classmate and one who they may not have even spoken with before) and tells them, “I like you, please go out with me”.
I’d never really thought about it, as this cliche is very common in anime and manga, but I realize now that this is a pretty damn awkward situation to be in. When approached by a near-total stranger – who you may only have spoken a few words in passing to before – and asked for a date out of the blue, the normal reaction is to tell them no. With this in mind, isn’t the classic love confession approach basically a recipe for rejection?
Considering it further, the love confession strategy seems like something a socially awkward person would do. They know they want to go out with someone but they don’t really know how to approach them so they go all in. They skip the getting-to-know-you part and go straight for the asking out part.
Really, a more reasonable approach, and one more conducive to success, would probably be for the besotted party to befriend and hang out with the object of their romantic interest first without immediately going for the metaphorical jugular.
It’s such an obvious stratagem that I have to wonder whether Japanese kids actually do the love confession thing at all. Is this basically just a cliche that mostly exists in the minds of anime and manga writers? One wonders.