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Japanator Kind of Recommends: KimiKiss Pure Rouge

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What's this? Another romantic series on my plate? Well, how can I say no!

As a connoisseur of romance series, I was more than happy to jump on the review for KimiKiss: Pure Rouge. It was a title that I always found interesting, and was especially surprised to see that Sentai Filmworks had picked it up. I knew it as a bit of a middle-of-the-road romance from the five or so episodes that I saw when it originally aired, but after watching the first half, I found myself more hooked on it than I ever expected.

So join me as I discuss the merits (and flaws) of this romance. If you're at all a fan of romances, and want something that isn't a stock romantic comedy, it's worth checking out.

KimiKiss: Pure Rouge - Collection 1
Creator: J.C. Staff
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 5, 2010
MSRP: $49.99

KimiKiss -- originally a romance game for the PS2 -- takes us through a number of characters as they all discover love in the face of the complexities of their relationships with each other. This show falls more along the lines of School Rumble in the sliding scale of romance, seeing as the romantically involved cast is around eight characters, with a number of supporting characters to boot.

The center of this whole group are three childhood friends: Kouichi, Kazuki and their "older sister" Mao. Mao suddenly returns from France and decides to shack up with Kouichi just as Mao is about to start her third year of high school. Both of the boys are starting to discover love in their own right, but the past relationship between Mao and both Kouichi and Kazuki leaves a heavy impression on the current time.

Each character is looking to find love, but runs into a few obstacles, such as their romantic interest being a kuudere who shows no signs of interest, or that the girl can't seem to make up her mind. There's even a brodere in the mix of things! The plot may not be the most original of things -- which isn't hard to imagine, considering the crowded high school romance category -- but what makes KimiKiss enjoyable is that it plays out organically. The progression of romance makes sense for the setting and characters, and the tension that arises is dealt with pretty logically, the caveat being there's some lack of fulfillment as that typical Japanese schoolboy mentality of "I'm too scared to kiss her" comes up time and time again within the show.

Backed with some pretty good art by the folks at Enterbrain, the show carries itself really well, although some budget cuts by the in-betweeners showing itself occasionally. While nothing is exceptionally beautiful, the characters all manage to have their appeal without being overtly sexualized, which is really nice, considering the genre.

But, I can't say that everything is peachy keen in the world of KimiKiss. Hence the reason for me saying I `sorta recommend` this piece.

The line between recommending and "sorta" recommending this show is drawn at a single point for me: certain character and romantic tropes are too prevalent in the show without them doing anything to improve upon them or give them a twist. Instead, the story was content with giving us certain support characters who are nothing more than a trope, albeit they do take the time to flesh them out enough to have meaningful interactions with the rest of the cast.

Admittedly, this is the first half of the series, and it does set up for some interesting possibilities for the second half, but certainly nothing on the level of Toradora!, my high bar for a romance series.

Without a doubt, you'll have a good time watching KimiKiss -- the romance is good and the pacing moves things along well without getting boring -- but don't expect it to wow you. You'll cheer the characters on with their romance, but it's not something that requires a handkerchief.

A word of warning: Don't expect to like frogs by the end of the show.


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reviewed by Brad Rice

 

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Brad Rice
Brad RiceFounder   gamer profile

Brad helped found in 2006, and currently serves as an Associate He's covered all aspects of the industry, but has a particular preference for the business-end of things, more + disclosures


 



Filed under... #anime #Japanator Original #reviews #Section23

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