Original Run: April 5, 2021 - June 14, 2021 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Romance Based on the Series Created By: Mogusu
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Koikimo. Reader discretion is advised.***
For years, life has left Ryou Amakusa (voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga) feeling apathetic. In particular, the realm of romance is uninteresting to him.
That changes when he has a chance encounter with the most unlikely person.
One day, Ryou nearly falls down a flight of stairs. Fortunately, a young high school girl, Ichika Arima (voiced by Yurie Kozakai), saves him. The encounter is brief, and Ryou believes he will never see Ichika again.
However, later that day, Ryou runs into Ichika at his family’s home; it turns out Ichika is a friend of Ryou’s younger sister. In an attempt to thank Ichika for her help, Ryou turns on the charm that has caused other women to swoon over him. But rather than falling head over heels, Ichika finds Ryou’s behavior creepy.
Instead of moving on, Ryou becomes infatuated with Ichika. And to Ichika’s annoyance, Ryou continues to shower her with unrelenting love and affection.
I am at a loss. My hesitation exists not because Koikimo was so good it left me speechless. No, this series was as by-the-book as you can expect; thus, it’s hard to categorize what went well or what went wrong. Sure, this show was fine while happening, but try remembering it after a week.
That said, is there anything we can give Koikimo credit for?
Unfortunately, “credit” is too strong a word. It implies there was something about this story, its characters, or its execution that impressed me. That did not happen.
Such a feat – or lack thereof – isn’t the most stellar of endorsements. However, I won’t act as though Koikimo was unwatchable. In truth, this show didn’t even come close to what I would consider a bad anime. It was just unremarkable in every facet.
Nevertheless, this is the Series Positives section of the review. Since this show wasn’t terrible, I should think of something to say.
As such, Ichika Arima was the best aspect of Koikimo.
Although on the quiet side, Ichika could speak up for herself and wasn’t someone in constant need of rescuing. So, at the very least, she wasn’t a helpless heroine.
Arguably, Ichika’s most memorable scene was the very catalyst for this story. Her telling Ryou Amakusa he was a massive creep for trying to hit on a high schooler demonstrated she wouldn’t hold back her opinion. Also, it was good to know this series, to some degree, recognized its entire premise was precisely that – creepy.
Yes, Ryou was a person who would not take “stop” for an answer; he was always able to drag Ichika along according to his whim. But Ichika would never go with the flow without putting up resistance. When necessary, her reprimands had bite.
Frankly, had Ichika been any less than she was, Koikimo, which was already highly problematic, could not have worked. She managed to, at a minimum, create the illusion that this love story was on fair and equal footing.
Looking at this show as an isolated incident, I have no problem saying everyone’s intentions and feelings were genuine.
Did I believe Ryou cared for and would treat Ichika right despite their age difference? I did. Did I think Ichika – the fictional protagonist of a best-case-scenario narrative – had chosen the path that was right for her? I did in the same way I can accept other fairy tale happy endings.
This is a series that will turn people away the moment you explain its premise. I can’t say I blame those people either. But if you’re curious how this show compares to other romance anime, regardless of its baggage, Koikimo was completely and utterly average.
I am a little floored that a show like Koikimo thought it could come out in 2021 as if there would be no issues. Then again, I was living in Japan when the Me Too movement (which Anime Hajime and I fully support) came to the country. Let me tell you, public reaction to it was – to put it nicely – hostile.
There are a lot of things I love about Japan, but I will be the first to admit:
This country’s views on sexual harassment are very much stuck in the 1950s.
But while that is a topic worth discussing, you came here for an anime review.
To that end, Koikimo was unremarkable. Even if we include the entire grown-man-dating-a-high-schooler aspect, there was hardly anything new, different, or unique about this series.
Let’s run down the list:
- Animation: Standard
- Voice acting: Performers got the job done
- Story: The unlikely couple got together in the end
- Characters: Nothing special.
- Romance: Mild at best.
With nothing to its name, it’s hard to invest interest in a show like Koikimo.
Heck, even Ichika’s reasoning for choosing Ryou demonstrated how this series simply went through the motions.
According to Ichika, Ryou was:
And who can forget; she thought the man creepy, a sentiment that never actually went away.
Therefore, we have to ask, “Was this a couple worth following?” Even in a purely romantic sense, the answer to that question is no. Besides, it wasn’t as if there was ever a chance of Ichika and Ryou NOT getting together.
Although Koikimo introduced rivals for both protagonists, I never once believed Ichika or Ryou would choose someone else. What did I sit through twelve episodes for then? Your guess is as good as mine.
Yeah, on a technical level, there was nothing broken about this show. But in terms of satisfaction or investment, I really do feel as though I wasted my time. If you are looking for a romance fix, you can do so much better.
When it is all said and done, we have a paint-by-numbers love story that tried to downgrade harassment to something quirky and charming. And even without that last bit, Koikimo had no weight, depth, or power behind it for us to consider the thing worth watching.
Just because I don’t hate a show doesn’t mean I think it is good by default.
In plenty of secondary ways, this series didn’t crash and burn. It was, by no means, the worst thing I have seen come out of 2021. But in all the areas that matter – story, characters, atmosphere, etc. – there was nothing.
Or, to put it another way, this series was wholly unprepared to tackle a subject that would inevitably turn people away.
You don’t need to make it that far. Koikimo is one you can skip.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Koikimo? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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