Kiss Him, Not Me Volume 3 Review
Kiss Him, Not Me
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Serinuma Kae is a dedicated and overweight fujoshi who loves to fantasize about her handsome male classmates romancing each other. ( Fujoshi, which literally translates to rotten girl, is a Japanese term for female fans of manga and novels that feature romantic relationships between men.) However, the death of one of her most beloved male anime character in the show causes her to go into shock and grieve which then causes her to lose a lot of weight. When she returns to school, she finds herself being suddenly surrounded and romanced by the very men she had been fantasizing about all this time. Despite her new look, Serinuma remains a fujoshi at heart and tries to find a balance between her old fujoshi fantasies and her new found popularity.
You can read the first chapter for free here.
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow)
Last volume’s mysterious new addition plays a crucial role in this new volume as she befriends Serinuma and proves to be tough competition to the boys. Even as the boys are wondering how to handle this new and unsettling development for them, Serinuma throws in an even greater dilemma for some of them as she returns to her original weight. Does this signal the end of Serinuma’s new found legion of admirers and how are the boys going to handle all these changes?
The one thing I have loved so far about Kiss Him, Not Me is how it uses popular tropes and fan service and translates them into comedy for the shoujo audience while having a strong undercurrent of heart and depth. Even though it has a fat protagonist who has an ugly duckling transformation, her true inner ‘weird’ personality has been consistently kept the same, even being brought to the forefront and being accepted by her new friends/ admirers. Yes, most of the guys seem to be faking their acceptance a bit, glossing over it in an attempt to remain close to Serinuma, rather than seriously embracing all aspect of it sans all judgement and even their affection of Serinuma seems to be triggered by her new appearance and thus, on a shallow degree. For those who have been critical of Kiss Him, Not me because of this, Volume 3 is going to be the best volume so far.
Serinuma has a new friend, the mysterious cosplayer from Volume 2 who turned out to not only be female, but a fellow student at her school as well whose name is Shima Nishina. Manga gods and conveniences be praised. Nishina is the perfect friend for Serinuma as she turns out to be perfect in every way possible. Nishina is a fellow fujoshi and the author of one of Serinuma’s favourite doujinshi line. She’s also from an extremely wealthy family with an amazing collection of geeky paraphernalia that has Serinuma on Cloud Nine. To the surprise and disapproval of some of the boys, she is also unabashedly flirting with Serinuma, and Serinuma is completely giving in, blind to the flirting but excited to be interacting with a fellow fujoshi and her favourite doujin author. It’s a hilarious chapter as we watch the boys trying their best to keep Serinuma to themselves while trying to fend off Nishina, even resorting to posing for her BL scenes. Mini spoiler: They fail spectacularly.
In the next chapter, we see Serinuma competing in a cake design competition being organized for her favourite anime series. Determined to win, she has to face a lot of struggles as she finds she lacks the talent needed to create the masterpiece that will win the competition. Nishina is her greatest supporter as she wholeheartedly helps come up with ideas and creations. This, of course, only irks the boys more as they see it as another opportunity being exploited by Nishina to get closer to Serinuma and hog all of her attention and time. And it’s also where things come to a very interesting and heated showdown. Let me once again emphasize how lovely this volume in particular is for addressing some of the more ‘serious’ aspects of the story. For all their purported adoration of Serinuma, we all know that 3 of our 4 suitors seem to be into her only for her looks and it’s nice to see them start to be called out on it.
And now onto my favourite chapter ever, the one where Serinuma returns to her original body size. As quick as her weight loss was in the first chapter, so is her weight gain this time around. For those readers who are rolling their eyes at the rapid weight gain and loss, I think it’s best to remember this is a comedy after all and to not take it all too seriously when it does certain illogical things for the sake of humour or story. But here’s the best part of her sudden weight gain, it causes some very extreme reactions from some of her admirers like fainting and hysterics. For those who had been bitter or angry at these guys for being so shallow, the time for their true test has arrived. Having come face to face with the old Serinuma once again, the boys now have to decide if their affection for her is true or just skin deep. It also gives the readers a chance to find out which of her admirers are true admirers. But what’s most lovely about this chapter is how oblivious and carefree Serinuma is about her own looks. She seems least bothered by her return to her old size and it is nice to see someone so comfortable in their skin. Her sudden weight loss and accompanying popularity hasn’t changed her one bit and she remains the ever adorable and sweet person she has always been. Sadly, there are those who are NOT at all happy about her weight gain and thus begins a rigorous exercise and weight loss regime for her. Serinuma complies innocently and this has some dire consequences which I will leave for you readers to find out on your own.
As we enter the last chapter of this volume, Nishina proves her worth as a true friend and is going to be earning herself some solid points in the eyes of the readers. She is not the only one though but my lips are sealed about that. This is yet another amazing concluding chapter, one that doesn’t end on a cliffhanger but brings a nice little wrap up to all the various events and excitement in the chapter. And because of all the events and transformations that occur in this volume not just to people’s looks but even to their personalities, Kiss Him, Not Me continues to be as adorable, funny and as heartwarming as ever. As someone who was thoroughly unhappy with how shallow some of the guys in this story are, this volume addresses those issues head on which should be good news to other with a similar issue. Going forward, this will be my last review of the series as I do not wish to spoil the upcoming anime adaptation for myself anymore but I hope to return to this series the second we are done watching and reviewing the anime.