Let me start this review with the problematics: As a fat person, I often search for things with my representation. Unironically, it's hard to find a piece of media that focuses on an overweight female, but occasionally I come across stuff like Kiss Him, Not Me. At first, I was very excited to begin reading, this seemed right up my alley! But...
The beginning of the story is pretty fatphobic.
Let me introduce you to the characters:
- **Serinuma**, the MC, who actually doesn't give 2 SHITS about her own appearance so that's REALLY COOL. She's a fujoshi, so all that she cares about (REALLY) is... two guys
doing it. Preferably if it's her otp (understandably), but if it's ANY two guys, that's super fine too.
- **Nanashima**, the Douche. You know the type: blonde, looks kinda mean but is actually a softie, usually is the one who gets the girl? Yeah. Is he the one who ends up with her? lol, I'll never tell. But he DOES look like Shion (Serinuma's favorite character).
- **Igarashi**, the Leader. I... don't know how to describe him? He's a decent guy, one of the most decent out of them, and his character growth is a nice surprise. He's not exactly a douchebag like Nana but he's not as nice as Mutsumi. So he's like... a "middle ground" between them.
- **Shinomiya**, the Shota, who is basically Nanashima but small-sized. I don't even know how much of this is a joke and how much of this is the truth lmao I SWEAR they're very much alike.
- **Mutsumi**, the Nice Guy. He's literally the NICEST guy. Top notch Gentleman with a capital G. He's just a little... oblivious.
- **Nishina**, the Lesbian, and yes! It's a girl! Who wants to date Serinuma!! She loves "beautiful things", she's also a doujinshi artist and becomes one of Serinuma's best friends. Unsurprisingly enough, she'd be one of the best options for her to end with :P
Sounds like a fun and different cast, right? It is! Except some of them are fatphobic. That is: when Serinuma was fat, they paid her no mind and some of them even treat her badly, but when she got thin ALL OF THEM *suddenly* became interested. Huh. *How strange*.
There are some moments in the story when she gets back to being fat (for whatever reason) and these same characters are the first ones to find a way to make her thin again as if she's only attractive when she's in a fitting form. This happens at the beginning of the manga and it was such a turn-off to me that I went MONTHS without reading it until I finally had the courage to pick it back up.
But once the fatphobia part wasn't so prominent... it was a breeze to read through. It's usually filled with light humor and cute "shippy" moments, they all have their one shot with Serinuma before she realizes who she really likes. And here's a surprise: there's actually some ~serious~ moments between the middle to the end of the story! Junko puts the humor and light moments in the back burner and decides to go for the drama and gooey shoujo romance (that we all secretly love).
It's very satisfying to see all these characters grow, both as individuals and together as a group of friends. It's especially cute how even after Serinuma "chose" one of them, the rest of them still stuck around and kept being friends with everybody. It stopped being a rivalry and it became friendship, even though they sometimes like to snap at one another haha
This manga is worth at least a shot, even though it doesn't get close to what Ouran is (one of my favorite mangas and, in my opinion, the best reverse harem), it is still pretty nice. And if you don't care about the fat issue, I suppose you'll have an easier time getting through the beginning.