Yukino Miyazawa is the perfect model student. Pretty, kind, good at sports, always at the top of her class. But she's not all that she seems. It's all an act of deception; she is really the self-confessed 'queen of vanity,' and her only goal in life is winning the praise and admiration of everyone around her.
When she enters high school, she finally meets her match: Souichirou Arima, a handsome, athletic, popular, and very intelligent young boy. Ever since he stole the top seat in the class from her, Yukino has hated him, and has been plotting on how to take back her former place as the object of all other students' admiration.
What she wasn't expecting, however, was that Souichirou, the very boy she hated, would confess his love for her. Or that he would find out about her deception—and use it to blackmail her!
Together, they discover that they have more in common than they knew, and they slowly begin to bring out each other's inner selves.
Volume 1: Tora to Chameleon: Yakusoku wa Isshukan (The Tiger and the Chameleon: A Promise for One Week)
Volume 4: Ashita Mata Mori de Aou ne (Meet Me Again Tomorrow in the Forest)
Volume 8: Abareru Ousama (The Raging King)
Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō (Kare Kano for short) is an amazing journey of a group of high schoolers with the main focus revolving around the power couple Soichiro Arima and Yukino Miyazawa. It is falsely advertised as a simple comedy/romance genre manga. There is so much more to the story, to be specific, there is a very dark side that makes the reader's heart wrench in pain as they watch the character struggle and grow. It has elements of psychological drama that are in line with stories such as "This Ugly Yet Beautiful World," "School Days," "Ef-A Tale of Memories," and "Elfen
The anime/manga starts off very peaceful and it seems to be your typical comedy/romance. I suggest you stay with the manga, don't drop it so easily. It picks up it's pace...and at this point I will tell you how this manga made me feel, since I can't judge everyone's reaction... The story starts twisting and turning; as soon as you think something is solved, another situation pops up. It all made me feel so anxious...I became addicted. The mangaka, Masami Tsuda does a great job developing the characters...she makes you fall in love with the characters. In most other animes/manga, there is usually one character you yell at throughout the story. Yet, in Kare Kano, right when you start questioning a character's intelligence, they surprise you. Either they do what any sensible person should do (if they think about a situation calmly) or they reveal something that is so emotionally twisted that you can't blame them (or you just feel their pain so you sympathize). Of course, there are characters I didn't like, but it never developed into straight up annoyance--I don't know, it was such an emotional rollercoaster.
IN CONCLUSION, this is a great manga that will take you on a journey. It will make you laugh, cry, grin, hurt, hate, heal, and love. If you really think about it, and draw some parallels between the story and real life, you may even discover something about yourself. Maybe I am glorifying the manga a little too much...you should judge it for yourself, but you won't be able to do that unless you read it...so what are you waiting for? Get started ^_^
In typical fashion, I decided to read this manga months after watching the anime adaptation. And, while, the anime remains partly true to the manga, the manga itself offers so much more than what the anime ever could. Not only that, but it continues past the anime's ending point - the cultural festival, or more importantly the stage play that was taking place. As this is actually quite an important part of the story.
Now, I know what you're thinking - 'this is just another high school romantic comedy manga'. You know the ones, boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy
declares undying love fir girl = happily ever after. And for the most part, that is exactly what Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances - which is the English title) actually is. But there is more to this manga than just a simple love story. The more you read into it, the darker it becomes. While the anime had some of the darker infusions towards the end - the manga delves in deeper. Much deeper. This story contains love, betrayal, secrets, child abuse, self-harm (2 instances), teen pregnancy, and a lot more that really makes it worth reading. All the pain and confusion that a person can (or could) suffer when growing up is all there in the Kare Kano manga.
Like most manga, character development takes place over a period of time, and this is no exception. The more the story progresses, the more complex the character's personalities become. This is most apparent in Arima Soichiro's personality, and this generally starts to take place during the stage play (this is why it's a key occurrence). The art style changes slightly as the manga continues, but it keeps it's style well and is really fitting with the story content. The complexities between the relationships of some of the characters is also well constructed. Apart from the main relationship (Arima and Miyazawa), there are 3 other relationships that are happening - one being a step-brother/step-sister relationship, as well as a high school student dating an adult (however, this particular relationship receives much less attention in comparison to Arima and Tsubasa's respective relationships).
In essence, the reader could possibly relate to any number of issues that occur in the manga better than the anime (with it's slightly off-key ending and no closure whatsoever). This is one manga that I would actually encourage people to add to their collections.
Now I wouldn’t really describe myself as being a big fan of the shoujo genre and to be perfectly honest I always normally hate series that centre around high school students (so perhaps I am not the best person to be writing a review for this series but oh well). The reason for this is that these stories have been done again and again thousands of times and have become stale but here we have Kare Kano (short version of the title) which is for all intents and purposes one of these old boring high school romance series that we have all seen far too
many times before, the only difference being that Kare Kano is a lot better than many other similar series that come to mind, and why is this exactly?
Well Kare Kano really isn’t any different than any other high school love story you will have seen before. There are no radically new approaches to the genre or anything of the sort; on the contrary it is more like a perfect refinement of all of the elements that make up this kind of story. In short this is just a simple love story told very well. Well actually it is not as simple as I made it out to be, there are plenty of complications and unexpected developments to keep the reader hooked and complex multi layered characters that elevate the story above most anything I’ve read thus far, so if anything it is the depth and complexity of this story that makes it great.
While the series appears to more or less be your typical high school romcom it eventually evolves into its own independent story and separates itself from those familiar series. If you go into this series (like I did) expecting some kind of fluffy romance then you will most probably be caught off guard as this story is a lot darker and more mature than you would expect.
I think the main thing that stood out for me, personally, about Kare Kano was the feeling of authenticity that this series seemed to have. It felt like the author was probably basing aspects of the story on things that she herself had some kind of experience with, which makes a real change from those wish-fulfillment harem series that I am used to.
The two main characters, Soichiro Arima and Yukino Miyazawa, particularly felt very real to me. They really do seem like real people complete with flaws (extremely well hidden, mind you) and emotional baggage. Everything about their relationship felt very truthful to me, nothing felt forced and all the challenges the two had to face were relatable. The cuteness of their relationship and the envy seen by fellow classmates also rings true as well.
But each of the main characters individually are both really great as well. I especially liked Yukino because she is really completely unlike the stereotypical shoujo female lead. On the surface she appears to be the ideal student; kind, extremely smart and attractive as well. But this is only a mask beneath which lies a money crazed borderline sociopath that desperately craves everyone’s admiration and praises. Right from the get go I really loved her character for some reason but over time she really developed into a wonderful and really likable character.
The male lead Soichiro Arima appears to be the typical super idealised male that you can’t help but fangirl over but he is a seriously complex character and much of the story deals with his emotional scars and checkered past.
But Kare Kano is not solely focused on these two characters. There is a large cast in this story and unlike too many manga they are not mere cardboard cutouts, they too are fully fleshed out characters in their own right. I really loved the way that the author would occasionally take a step away from the main story to concentrate on other characters that would usually be ignored, this really serves the series well in my opinion as it makes the whole high school experience presented feel that much more personal for the reader which is always a good thing.
I also feel like I should praise the use of comedy in this manga because the author managed to find that perfect sweet spot. There is plenty of comedy but it is always at the right moments and when the story gets more serious these jokes are carefully placed to one side and only picked up again when they should be, this is something that a lot of anime and manga completely mess up and I find it quite frustrating but Kare Kano did a great job in regards to the use of comedy.
The artwork in this series is quite simple which is not to say bad, characters are all distinctive, landscapes are clean and there’s really nothing I can criticise…well sometimes she would put too much into a small panel and things would look a bit messy but this was only present in the early part. The art progressively improves as the series goes on and the mangaka did take special care with the art in the more significant scenes which makes them stand out and it makes them more memorable. Also I loved those little rant type things down the side of the page.
The more I think about it the more trouble I am having expressing exactly why it is I liked this series so much. If I had to sum it up it was mostly because I loved both of the main characters and I was always very happy to see things work out for them. The story just sort of felt personal to me and I was able to get very involved and relate to the story, feel for the characters and I felt really immersed and captivated by this not-so-simple-simple-love-story.
Story: Kare Kano is a longer shoujo series filled with romance, drama, and the life of teenagers. We get to see the life of a high school couple overcoming many obstacles. This being a long 102 chapter manga, a lot of things happen. It is not a typical school/romance, you will notice.
Art: really unusual art. definitely not a commonly seen style, but appealing nonetheless.
Character: What's interesting is that yukino + soichiro are both very intelligent, and both pretend to be someone theyre not. The other characters, their classmates, add variety to the series with a bunch of side stories. The characters portrayed in this
manga are nothing of the recent more popular shoujo manga. Their personalities and interests are very widespread and unexpected, which makes you love them even more.
Enjoyment: Kare Kano can be pretty mellow, with long lasting moments and a steady moving pace. It is very light-hearted and typical in the first few volumes, and it begins to get more deep and dark in vols 13+, mainly because arima's past is revealed.
Overall: Read it. Not your typical romance, full of surprises, something the older teen audience would like. If you have seen the anime series, I definitely recommend this manga because it goes much more in detail.