Original Run: October 7, 2016 - December 23, 2016 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Harem Based on the Series Created By: Junko
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Kiss Him, Not Me. Reader discretion is advised.***
To put it nicely – Kae Serinuma (voiced by Yuu Kobayashi) is a bit on the heavy side. If someone only cared about looks, then they probably wouldn’t consider her a catch. Aware of her appearance, Kae isn’t all that bothered. For you see, her desire isn’t to be in a relationship. No, she would rather watch one from the shadows and fantasize; particularly if those fantasies involve as much male on male action as possible.
Kae is a hardcore otaku, and she has a tendency to lose herself in her fandom. Thus, when one of her all-time favorite anime characters dies, she falls into a deep depression. After a few days of self-pity, she emerges from her room. However, the Kae that comes out isn’t the Kae that went in.
During her stupor, Kae lost an unimaginable amount of weight and is now one of the most attractive women at her school. And yes, people have taken notice.
Suddenly, Kae finds herself at the center of her own little harem consisting of:
- Fellow second-years Yuusuke Igarashi and Nozomu Nanashima (voiced respectively by Yuuki Ono and Keisuke Koumoto)
- Third-year Asuma Mutsumi (voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki)
- First-years Hayato Shinomiya and Shima Nishina (voiced respectively by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Miyuki Sawashiro)
Being in unfamiliar territory, Kae isn’t sure what to do. But despite wanting to maintain her new friendships, if these circumstances provide the chance to live out a few fanfictions, where’s the harm in that?
There were aspects to Kiss Him, Not Me (KHNM) I liked. In fact, there were a lot of aspects to KHNM that I really liked. This show was, at times, incredibly fun and an absolute treat to sit through. That said, this was an example of a series which never fully managed to recover from a particularly troubling element.
I will explain what that element was later in the review, but for now, know that it soured everything positive this show did. Most notably, had this one thing not been here, then KHNM would have been a great example of how a harem anime can flourish.
As I see it, there are two critical pillars a harem series needs to fortify if it wants to succeed: the harem center and the harem members.
Concerning the center, they are the main character. Therefore, this type of story needs this person to be worth caring about. The center can’t be a stiff piece of wood. If they are to be the focal point of everyone’s attention, then they need to deserve it. I can’t tell you how many harem shows I’ve seen where the members “fell” for a center who was, unequivocally, a piece of human garbage.
Concerning the members, they can be significantly more challenging to do right; especially when there is a lot of them. The stronger harem stories are the ones which have the most amount of plausible romantic outcomes between the center and their members. It doesn’t do much good if a harem has an endless supply of options when only one or two have any real chance of becoming a thing.
With regards to KHNM, it was the center, Kae Serinuma, who shone the brightest.
Kae was the crutch that supported this show. She had a personality which defined her. It didn’t matter if she was her chubbier or thinner self, she was Kae through it all. Who she was as a person wasn’t determined by how she looked. She was always kind, friendly, and when her fandom came up, a hardcore fujoshi (a female fan of yaoi media).
For the record, the intensity of that latter quality was responsible for some of the funniest moments of the show. And that only got better after the introduction of harem member Shima Nishina.
Speaking of Shima, she, as well as Asuma Mutsumi, were the best harem members of this series. Besides just being a lot of goddamn fun, these two had nothing to do with that one element which dragged KHNM down. Of Kae’s harem, I found myself rooting for Shima and Asuma the most for they had a quality the other three members – Yusuke Igarashi, Nozomu Nanashima, and Hayato Shinomiya – sorely lacked.
I will explain what that was in time.
To conclude this section, given Kae’s general likability, she was what made this series entertaining. She was even capable of improving some of this show’s less savory bits. However, whenever there was a Kae-Asuma pairing or a Kae-Shima – and I’m telling you, these two were hilarious together – KHNM was not a chore to get through.
This next bit is a message to my female readers who might consider themselves to be a tad heavy and who are having trouble landing a man.
KHNM provides a foolproof solution to your problem.
Just lose a full hundred pounds in a single night. This will turn you into a drop dead gorgeous supermodel and then those guys who never gave you the time or day will instantly start drooling over you. It’s so simple, ladies. I mean for crying out loud, why haven’t you all done this?
Seriously, though, KHNM wasn’t even subtle. Before Kae turned “attractive,” Yusuke, Nozomu, and Hayato never thought twice about her. Then when Kae became the prettiest girl at school:
“Hey, do you want to go on a date with me?”
This happened in episode one, and this was the element that put a colossal stink mark over KHNM.
The reason I thought Asuma and Shima were great was because they liked and even had some feelings for Kae BEFORE she lost the weight. Hell, Asuma was the only person to instantly recognize Kae after her transformation – and to give Shima some slack, it was, after all, an unnaturally sudden transformation.
To temporarily lay off KHNM, the show did bring this up. It was Shima who accused Yusuke’s “feelings” towards Kae as being the result of her “prettier” appearance. Had she still been fat, Yusuke would have never thought of Kae in the way he claimed he did. This struck a chord, and thus, Yusuke was able to make up for his BS behavior when Kae went back to her original size for a while. During that time, Yusuke realized he actually did like Kae for the person she was, regardless of the body she had.
Now, was this an instance of too-little-too-late on Yusuke’s part? I wouldn’t disagree with that. However, what needs to be added is, Yusuke, at least, recognized why his actions were troubling. Unfortunately, Nozomu and Hayato were never shown to have that same realization. It also didn’t help that those two were the most gung-ho about getting Kae back to her slimmer body type.
Thus, on the one hand, KHNM did acknowledge this issue. On the other hand, though, KHNM didn’t rectify it. In essence, the show was so half-hearted in this area that even with Yusuke’s reversal, the problem was basically ignored; something that, in good conscience, I can’t do.
I won’t lie, I had fun with this series.
As a harem anime, it did a ton of things future entries in this genre should take note of. There was a great center to root for, and at least some of the harem members were worth liking. As a result, this series was quite entertaining in parts.
However, sometimes a show will do something I simply can’t wave aside. This is one of those moments.
For that reason, despite whatever enjoyment I might have gotten out of it, I refuse to recommend Kiss Him, Not Me.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Kiss Him, Not Me? 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.