The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

His and Her Circumstances

Title: His and Her Circumstances aka Kare Kano aka Kareshi Kanojou no Jijou
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Company: Gainax
Format: 26 Episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 1998 – 26 Mar 1999

Synopsis: When Arima Souchirou is named speaker of the incoming high school class, Miyazawa Yukino vows revenge. Addicted to the love and admiration she has come to know, Miyazawa despises Arima for his adored qualities that have stolen away her spotlight. But when the vain, deceptive Miyazawa lets her facade slip, she soon discovers that Arima has a hidden personality of his own. Their new estranged relationship teaches them new realities of school, family and friends, while at the same time becoming their true selves.

The Highlights
Story: A beautiful, true-to-life love story.
Characters: Some of the most memorable you’ll ever see.
Humor: Mixed well between romance and drama.
Ending: What ending?

What do you get when you cross the humorous antics of Azumanga Daioh with a star-crossed love story? Why Kare Kano of course! In Gainax’s infancy following Neon Genesis Evangelion, His and Her Circumstances was born three years later. And what did the company have to show for its efforts? One of the most well executed combinations of romance and comedy to date. The opening sequence alone gave me high hopes for the series, with a very catchy opening track, tied in with some superb lyrics and animation. With deep characters with many facades falling in love and discovering each other and themselves, topped off with some comic relief, this series rarely fails to be satisfying.

Overall, the animation is aesthetically pleasing. The art style varies with whatever mood is being set, which is highly effective for the comedy/romance genre. Yet Kare Kano is not just a goulash of comedic events in the lives of a few teenagers, but a deep insight into the minds of its lead characters. What truly stands out about this story is the unique portrayal of emotions and inner thought, touching on every aspect of their two hearts and minds. No fake gimmicks or excessive fan service here; just two real-to-life characters discovering love while discovering themselves. Side characters are introduced as necessary, adding in family life, friends, and enemies to portray love, hate, anger, pain, friendship, and jealousy. And although many are quickly introduced and somewhat shallow, you are sure to find them lovable nonetheless.

Sadly, the series fell victim to the same curse Evangelion did: budgeting. Most of it is dismissed in an impasse kind of manner, such as the different animation schemes. Some, not as well. If you ever want an anime to show to your Alzheimer’s-ridden grandfather, then this is one series he’ll never forget! If the regular previews and reviews weren’t bad enough, some half and entire episodes are solely recap. And with a total episode count of twenty-six, even one recap is bad enough.

To top it all off the original director, Hideaki Anno, abruptly left the project when conflicts arose between himself, the sponsors, and the manga author Masami Tsuda. His protégée Kazuya Tsurumaki took over the project in his absence and quite frankly it shows. Although generally still solid, the second half strays into pointless, sometimes dull side plots. Furthermore, the series ends abruptly, superficially, and leaves many questions unanswered.

Despite these large setbacks, Kare Kano is a powerful romantic-comedy that stands fair ground. It’s clever story and quirky antics make it a must have of any anime collection.

The Rating: 8
8/10

Reviewed by: Godai

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