The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kimi to Boku

Title: Kimi to Boku
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 13 episodes
Date: 3 Oct 2011 – 27 Dec 2011

Synopsis: The story depicts the everyday lives of five adolescent high school students: effeminate Matsuoka Shun, nonchalant twins Asaba Yuka and Yuki, no-nonsense class president Tsukahara Kaname, and blond-haired transfer student Tachibana Chizuru. Together, they experience the precious moments of their youth, from innocent love confessions and melancholic rejections to memorable summer festivals and pointless daily conversations.

The Highlights
In a nutshell: Take K-On!, reverse the gender and you get this.
Script: Lacks inspiration and ideas; story doesn’t emphasize character development.
Story: Decent dramatic moments overshadowed by frilly forgettable scenes.
Music and art style: Not bad; create a complementary sense of warmth.
Four male leads: Designed only to gratify certain demographic.
Feline presence: What’s the purpose for it, again?

Cats are cute. Not everyone likes them, but I bet many get smitten whenever they see one. I like cats, too — not to a fanatic extent, but they’re one of my favorite animals. Kimi to Boku is one that features a lot of random shots of cats, and for most of the time I was trying to figure out the purpose. The only thing I can conclude is that the cats and the male lead characters have something in common: they’re both cute and would render a handful of female viewers tickled pink. And that’s what the show is all about: gratifying female viewers with cute cats and cute boys, both of which do nothing but the most mundane of things.

Kimi to Boku may be described as the result of gender bender for K-On!, since the latter is to male viewers what the former is to female viewers. Shun is a spitting image of Tsumugi in terms of effeminacy, Kaname is the resident tsukkomi à la Mio, and Chizuru mirrors Ritsu with his childish behavior. The only difference is the Asaba brothers, a pair of phlegmatic twins with with zero personalities and zero expressions. Apart from the lack of originality, the story doesn’t do anything with its characters: a random setting or plot is thrown in an episode, be it a rainy day or choosing a school club, and the characters are left to take care of the rest. Furthermore, the comedy fails to hit the mark almost all of the time. It’s as though the writers want to try out comedic gags without understanding what makes good comedy first.

As expected of a slice-of-life series, Kimi to Boku depicts the lives of four boys and their personal experiences with the people around them. It’s fine to see how boring their lives can be — it’s the kind of life many people can relate to — but it’s frustrating to see how the focus leans too much on the frilly moments rather than the sentimental ones, especially when the latter is so much better at fleshing out the characters. Every time the story has an innocent boy-girl confession or puppy love, it is coupled with twice the number of moments featuring the boys making a fool out of themselves and having meaningless conversations. The dramatic aspects speak more than those light-hearted ones, so to see it being the lesser of the two is dissatisfying.

Kimi to Boku, however, isn’t all terrible: there are two saving graces, both of which are aesthetic. The music is complementary to the slice-of-life genre and it portrays the ups and downs of adolescence very well. “ByeBye” by 7!! is a catchy tune with lyrics that express bittersweet young love while “Nakimushi.” by Sawai Miku is an emotional song of unrequited love, both of which are apt choices for OP and ED respectively. Furthermore, the show employs soft artwork and pastel colors, which work very well with the overall theme. Snapshots of sentimental moments speak volumes, and they are the ones that capture my attention, often when least expected.

But despite pleasing music and art style, Kimi to Boku is still a disappointment. Considering what it has on its plate, it should’ve done something more such as building new relationships, exploring high school romance or anything that would develop the characters. Instead, it chooses to pander to fangirls with gratuitous elements most of the time. My inner cynic inevitably tells me that this is no different from watching clips of cats doing cute stuff on Nico Nico Douga, and it’s not aiming at pleasing discerning viewers. It’s a mediocre slice-of-life, and even as casual viewing I find it boring more often than not. Depicting cute things only does so much when there’s little substance, after all.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: AC

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