Kimikiss Pure Rouge 11-12: Awakening Emotion

Those of us who are inclined toward intellectual things know how scary this can be.
Those of us who are inclined toward intellectual things know how scary this can be.

If you were ever friends with someone, only to realize later that you were attracted to him or her–what were the turning points that led you to that realization? Kimikiss’s most recent episodes have been about those liminal moments where like slowly blossoms into love. And it’s wonderful to watch.

People have complained that Yuumi and Kouichi’s relationship has been moving “too slowly,” but as with Mao’s indecisiveness, I count this as a point of realism in the show’s favor. By the time they actually hold hands in eps. 12, it feels natural and expected, not forced. These things really do take time if they are supposed to be lasting, and especially if they are new at this experience–though, as we all see by now, Yuumi knows she won’t be in the picture for much longer so she is going to live it up in her remaining time. (I admire her courage.) That it happens to be mutual is, well, awfully lucky for them, but the truth is in any case is that it takes a lot of time for introverts (which Yuumi and Kouichi both are) to warm up to people in general. In fact, if I could find any fault–it’s that their relationship is too ideal. This is a show largely free of heavy drama, conflict, and overwrought display of emotion. Even Honey and Clover has it beat in that department. But that’s what makes this one of the best “feelgood” shows of the season, and so relaxing to watch.

Daisy, Daisy…
Daisy, Daisy…

In these two episodes we see both Sakino soccer girl and Eriko come to realize that their feelings toward the same guy are changing. Mao stays more in the background but is slowly coming to realize her feelings toward Kouichi are more than sisterly. In every single case the process of “falling in love” is neither sudden or at first sight, but the product of just being with the other person for a good amount of time, especially if we are counting in TV time (11 episodes is a bit long). Sometimes the turning point is a fairly conventional one, like a bike ride through the rain; or is just a tad too convenient, like in a hide and seek game in a big house where the couples can all conveniently be alone with each other. But these are forgivable uses of romantic story convention, I think. In these sorts of stories we tend to expect character-revealing moments where the character bares his or her soul to the audience as to what’s really going on inside. H&C did it superbly through insightful monologue.

Many a lazy director would have inserted a tell-all monologue here.
Many a lazy director would have inserted a tell-all monologue here.

Speaking of monologues, I have come to the conclusion that the show does very well without them. Initially, when I was still in the phase of trying to compare this to the director’s previous work, I was just a little disappointed when quiet moments which usually would have prompted a monologue in Honey and Clover gave us piano music and silence, with a quick cut to another scene. In traditional screenwriting, you aren’t supposed to use monologue as a storytelling crutch; you’re supposed to show, not tell. The story actually does a good job in intimating at characters’ inner emotions without telling us outright what those feelings and thoughts are; usually a look, or a well-timed shot will say it. That’s actually how it’s supposed to be done. This may shock people who felt the story has been slow, but I think there has been a good economy of storytelling in this show that gives us fairly well-rounded characters without revealing too much of their inner lives. H&C and Makoto Shinkai get a pass mostly because the monologues are so well-written, and so true to life. When one doesn’t have that talent, the way this show is handling things is definitely the way to go.

What a refreshment this series has turned out to be. From my first unfair review, where I was thrown off by the OP thinking it was harem, it’s charmed me into immediately watching the episode as soon as I download it. Along with Minami-ke it’s a show that always puts a smile on my face, even when it ends on an emotionally uncertain note; it’s just so likable that I can’t help it. Everyone needs something that makes you feel this way in their anime diet. Even people like me can watch emotional trauma and drama for only so long!

PS: But they really, really, REALLY need to get rid of those frog wielding helium voiced imouto fetish pandering girls. NOW.

5 thoughts on “Kimikiss Pure Rouge 11-12: Awakening Emotion”

  1. all I have to say is that I couldn’t agree more with you =). but the only downside of this (aside from the frogs hehe) is that the art seems to be going down.. there was something wrong with the faces that wasn’t before xP.
    ps: I love the way you write!! kepp it up with the good reviews!

  2. @vale: You know, for some reason, I’ve never been all that good at picking up in changes in art style (usually a result of a change in inbetween work studio) unless it’s really dramatic: Gurren Lagann 4, for instance, or some of the worse filler episodes of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.

    Thank you for the very kind comment! I hope to keep it up too.

  3. usually I don’t notice either but with this I do because when the series just started the art and drawing style really caught my atention…I like it very much so I pay more atention to it than usual ^^

  4. Owen actually reminded me of the deformities in episode 12, but after a such a wonderful episode, I found myself forgetting those art glitches I saw XD

    Initially, I really thought some monologue effect would help a lot, especially for Kai who’s such a mysterious character. As the episodes went on, I stopped complaining and liked how they are showing the characters’ personalities, fleshed out, and saw that such monologues wasn’t necessary after all :)

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