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.
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