The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Tsuyokiss – Cool×Sweet

Title: Tsuyokiss – Cool×Sweet
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Company: Studio Hibari/Trinet Entertainment
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 2 Jul 2006 – 17 Sep 2006

Synopsis: Konoe Sunao is an enthusiastic young actress starting at a new high school… one that she quickly discovers is filled with eccentric students with unusual antics. When she finds out that there’s no drama club, she asks the student council president, Kiriya Erika, a conceited girl who takes a very quick dislike to Sunao, if she could start one. Erika sets Sunao a challenge: impress her with drama and she’ll consider it.

The Highlights
Comedy: Terrible; barely a humourous moment.
Gimmick: Utilizes arguably the most dynamic stereotype in anime.
Harem clichés: Not as prominent as one would expect.
Characters: Surprisingly multi-dimensional for such a series.
Ending: Takes the focus away from a more interesting component of the story.

It’s not hard to see that the cast of many anime are filled with generic archetypes. Watch enough anime and the archetypes start becoming familiar. Obviously I’ll always prefer unique, original characters to token stereotypes, but if there is a typecast I can tolerate, it’s the tsundere one. Never mind the fact that tsundere-ko in anime tend to be headstrong characters (at least for a while), but the archetype requires character development by its very definition, no matter how trite, which is better than nothing in my book.

Tsuyokiss‘s gimmick is to fill its female harem cast with tsundere characters. Obviously, one could never expect a brilliant anime with this premise, but from the outset it does two things right that immediately separate it from other harem series: firstly, it relegates the disposable spineless male lead to side-character status and puts one of the females in the main role; secondly, it quickly dismisses romantic interest towards said male lead from the majority of the cast, quashing the chance of the story falling into the standard “set up a whole heap of potential female love interests through generic nice acts and then pick one at the end” plotline.

The problem is that Tsuyokiss wastes many of its first few episodes on comedy which just is not funny. There is no sense of comedic execution: jokes are lame, repetitive and slapstick without any semblance of timing or wit. I struggle to remember times when I even chuckled or smirked, let alone actually laughed.

However, towards the middle of the series, Tsuyokiss begins to improve. The focus moves away from the frivolous comedy and onto the tsundere characters, with mild success. Characters are shown to be surprisingly deep and display visible development and even if it was inconsequential, it was still more than one generally expects in a harem anime. An intriguing love triangle forms (coincidentally or not) between the lead male and the two most likeable female characters and the drama begins to build.

All Tsuyokiss would have needed to cap off a tolerable series, even in spite of the mindless, almost frustrating comedy attempted at its beginning, was a good ending. However, it does not deliver. The potentially dramatic love triangle is resolved in a fizzle and the majority of the final episode focuses on a far less interesting conflict… one that I couldn’t totally understand why Sunao wanted to take part in.

In the end, Tsuyokiss is an ultimately forgettable series that, for a fleeting moment, alluded to something more. It hasn’t changed my opinion of the tsundere mold; if anything, it strengthened it since no particular moment refuted any of my impressions of the archetype. Tsuyokiss fails horribly in its attempt at comedy, but with an intriguing love triangle and a set of strong characters, it’s not the worst anime you could ever watch. Unfortunately.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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