It's spring, and love is in the air! Sanada Kouichi wakes up one morning to find a strange girl barging into his house and making herself at home. Only after his friend, Aihara Kazuki, shows up later does he recognize the girl as their childhood friend Mizusawa Mao, who has been living overseas for the past two years. With her parents still overseas, Mao will be living with Kouichi and attending high school with him and Kazuki. The three of them will rely on each other to overcome their challenges with school, friendship, and of course love!
StoryTo be perfectly honest, I had rather low expectations for Kimikiss, primarily for the fact that its name included the words "kiss" and "rouge." By all accounts, my experiences have taught me approach these titles with a ten foot pole (if at all), so you can only imagine my surprise when this should-be-shoddy title turned into one of the best high-school romances within the anime realm - and, trust me, it is a needle in a haystack.First and foremost, Kimikiss' scriptwriters knew how to pace a twenty-six episode romance story appropriately, and that definitely fronted its likeability. There's a decided lack of typical harem-romance events such as summer beach retreats, as it opted for a much more casual and realistic environment over a conglomerate of pre-contrived events. Because of this, too, the typical drama-evolves-from-misunderstandings premise does not make an appearance; if nothing else, Kimikiss made a point to avoid being predictable from episode one. While that's not to say it was entirely void of any angst or tension, it increased the emphasis on the series' slice of life elements, which ultimately lead to stronger characters and a more solid overall presentation.Still, Kimikiss does have its faults, especially in the lead-up to its ending sequence. While the series closed with surprisingly few loose ends, I can't say I really cared for either the ending or the changes in the characters that inspired it. At around the two-thirds mark of the show the characters all undergo slight shifts in personality and behavior seemingly at random, which ultimately leads to a buildup in drama and the subsequent climatic overture. It was not bad per se, but it did irk me enough to mention as well as taint my lasting impressions of the series as a whole. Still, my own misgivings aside, it concluded the series in a satisfactory manner - a good ending doesn't necessarily have to be one that I agree with, after all.AnimationAs should be expected, the animation lived up to 2007-2008 standards with vibrant character designs and colorful scenery. My only gripe was that Kazuki looked (and behaved) way too similar to Shirou from Fate/Stay Night, which bugged the crap out of me for most of the show. However, superficial male that I am, since most of the girls were cute I was able to tolerate this by simply ignoring him when he was on screen. Sarcasm aside, however, everything looked great from start to finish. SoundWhile the soundtrack itself was nothing all too memorable, the catchy opening theme and astute voice acting vaulted Kimikiss' sound score into the "great" category. Connecting with the characters took a matter of minutes, as each voice actor felt as if he or she really enjoyed playing his or her respective role. From Mao's giddy exuberance to Yuumi's shy embarrassment, each scene really came alive through a wash of vocal emotion. It certainly helped, too, that the voice acting flowed with the characters as they grew; many of the more timid characters opened up as the series progressed, and the actors kept on the ball with their development. I've certainly no complaints. CharactersThe characters were a mixed bag, as Kimikiss divides them into two distinct groups. One happens to be a love quadrilateral - no, not a more poetic quartet, quadrilateral (though you could also say tetragon and I'd accept it as a valid descriptor - my engineer's intuition says that's okay.) I say this because it's a bit jumbled and not clear at first, but it ends up involving Kouichi and Kai as the two primarily males with Mao and Yuumi as the females. This pans out to the core of the series, as it encompasses, by far, the most enjoyable of the budding romances. Ultimately it distinguishes these four as the strongest of the ten or so characters, as their story follows a more down-to-earth path than the other major romantic line. Toward the end, however, the drama in this particular group takes center stage, and its strength wavers a bit when those character quirks I mentioned earlier come into play. Still, the characters begin and end undeniably solid, and for that I have very few gripes about its overall presentation.Where I do have gripes is with the complimentary love triangle that involves Kazuki, Futami, and Sakino. For one thing, both Kazuki and Sakino are soccer players yet the writers made not one single effort to research the sport before writing the script. For supposedly being an "awesome" player, Sakino spouts the worst advice on just about every occasion: watch the player not the ball, slide tackle from behind even if it takes out the player (red card!), and many other horrendous atrocities regarding the proper play of the game. As much as that irks me as a player for ten years, however, Futami's proclamations of making everything an "experiment" were a real annoyance toward the beginning of the series. Thankfully her crap died off around the halfway point of the series, which actually ended up making her story somewhat interesting - much to my surprise. Ultimately, while not great, this triangle ends up being rather mediocre in nature, and given its secondary role in the context of the story, makes it entertaining without becoming monotonous. OverallHad Kazuki's love triangle been great, or even just good, instead of being merely okay, I probably would have bumped Kimikiss up into the 8.0 range. Even with this relatively minor flaw, however, it certainly holds its own as one of the better romances available on the anime market. Though it could have used a slight bit more polish transitioning into its heavier drama portions in its latter half, by-in-large this title displays a tact and finesse many of its contemporaries lack: less hyperbolic drama and more romance-related drama. For my fellow romance fans out there this is not a title to pass by - definitely recommended.
I agree with most of sheex review and simply put this as another point of view. The story was absolutely fantastic. Character devolpment was fluid and believable and nothing came off as forced or full of crap.Not a single weak character in the story - each character was interesting and detailed.The romance was top-knotch. Characters had to make truely difficult solutions to very real problems.This show was just simply amazing.Like Sheex, I highly recommend this to romance/drama fans.
I'm surprised there's no negative point of view for this anime. I'll add mine then, it's more how I feel than a review. There's 2 big love stories in Kimikiss Pure Rouge. One involves what we can call the main protagonists, and is awful. The second involves what we can call important characters and is way way better in all the aspects. For the main love story : This is mostly a copy/paste of all the bad things... of all the things in Suzuka. The male protagonist is boring as hell, undecided, it's 23 episodes of him who don't know what he's doing with its ignorant head. But anyway, he's the main character, so he has the girls. This is where the woe begin for us. He has the best girl, she's cute, she's adorable, she probably never had a bad feeling in her life, albeit she was a bit boring, and he'll treat her like a b****. Fortunately, she seemed to not be too sad when he left her. She was a smart character, she probably understood that this guy was not worth even one of her hair. That was a half relief to see her like this because I often empathize with the characters. Overall, it's pretty much like in Suzuka, there's nothing much to say, the girl will try her best because she has real feelings for him (poor girl), and he'll just let her down for the shiny girl just because she finally realized she loves him. The nice girl had no chances, it was clear since the beginning, but they made the story anyway. There's maybe an audience for this, but I really really hate these kinds of love stories. This is not love for me, this is just boring. For the second love story : Here we have better characters, especially the male protagonist. He's not the smartest, he's an idiot to be honest, but a good idiot. The kind of person who learn from his mistakes, who knows what he wants, and who fights to achieve this. He does not change his mind every 5 minutes. And in the end, he's hands up the best character. Around him, 2 girls, but that's not gonna be a problem for him. As I said, he knows what he wants. He choose the strange one, which is finally an interesting character and probably the most developed character in the anime. It was by no means certain he could have her, but he did his best and this was very entertaining. Their story is about how he'll have to work to get the girl he wants, and how love can be cruel for the second girl. But she tried her best until the end in order to have no regrets. She had no chances too, but it was interesting to see how a person can fight because of true love. The rest is pretty much classic, school, fan service, funny side characters with little depth for most of them, very average art and sound and almost everything is predictable. But despite the note, I would recommend it for the side love story which I liked a lot and is for 95% of the final note.
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