Plot: Yukino Miyazawa is obsessed with getting praise and adoration. Known as the ‘perfect girl’ around school, Yukino finds herself with a rival by the name of Souchiro Arima who is also seemingly ‘perfect’ and matches if not beats her in everything.
While Yukino does everything that she can to beat out Arima, he soon finds out something embarrassing about Yukino and uses it to blackmail her. However, he was just using that as a ploy to spend time with her since he secretly likes her. She eventually admits to herself that she likes him too and they start a relationship. The rest of the show follows their trials and tribulations as a couple.
Breakdown: The show is very well-written and wonderfully acted, but it’s also very dialogue-heavy. There are many sequences with nothing but talking about the character’s past, how they’re feeling and how they’re perceiving the events around them. It’s been my experience that that is a turn-off for many people, so fair warning.
In between the heavy dialogue, there’s also plenty of comedy, funny character quirks, visual gags and slapstick to keep you laughing through the drama. While many of the gags are common in comedy anime, it has its own style and personality which adds even more to the hilarity.
The characters are all very memorable and entertaining. Yukino is a great female lead. She does cry and run away sometimes, but for the most part she’s a very independent and strong young woman who is willing to stand up for what she believes in every aspect of her life.
Arima is also a very good character. He’s not a very funny character as he’s pretty level headed, but he gets some funny scenes when playing off of Asaba or Yukino. His backstory is also very sad and impacting, but I’ll avoid spoiling it.
Asaba is a hilarious character, and he stole the show several times. He’s Arima’s best friend and the school playboy. His character design changes several times over the course of the series in the most dramatic ways. Everyone does, which is a very welcome change as opposed to the regular static character designs and clothes that practically every character in other anime suffers from, but his changes are the most dramatic.
Most the side characters are also very lovable and funny. Tsubasa was a bit of a brat, and being voiced in the English Dub by Lisa Ortiz did not help….at all. But she still became a pretty good character once she chilled out a bit.
My main issue with this series is, after about 20 episodes, it seems like the show halts in its focus of Arima and Yukino and directs its attention more on the side characters. Technically, this is okay since Arima and Yukino’s story kinda came full-circle, but there was still more to go on considering the manga version, and none of the side-character stories were that interesting.
In addition, shouldn’t these side-character episodes be spread out over the course of the series instead of mashed into the final episodes? This show is specifically about Yukino and Arima, so it just seems weird that we’d end on side-character episodes.
Art and Animation: The art is great and the animation is fairly fluid during the scenes where animation is actually needed such as in the slapstick sections. They pretty much used their budget when they needed to in this series, especially since it’s so dialogue heavy.
Music: The music is perfectly fine, but there was repetition a plenty going on in this series. They repeat the same tracks over and over and over. It really starts to wane on my nerves, but it’s nothing too severe.
Bottom Line: The final six episodes throw me off immensely, and it may be too dialogue heavy for some audiences, but it is very entertaining, funny, romantic and impacting.
Additional Information and Notes: Kare Kano was based on a manga by Masami Tsuda. The anime adaptation was directed by Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame and Kazuya Tsurumaki, director of FLCL.
It’s currently licensed in English under Right Stuf International.
Recommended Audience: There is one sex scene in the series, but it doesn’t show anything in the least bit graphic. There was another version released that showed more to the sex scene, but it’s difficult to find, and even that version doesn’t show anything, really. The series also delves into somewhat darker territory with Arima’s past, but that’s also not really anything graphic, just dark in tone. 13+
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