If life teaches us anything, it is that love sometimes happens in the most unlikely of places, with the most unlikely of people. Koshiro is a run-of-the-mill salaryman who has recently been dumped by his partner. With his heart broken and hope lost, he soon comes to realize that he can love again, once he sets eyes on a beautiful young schoolgirl riding the train. However, there is one catch -- this girl named Nanoka is his sister, who he has not seen in years. Knowing that their forbidden love will always be scrutinized by society; will Koushirou and Nanoka be able to resist the temptation?
StorySexual taboos are a funny thing, aren’t they? To be honest, the incest seen in Please Twins and Angel Sanctuary never really fazed me. My brain was able to recognize these unhealthy relationships for what they were – a gimmick used to make the audience pay more attention. Although from a moralistic standpoint what the characters were doing was definitely pretty skanky, in the end I didn’t really worry all that much; it was all in good fun, after all. Only when Koi Kaze addressed the ever popular topic once again did I actually become unsettled. I groaned, I gnashed my teeth, I whined to my laptop screen… anything to lighten the intensely disturbing feelings that the anime was force-feeding into me. The night after I finished, I actually lost sleep over what I had seen. The other two animes had failed to unnerve me, but Koi Kaze succeeded frighteningly well. In addition to this, the plotline is flat-out superior to just about any romance anime that I have seen. While most romance plots feel contrived and predictable, Koi Kaze is anything but. Rather than relying on hackneyed plot elements to maintain the audience’s interest, the anime is wise enough to rely on everyday events, simple dialogue, and repressed emotion. When out of the ordinary occurrences do happen, they are all the more shocking because of it. Amazingly, throughout the entirety of this relatively quiet show, I was never bored and often transfixed to the screen… right up to the ending.AnimationThe animation as a whole is passable, but definitely not good. Backgrounds and character designs are nice, but movement tends to be very choppy. Also, when characters speak, the mouths often look very unnatural.SoundNot an OST that can be listened to by itself, but with the series I found that it did an excellent job of maintaining the mood of the show. Voice acting by the male lead is superb; the seiyuu’s deep voice conveys emotion incredibly well.CharactersThe key difference between this and lesser incest shows, I think, is the character development. In Angel Sanctuary, the individuals involved didn’t really feel like real people, but puppets being used to take the storyline to whatever pretentious direction the writers wanted to go in next. With Please Twins, the immense fanservice and the idiotic dialogue (we might be related, but we might not!) dehumanized the girls enough to make the overtones palatable.There is no such lucky break in Koi Kaze. Not only are the characters absolutely loveable, but they also feel incredibly real. In particular, the main character, Koshiro, is truly a work of art. Bitter, tired, loveless, and lonely, Koshiro is excellently developed from the very beginning. Never for a moment are his actions doubtable, even when they begin to become obviously wrong. The sister, Nanoka, is equally believable, with her blind, puppy-dog love and heartbreaking naiveté.OverallWhen all is said and done, is Koi Kaze a great anime, or is it a despicable one? This depends largely on what you’re looking for in anime. For those who want easy laughs, a clever plotline, or a sappy, feel good romance, I strongly urge that you stay far away from this series. However, as far as sheer emotional punch or lasting impression goes, Koi Kaze is one of the best series out there.
StoryLike any drama, the story is what makes or breaks the series. Fortunately, Koi Kaze did a great job in planning its plot. Although I believe it is obvious to figure out some plot points by just using deductive logic, I’ll just provide you with a brief introduction instead of a synopsis. There are certain points in the story that viewers should just experience first hand. Throughout the series, there are a few surprises, twists and turns, but they are realistic and that is what makes Koi Kaze so good. There are many times where the characters speak their minds, trying to get a grip to sort things out logically. But like all emotions, emotions are illogical and are very hard to sort out, especially when dealing with love. I love anime with no definite end in sight because it makes it so interesting to watch. You are really at the mercy of the characters and you can only hope they won’t disappoint you. You are always looking forward to their decisions and for the resolution. This is what makes this type of genre so exciting to experience. AnimationKoi Kaze’s animation style can’t be described as awe-inspiring or spectacular. It doesn’t have big mecha or great gun fights, but it does have down to earth, flowing, dream-like animation. It is even quite sexy at times. There was a particular emphasis on the characters much more so than the overall environment. Though sometimes the background (trees) may look like it was water-colored, it is merely to help the viewer to focus on the two main characters. There are many scenes where Koushirou and Nanoka are happily surprised, and the environment surrounding them seems to fade away, leaving just the two of them in focus. It tries to convey the feeling of love when it seems that their hearts stop for a split second and time doesn’t matter. One of the biggest strengths of Koi Kaze is realism. It is found everywhere. For instance, the animators really tried to depict each character’s use of Japan’s public transportation and streets. They even used actual places in Japan like train stops and stations. From the crowdedness to even problems with men feeling women on the train, it is the little details that make the scenes feel real. As for Koushirou and Nanoka’s character design, I thought they were well thought out. Koushirou is portrayed as a man in his late 20s, heavy-set, strong, smokes, doesn’t give much attention to his attire, and is almost 2 heads bigger than his younger sister Nanoka. Though sometimes I thought the physical size difference between Koushirou and Nanoka was a bit exaggerated, it is still within realistic boundaries. There are times when Koushirou grabs Nanoka, and it is easy to notice their apparent difference in age and strength. Nanoka on the other hand is 15, portrayed as blossoming young high school student and very cute. She doesn’t appear to be very womanly at all, but there is a distinct charm that makes her so loveable. The opening sequence is quite memorable. It illustrates the love that the two siblings share. At first you may think the opening is simple, but after 2-3 episodes, their characters are quickly established, and you would want to see the opening again and again. The end sequence is a bit tenderer. It shows the whole family when they were all younger walking on the beach. It shows how happy the family was when they were all together. SoundLike my experience with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the soundtrack until after watching the series. Because Koi Kaze focuses so much on character development and story, your focus doesn’t lie so much on the music when you are watching it for the first time. The fact that you won’t remember too much of the music doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad. It probably is a good thing because that means the music didn’t prevent me from really getting to know the characters and falling in love with them, but yet the music was good enough to carry the mood of the scene. As for the soundtrack, it is quite solid. Most of the music is chamber orchestra-like, meaning that only a few instruments play throughout the whole track. The songs have a remarkable range of tone from pleasant and energizing, to sorrowful and tender. You would immediately be able to recognize the main theme song of the series. The opening theme, "Koi Kaze" by EF, is quite catchy and memorable, and definitely reflects what the characters in the story are thinking. Like the title of the series, the opening theme talks about love. The end theme, "Futari Dakara" by Ito Masumi, is pleasant and tender. You probably can recognize Ito Masumi’s voice. She is responsible for performing the end themes for Haibane Renmei, Scrapped Princess, and Zone of the Enders TV, and the opening for Azumanga Daioh. As for voice acting, Kenta Miyake, who played Koushirou Saeki, and Yuuki Nakamura, who played Nanoka Kohinata did an excellent job. Granted, they were the main characters of the series, but they really gave these characters immediate depth and lovability. I was really impressed with Yuuki Nakamura’s performance, since this is her first leading role in an anime. In contrast, other seiyuu for the other characters weren’t given as much screen time to speak, so their voices felt somewhat stereotypical. From the old father, a sexy co-worker, and Nanoka’s peppy high school friends â€“ their voices just felt decent. CharactersAlthough I would love to comment about Koushirou and Nanoka character development all day, I would be really spoiling the experience for others. Character development in Koi Kaze is probably even more significant than the plot. Many may feel that the plot is unoriginal and uncreative, but I believe character development is what really makes Koi Kaze great. The personalities of Koushirou and Nanoka are established so effectively in the early episodes. Koushirou is 28, has a usual salary job, just got dumped by his previous girlfriend, and is indifferent to almost everything. Although he appears not to care for others, deep down inside he is always thinking about them. He just doesn’t let it show on the surface. Nanoka is 15, is starting high school, innocent, naÃ¯ve, straightforward, and is becoming a woman. She is very cute, but that unfortunately acts as a double edge sword throughout the series. There are little details dropped within the series that are easy to overlook, but once you look back you would find that Nanoka before your very eyes grows up just a bit. There is a slightly different Nanoka at the end of the series when compared to her character in the beginning. What is amazing about the series is the gradual love relationship between the two siblings. It just seems so painstakingly real. Both go through times of confusion, sorrow, desperation, and happiness. Although they are siblings, they are in constant battle with their feelings, and are always on the verge of embracing one another. OverallLike Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, Koi Kaze emphasizes realism and is one of crucial aspects that make both great. Both also have gripping plots and characters that are essential to a great drama driven romance. However, there are significant differences. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien focused on a love triangle between the three main characters and was based on an H game. Koi Kaze, on the other hand focuses on the love relationship between two characters, and more importantly, they are siblings. Koi Kaze offers a different type of romance that is usually never touched. While it is a looked upon as a sinful sexual taboo, one can’t help but to be interested in Koi Kaze. While watching, many times you would be asking yourself what you would do in each character’s situation. Questions like "Would I have done that in their situation?" "Was that a very good decision?" "Is their love real?" "Are they moral or immoral in their ethics?" "Where do I draw the line when it comes to love?" I believe it this feeling of insecurity that Koi Kaze address is what makes Koi Kaze so special. It instigates the topic of incest and really makes you think about it. Despite on whether you agree or disagree with the ending, the answers to those questions depend on the person watching, making it a good anime to discuss from times to come. It is because of the Koi Kaze’s controversial topic that makes it stand out amongst all other romance anime. As for re-watchablity, I believe that it has a high re-watch value. Though there are a few twists and turns, they aren’t unrealistic. Some plot may even appear to not to be that surprising if you really understand the characters well. From the loveable characters to the written plot, it is all worth reliving. It is a big understatement that I really enjoyed Koi Kaze. If you like drama driven romance, I really recommend Koi Kaze. It is a must watch. I liked the fact that it is controversial and made me think about my moral values. Koi Kaze’s plot and characters definitely would stay in my mind for years to come. Obviously, Koi Kaze is not meant for the action/mecha/martial art viewers because there isn’t any real action. Realism in the story and characters is what drives Koi Kaze, so if you aren’t willing to sit through dialogue to immerse yourself in the plot and characters, this anime definitely isn’t for you.
This is one of the first tv shows, anime or otherwise, that has actually made me cry during every single episode. I started watching expecting it to be like a lot of other anime in the same genre is, and I was absolutely shocked by what I saw, in a good way. Rather than just tugging on your heart strings, this one rips them out mercilessly. Overall, I think that this anime is a great one that It'd be a real shame to skip over. My only complaint is that we didn't get to see how things ended up, say, 5 or 10 years later. Not a major issue for me, but I still wish I could know.
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