Kiss Him, Not Me – Mid Season Review
Note: Due to injury, Linny will be taking a diminished roll through the Mid Season reviews. She will return for the full reviews at the end of the season.
Kiss Him, Not Me:
Original Air Dates: October 7th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Kae Serinuma is what you’d call a “Fujoshi” when she sees boys getting along with each other, she can’t help but indulge in her own wild fantasies of the boys “getting together.” However, one day her favorite anime character dies and the sheer shock confines her to her room for a whole week. When her brother and mother finally force her out of bed, they discover not only did she miss school for a week, she also lost a crap ton of weight! Now the four hottest guys in school all want to ask her out– but that isn’t what she’d like at all! She’d rather see them date each other!
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Kiss Him, Not Me walks a fine line. The series’ portrayal of Serinuma is its biggest issue. When we’re introduced to her in her ‘fat form’ her voice is grating and potentially offensive as it feels more stereotypical than real. How quickly she loses weight is another sticking point, all aspects that could easily rub the audience the wrong way. But thanks to Serinuma adhering to her personality and love for Fujoshi pairings, which does not suddenly change with weight loss, and even regaining the weight again, briefly, later into the season, the show manages to keep itself on the right side of things.
Serinuma’s obsession with Fujoshi is played up, and quite amusing. She feels like the ultimate fan girl and is easily to relate to for anyone who finds themselves obsessed with anime pairings season to season. Her suitors, the boys themselves, are much more of a mixed bag. Mutsumi, the quiet, oblivious, but kind one remains so, even into the mid season. He’s accepting, loving, and playful, if perhaps a bit behind everyone else. He accepts Serinuma for who she is, something none of the other three seem capable of at first. Indeed two of the boys, Shinomiya and Nanashima, offer up little to like. Both treat Serinuma with repulsion whenever she’s in her overweight form, but drool over her should she lose the weight. Neither has had any kind of repentance and the longer it takes the less I like either. The same can’t be said for Igarashi however, the cool and straight arrow of the group who was clearly repulsed by Serinuma’s overweight visage, but treated her with kindness and respect all the same. What elevates the show from its earlier episodes is Igarashi’s surprise character development.
Close to the mid season a new character is introduced, Nishina, another girl also obsessed with Fujoshi and who even produces her own fan art and doujinshi. This girl clearly has romantic interest in Serinuma (although the show plays that more for laughs than actually entertaining the idea of the two truly hooking up) and this introduction helps spur Igarashi onto a path of redemption. This development elevates the show, giving it a real emotional center that keeps Kiss Him, Not Me was lacking early on.
While Kiss Him, Not Me doesn’t want to be taken all that seriously, the emotional center it develops addresses some of the greater concerns to be had from early on. And with character development for Igarashi, and later on Nishina, the series feels more enjoyable and less like it was made for a quick laugh.
Overall I’m happy with the new direction Kiss Him, Not Me has ventured down, offering up periodic development for its characters, letting them grow and change as the series moves on. The show still does one off episodes that revolve around Serinuma somehow getting another close encounter with the boys pairing off with one another, but thanks to these additions it feels like more than just that.