The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Koi Kaze

Title: Koi Kaze
Genre: Romance
Company: Geneon Entertainment
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 1 Apr 2004 – 17 Mar 2004

Synopsis: Recently dumped, Saeki Koshiro is a detached man, whose existence consists of merely drifting through the motions of day-to-day living. But one day he notices a young high school girl, and emotions he’d long stopped feeling begin to once again stir in his heart. However, he later learns that this girl, Kohinata Nanoka, is his sister whom he hasn’t seen in several years.

The Highlights
Story: Poignant and dramatic love story.
Characters: Respectable amount of focus on main characters, but a few one-dimensional side characters.
Theme: Maturely deals with incest while showing a great deal of respect to the audience.
Music: Soothing piano and acoustic guitar themes match and enhance important scenes.
Animation: Unique style is simple, yet effective.
Ending: Open-ended.

When such a controversial theme as incest is treated in any medium, some will argue that the most important thing to consider is tact. Koi Kaze, however, takes a completely different approach, presenting everything as honestly and openly as it can and never compelling its audience to judge, but merely to observe. What it shows is two people falling in love… and it does it in such a commendable way that it ranks among the best romances I’ve seen in anime. But it’s the subtle, yet respectful treatment of its taboo theme that makes this series astonishing.

This is how a dramatic romance should be done. The development of the main characters is a highlight, with both leads getting substantial opportunities in the spotlight. The audience is treated to numerous introspective analyses of both leads, thus allowing viewers every chance to sympathize with a plight that may normally be difficult to deal with. Numerous touching scenes propagate the story and make the romance believable to the point of being inevitable. It’s these scenes where the atmosphere comes to a fore… the main theme, a strongly melancholic piano piece, does a great job of augmenting the mood and emotion and is the clear highlight in a quality soundtrack. A uniquely muted animation style forms a complete package for Koi Kaze: wonderful aesthetics and a wonderful story.

Finding flaws in this dramatic gem equates to nitpicking. The side characters never garner anywhere near as much attention as that received by the main characters, making the majority of them one-dimensional. On the other hand, they were never intended to be the focus of the story, so faulting Koi Kaze for this is being hypercritical. Equally, the ending is quite open, which may not sit well with some viewers… but given the largely character-driven nature of the rest of the story, the open ending suitably complements it.

Koi Kaze’s mature take on a theme that has been trivialized by anime in the past is refreshing. This is a story that’s intelligent yet emotional, controversial yet evenhanded. Though this series asks its audience to put their personal biases to the side, the reward for doing so is a breathtaking and tender romance, the likes of which are rarely seen in any medium.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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