Kimikiss: Pure Rouge

Title: Kimikiss: Pure Rouge
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 6 Oct 2007 – 22 Mar 2008

Synopsis: Kouichi Sanada, Kazuki Aihara, and Mao Mizusawa have been friends since they were children. Mao had to move away to France with her family, but separation couldn’t break the ties that bind them. Now, having returned to her home town, Mao wants experience the high school life she’s always wanted. Much to Kouichi’s surprise, the elder Mao-”neechan” will be living under the same roof as he. Happily reunited, Mao, Kouichi, and Kazuki pick up right where they left off and move forward into a life of change, drama, and romance.

The Highlights
Characters:
A rich mix of personalities from the annoyingly cliché to the fascinatingly unique.
Pace: Episodes have method and reason and end in cliffhangers that demand your attention.
Animation: Uninspiring; for one half of an episode… brilliant.
Music: Soft and soothing, though one particular piece is haunting and ominous.
Writing: How many people wrote this, and why weren’t they communicating with each other?

Bummer. It starts out so well, too. Kasai Kenichi, who brought us the fabulous Nodame Cantabile and Honey & Clover, has established himself as one of the better character directors I’ve ever seen. The man just knows how to make people feel like people, while at the same time being fantastic and bizarre. I’ve come to like his style of storytelling both because he can create multiple dimensions of relationships with his characters and because he knows how to use the cliffhanger to its full effect. The source material for Kimikiss is a PS2 dating sim game which has already spawned various manga and a light novel, most of which revolve around the central points of dating chicks. Kasai makes sure that while the show is, inevitably, a romance story and that the personalities, not the events, would dictate the pacing. Like Honey & Clover, Kimikiss is about the people, or at least part of it is.

The rest of it seems to be a confusing pile of subplots, both dropped and held onto way too long. I swear, watching this show was like watching a World Wrestling Entertainment season. For those who aren’t familiar with “male soap operas”, the analogy is that story lines and plot points could be picked up or dropped without any explanation. They also seem to enjoy starting various subplots for characters without finishing them, then later coming up with an entirely new idea for those same characters. In one case, this is done so late in the show that there’s just no time to explore it. I’ll use that case as an example: I thought for sure that the writers were leaning towards a Hiiragi/Shijou relationship somewhere near the midway point. Next thing I know, not only is that forgotten about, but the writers also choose to pair up Hiiragi at the end with another character whose combined screen time to that point is about five minutes. Does that make sense to you? Me neither.

The animation is also nothing to write home about. J.C. Staff hasn’t exactly been the pinnacle of animation quality over the years, but I know they can do better than this. Perhaps they just don’t care to up the budget on this project, figuring that Kasai can make mountains out of mud without worrying about visuals. I probably wouldn’t even bring up the animation quality and budget if it wasn’t for one thing: episode 20. I don’t know why they did this, but for the second half of that episode, the animation quality, the character designs, and other visuals are on a level of gorgeous that had my jaw slacking. If only… IF ONLY…

But I digress. My final feelings on the show end up being a resounding “what a waste…”. The show was in good hands, and when it came to the main characters and their story lines, the show was enjoyable, well written, and made sense. Yet, with the multitude of annoying subplots, their half-assed treatments, and the lackluster animation, I just can’t rate this amongst the best anime ever.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: TypicalIdiotFan

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