Kare Kano

Alt titles: His and Her Circumstances



sothis's avatar By sothis on Sep 11, 2004

Kare Kano was recommended to me by quite a few people as another good look at relationships, in a realistic way. Perhaps I expected too much, but I came into it thinking it would be a relationship series. I was wrong.

While the first under 10 episodes do focus primarily on the two main characters becoming involved, barely any serious mention of the relationship happens after the fact. There are a few minor exceptions later on, but the overall tone changes quickly from "wow, this could be a great relationship series", to "random filler comedy". Keep in mind, the comedy isn't even that funny, or at least *i* didn't think so. The problem with it was that it tried TOO hard to be comedic and random, but just ended up falling flat. The filler tended to focus on the characters and their pasts/lives/etc, but was too scattered and random. The overall good relationship series feel is overthrown by silly attempts at lovers quarrels or misunderstandings, with slapstick thrown in.

Another huge disadvantage to this series is the amount of flashbacks involved with the story. At first, a mention at the beginning of each episode of what happened in the prior one is a decent idea, especially since the series is new and people want to pick it up. However, the flashbacks continue during EVERY SINGLE EPISODE at the beginning, eventually getting to upwards of 3 minutes, explaining everything that has happened. It's like the producers thought "OH GOD, ONE MORE PERSON MIGHT TUNE IN ON WEEK 15!! BETTER SHOW THE WHOLE STORY AGAIN!". Not to mention, eventually the flashbacks span an entire episode, or even ONE AND A HALF. Obviously the people who wrote the series realized how incredibly uninteresting the "plot" was once the relationship was over, so they felt the just needed to rehash the relationship flashback over and over, so people would keep watching, thinking and hoping that kind of a good story would come back again.

In addition, there really isn't an ending.. and the last episode doesn't even really focus on the main characters anyways (or more of it doesn't). Granted, since the plot went right down the toilet after a few episodes, it isn't like it could end on a dramatic plot note... but intense angst and random sad thoughts of the characters made it seem like it would end on a tragic note, and instead it just ended. Bah.
The animation is definitely older looking, with very simple looking character designs. At first (like most other things in this series), the animation seems like it will be a decent mix of certain things: regular style, chibis occasionally, and interesting mixes of real shots as well as stenciled images during the stressful type scenes. Artistic, you think... but not for long.

As the series progresses the animation steadily becomes more and more chibified and still drawings. By the last few episodes, it was just ridiculous. Literally 5 minutes of one episode would be normal animation, and the rest would be super cheesy chibis all the time, or massive amounts of still scenes that looked like they took 2 seconds to draw. I'm all for comedic drawings or the occasional tasteful still shot, but as I said, Kare Kano pushed new boundaries. Not since Violinist of Hamelin have I seen so many still shots near the end. Also, as the last few episodes crept up, it just started getting plain weird. Abstract visuals and such made you think you were watching End of Eva or something obscure. Big thumbs down from me on the animation.
The music definitely gets high marks from me. A few of the tracks made me think of Amelie (a very well-done French movie), and others were simply beautiful piano pieces. I didn't pay much attention to the normal or comedic parts, because it sounded like regular old anime background music. But I must say that the sad or melancholy happy tracks were beautiful.

As far as voice actors, fairly fitting. Though one of Yukino's friend's voice didn't fit her small childlike appearance.
I can't lie and say there wasn't character development, because the majority of the series are based on that, but the character development just wasn't interesting, moving, or otherwise compelling at all to me. Take the two main characters... once Yukino and Arima hook up (this isn't really a spoiler, as it happens in episode 2 I believe), they still have serious issues becoming "involved" with each other. Granted, I know this is partially a cultural thing, but it still bothered me. One of the reasons people told me to watch this if I liked KgNE, was because like KgNE, Kare Kano was "real", especially about the relationships. I can't see how anyone thought that! They still have serious issues even kissing for a long time after they start dating, they still are totally insecure if the other likes them, even though THEY ARE DATING for christ's sake.

I will admit (and the reason why this score was a 7 and not a 4) that at some times, the characters did seem real... such as their skeletons in the closet from their pasts, their hangups on insecurity and flaws that I think most high schoolers and even adults have. But this was overshadowed by extreme immaturity involving the actual relationship, in their case.

Most of the characters had at least one episode devoted to them. In some cases, this was appropriate and worked well, such as Yukino's friends. In others, it felt like the episode was just completely randomly thrown in, and was totally uninteresting (such as Yukino's parents, and her sisters, the only episode (25) that I actually almost completely skipped because of how annoyed I was at the series at that point).

In general, I just wasn't attached to any of them. Yukino was extremely bi-polar and whiny, and overreacted to everything. Arima became flat out weird by the last few eps (and it REALLY reminded me of the last two episodes of Eva, the whole "retrospective look inside my mind" thing). The friends were obnoxious and acted totally immature and asinine. Blech.
Quite frankly, this series did not live up to its hype at ALL. I see almost entirely positive reviews for this series everywhere else, and I just don't know why. I really had high hopes for it at the beginning, thinking it would be a good relationship series. Granted, I thought it was really bipolar (I don't like series which alternate between extreme slapstick and extreme seriousness), but I still had hope. But after awhile, the relationship idea went down the drain and the filler was totally uninteresting.

I just don't see why this series would get high reviews. The animation was bad, the characters were either unrealistic or shallow, though the series did try to make them 3-dimensional. The flow was complete garbage from episode to episode, it couldn't decide if it was a show, or a series made entirely of recap episodes, etc.

And just as a note, I like slice of life shows. I like slow shows, and I like shows about nothing. But nothing about this slice of life type show was amusing, funny, or exciting, except the weak concept of a relationship which was ditched for randomness and "humor" early on.

I gave Kare Kano a 6 because the music was good, and sometimes the characters showed depth. Plus it wasn't complete trash, so it didn't get a low 5 or below. But still, I completely recommend not seeing this. If you want a relationship series, watch an actual relationship series like Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. If you want a light random comedy, get Azumanga Daioh, Fruits Basket, or perhaps Jing. But Kare Kano's fatal flaw is that it can't decide what kind of show it wants to be, and/or visually looks like the budget got totally wiped the last 6-8 episodes. I want 26 episodes worth of my life back.

For rewatchability, very, very poor. I would never watch this again. Not only was there no plot, but the filler/slice of life stuff was completely non-funny and boring. Bad animation and two-dimensional who are trying to be three-dimensional characters made for a bad experience all around.
5/10 story
5/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
6/10 overall
Merryberry's avatar By Merryberry on Oct 30, 2009


Being the number 1 student in her school, Yukino is incredibly vain.  So much so, that she actively goes out of her way, to keep her image as perfect student at all times (except when she gets home). Having been glorified so much, she experiences a shock when Arima overtakes her in the exams.  On top of this agony which torments her, she lets slip her true behaviour...to the one person she hates, Arima!

Story: 7

It’s rarely that the title of the anime can sum up the series really well, but with His and Her Circumstances, this is an exceptional to the rule.  Although the relationship anime has been done before, very often it is the process of becoming a couple that is explored.  However, in Kare Kano, the emphasis is not on trying to go out in the first place, but rather, what happens when they are officially a couple.  Because of this difference in storyline focus from the norm, Kare Kano has real potential to explore areas that usually are not explored in most other series.  And while the events and concepts are exceptionally well written with some brilliant ideas, Kare Kano, fails to deliver to the potential that it could have been.

Kare Kano is a prime example of what happens when you try to make too big a project on a budget of a shoe string.  Having suffered from one director walking out from a conflict with the manga’s author regarding the use of comedy in the series, and a small than normal budget; this resulted in a large amount of the anime being taken up with filler material, which was reviews of what had previously happened.

Animation: 3

The only series I know of where the makers went over-budget and looked it.  Having been made on a paper-thin budget, with one director walking out; surprisingly meant that the artistic work in the series lacks a lot.  Even with the poor quality animation with plagues the series relentlessly and encompasses a number of review episodes, the excellent script more than makes up for it.  Oh and the fact that they resort to using paper cut-outs on sticks for one of the episodes, may seem rather extreme.  Then again, I did say that the budget was that good.

Sound: 8

When series have a small budget, often the sound is where the anime cops out on.  But Kare Kano delivers some stunning music in the series, managing to produce not only 3 OST’s, but 3 which display a vast range of themes.  Each scene is carefully accompanied by either music or sound effects that draw you into the drama which unfolds.  The voice acting for the Japanese cast is well done, with the voices reflecting the characters well.  I wasn’t too fond of the English cast, but that could just have been down to the fact that I rarely like watching series in English. 

Characters: 8

If there is one thing which shines throughout this series, is the simple but effective way in which the characters are portrayed.  From the moment you start this series, the characters become people who you like and enjoy, wanting to constantly know more about them.  They have some outrageous dark sides to them and personal history which is explored as the series progresses.  You always know who’s who as each has their own flare and individuality, resulting in characters which please the entire time they’re on screen.  They are also given enough screen time, to fully explore their backgrounds and personal traits which continue to develop each one of them into unique characters.

Overall: 7

Kare Kano has frequently been towards the top of most anime rating lists.  Why you ask, when the animation quality stoops to the level of paper cut-outs and there is enough filler to plaster your front door shut?  Despite having 2 directors, a row with the manga writer and a budget of next to nothing, Kare Kano sets about to produce a fantastic storyline, which not only is realistic, but woven together with a compelling script.  Out of all the anime series I’ve seen (and that’s a fair number), Kare Kano has one of my all time favourite cringing moments, seen in the first episode when Arima finally sees what she’s truly like.  On a serious note, there are very few anime series out there, which focuses entirely on the relationship between two people who are already going out.  Because of this, Kare Kano deserves the lime-light it receives, albeit with the reputation of a poorly animated series.

7/10 story
3/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
FragKrag's avatar By FragKrag on Mar 14, 2010

Story: 8

Before I started Kare Kano, I had no real expectations, and I was fresh off watching some previous Gainax animes like Evangelion 1.0, and also just after finishing Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. All I heard about the anime was that it was a romance, so before starting it, I imagined it would be like Clannad or some other Romance/Slice of Life/semi-Comedy. 

I was pretty wrong.

The story is very well developed in the beginning, introducing both the main characters, and their flaws. Along the way, more characters are introduced, all with their own flaws, though some are delved into more deeply than others. Overall, I felt that the story pieced together incredibly well, which each episode contributing to the developing relationships between the characters. I felt like the anime portrayed the relationships fairly realistically. 

However, the main problem with Kare Kano in my opinion was the amazing amount of filler. Most of the episodes would have a 2 minute recap of what had happened, and I think that both episodes 14 and 15 were dominated by filler. Episode 25 was just terrible filler that I skipped after enduring 3-4 minutes of.

The comedy in the show was really a double edged sword. Sometimes it would actually fit, and I would love it. Other times, it would just be isolated from the story, and interrupt the storyline. Without the comedy, Kare Kano would be much more melancholic, but with the slight overuse of it, the story suffered.

The ending wasn't quite the ending that I had hoped for. It is a bit like Berserk in my opinion, for those of you who have seen Berserk. Things begin to gain momentum quickly, and the anime ends. I hated it, but while in Berserk's case (or any other anime actually), I wasn't actually enticed to read the manga, I just left it and started something new. I couldn't with Kare Kano, the story was enticing enough for me to actually trudge through manga (something I despise), and after reading the manga, I can't really see it ending in any other way.

So while it did end on a plot hanger, the story was still quite amazing, and very respectable.

Animation: 6

There really isn't much to say about animation. You could really tell that this anime was made on an extremely tight budget. In an episode, they actually just used cutouts of the characters, and in the last episode, they just cut from the manga. Pretty low budget, but when it wasn't at its absolute worst, it was enough to not get in the way of my experience, but then again I have pretty low expectations when it comes to animation, nor do I care much about it. If it's great, awesome, if not, whatever.

Sound: 10

I really cannot praise the sound enough. The beautiful, slow, melancholic piano pieces, the lively jazz, and everything else. The music was absolutely perfect for me. The music is one of the best things about the anime, and it enhances the experience and the mood of the anime. Every piece of music just fits, and compliments the scene. The music was able to lift my mood, and also enough to wrench at my heart. 

I got the soundtrack after finishing the anime, and I still love it. It has been playing essentially nonstop for the last 2 days, and it brings back the feelings that I felt during the anime when the piece of music was playing. It makes me want to rewatch the entire series again. 

The voice actors were perfect for how I imagined the characters, except for one. The tsundere girl had an annoying voice actor, but I just hate tsundere so I'm not in a position to judge.

Characters: 10

This is where the anime shines the most. The characters of the anime are the complete driving force of the story. The anime seems to be the exact opposite of Evangelion. Instead of bringing in seemingly 'normal' characters to break piece by piece, Kare Kano brings in troubled characters which it builds up piece by piece. The character development is phenomenal in the series. It introduces troubled characters, and it gradually builds them back up. Each character seems to have some personal troubles which can be as simple as wanting to be praised, or as complex as Arima's situation. 

Each character is given a significant amount of screen time to be analyzed and explored. Each personal background is explained, and the characters are given the time to change. None of the characters are the same in the beginning of the anime by the end. While there are the stereotypical development paths, most of the characters are developed in novel, and interesting ways.

I believe that the anime's ultimate triumph is Arima who in my opinion, is both the most interesting, and most troubling of all the characters.

Overall: 9

Kare Kano hit me hard. I loved so many parts about it, but there were also drawbacks to it. The characters and music were really able to pull the anime through the repetitive filler, and the oddly placed comedy. 9 might seem a bit high, considering the score I gave the animation, but to be honest, I just need the animation to actually be animation. The animation in Kare Kano was good enough so that it would not stop be from enjoying the characters, sound, and story. 

I love this anime. I love the sound, the characters, and the story. I would love it if they would air a season 2 of the anime that would include everything they left out, and I believe that was their original intention. 

8/10 story
6/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
showstappa's avatar By showstappa on Dec 7, 2011

When I saw the first episode of this one, I really found it very interesting. It is quite unique story for a shoujo for me. The strong points of this manga is the character development and the humor. I liked how the characters developed their feelings for each other. It is also really  funny for a shoujo genre and can really make you laugh out loud as you watch it. But things are only good on the first parts. When it reaches the middle part, the story loses its "interesting" factor and the plot goes into many different directions and will leave you wondering what is really happening between the main characters. The main reason for that is a lot of new characters are introduced and take a lot of space in the plot but their stories doesn't even end with a bang.

If you want an anime that really has a solid, steady and interesting plot then this is not for you. But if you are just after some cheesy moments and humor then you MIGHT like this one.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
5/10 overall
JJR1971's avatar By JJR1971 on Jun 18, 2011

Kare Kano, or as is it is known in English, His and Her Circumstances is a slice-of-life Japanese High School Drama set in the late 1990s.  It is part comedy, part romance, part coming-of-age story and one of the few Japanese anime I can think of (Rumbling Hearts being the other) that tacitly acknowledges that yes, Japanese teenagers also have sex.

Unlike Rumbling Hearts, which came out later, His and Her Circumstances merely hints at this milestone in Arima's and Yukino's relationship.

Arima has a rather dark, sad, and troubled past, but Yukino often steals the show with her zany outbursts and general craziness.  Above all, this show plays everything with a straight face...it is one of the most starkly realistic depictions of Japanese High School that I can think of compared to other series set in Japanese high schools.

"We started as rivals...then became friends...then became more than friends but less than lovers...then lovers...."

Luckily, the stuff happening the supporting characters is very nearly as interesting as what happens to the main characters, so it isn't disappointing when the main characters step off stage and the side characters step up for their parts.

The story is all about public-versus-private life.  The face we show to the world, versus who we think we "really" are behind closed doors.  It's an issue for any teen in any society, of course, but is especially important in a socially conformist society like Japan.  Yukino is very brave to put away her "mask" and try to live more honestly in the world.  She even learns to make friends and fall in love.

I liked this story very much and am very glad I bought the boxed set on a whim.


9/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
8.4/10 overall