Masamune Takano (高野 政宗, Takano Masamune) is a main character in Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi. He is in an unofficial relationship with Ritsu Onodera.
Takano has a short, slick black hair with a few spikes sticking out. He is tall, like most of male characters in the series. He usually wears black rectangular glasses with rounded ends while working or driving due to not being able to see far as well as the extensive amount of reading he does while working. He has hazel eyes and, according to Ritsu Onodera, long eyelashes.
As a high school student, he rarely showed any emotion or even smiled. Nonetheless, he was very popular among girls. He even had a few girls confess to him, asking if he wished to date them. His surname was Saga in high school, but after his parents' divorce, his name was changed to Takano. Takano is said to rarely smile unless he is alone with friends or meeting with an author.
Takano comes from a moderately wealthy family. His mother is a lawyer and his father is a surgeon, therefore they had as much money as possible for financial stability. They left Takano to live alone because of their working hours and gave him expenses each month to live on, never even attending his school activities when invited to such events.
During his days at high school, Takano often stayed in the school library where he would read books until the library closed because he didn't want to be home, knowing that his parents were always fighting and considered it boring. His mother asks where he found his cat and Takano explains that he found Sorata, and took him in because he was lonely, but his mother tells him that she hates animals. He later states to Ritsu that "it's better with the cat around".
Saga first sees Ritsu Onodera trying to grab a book that is out of his reach. Saga helps him retrieve the book and Ritsu thanks him. This encounter causes Ritsu to develop feelings for him. When Ritsu began frequently watching him during the years that passed, Saga soon caught onto what the younger boy was doing and often wondered who he was. Three years later, Saga and Ritsu meet again by both reaching for the same book. Ritsu confesses his love for Saga, to which Saga replies by saying he wouldn't mind going out with him, much to Ritsu's surprise. They would eat together, go to the bookstore, and talk about their favorite literature. Later, Saga invites Ritsu to come to his house after school and Ritsu meets his cat.
Saga tells Ritsu to meet him at his room while he gets some tea. After Saga brings the tea, he asks Ritsu why he loves him, because of the fact Ritsu doesn't know a thing about him. Ritsu tells Saga that though he didn't know much about him he knew a couple things here and there, for instance, the time Ritsu saw him rescuing an abandoned cat when no one else seemed to care about it. Saga asks Ritsu if he's a stalker out of embarrassment of being caught in a "scene straight out of a shoujo manga," which causes Ritsu to become embarrassed and apologize. Saga leans toward Ritsu and tries to kiss him but Ritsu, caught off-guard, pushes him away. Saga asks if that was what Ritsu wanted to him to do and, after a moment, kisses Ritsu.
Late at night, Saga makes love to Ritsu and finally says Ritsu's first name and confesses his love to him, though Ritsu wasn't sure that he heard right and thinks he was just hearing things. The two begin to hang out more often, even staying at the school library until closing time. During this time, they each begin to realize that they must really be in love with each other. Soon enough, Takano comes to have his first real love with Ritsu.
However, the relationship ends on a sad and rather tragic note. One day, Ritsu asks Saga if he likes him and Saga responds with nervous laughter. Ritsu misinterprets Saga's laughter as mockery and, after apparently round-house kicking him, abruptly disappears without a word. Due to not knowing what Ritsu falsely believed about him, these actions make Saga believe that Ritsu didn't want to be with him anymore, breaking his heart. In addition to this, Saga learns that he and his father are not blood-related, and that Ritsu seemingly had a "fiancee" during the course of their relationship together. Feeling overwhelmed by all of this, it leads the start of his emotional breakdown.
Saga's parents officially divorce later and he decides to go with his mother to her hometown where she re-marries and he takes her new husband's name. Now known as Takano, he meets Takafumi Yokozawa in college where they become close friends. The two later even enter into a brief relationship during college, although Takano says they simply slept together a few times. However Takano, still deeply affected by personal troubles (as well as not over his love with Ritsu), starts drinking and becomes very promiscuous. Takafumi vows that he will always be there for Takano, helping him back on his feet again.
Before Takano worked at Marukawa Publishing, he worked as a shounen editor at a publishing company known as Shuudansha, working in the Weekly Earth. However, he later quit because he didn't feel like it was the right place for him and wasn't allowed to make any changes to their projects that he felt were needed. During Takano's time at Shuudansha, a co-worker named Haitani Shin was dating a man who fell in love with Takano and broke up with Haitani in result. Despite Takano turning the man down, Haitani held Takano solely responsible for his break-up and wanted revenge by taking away the things he held dearly in life.
This caused Haitani to expose his personal problems to everyone in Shuudansha and caused an issue with the authors he was working with. Also, Haitani goes on to seduce the woman that Takano had been dating at the time and caused the two to break up. (Although Takano says he wasn't truly angry about the break up since he had only been dating her for three days and only agreed to because she publically asked and pressured him to accept.) Takano then made the decision to leave the company when refusing to deal with such issues any longer. He later came to work at Marukawa Publishing as a shoujo manga editor with the help of Yokozawa.
Now working at Marukawa, Takano soon becomes Editor-in-Chief of his own department. He is harsh on everyone, but all the editors are extremely loyal to him due to how he always proves to have the most success with his publications.
Sometime after he begins working there, he finds out that a new editor has been assigned to the team. He initially fails to realize it is Ritsu Onodera, due to having known him by a different name and how appearances have changed due ten years of passed time. However, he quickly becomes suspicious that he is the very same person that he lost contact with ten years ago in high school - due to being unable to shake the growing feeling that he already knows him. After a few hints and clues, he soon realizes that he is right and that Ritsu is his lost love from ten years prior.
After Ritsu's first full-time job as an editor ends in success, Takano sits down with him, offering him a can of soda. After staring at him, he then simply states that he hasn't changed at all in the last ten years. Ritsu doesn't remember Takano's face and is confused at what he is saying. Takano is surprised that he really doesn't remember him and abruptly kisses him to jog his memory, shocking Ritsu. Despite this, Ritsu still fails to recognize who he is. Somewhat hurt, Takano says that his name was once Saga Masamune, but was changed to Takano Masamune after his parent's divorce, which startles Ritsu into realizing the truth.
After the two confront each other over the past and how they believe that one another broke the other's heart, their misunderstanding is cleared up. Takano then tells Ritsu how despite the years and whomever he was with, he could never forget about him. He says how now that everything has finally been understood, he vows that he will make Ritsu fall in love with him again. After Takano finds out that Ritsu is his neighbor, Takano begins to invite himself into Ritsu's apartment or the other way around with the excuse that he is his boss and needs to discuss work with him.
Ritsu is currently Takano's next door neighbor and co-worker at Marukawa. Ritsu was Takano's first love back in high school. They broke up due to a misunderstanding and Ritsu disappearing to study abroad in England. Ritsu is more or less "the one that got away" for Takano, which he deeply regrets.
After Takano lost all contact with Ritsu, he desperately searched for him for a short time before giving up (due to knowing him under a false name). He then looked for someone to replace Ritsu's for a brief period, but as he thought, Ritsu was the only one he could ever love. Sometime in his college years, a friend of his recalled knowing Ritsu and revealed how Ritsu has had a "fiancee" for quite some time, further breaking Takano's heart that Ritsu was seemingly two-timing him during their relationship.
Ten years later, Takano finds out that someone new will be working in Marukawa Publishing. The two don't initially recognize each other, due to the time and changed appearances, but Takano soon comes to realize Ritsu is his lost love from high school. Once they confront each other, Takano and Ritsu's high school misunderstanding from their past becomes clear. After this, Takano declares that he will make Ritsu fall in love with him again, revealing that despite the time that passed and whoever he was with, he could never forget about him. Despite Ritsu swearing up and down that he will never come to love Takano again, as time passes, it becomes apparent that he still deeply loves him and also admits he couldn't forget about him in the past ten years either.
Later, after a talk, while taking shelter from the rain, Takano tells Ritsu that it's not his fault that he became emotionally unstable during college and it was a variety of problems that lead to his breakdown (although admitting Ritsu breaking up and abruptly leaving him was a contributing factor). Takano also finds out that Ritsu's family never divorced as Takano knew Ritsu in high school as "Oda Ritsu" due Ritsu believing that borrowing all the books read by Saga would be creepy and used a different surname to hide his identity. This makes Takano mad that, for 10 years, he didn't even know Ritsu's real name.
Though Takano and Ritsu get into many arguments about the past and work situations, usually because Ritsu won't hesitate to talk back to him, Takano deeply cares for Ritsu and is desperate not to lose him again. In one manga chapter, Takano asks if Ritsu is going to take over his family company then if that means he will move away. When Ritsu gives a vague answer, Takano declares that if he is going to move again, he will not let him go and implies that he will follow him. He goes on saying that he will not be able to handle losing Ritsu a second time as the first time was painful enough - admitting how never seeing him again is his worst fear.
He also often implies that Ritsu is his one true love, often telling Ritsu that "it has to be him" in terms of his love life. Also, he has made it very clear that he is not hung up on the past and that the person whom he truly loves now is the "present [Ritsu]". Takano usually calls Ritsu only when they are alone together or when he is trying to have a serious discussion. Most of the time, he calls him by his last name or "Newbie" while they are working. While aware of the fact that Ritsu is extremely uncomfortable about his status as the only heir to his father's company, Takano doesn't hesitate to tease Ritsu about this.
However, whenever the two share a private moment at work, Takano often becomes flirtatious and romantic with Ritsu, even kissing him, much to his embarrassment due to the working environment. He also has a habit of misusing his authority as Ritsu's boss as a means to spend time with Ritsu such as, in the manga, going on a brief vacation with him under the guise of a business trip. This is shown to annoy Ritsu since he is technically abusing his authority although, despite being aware, it's shown that Takano doesn't care.
Ritsu's engagement to An was shown to very much bother Takano despite Ritsu repeatedly telling him that the arrangment is not his personal choice and was something only his mother wanted. Hence, when Takano learns that the engagement between Ritsu and An was cancelled, he is deeply relieved. He then admits that he was afraid that Ritsu might actually be stolen away by An given her attractive appearance and how close she is to Ritsu.
Takafumi and Takano are good friends and have been working together for a long time. They met each other in college where they briefly dated, which Takano describes as sleeping together a few times. Despite this, Takano has stated that he would rather stay as friends and nothing more, deeply valuing his friendship with Yokozawa. Takafumi helped Takano cope with his various personal troubles, including his heartbreak from Ritsu suddenly breaking up with him. Takano's pain caused Takafumi to resent Ritsu, and to also have him cast total blame onto him for why Takano broke down. Takafumi is the one who helped Takano get his current job at Marukawa when he faced several problems at his previous company. He is also in charge of taking care of Takano's cat, Sorata, since Yokozawa had reasoned that if Takano can't take care of himself, he is incapable of caring for a pet.
However, their friendship faced a severe obstacle when Takafumi became very possessive over Takano when Ritsu came to work at Marukawa. When it became clear that Takano was pursuing Ritsu romantically again, Takafumi went up and out of his way to ensure the two do not become involved. He often threatened Ritsu into staying away from Takano; claiming he and Takano were dating and, when finding out Takano and Ritsu were apartment neighbors, demanding he move to another location. He became so possessive of Takano that he demanded to know if Ritsu was stalking Takano and hence why he came to work at Marukawa - even outright refusing to accept Ritsu's protests and attempts at reasoning otherwise towards his accusations. He even began dismissing and overlooking Ritsu's various work assignments and business proposals, deliberately sabotaging Ritsu's working career. When Takano came to this realization, he scolded Takafumi for his actions.
When Takano came to see that Takafumi was intimidating Ritsu into staying away from him, he confronted Takafumi about it. He brought up how they had an agreement that, following them sleeping together, that nothing more than a friendship was to be between them. However, it has become obvious that Yokozawa is still in love with him and forcing Ritsu to stay away from him. After Takano demands that he stay out of his love life and let him make his own life choices, Takafumi has an emotional outburst and yells how he had hope that they could become genuine lovers due to their closeness and demands to know why he would choose Ritsu over him despite how badly he had hurt him in the past.
Stunned by this confession, Takano explains how he is very much aware of the past pain between him and Ritsu. However, despite the passed time and previous pain, Takano has realized that he is still in love with Ritsu nonetheless and he will always be the one that he loves. Takafumi, heartbroken, finally comes to accept that a love between him and Takano can never happen. He accepts this and tells Takano that, while he wishes to be friends, he needs time to emotionally heal. Takano apologizes for hurting him.
Despite this rough patch, Takafumi is able to heal from this wound (with the help from a new beloved lover). He and Takano finally meet up again following their confrontation, in the light novels and movie, where Takano admits how he has been thinking about their history together and believes he had used and mistreated Yokozawa and is deeply sorry about it. Yokozawa dismisses any further issues between them, wanting to leave any bad times behind them, and they are able to successfully become platonic friends again, because Yokozawa found someone else to give him what he wants.
Takano's family appears to be rather cold and unloving. Always being wrapped up in their own personal lives and work, they almost always ignored him. Due to this, Takano was forced to live alone with his cat Sorata, whom he adopted and to keep him company.
His parents have high paying jobs, and because of this Takano was able to be financially stable. After his parents' divorce, both his mother and father later re-married.
Sorata is Takano's adopted cat. Takano rescued him ten years prior on a rainy day. While those passing by ignored Sorata's cries, Saga noticed the young kitten and took him home. While his parents hated animals and wanted the kitten gone, Takano kept the animal and grew to be fond of him.
Following Takano's breakdown, Yokozawa believed that due to his friend's broken mental state, Sorata should be with someone actually capable of caring for him. He then declared to Takano that he was going to adopt Sorata as his own personal pet, which he didn't protest.
Presently, Sorata is a full-grown cat and had mostly been cared for by Yokozawa. However, Yokozawa's career began to take off and took up much of his time. This resulted in him not being able to spend much time with Sorata. When Yokozawa met Kirishima and his young daughter, Hiyori, the young girl took an immediate liking to the animal and offered to care for him - having wanted a cat for some time. Yokozawa agreed to it. Sorata is currently being cared for by Hiyori and often sleeps beside her in her bed.
- His favorite food is meat, specifically beef.
- He also enjoys lean tuna sushi.
- His foot size is 28cm.
- Takano is thought to own an iPhone 4.
- Takano's apartment number is 1201.
- His pairing with Ritsu is referred to as Nostalgia, referring to the two remembering their past together and their feelings and relationship being rekindled.
- Takano and Ritsu's relationship counterpart from Shungiku Nakamura's first BL manga, Junjou Romantica. They represent the Romantica Couple, Usami and Misaki; mainly due to them being the first pairing introduced in the series, and the pairing with the most overall screentime in both the anime and manga.
- He is nearsighted. It is speculated that reading often shortens a person's eye view, leading Takano to theorize that because he frequently read books as a teenager, this may have shortened his sight in his adult years.
- Takano hates taking pills whenever he is sick, preferring to take powdered drugs instead.
- He is shown to regularly smoke, but has appeared to reduce his amount of smoking in the latest manga.
- Takano's favorite subject in high school was Math, even though he majored in Literature during college.