Original Run: October 2, 1998 - March 23, 1999 Number of Episodes: 26 Genre: Comedy, Romance Based on the Series Created By: Masami Tsuda
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou. Reader discretion is advised.***
Yukino Miyazawa (voiced by Atsuko Enomoto) has dedicated her life to being number one. Whether in academics, looks, or sports, she is at the top. However, this is all façade to cover Yukino’s more sloth side.
Upon entering high school, Yukino is shocked to learn there is a person who can outperform her, Arima Souichirou (voiced by Chihiro Suzuki). What’s worse, Arima discovers Yukino’s true colors.
Terrified her secret will be revealed, Yukino, begrudgingly, does anything she can to keep Arima quiet. Slowly though, Yukino and Arima start to form a deeper relationship. First as friends, then as love interests, to eventually becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.
Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou — a.k.a Kare Kano — had a bit of an experimental tendency.
This series strove away from what we might consider standard animation and became something akin to stop-motion comic panels. And it was fantastic.
These scenes were as fun as they were hilarious. Even when this story’s duller moments, its uniqueness keep definitely kept my attention.
Yukino and Arima’s Relationship
I have a soft spot towards romance stories.
To me, it is great to see two characters develop a relationship between one another. Often, an entire series is built around the process of becoming a couple. There is a ton of wondering if a person likes someone, dramatic and over the top denials, awkward romantic and/or sexual tension, all leading up to the climactic moment where they everyone confesses their love for each other.
Kare Kano did all that in about three episodes.
What set this series apart was how it dealt with romance after a couple is already formed.
As such, Yukino and Arima were real highlights. Their growth was more than being girlfriend and boyfriend, they grew as people. Although Yukino and Arima had their more hardcore lovey-dovey couple moments, they often ran into issues they need to deal with as partners.
The show was funny, despite the numerous bits of darkness. This series always finds a way to be light-hearted and humorous.
The over-the-top and expressive nature of anime comedy was alive and well here. The best part was, Kare Kano knew when to tone things down when it needed to.
Much of this series’ humor came from Yukino. She was capable of being mature but could go off the rails when agitated. Watching her do her thing had me laughing out loud quite often.
It was a real shame Kare Kano was as funny as it was because there were also just too many details holding this show back.
The Voice Acting
The word of the day is “consistency.” This series has none of that.
Many times the voice acting did not match the energy of the animation.
Fast erratic movements, over-sized limbs flailing all over the place, strong facial expressions, that is all part of what makes anime, anime. But there is more to it than that. The best compliment to vibrant motion is a voice actor capable of matching what we are seeing on screen.
When a person is mad, they need to sound mad. When a person is sporadic, they need to sound sporadic. When a person is menacing, they need to sound menacing. Did Kare Kano do this? Sometimes.
This was where the consistency problem came in. This show would go from solid delivery to sub-par efforts within the same episode.
The Ending *Possible Spoilers*
Why was this ending so bad? It was because there wasn’t one.
Leading up to the final episodes, our characters had set into motion several events. This show had built these events up quite well. There were hints of different characters getting together, and Kare Kano was just starting to dabble into Arima’s jealous side.
We end up seeing none of it. Instead of a satisfying closing, what we get was something straight out of Evangelion.
For those who don’t know what I am talking about, the first series of Neon Genesis Evangelion boasts one of the strangest endings in all of anime. That show was about giant robot monsters fighting alien invaders. It was all really cool and poised for an exciting final showdown, but it never happened. Instead, the final two episodes were some kind of weird psychological mind game that came out of nowhere.
Although not going as extreme as Evangelion, Kare Kano’s ending will still leave you asking, “What!?” The reason behind this was due to creative differences between series creator Masami Tsuda and Gainax, the studio that made Kare Kano (and Evangelion for that matter).
It was a true shame for this series to end on such a poor note.
Was Kare Kano a good show? The best answer I can give is: Sometimes.
If you are looking for a romance fix or just want to have a good laugh, go ahead and check this one out. There are plenty of moments that will keep you smiling. Plus, the animation style is worth a look.
However, due to inconstant voice acting and a disappointing ending, this show will you leave wanting more than it can deliver.
When it is all said and done, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou is a series that, sadly, can easily be forgotten.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.