Kimikiss 13: Personal passions, metaphors, and … literary theory?

I have been introverted for most of my life. I am not a misanthrope, but I have found that I enjoy doing activities that are best done alone (and no, not that 😉 ): for example, I enjoy reading, watching anime, watching movies, and writing. I am not averse, however, to going outdoors. I do want my excursions to be purposeful, and that is the reason why I often stay at my room. Still, whenever there is an event that I feel would enhance me intellectually, or simply interest and entertain me, I often unhesitatingly go.

I went to a symposium with Prof. David Gross last Wednesday. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004. I do not major in physics, but I did go there because of my interest in the subject. I did not graduate ‘Best in Physics’ in my high school because I hated the subject. I have written time and again how alienated I am at times with my course. First, I prefer to learn more about either literature and writing or physics, and second, biology has never been my forte since I was young. (IKnight reminded me of how dispersed and directionless my knowledge of literature is: I do not know of post-structuralism at all; however, I also do not feign knowledge of literary theory. I have had read a lot more than my contemporaries [I think], but these readings were mostly for leisure: I am familiar with some literary movements like modernism and post-modernism, but that does not amount to much in relation to the knowledge of the scholars of literature [like IKnight]. Yet leisurely reading remains intellectual and informative as long as one knows what novels and books [in general] to read.) It was a pleasant surprise when he exhorted to us to follow our own dreams and to do what we love, because this passion eases whatever difficulty one encounters in work. One cannot be excellent if one is not in a field that he loves. I am grateful that I can still write, and still read literature in my free time despite the fact that I am a biology major.

eriko
Futami Eriko, I think

I do wish I know more of literary theory, but then, I can always learn and study about this in the future. Neither literary theory nor my misplacement in the academe, however, serves as the crux of my introduction: the crux is the passion found in doing whatever one desires, because I realized that what Prof. Gross said was true just today: I viewed the 13th instalment of Kimikiss ~ pure rouge after a long wait, and it was MAGNIFICENT. The episode was steeped in meaning from the new OP animation to the very last scene of the episode. In fact, I watched the episode twice, and the OP five times. Of course I will not do the episode’s summary, as Totali has probably done it already, or usagijen. This post shall serve merely as sounding-board as well as a place for my inferences and analyses.

First, the new OP animation was better than the previous one because it is steeped in suggestion, and balloons as metaphoric symbols are novel. However, metonymy admixed with the balloon metaphor was simply genius. The green balloon was most definitely representative of Asuka, as we see a soccer ball proximal to where it is ‘grounded;’ in this vein, the red balloon was representative of Hoshino: we see that the balloon is ‘grounded’ in the library. I loved the imagery: balloons are seen as symbols of freedom when they break free of their human fetters; we see, however, in the OP, that the fetters were activities that made them unable to see (or belatedly see) what was truly of value to them. Asuka realized that she liked Aihara only when she was forced to stop focusing on merely soccer (because she had an injury), and thus saw the caring side of Kazuki; likewise, Yuumi only started to act when there lay an imminent separation between her and Kouichi: she had to break free of her tragic romance novels because these would probably reflect her own life if she did not act upon her own emotions. I was besotted with the OP: however, this is not all.

One can notice that the balloons that represent them are also offered to they themselves: they are their own fetters; they are their own chains, and they must choose to break free. Only Eriko’s balloon can be seen separated from what can be assumed to be her hands. This is highly evident in the series: from her cold facade she has noticeably warmed up to others because of Kazuki’s help. The chain of apathy that blinded her to many things was destroyed by Kazuki; the problem, however, is that Kazuki has not only broken her chain, but also of Asuka’s. Thus the triangle begins.

In the end, all the balloons escape and float up the sky. This gives me hope towards the series’s ending.

asuka
Sakino Asuka

Second, we see that in the title screen, there are two colors that overlap: red, and light blue. I assume the red color represents Yuumi, and the light blue represents Mao: Mao holds a light blue balloon in the OP animation. There will obviously be strife, but I am glad that Mao has not yet become sanguinary (and I hope she never will).

Third, I loved how the animators used the eyes to subtly (or blatantly) portray emotions. From Mao’s realization that Kouichi and Yuumi have become a couple, to Asuka’s realization that Kazuki likes Eriko, the use of the eyes to subtly portray a centripetal melancholy was beautiful.

These are also the reasons why I love Kimikiss more than I would ever like ef: the symbolisms are unaffected: ef forces, through the abrupt and jarring changes of animation (or lack of it), for the viewer to surmise that there is symbolism behind the scene, whereas Kimikiss is spontaneous, free-flowing, yet is steeped in meaning and suggestion. I like Kimikiss’s ingenuous nature. If I were to compare these series to novels, I would say that Kimikiss is a Yasunari Kawabata novel: spontaneous, pithy, yet full of brushstroke suggestiveness and captivating beauty. On the other hand, ef is highly reminiscent of George Meredith’s The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (and yes, I read all of it). Every page is ridden with allusions that when they do actually count, they seem to be meaningless. As usual, preferences are preferences. One can call ef gold, but I call it little more than trash.

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P.P.S. Who was that girl beside Shijou Mitsuki in the OP?

13 Responses to “Kimikiss 13: Personal passions, metaphors, and … literary theory?”

  1. usagijen Says:

    Yes, I loved episode 13 for all those subtleties it showed with the different “focus shots”. Not to mention we also have more of the characters’ monologues to complement that.

    great insights and analysis on the new OP. If I were to add to the balloon analogy, I’d say, love is like a balloon. Allow it to be free, pushing it forward, slowly and naturally, and it will maintain its equilibrium. If you force it too much, it’ll break. Too much love and it’ll burst as well. There’s actually a poem about this, which I might just use in my post later ^^

  2. IKnight Says:

    ef forces . . . the viewer to surmise that there is symbolism behind the scene, whereas Kimikiss is spontaneous, free-flowing, yet is steeped in meaning and suggestion.’

    Exactly the difference between showing a symbol and shouting ‘SYMBOL’, and quietly putting stuff in behyind the scenes.

    As for literature, I’d relish the opportunity to read whatever you like, whenever you like. Literary theory may very well be just a self-perpetuating game for English students to play – I haven’t discovered whether or not it is yet, but the pursuit continues.

  3. Ryan A Says:

    I’m with you on this episode, it came back strong to the senses. The emergence of a more definite Kazuki triangle is great. I didn’t think it would be so impressive, but the development of Eriko, while Asuka sifts her feelings to find something, gives it good depth; tasteful. I don’t know how I feel about Mao’s uncertainties, but I do like the way that it (and the rest of the story) is being delivered; yes, slightly spontaneous and suggestive.

    Awesome things are happening, really want to see more. ^^

    ps. Passion is the fire!

  4. KimiKiss pure rouge OP version 2 - “Love is Like a Balloon” | The Scrumptious Anime Blog Says:

    […] adds another dimension to this balloon symbolism, a KimiKiss-girls-centric […]

  5. hashihime Says:

    I love your tour of KimiKiss’s symbolism. But I guess I have low taste, since ef did so much more for me than KimiKiss. I will certainly not criticize KimiKiss. It is a very good anime. But not, for me, in the class of ef. ef didn’t shout, it overwhelmed, and I was thrilled to be swept away.

    And it did everything in only 12 episodes, so comparing KimiKiss rather than ef to the magically concise Kawabata seems odd to me. I found the imagery of ef produced much more Kawabata-like feelings in me, too — although the relationship subtleties of KimiKiss have some Kawabata about them.

    Anyway, not to put down KimiKiss, which I love. I just disagree so strongly with your criticisms of ef. As you say, preferences are preferences. But to call my preference “trash” certainly provokes me, lol.

  6. Totali Says:

    Yea, I’m with hashihime on this one. I was liking this until the last paragraph >:(. But hey, that’s an argument that’s been played out so much that it’s dead.

    The balloons probably do play a nice part for the OP, but the rest of the OP in general really signifies change. It seems like all the girls have developed, just as they have in the season, and then there’s the obvious kissing off screen. The symbolism in Kimikiss isn’t anything that would reach the level of say, Honey and Clover.

    Anyways, Kimikiss rocks. =P

  7. Michael Says:

    @hashihime

    Please take those comments with a grain of salt. I like DearS and Ichigo 100%: quoting IKnight, however, ‘I like it’ and ‘it is good’ are two different things. I abhorred the bathos in ef; again, paraphrasing IKnight, it shouted SYMBOL instead of showing it. I won’t say anything about your opinion on ef, just that for me it is little more than trash.

    I used Kawabata with regard to his writing style and not his concision, and I used Meredith also with regard to his writing style. When the metaphors in ef did seem to count, I was only more horrified. Just like The Ordeal, haha.

    @Totali

    I wrote an essay on the symbolism of H&C about two years ago, and I agree, has not yet been obtained by Kimikiss. I’m not flaming your opinions. Although I have to say that even without Kimikiss ef still pales in comparison to H&C. =P

    @Ryan

    Yeah, this episode is made of win and awesome most definitely.

    @IKnight

    Thanks. I will find time studying literary theory. I’ve still a backlog of books right now, though, and I’m currently reading Robert Graves’s Good-bye to All That. Do you know the man?

    @usagijen

    Nice addenda to my post. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  8. IKnight Says:

    I’ve come into contact with Graves through his two Claudius novels and his much less well-known Belisarius. They’re among the most enjoyable historical novels I’ve ever read. But I must admit I haven’t read more than one or two of his poems.

  9. Michael Says:

    @IKnight

    You have probably read a lot more than I ever had. I haven’t read his Claudius novels (although I have heard that I, Claudius is probably the best historical novel of the 20th century) but that’s because I live in the Philippines, and finding a copy to something like that is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.

    I want to read I, Claudius … T_T

  10. hashihime Says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the major tipping point between people who like ef and people who hate it, and it may come down to the fact that ef is a melodrama. To me, that is an honorable thing, to many others it seems it is not. Willing suspension of disbelief converts that “bathos” into a deep emotional experience that KimiKiss has not yet even come close to providing me. The symbolism in ef is emotional rather than intellectual. It is the effect on the viewer that counts, not the dry identification of a symbol: that littered railyard both symbolized and gave the feeling of a littered memory. The odd angles and chopped heads create feelings of unease and disintegration. Whereas the colored balloons are just an intellectual game — an interesting one, but not emotionally deep. But I do prowl the fields of anime looking for just the sort of emotional hit that ef gave me, as did Simoun, as did Blue Drop. I even got some of it from Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora. So it is perfectly legitimate that your mileage may vary, lol. For me, realism is not what anime does best.

  11. My Relationship With Kimikiss « The Animanachronism Says:

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  12. Anonymous Coward Says:

    > P.P.S. Who was that girl beside Shijou Mitsuki in the OP?
    Kuryu Megumi, she was introduced in the second episode as the one scolding Naru and Nana for the frogs.

    Want some more symbolism? Look to color. In the early part of the OP you will see that each girls has their own background color just before the title screen. In the first season, this is further augmented when they are shown subsequently by the background colors there. The second season rapidly flashes those subsequent depictions. In this context. however, the colors do not quite match what was being said in the blog:
    Blue = Futami
    Purple = Shijou
    Pink = Hoshino
    Orange = Mao
    Yellow = Nana/Naru
    Green = Sakino
    Light Blue and Red appear to be the boys.

    As to the library, recall that Koichi wants to be a novelist.

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