Ah, adolescence. How I do not miss you. Where there is so much pressure to commit to everyone’s expectations, it’s hard to find where one’s own disposition lies. Oh, but what am I talking about?
This is a fun show that takes on a comedic look at a high school girl’s experience — both positive and negative — as an otaku (and more specifically fujoshi or boy’s love fan) trying to survive a budding love life that goes in multiple directions! So what’s a girl to do? Must she deny her own shot at happiness in favor of a specific fandom? And why am I, a guy with a hint of homophobic reactions to BL but not always(?), yet talks more often than not about shōjo anime (here, here, here, and here, to name a few), reviewing this?
I don’t know. I just think it’s fun to talk about these, and I’m not quite sure what I am anymore. Kind of like going through adolescence. So sit back, bask in the social awkwardness, and let’s talk about a comedy that only teases boy’s love, but has no problem showing girl’s love!
Kiss Him, Not Me (Watashi ga Motete Dōsunda) is about the high school life of Kae Serinuma: a girl who prefers pairing off boys with other boys than to find any romance for herself! Often seen as a homely girl, her guy friends were indifferent to her. But one night when she was watching her favorite anime, she finds out that her favorite character dies, and goes into a deep depression, locking herself up in her room for days!
And when she finally decided to go back, she lost a lot of weight and transformed into one of the cutest girls in school; and the guys who once thought of her as a just a friend suddenly have the hots for her!
Although Kae is the star of the show, it is her harem of puntastically numbered guys (and a girl) who make her high school life absolutely insane in the most positive sense of the term. Each episode shows how utterly ridiculous everyone can be, yet also act surprisingly sweet around their favorite heroine.
No, Shinomiya (4). You’re not Eren Jaeger!
Kae and her best friend Amane love shipping their classmates, Igarashi (5) and Nanashima (7). But the question is: who’s taking the lead?
Nishina (2) may be Kae’s kōhai by grade, but she’s not going to give up her affection and let everyone’s senpai Mutsumi (6) win!
But let’s be honest: all of them are going to lose to Kae’s obsession with anime. That’s not a spoiler if it’s obvious.
Now I know what a very specific crowd of you are thinking: is Kae’s transformation from being a chubby girl to the “hot chick” totally ignoring the problems with fat shaming and beauty standards? Well I, for one, think that Kae is cute either way, because the energy she brings to her character doesn’t change, and I’d totally be one of the guys in this group (more on that later) seeking to go out with her. You know… if I wasn’t an adult, and totally not being creepy about my conversations about fictional characters…
But Kiss Him, Not Me actually has an entire episode that shows multiple sides of issues like fat shaming. Frankly it’s one discussion that I find sorely missing throughout a lot of anime, shōjo or otherwise. Not to spoil what Kae and her friends concluded from it, but it was handled extremely well and had plenty of comedy to cushion just how ridiculous some views are more than others.
In fact, nearly every situation that Kae and her friends get into are problems that teens face, along with the twist of being otaku. And honestly, one of my favorite parts of Kiss Him, Not Me is how well the anime takes multiple looks at each situation and adds a comedic spin to it all. It wouldn’t surprise me that we could watch this show and derive different conclusions from it, yet still laugh in the moment.
One episode that spoke to me as an anime fan and critic came from Kae and Nishina’s “ship wars,” when the two of them argue out who’s pair of fictional characters was better. To the average person who doesn’t join in the fun (who are you people?) like their guy friends, their argument seems absolutely ridiculous, as the two of them ship and reverse ship the same characters from an anime they both love. But to them, knowing who’s on top is a serious matter, and Kae and Nishina start a huge fight, both online and in person, to see who’s ship is better! The episode shows exactly how ridiculous both of them have exaggerated this discussion, but doesn’t deny that the feelings that either of them express are absolutely real in the moment. And if you don’t believe me, watch the next time you or a close friend start flame wars over pairing off anyone and see how personal it can get!
After the hi jinx dies down, Kae and Nishina realize for themselves that their actions were hurting themselves, each other, and ultimately everyone else around them, and ultimately came to the conclusion that their friendship was more important than some argument over fictional characters. At the conclusion, Kae and Nishina do make up and compromise the funniest way possible, and continue their friendship until something even crazier happens in their life.
But enough of this serious discussion about a comedy that takes on teenage issues with multiple perspectives! It’s time for the tradition of picking out the best waifu/hasbando, as chosen by me!
Well let’s be honest: Kae’s my pick because she’s my kind of crazy (sorry guys. And girls, I guess). But if she’s going to be my opposite, which of this colorful cast of characters would I be? Who would I be to try and take Serinuma-san’s affection?
Who would I ship?
Not gonna lie. I’ll have to go with the dude magnet senpai himself, Asuma Mutsumi. He keeps his cool, he knows what to say at the right moment, the girls and the guys love him, and sometimes he wears glasses. Oh, and today is 6/6, so who better to choose on this day than the guy whose name sounds like it has 6 (Mu) in front? Eh!?
So if you are looking for that comedy anime that laughs in the face of adolescent awkwardness with a twist on fujoshi life, watch Kiss Him, Not Me!