One of the shows I’m watching this anime season is The Café Terrace and Its Goddesses, upon watching the first episode, it felt like I was walking into a love hina rebuild. Cafe terrace and its goddesses feels like love hina due to it’s taking over the family business, living with eccentric girls, and being a tokyo U student premise.
Cafe terrace introduces us to Hayato Kasukabe, a young Tokyo U student, who finds himself having to take over his grandmother’s business, cafe terrace, after her death. Upon entering the cafe, he first assumes it to be empty, and walks around reminiscing, until he begins to run into the other residents, as they are naked. Hayato begins running through the building, away from the naked, and actively changing into underwear, girls, until he gets caught, and begins to explain himself and why he is at the cafe.
Love hina tells the story of Keitarou Urashima, aspiring Tokyo U student, who finds himself having to take over his grandmother’s business, Hinata Inn, after her death. Upon entering the Inn, he assumes it to be empty, and begins reminiscing. He enters the hot spring bath, and runs into the first girl, naked and bathing, which prompts a similar getting chased down by girls scene that also happens in Cafe terrace. Upon being caught by his aunt, and saved, he begins to explain himself and why he has arrived at the Inn.
Upon seeing the first episode, my thoughts were wait this is EXACTLY like Love Hina, how are they even able to get away with this?
The chase scene introduces us to the rest of the cast. The violent tsundere who is met first (later framed as a “childhood friend”-type harem girl via knowing grandma’s rice recipe), the sports and martial arts girl, the sexy chill one who smokes or something, the shy one, the laidback one.
The tsundere girl, Ouka, also becomes privy to the fact Hayato entered Tokyo U for a reason, a promise perhaps, similar to the ulterior motives of Keitaro’s Tokyo U application, in Love Hina.
After Hayato is caught, the girls explain they lived there happily due to his kind grandma, and talks about hearing about him from her. Later, they go on to discuss amongst themselves whether or not a guy can run the business, and live amongst them.
For those familiar with the basic story of Love Hina, this entire premise is deja vu.
While the show seems incredibly similar to Love Hina, it is not exactly the same, despite the love hina setup, there does remain some huge differences in the characters. For starters, the naked harem anime girls are not highschoolers or middle schoolers (with the exception of one), a revolutionary idea for a show of its kind. The adult setting (lol) allows for some interesting twists in the main character, mainly meaning he is not an embarrassed highschool kid, but instead a university crypto loser*. While Keitaro, in Love Hina, is just some guy with incredibly bad luck and somewhat awkward, Hayato on the other hand does not suffer from the same bad luck (he instead suffers with the bad luck of an unfortunate childhood), leading to less clobberings from the tsundere girl than he would receive if he were Keitaro. Hayato is shown to be heartless to the fact that his grandmother’s business is providing both a home and livelihood to the girls living here, along with their memories and emotional ties to his grandma, as he threatens to tear the cafe down to make a parking lot, as it would be a better money-making opportunity. While Keitaro is quick to apologize for his mistakes, Hayato frequently diverts the blame back onto the girls, and feeding them with insults when given the opportunity.
*crypto opinions aside, Hayato is into crypto and he’s also losing money, making him a “crypto loser”.
While The Cafe terrace and it’s goddesses possesses many similarities to love hina, it is showing to be not only differing from it, but also differing from the harem genre and it’s tropes in many pleasantly surprising ways, making for a fun watch this season, also, the opening theme slaps.