Kimikiss ~ pure rouge: why, oh why?

The crux of Cameron‘s blog, even with all the tangential discussions regarding anime, is his search for the anime that he could proudly place as his ninth favorite among all the anime he has seen. Although he himself has not commented regarding this, I believe this is so: it is, after all, what is reflected in his blog’s name: searchofno9. My search for the holy grail is not as intensive or as defined as Cameron’s, although I am also searching for anime I can both place in my top ten list as well as be proud of.


As you may very well know, my favorite anime of all time has been Honey and Clover. It was an august distillation of pathos, beauty, and sadness: it was a near-perfect representation of life by decent people. I may not have cried buckets after seeing that series, but I did cry a lot. From the futility of Yamada’s confession in the third episode, to her riding Mayama’s back in the sixth, to the fireworks-laden confession of Takemoto, I empathized with the characters. I felt their pains, their joys, and their emotions in general. After viewing the series, however, I also wanted more.

This is the reason why people have such variegated ‘lists of bests.’ Not everyone shares the same experience: Gabriel Marcel taught that although one can empathize and sympathize, one cannot totally place himself in another’s shoes. There is a limit in commiseration: there exists a limit of empathy with regard to the other. Feelings are a Jungian pleroma: nothing, and yet everything. Everyone is unique; everyone is different: incarnate being is the central datum for metaphysical reflection. I grew up as a bibliophile, and as one who was introverted. I treasure subtlety, beautiful words, and the complex web of emotions that weave the human soul especially unrequited love. In this introversion, I grew up wanting to understand more about emotions yet afraid to experiment with them. Detachment was my defense mechanism: I remain to be not as fond of company (or needing of it) as other people.

In my desperation I explored other media: it was in this phase of my life that I found anime. Of course I began with staple anime: I started out with Bleach, but then I progressed (much slower compared to my fellow otaku) to fare that were more niche. I found Honey and Clover about two years ago. I was initially attracted to the avant-garde art utilized in the anime: instead of solid colors, the anime had a watercolor feel. It was only later that I realized that the series had everything (and then some) of what I was looking for in my novels! It had the sparseness of Hemingway, the complexity of Faulkner, the magic realism of Marquez (and of course, unrequited love); it even had the moral ambiguity of Endo! It was THE anime, and it has remained to be so, even now, almost two years after I saw it.

Half of the girls here are useless to the plot.

Discontentment, however, is deep-seated within every human being. It is which accompanies and allows for evolution. It is the singular factor which propelled both Kamina and Simon to break through the heavens (and through the entire universe, as a matter of fact): unsettled and discontented with their lives underground they fought to better the standard of life of everyone. Discontentment is that which fuels wars and also which powers improvement. It is also a great equalizer: everyone has it. Rich people have their sources of discontentment as the poor people are discontented with their lack of food. This was what powered me to seek for anime which had the same themes as Honey and Clover yet offered a different perspective.

Kimikiss ~ pure rouge seemed to be THE answer. If I remember correctly, both this series and Honey and Clover had the same director (Kenichi Kasai) as well as the same studio that produced the series (JC Staff). In a way, the series sated me. However, I think it also made me want to search again for other anime that can equal, if not surpass the majesty of H&C: in this sense the series also failed me. In a previous paragraph I mentioned the different tastes that people had regarding their anime. Perhaps my nit-picks regarding Kimikiss are merely taste-based, but I shall try as I progress to defend why I found such faults in the series.

I felt the ending was too sudden. I don’t know if this is just me, but the culmination of Honey and Clover (note that I am comparing the two, and hope that people find the parallel themes between the two series) was a result of Takemoto’s discovery of the self, ending where he began. The final scene, where he confesses to Hagu amidst the fireworks and the liveliness of the festival, was the concatenation of all his experiences beginning from a confused student to a decisive man. I did not find this in Kimikiss’s ending: Kouichi’s confession to Mao seemed too brisk and haphazard. Did his feelings change just like that? His statement to Mao that he was merely lying to himself all along made me sigh in disbelief, because it surely seemed that he wasn’t lying when he told Yuumi that he’ll go to her even if they were far apart. It magnified Kouichi’s weakness at the end of the series, because even before the episodes with Yuumi, Mao had already implied a great interest towards Kouichi. With regard to Kouichi, the series felt like a Christian pilgrimage only to detour into Medina (Hijra). I have no problems whatsoever with how Mao acted: for one, even if she did confess she tried her best to avoid Kouichi and even bless his relationship with Yuumi. That is difficult to do, in real life or anime.

I did not understand why they had to develop Akira and Kuryuu AT THE VERY LAST EPISODE. I felt that they could have spent more time honing the ending with the primary characters; instead, they had to waste a few minutes with Hiiragi and Kuryuu, insinuating that a relationship may blossom. I could not see the point.

In the end, the series simply did not dig as deep into their characters as it should have done. As much as I found Sakino’s confession to be bittersweet and evocative, it would have done wonders if they developed the characters left without partners more, because I truly felt that in the end they should have been the ones with the partners instead, and not those paired together at the end. Kai was simply a man’s man; Sakino was more inviting by the end of the series because of her honesty and understanding (in contrast to the vacillation and invidiousness of Eriko); and Yuumi with her tolerance was simply otherworldly. (Although I doubt that Yuumi would pull off a Kotonoha or a Sekai, her pacific actions with regard to Kouichi were awesome. It is difficult to let things like that go.)

This is a minor point, and may be intercalated with any one of the major points, but the use of fireworks in the ending of Kimikiss was something (anim)anachronistic, while the use of H&C left a mark within me that it was the culmination of the journeys and the epiphanies of the series’s characters: for Takemoto and his crew, life has come full circle – yet they are, still, to live it.

These are only opinions after all. Feel free to agree or disagree. 🙂

18 Responses to “Kimikiss ~ pure rouge: why, oh why?”

  1. meganeshounen Says:

    Hmmm. Maybe it’s just the “hates osananajimi losing” side of me that’s talking, but I’m happy for Mao and Kouichi being The Couple.

    It just seems so nice that they started off “being kiddie buddies” to “being school friends” to “being grown up friends” to “being unsure of their feelings of one other since they’re childhood friends and whatnot” to finally.. “being The Couple”.

    (That was one long sentence…)

    That… and I think Yumi’s appeal/presence was a bit underwhelming for me, imho. =_=

  2. Dop Says:

    In a way, Yuumi did have the Takemoto ending. I think it was good that she had the sense to realise what was happening, and the maturity to deal with it, and had grown from the experience.
    “I’m glad that I met you”, she says.

    “I did not understand why they had to develop Akira and Kuryuu AT THE VERY LAST EPISODE”
    Totally with you on that one. I was thinking “Wait. No.. When did THAT happen?”

    I too am a big Honey and Clover fan, and I only started watching this series because Kenichi Kasai was directing. But I guess the end product depends on the source material!

  3. IKnight Says:

    I doubt Kimikiss will make it onto many favourites lists. Although I disagree with you on the development of the side characters in the final episode: as you may have detected from my own entry, I’m so full of admiration for Hiiragi that I’m prepared to overlook the feeling of ‘why are you showing me this when you could be showing me more real plot?’

    And as for Sakino’s honesty and understanding, it’s worth remembering that she wouldn’t have had nearly so many opportunities to display such qualities if Kazuki had fallen for her.

    At the end of the day, though, I have to agree with Dop’s comment on the source material. Kasai’s probably a good director (though I haven’t seen H&C) but I suppose this project didn’t give him either the backing of good source material or the complete freedom of starting from scratch. (Which is one reason I tend to prefer original anime, but that’s another story.)

  4. Darknemo2000 Says:

    IKnight, this IS the original anime, because it has NOTHING to do with original source material (game) only characters names and how they look. Everything else was mostly anime original.

    Thats the reason why it is hated so much in Japan where the game is extremely popular. Changing the girl’s personalities (some more some less) adding additional males and changing the plot from simple boy meets girl into overused overdose of love triangles or squares didn’t do much for it as we can see from the sales. The game that sold over 60 K to be sold for 1.5 K in animes case, seem to be pretty pathetic.

    So yeah, it was an anime orginal and Kasai had fully free hands to twist the plot in whatever he likes direction so do not blame the original material because original material simply has nothing in common with the anime.

  5. totali Says:

    Starting out with DBZ is way cooler than starting with Bleach.

    Kimikiss was half decent and half train wreck. t.t

  6. Analytical Critic Says:

    Ill just quote what I posted in another blog:

    “The ending was far from perfect IMO. I find it pitiful that the anime did not steer to the course that I thought it would (except for Kazuki X Futami). I mean, guys, seriously. Kouichi never really even thought about Mao during the years that she was not present. He didn’t even remember her immediately when she first came into his house during episode 1. It was CRYSTAL CLEAR since the beginning of this anime that Kouichi had feelings for Hoshino, and Hoshino for him. I find it really disgusting that Mao suddenly confessed to Kouichi when he was already with Hoshino. Don’t you think that becoming the bridge for a relationship to form and then suddenly blurting out your “suddenly-realized-I-love-my-childhood-friend-who-is-younger-than-me” feelings is SO VERY WRONG. And trying to fill the gap by toying with Kai’s feelings? What’s up with that? What’s even more disgusting is how Kouichi suddenly shifted from Hoshino to Mao. It was evident in Kouichi’s actions that he was determined to be with Hoshino forever. He was ready to work part-time and visit Hoshino frequently. He made a promise that was seemingly resolute. I think they are great as a couple. Then all of a sudden his feelings wavered because of a silly confession from Mao?!?! What an awesome display of a weak-willed character! He even broke down and broke his promise with Hoshino during the best part of the festival. OMG. Could it go any more wrong?
    I’d have to rate this ROMANCE ANIME a 1 out of 5. Yeah. Just because of that ending. Sue me. When I reached halfway through this anime I thought I’d give it a 4 out of 5. But not even the power of Kazuki X Eriko would be able to save this anime. Believe me guys, I would have preferred a School Days ending than this. Think about it. I did. This ruined the image of what love is. If you think otherwise, then you are as weak as Kouichi.”

  7. korosora Says:

    I am not going to say how disappointed I was. Those udon girls will haunt my eardrums forever more. And the fact that other series, Clannad, Bamboo Blade, Shigofumi, Wolf and Spice, etc. have not lived up to my expectations does not help.

    A rather dark time for me in the subject of anime.

    And as I continue feeding my RL friends with anime, I find their perceptions of it to be narrow and shallow.

    On to other things… I’d like to hear your opinion of Persona ~trinity soul~, Ghost Hound, and how True Tears is progressing.

    Oh, and btw. When Haruhi S2 is out. You better be here. Or on my blog. I will do a final outcry of fanboyism when its out. >:3 If you have a Gmail account, email me at the email address provided. And say “sup.” or /me touches korosora. XD

  8. Ryan A Says:

    … and all the baloon’s popped.

    Kouichi’s confession to Mao seemed too brisk and haphazard.

    Surely, I had some weird taste about it all. I had doubts about this past, then when the mood with Yuumi went to hell, I was like OhShi… and then the campfire scene, I went NOOOO.

    Mostly, I don’t think kk will be remembered very well. It just fades out, abruptly… ^^

  9. Michael Says:

    @meganeshounen – It’s alright.
    @Dop – I would agree with you. At least she developed herself. But it still hurts, you know, and she didn’t deserve it.
    @IKnight – But Kasai was the one who brought the triangles of relationships in Kimikiss! Maybe he just failed on this one.
    @Darknemo – Hey, you echoed my sentiments!
    @totali – HAHAHAHAHA
    @Analytical Critic – wow, such vitriol. I didn’t like the ending too, as you may well have seen. Why was Yuumi left just like that?
    @korosora – Don’t worry, I will. I’m lurking on your blog, but instead of posting gibberish I’d rather just not post. Let us share that cry of fanboyism, because my interest in Haruhi has grown exponentially with the introduction of the characters’ gender-bending.

    /me touches korosora. Of course. :3
    @RyanA – Yeah, my balloon was popped. I’m saddened by the ending, but it’s alright. But yeah. It does just fades out abruptly.

  10. korosora Says:

    😀 I post gibberish often.

  11. Michael Says:

    No, you don’t. You just post saliently. 🙂

  12. ian Says:

    Half of your complaints were because the series was based off an ero-game and they had to stay somewhat complaint to it. They had to add Hiiragi and Kuryuu to keep it the same as the game. Over all i liked it alot and enjoyed it. Although at episode 14 i guessed the rest of the story correctly. It felt like it was just another romance anime.

  13. Jauken7 Says:

    Well, Kasai is only human… no one always gets it right and this time he faltered a bit. KimiKiss was an okay series but it wasn’t great, and it could have been. It seemed to start out well enough but then labored in the mid and late episodes, with a few good episodes sprinkled within. Too much time was wasted as if trying to fill time, then they found themselves at the last episode where they crammed two episodes worth of resolutions into one. Better episode time management, additional character and sub-plot development, and even another pairing would have provided a faster paced and more interesting show throughout. Akira x Megumi should have shown interest before the last two episodes. The Udon Twins, sans frogs, would have been better if there were an interested boy involved. Kouichi was much too wishy washy and indecisive. Eriko needed more fleshing out, in particular her past and causes for her fear and solitude. Too much of this, too little of that, the list goes on. Additionally, many have commented that some characters were useless (ie: Yuumi, Asuka, Kai, Mitsuki, et al), I disagree. Characters are utilized to advance the plot in a certain direction; not all were utilized as effectively as they could have been, but there presence and usefulness to the plot was a given. For the most part, the animation was good, however, some scenes were rather poorly done. The last half of episode 20, on the other hand, had the best animation of the entire thing. All-in-all, KimiKiss ended up being a little bit of a mish-mash lacking consistency and stride, but overall, was generally okay. It would be better for marathoning than the watch and wait a week for the next episode frustration we experienced. Good luck with the next series, I just wish this one was as good as it could have been.

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  17. NFH Says:

    Darknemo2000 is absolutely right. It is good to see that at last someone has actually KNOWLEDGE of the topic at hand.

    And I agree with the Japanese fans. If you want to know WHY this is so hated read the manga [KimiKiss – Various Heroines] FIRST since its pretty faithful to the game, THEN watch the anime and then you would understand why the Japanese are so pissed off at Kasai.

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