Kiss Him, Not Me – Preview
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!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way (Pardon the phrase) and all agree that yes, losing as much weight as Serinuma does in a single week is nothing but pure anime fantasy and not to give it too much thought logistically. However, what’s hard to ignore is the cliche and almost offensive ‘fat voice’ they give her before she loses said weight. It’s an anime comedy standard, yes, but it feels a little insulting to give her that voice simply because she’s fat. One could argue, however that the voice is also meant to represent her secret fujoshi nature as the episode DOES have her momentarily revert to that voice during a freak out even after she’s lost the weight. Ideally though, it might have been better if they’d just used her ‘thin girl’ voice throughout, maybe only using the other voice during her more forbidden fantasy moments. Adding to my personal grievances is the fact that two of the boys courting her do such complete 180s in their treatment towards Serinuma that it’s aggravating when they don’t face any admonishment for their previous behaviour. There’s also the reveal that Akane, Serinuma’s best friend, apparently hides her fujoshi interests from her boyfriend, denoting that she might be pretending to be different than she actually is. Of course, all of these complaints can be dismissed easily with the boys and Akane being classic teenagers and are more than likely things we might have done too in their shoes as teens. I merely point them out to acknowledge the fact that these could be factors for disliking the show or finding it unappealing. At the same time, they aren’t the end of the world or unforgivable offences, in fact some of them do have plausible reasons for occurring in the story.
Tom: Thanks to just how fast Serinuma loses weight it’s clear Kiss Him, Not Me doesn’t want to be taken too seriously, and that perhaps tempers the sting of Serinuma’s portrayal and her treatment by the boys. The Fujoshi humor is more understandable than say, this year’s Highschool Life of a Fundashi, but it’s still territory that’ll be unfamiliar for less educated viewers. Even if Serinuma’s treatment and portrayal can feel insulting, there’s an underlying message about accepting yourself for who you are, although it feels undermined by Serinuma’s heavy handed ‘fat voice’ which, while clearly played up for laughs, feels perhaps mean spirited.
Linny: Another redeeming, and even endearing, feature of the story is while Serinuma has drastically transformed physically, she’s clearly still the same old awkward girl she has always been. Her behaviour around others doesn’t drastically change, and even when she is being wooed by four guys, her thoughts still revolve around fantasies of the boys dating each other, rather than suddenly developing a complex about being so sought after. Also, we have two of the guys in her circle, Asuma Mutsumi and Yuusuke Igarashi who’ve treated her with respect and kindness from the very start, which makes up for the other two who’re rather callous towards Serinuma initially. It’s nice to have cast members who’ve either always appreciated or respected Serinuma for who she is, regardless of her appearance.
Tom: Serinuma does indeed remains her fujoshi self even after transforming, no matter how much she pretends not to be. This plays a major factor that helps to lessen any offense taken with the way the boys treat her prior to her sudden weight loss and the fat voice given to her early on, which still feels overdone and unnecessary.
Linny: The friendship between Serinuma and A-chan/Akane is sweet. They’re very supportive and understanding of each other. However, both girls do have flaws that’ll hopefully be addressed as the story continues. Serinuma is made to be such a fujoshi that she is completely fine with being insulted just because the guy doing the insulting is handsome. In fact, she’s more concerned with how Shima, the biggest jerk of the lot, reminds her of her favourite character, than the fact that he is saying some really rude things to her. Hopefully, in the future, she’ll bring up his previous insults and confront him rather than ignore everything mean he’s said previously. And as mentioned, Akane might have to learn to be more honest with her boyfriend in the future about her secret passions and interests.
Tom: Of the four boys who become taken with her only two actually seem like decent guys. Mutsumi is a sweetheart, who even seems to have liked Serinuma before the sudden weight loss. Igarashi is next best, having been polite before and enamored with her after, but even he balks at her when he learns of her secret Otaku nature. The other two are quite rude and only one makes any real effort to apologize to her after Serinuma turns into the “hottie” they can’t take their eyes off. My dislike and irritation for these two is softened however thanks to Serinuma’s general ambivalence toward either, neither elated by their affections or saddened by their insults.
Linny: There’s no question that Mutsumi will be the one most, if not every, viewer cheers for. His presence might even entice people to watch on in hopes that he emerges the ‘winner’ of the four. For now, the episode was content to focus on producing comedic moments and having previously read the manga series, I can assure you that the story has plenty of laughs ahead as the boys step up their efforts to win Serinuma’s heart and she remains hilariously neutral to their affection.
Tom: Kiss Him, Not Me has me a bit mixed, but leaning positive. It’s mostly thanks to the show’s undertone of ‘be true to yourself’ and that Serinuma doesn’t seem to be romantically interested in any of the guys who were mean to her before her weight loss, but rather still views them in her fantasy-like fujoshi pairing manner. It helps to soften the potentially offensive material, but that might not be the case for everyone, and I warn anyone who finds weight discrimination a major turn off that Kiss Him, Not Me walks a very delicate line.
Linny: I strongly agree with everything Tom has said and thus will keep my conclusion short to avoid becoming a parrot. If you’re used to or willing to forgive some minor, potentially offensive flaws, there is definitely a lot of fun to be had with Kiss Him, Not Me. Watching a romance unfold where the object of affection is strongly dedicated to watching her suitors romance each other is a unique topic and one that’s sure to have many viewers in stitches.