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krofire

  • United Kingdom
  • Joined Aug 8, 2020
  • 52 / M

Koikimo

Jan 8, 2022

Nomad’s 2021 “romance” is a badly drawn tale of a grown adult womaniser grooming a teenage girl into having a relationship. Quite how THIS is OK is a mystery. The girl is high school student Ichika Arima. She meets a schoolfriend’s older brother (Ryo Amakusa) one day, by chance, when she saves him from falling down train station stairs. In return he offers to have sex with her. She (rightly) calls him a creep. Yet he continues to pursue her claiming he loves her. Despite the unlikelihood of this relationship ever being successful, he prevails. He is supported by his sister who, despite describing her brother as a “scumbag”, thinks it would be “amusing” if her best friend went out with him. Ichika’s mum seems cool with the whole thing. If Ryo was a vaguely sympathetic character, then maybe this would work, yet he is clearly not. The story opens with him ditching his one-night-stand without even remembering her name. His pursuit of young Ichika is largely one-sided. He doesn’t care much what Ichika thinks of him. He bombards her with gifts and unwarranted attention without really getting to know her. It is not as if either of them have no choice in matters. Ichika is being courted by a boy (Kai Tamaru) in her class at school, with whom she shares a love of anime. He is characterised in entirely sympathetic ways and seems the ideal choice for her. Likewise, Ryo is pursued by a nice girl at work, Arie Matsushima. So, neither Ryo nor Ichika need each other. Their alternative partners are such well fleshed-out characters such that the audience cares more for them then they should. Clearly this is intended to be some sort of plot twist. The audience is meant to expect each to make the wise choice - yet they don’t. Are we to buy this idea that “true love conquers all” in THIS circumstance? Is THIS true love at all? No audience should be comfortable with this.

Ryo is shallow and self-absorbed despite the plot trying to explain that he is a reformed character through his love for Ichika. It isn’t convincing. The audience aren’t buying it and there is no reason why it should be comfortable with this setup. This maybe the biggest failing in the story telling here. If the audience is meant to be rooting for the couple why does the story so utterly fail to make the audience care for them? That isn’t to say that age-difference romances are not common in anime and often work so well. We have seen them successfully portrayed in “Higehiro” (Project No.9 2021), “Why the Hell are You Here, Teacher!?” (Tear Studio 2019) and “Tawawa on Monday” (Pine Jam 2016). Yet there are key differences in anime where this is made to work and what we have here in “Koikimo”. Largely these stories were comedies where the romance is initiated by the girl, that love endures, the older (normally male) partner behaves appropriately and he is portrayed as a really, really nice person. “Koikimo” is billed as a comedy yet it is not. Ryo’s behaviour is not quite appropriate and we are unconvinced that he is a nice person. He pursues the under-age girl despite her objections. “Koikimo” breaks all the rules so it fails massively. The whole show is creepy from beginning the end. Most of the characters are likeable enough with the exception of the whole Amakusa family who are so paper-thin that they hardly qualify as protagonists at all. This is a story where you really want the girl to be in love with someone else, anyone else for that matter. A desperately sad and discomforting experience, with a “happy ending” no one wants. Avoid.

6/10 story
3/10 animation
5/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall
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