Miyazawa Yukino is the perfect student. Kind, intelligent, pretty and modest, it's unbelievable that such a person could exist. Little did everyone know Yukino's perfection was just a facade. An act to fulfill her desire for praise and admiration. Her life took a turn however, as a newcomer to their school Arima Soichiro topped the exam rankings. Arima is more than just intelligent, he's also kind, handsome and modest, an unbelievable person who can actually exist. Even worse luck, Arima found out Yukino's secret, blackmailing her to help him out. Their odd relationship soon develops into friendship and eventually into love. But can their love prevail through the many problems that come their way?
Kare Kano was a romance anime that could have become incredibly great, if it had the proper budget and ideas from the producer to actually complete the show properly. Unfortunately the stale ending that Kare Kano ended on left myself and I’m sure many other fans in frustration. Based on the popular shoujo manga by Masami Tsuda, Kare Kano is about the blossoming love between two high school students who lived a life of lies, pretending to be the perfect person for their own reasons. Being able to truthfully open up to each other, their initial friendship turns to love. Sadly, life isn’t so easy
for them as they face many trials to be together.
At first glance, Kare Kano is your average high school romance story. Thankfully, the odd personalities of the two leading characters break the idea of this just being another romance story. Kare Kano does contain the usual shoujo romance story elements when it comes to the trials for our main couple (jealous outsiders, temporary separation). But originality is able to come through with the way the leading characters handle their problems, often ending in a comedic resolve to their troubles. Besides the usual love trials, Kare Kano also features a number of interesting side stories about the support characters, so if you’re not a fan of the main couple, fear not, there are other amusing couples in the series as well. Unfortunately, Kare Kano’s story takes a nosedive with the lack of an ending. The last few episodes continue to build the plot up, but the series simply ends before anything can come out of the previous events. This is one of the greatest annoyances when it comes to Kare Kano, especially if one is not a manga reader.
The animation is more or less quite poor in Kare Kano. Taking into account this show is from 1998, anyone can easily see the budget was definitely not allocated to producing good animation. The first half of the show had its moments, the animation in this part of the series were acceptable. One of the techniques that the producers used was to cut out still images directly from the manga, which can be both a good and bad thing. Obviously this saves the producer a lot on cost of actual animation and some may think it is quite cheap of them. But I would think majority of people feel the black and white manga images added to the atmosphere of the show, especially in the moments they were used (which were when things became more serious). The second half of Kare Kano was when the animation began to lose its charm. More still images were constantly being used. Episode 19 of Kare Kano had the entire episode made up of cardboard cut outs, which were stuck on sticks and moved around (like a puppet show). The last five episodes were horrendous, a lot more of the manga pictures were being used, but rather then adding to the atmosphere, it just made the entire show feel cheap. The final episode barely had any animation at all, simply still images.
The sound in Kare Kano is one of its stronger points. The opening and ending have catchy pop songs that some may or may not like depending on their taste in music. There are also a number of enjoyable piano tunes in Kare Kano. All in all, the background music fitted well to the mood in this anime. A good pat on the back for the Japanese voice actors of Kare Kano as well. The VA for Yukino (the leading female) did a wonderful job in bringing out Yukino’s two faced personality, as did the VA for Arima (the leading male). If anything, the only complaint I have for the Japanese VAs was the one for the supporting character Tsubasa. I only felt her voice did not feel right.
Perhaps Kare Kano’s strongest point would be the characters. The leading couple is two somewhat eccentric two faced people (particularly the female) who pretty much break out of the stereotypical shoujo couple. The leading female, Yukino is an absolute riot to watch. You will witness her stressing over the smallest of things, unbelievable for someone who at first glance seemed to be the most perfect person you could find anywhere. Supporting characters such as Asaba and Tsubasa are also equally enjoying to watch as their odd personalities fit in perfectly with Kare Kano’s quirkiness. Character development is very thorough in Kare Kano, with even Yukino’s parents having screen time to develop their back stories. The only negative feature when it comes to the characters is that even towards the end of the show the characters are constantly built up with development, only to have the show end before anything could happen.
For why I enjoyed Kare Kano, I was previously a fan of the manga already. My favourite character would definitely have to be Yukino for her weirdo personality and decisions to solve her problems. I also really like the ending song, which I thought was perfect. Albeit I was definitely frustrated with how the show ended. The terrible animation was just painful for me to watch (especially the last 6 or so episodes). And I thought it was a poor decision on the producer’s part to end the show like it would end every other episode, and slap on a “The End”. I mean, nothing ended at all.
Overall, despite its obvious flaws Kare Kano still manages to be a favourite amongst the shoujo lovers for its interesting array of characters and somewhat unique storyline for the main couple. If you aren’t normally fond of stereotypical high school love stories, try giving Kare Kano a try. It’s recommended though to continue with the manga after watching the anime if you want to see how the story ends, since you won’t find any ending from here. So yeah, If you like comedy, romance, weird characters and high school settings then Kare Kano will probably be for you.
His and Her Circumstance, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou, Kare Kano, whatever you want to call it, there is one important thing you should know about this romantic comedy: not once at all does the male lead accidentally faceplant into the female lead's breasts, nor does he accidentally see her naked when her towel slips off, nor does his hand by chance find its way onto her butt.
Instead, they have sex.
And this is what sets Kare Kano apart from all the other romance anime that have come out in the last decade or two. Those anime are not romantic comedies,
they are comedies with sexual tension. The romance in Kare Kano is real romance. Yukino and Souichiro's relationship is treated realistically, seriously. They meet, they fall in love, things progress. It has a remarkable authenticity, especially in the early episodes.
The comedy element works, too. Yukino Miyazawa, who obsesses over being the perfect student, gets snapped back into reality by a rival perfect student, Souichiro Arima. But while she is left dejected, he ends up smitten. The comedy is character-based, feeding off the hesitation and awkwardness from the two teens as they muddle their way into a romance. Yukino's family also provides good comic material, especially in the parents, who had their daughters a little too early in life. Other character types are explored: the sassy athletic girl, the jealous girl, the cute guy who's hard to figure out, etc. But these side characters don't get in the way of Yukino and Souchiro's story.
The series is based on Masami Tsuda's manga, and its weakness is its format. Even with the legendary Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis: Evangelion fame at the helm, the series suffers from a lack of budget and abundance of static images. Scenes that read quickly on Tsuda's pages get stretched as filler on screen. The most annoying thing about it are the episode recaps, which on a couple of occasions approach the three minute mark. That's three minutes that the writers unfortunately couldn't fill. The budget only gets worse as the series progresses, and when we get to the final episode it's almost unbelievable that they go as far as they do. No colors, no animation, just line drawings. No full cast either, just two narrators.
The series ends not even halfway through the full 21-volume run of the manga. What the series does cover it covers quite accurately, so the story itself is as strong as the pages of the book, but Kare Kano, for all the quality they could squeeze out of it, remains rough and unfinished. The anime is enjoyable, but I highly recommend reading the manga.
What's there that hasn't been said about this tale? In all honesty, Kare Kano is a love story through and through. Not to say that it lacks any other aspect besides romance but, it's the kind of show where you become intertwined with the heart more than the funny side-comments or the playful animation. The story is simply about two people in high school who meet, share common-ground, and fall head over heels for each other. Perfect for you hopeless romantics, eh?
Character(s) & Their Development
This one is certainly major for this show. The emotional interaction is at such a high level that at times, I
was amazed at how lifelike it was. I felt I could meet each and every character if I walked around my own school long enough. It's not that their all completely realistic or even that they have no uniqueness but, the fact is that these people make you believe they exist is some space.
Yukino was certainly a character I had to keep a keen eye on. At first, I couldn't find the strength to actually like her but, by the second episode I found herself thinking the same thoughts I had just that very day. She has an extremely worrisome type of behavior when it comes to her relationship to Soichiro. It's not that she is meek but, it's that she has no idea how any of this is suppose to work because of the way she's lived her life. She was always so cheerful to her classmates, but she was distant. So far away, in fact, that no one could tell until this secret was disclosed when Yukino was not guarding herself.
She finds the relationship to Soichiro difficult at times, and yet that's only because of her own thinking. She thinks and thinks, doubting how well she can read him and be close to him. How much can she give, she really, truly wonders. A lot of the show is her ideals on her love towards Soichiro. I related to her, and at times was dumbfounded how much her very thoughts seemed like they were straight from my own mind.
Soichiro, on the other hand, doesn't get as much time to shed his concept on himself or Yukino as much as his counterpart; however, you don't need to hear his development to really know that he is changing. He becomes much more lively and socially active even though he still holds his own secrets & demons from the person he holds dear. In a way, it's a bit sad that Soichiro never comes to terms with his emotions in the anime, as he is cut off from overcoming his shadows since the show was never finished.
I've never understood completely why but, the majority absolutely despise the art in Kare Kano. As I said, I can't comprehend it since the studio had such a tight budget and because of that, I think they deserve some slack. The anime was also made in 1998, and there was a huge decline in money during that time in Japan (or something or another). Honestly, I don't judge too hard when it comes to this aspect. Story and characters are much more important to me, and they certainly come up strong while the animation is a tad weak.
Despite all that, the style has a plain cuteness while being soft. I've never had an anime where it was realistic but the style made me think: charming.
The sound had to grow on me before I drowned into the youthful, playful melodies this anime has to offer. While some of it was increasingly fitting, the ending theme always had me bored. While I adored the lyrics, I could never get into the beat, but that was probably just me. The opening was certainly a gem though. I find myself singing to it even if I don't want to, it just had a perfect tune that couldn't deny the anime's own attraction in itself.
Oh, I adored the dubbing in Kare Kano. The actor for Soichiro is dead-on, no question. Soichiro is more of an emotionless, hold-it-all-in type of guy and the inexperience of his actor actually aides in defining the character. Yukino had the hyper, somewhat angry, yet politeness you would expect from a role model with a weird personality. I was surprised to find the actress is really the voice of Ash Ketchem from Pokemon though.
In general, Kare Kano has a slice of the anime pie all to it's own. It's graceful in it's deliverance yet funny within it's own boundaries. The blandness witnessed is some episodes is picked up by the pure innocence of each character's quirks. This is the type of anime that is more than just a simple-minded cartoon, it actually lives and breathes like a human being that can grow and morph. It's charming and realistic in thought and action. There's little Kare Kano misses when explaining a relationship, and it doesn't miss at all the heartbeats, doubts, fears, and sadness faced with a first love. However, this show is not depressing despite situations where characters suffer; it remains optimistic.
This a show that's certain to give you that warm feeling, not for the cuteness (because, in all honesty, there isn't too much of that), but for watching the way these characters live out their lives, hardships, and accomplishments. (Last note: Pick up the manga, it ends the story and it's worth it!)
In all the 106 anime I've watched, Kare Kano had the worst artwork. So bad, that at times it shows manga panels accompanied by words. And still, I can easily say that Kare Kano is one of the best anime I've watched.
Unlike most shoujo anime, it has the kind of depth you can only find at Kimi ni Todoke or Sukitte Ii na yo, and the kind of realism in the story you can find in almost none. Kare Kano will not expand much on the characters' depth, however for the few that it does, it does so effectively and interesting at the point where
it becomes the main reason for liking it.
We all know that Japanese humor is not actually funny, nonetheless I laughed quiet frequently throughout its duration.
In general terms, it is a most cheerful, funny and alluring anime, except for the sadness one might feel when it starts narrating real life problems, such as psychological ones...sense of inferiority, defense mechanisms, concealment of reality...
Note that the story does not finish in the anime, therefore you will have to read the last chapters from the manga. It truly isn't a bother though, you will want to know the conclusion so much you will do it more than willingly.
To sum up, albeit its drawbacks Kare Kano is not a boring anime-I finished 26 episodes in five days-so, every person watching shoujo anime should try watching it.
When Godzilla's in his heaven, all's right with the world. Director Hideaki Anno, creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion, turned the latest Godzilla movie into the highest grossing Japanese live-action film of all time. We went to the NY premiere, and it lives up to the hype!