Love and Lies (Koi to Uso) is full of twists and suffering, starting with the premise. The core concept is the government has to assign marriage partners to 16-year-old students to support the low birth rate of Japan. Other relationships are forbidden so of course, Love and Lies focuses on a tight love triangle who have illegal feelings for other people. Fans are going to be constantly screaming since their ship is so close yet so, so far.
To be fair, Japan has been having a hard time trying to promote marriage and raising families – the government has even tried to sponsor mixers for singles. In 2016, almost 44% of Japanese singles aged 18-34 were virgins. So in Love and Lies, it’s semi-believable that the government would push people together but you have to ignore a few plot holes to fully enjoy the drama.
The series stumbles from its government controlled utopia that somehow breeds smarter kids, into deep melodrama tropes. Fans of romance won’t mind the tropes but newer fans might feel underwhelmed by Yukari and Misaki’s personalities that can be summed up as nice, shy, and in love.
The show is so deep in the sparkly romance at times that it tries to make sharing an eraser a symbol of true love. Also, the main couple talked to each other once or twice before they decided they were destined to be together. Love and Lies fans have to embrace that unbelievable, love-at-first-eraser relationship building to get to some of the more tantalizing pieces of the story.
The resident popular boy has strong feelings of love for someone he can’t have and strong feelings of hate for all the girls who idolize him or are forced on him. There’s some sauciness in this romance that we can’t delve into without leaving spoilers, but this romantic thread left some fans screaming.
Love and Lies hasn’t introduced how the government’s marriage system handles homosexuality, which opens up a very wide exploration area that just has to be touched on in a soap opera-like story of this magnitude.
While fans have to suffer from the unrequited love in this show, they are gifted a few brain teasers due to all the lies. Our heroine is constantly dropping lies although it’s not completely clear if they are lies or real things she believes. Is she lying to others, lying to herself, or is she manipulating the boy she loves to get him to come to her?
Love and Lies has the feeling of a good mid-day soap opera. On one hand, the plot hook might fail for some people. But on the other hand, the melodrama is thick and sappy enough to drown in. If you can ignore some tropes and unbelievable plot points, you’ll find a surprisingly addictive romantic drama that will keep your feels yearning for more.