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Review: Kimikiss (Pure Rouge)

Kimikiss wants to be a moving drama about high schoolers discovering romance. It is set in the real world, so there are no fight scenes, magical events, or characters who revolve entirely around some unrealistic aspect of the setting. Those things aren’t necessary because high school romance is complicated by its very nature, as people struggle to figure out their own emotions and the rules by which the dating game is played.

Unfortunately, the authors were not entirely successful in meeting this series’ loftier goals. There are seven characters whose romances we are made to care about, only four of them female. This is a good thing. On the other hand, there is only one real relationship dynamic in play: A Guy discovers that girls are different and starts dating Some Girl. His Female Friend from before puberty has been crushing on him since the beginning of the series (puberty hits girls first), but hasn’t done anything about it, and so silently accepts her fate of watching from the sidelines.

That pattern is repeated twice, with no intersection between the two sets of romantic links, accounting for six of the main characters. The last one is Another Guy that one of the Female Friends decides to date to stave off her disappointment at not being able to date the guy she was crushing on.

In one of the triangles thus formed, the guy ends up with the girl he started dating first. In the other, he renounces 23 episodes of a happy relationship at the single worst moment he could possibly contrive in order to get together with his Female Friend. (In the only fantasy element of the entire series, the girl he is breaking up with has already foreseen this and accepts it calmly.) In both cases, when faced with the choice between an emotionally healthy girl and a neurotic wreck, they chose the latter.

So far, I’ve only mentioned the romantic aspects of the series. There are plenty of supporting characters who feel much better fleshed out than is normal for supporting cast. The majority of the romantic tension is built up in the subtext while the characters are ostensibly doing something else entirely; plenty of stuff happens that’s not directly linked to the main plot, and it’s too well integrated to dismiss as filler.

In the end, this show is brought down by a very slow start, the formulaic main plot, and the odd decision-making skills exhibited by the characters. It’s probably the best series in the narrow genre of high school romances which eschew any implausibilities of setting or character, but if one broadens the field even a little bit, it is not hard to find series which are simply better.

Genre: high school drama
Emotion: sappy, but they gave the final romance to the wrong people
BTFS: .67

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