"A Man Has Free Choice to Begin Love But Not to End It" is the second episode of the Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi anime series. The episode revolves around the couple Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano.


The episode begins with Ritsu having a dream. He celebrates the success of the novels he edited for Akihiko Usami, which have all topped the sales charts, but the novels turn to shoujo manga in his hands. Takano comes to him and kisses him. Ritsu wakes up startled in his bed.

It's hell week at Emerald as the team stresses to get the material to print. Takano has a furious phone conversation with a mangaka because a piece isn't done and he's already struggled to get an extension with the printer. He takes off to get it done and tells Ritsu to join him to help paste the typeset and screentone, even though Ritsu hasn't learned how to do that yet.

On the way out, Takano calls Sasaki on his cell and says he can't make it. Ritsu wonders who he's talking to and thinks it might be the author again.


When they arrive at the mangaka department, Ritsu finds everyone looking just as lifeless and stressed as they were at Emerald. Takano and the mangaka argue since the mangaka thinks she can't get it done on time after all. She's stressed because she's working on a featured spread. When Takano steps away to get working, Ritsu suggests he be nicer to her, but Takano tells him to get to work. The mangaka expresses more doubt about her work. Ritsu finally speaks up, telling her that he bought her last volume because he liked it so much, motivating her a bit. Takano reveals he got another extension with the printer (Sasaki) until the next morning. The three work through the day and night to get it done, not leaving the mangaka department until after sunrise.

Ritsu is exhausted, and Takano gets him a black tea from the vending machine. Ritsu accepts the tea, thinks of Takano's smile, and gets nervous and blushes. Ritsu starts rethinking his impression of Takano. Takano blurts out, "You haven't changed at all," but Ritsu still doesn't remember him. To help him remember, Takano pushes him down on the sofa and kisses him. Ritsu pushes him off.

Takano leaves to get the galleries, which should be done by then, to the printers. As he leaves, he tells Ritsu that his name changed when parents got a divorce. His name used to be Saga.

Ritsu realizes that Takano is the Saga he'd confessed his love to ten years ago. Things had ended badly when he asked Saga if they were going out and if Saga had feelings for him, and Saga had laughed. Ritsu took the laugh personally, thinking that Saga was laughing at him for his feelings. The event had left him jaded.

Enraged, Ritsu runs after Takano and confronts him. He wants an apology because Takano/Saga had laughed when Ritsu asked him how he felt, and he thought Takano was making fun of him. Takano didn't realize that's what happened since Ritsu had suddenly left him without an explanation. Takano says he probably laughed because he was embarrassed.

This all makes Takano realize that he has a chance at seducing Ritsu, and he tells him he's never forgotten him. He wants to hear Ritsu say he loves him again. He heads down in the elevator, leaving Ritsu behind. Alone, Ritsu reconsiders the events of ten years before that had left him so jaded, and thinks that maybe Takano had liked him just as much. But Ritsu snaps out of it and decides there's no way anything's going to happen.

At the end of the episode, Ritsu moves into his new apartment. Realizing he doesn't have a box-cutter to get everything out of his boxes, he steps out to head to the convenience store for one and some food. As he's leaving, his neighbor steps out as well, and Ritsu bows and says hello. His new neighbor is Takano. Takano teases him that Ritsu must be there to confess his love, but Ritsu shuts himself back in his apartment and immediately starts looking for a new place to live.

Character debutsEdit

  • Sasaki (phone call; isn't seen or heard)
  • unnamed mangaka


Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi anime

Season 1 (2011) OVA. No love's like to the first • 1. First Impressions Are the Most Lasting • 2. A Man Has Free Choice to Begin Love But Not to End It • 3. In Love There is Both Dotage and Discretion • 4. Adversity Makes a Man Wise • 5. Love Is Lawless • 6. Go to The Sea, If You Would Fish Well • 7. Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before Them • 8. Looks Breed Love • 9. The Die Is Cast • 10. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder • 11. It never rains but it pours • 12. After a Storm Comes a Calm

Season 2 (2011) OVA. The quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love • 13. A Good Beginning Makes a Good Ending • 14. One Cannot Love and Be Wise • 15. Lingering Love Breeds Mistake • 16. Delay In Love Is Dangerous • 17. Follow Love and It Will Flee Thee, Free Love and It Will Follow Thee • 18. Love is Without Reason • 19. Actions Speak Louder Than Words • 20. Love and envy make a man pine • 21. Love is Blind • 22. Love goes never without fear • 23. Love makes the world go round • 24. Love is a Bitter-Sweet

Movie (2014) The Case of Takafumi Yokozawa