His and Her Circumstances: anime review

Title: His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano)
Genre: romance, comedy, drama
Released date: October 2, 1998 – March 23, 1999
Episode: 26
Director: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki
Animated by: Studio Gainax
Comment: The most distinguished feature of Kare Kano is its revolutionary, at least at the time of its release, visual technique. The surreal cartoon, chibi drawings and on-screen texts are constantly used to emphasize the feelings and thoughts and also to display the multiple layers of the characters simultaneously. Sometimes, the anime uses color and lines to focus on certain things such as filling one person with colors and leaving the surrounding people with no color or facial expression. The various surreal sound effects are also used. This technique makes the anime incredibly fun to watch even in the scene involving lengthy exploration of the characters’ minds which is usually quite boring. The anime also adopts another way to tell the story by making the characters talk to themselves or sometimes talk to the viewers directly as if they are writing a diary or chatting with the viewers. With this technique, the bonds are cleverly created between the characters and the viewers.

The story of Kare Kano may seem pretty complex because so many things happen and so many people are involved in the series but it can easily be summarized into a single phrase; Kare Kano is about the high school life of Miyazawa Yukino and the people around her. This is the anime that the characters drive the series, not the other way around. There are plenty of character developments. Everyone in Kare Kano rapidly and constantly changes and grows up all the time. Their experiences are thoroughly detailed and all of them are very familiar things that every body must have been through at some point in their lives such as falling in love, meeting new friends or quarrelling with them, problems in families or with the teachers. As a result, the viewers will find themselves knowing and understanding the characters so well as if they are families.

Being extremely optimistic, Kare Kano, at some point, can be a little unrealistic since every problem in the anime finally resolves in a good way while, as we all know, things are not that easy in real life. We don’t always meet good and open-minded people and there are countless other factors and limitations in real life. But don’t get me wrong. Being optimistic is not the weakness but the best part of the Kare Kano. The anime gives the viewers strength, hope and encouragement to overcome the obstacles in lives. It taught me the value of the things I always took for granted such as family and to cherish what I usually overlook such as friendship and, above all else, Kare Kano gave me what every body needs the most in their darkest hours; laughter.

Despite all its merits, the ending of the series is quite a let down because it does not end there. The anime comes to closure right before the cultural festival and there is still Arima’s complex that is left unsolved. The animation technique in the last two episodes, using manga style images, is different from the others which I think is not suitable for an ending. The story continues in the manga which I haven’t read. Conclusion: Trust me, even without the proper ending, Kare Kano still securely remains in my highly recommended anime list. Actually, my frustration about Kare Kano’s ending comes from the fact that I like it so much and I want more!
Rating: B+

2 responses to “His and Her Circumstances: anime review

  1. I recently skipped through the first 13 episodes of the series again and am reminded of how absolutely brilliant and funny this series is. The characters just gel so well and there are so many laugh-out-louds moments that I lost count. If only the anime kept the momentum for the whole 26-episodes, this would be a surefire favourite of mine. Like you sum it up, I want more too!

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