Kare Kano – An introduction to the series in retrospective.

Oh no, she’s not biplolar, she’s tripolar.



彼氏彼女の事情
Kare Kano


Directed by: Hideaki Anno (First Half), Kazuya Tsurumaki (Second Half)
Written by: Masami Tsuda


Now in Traditional flavor!
Begun in 1996, ended in 2005, with an anime adaption made in 1998, His and Her Circumstances is quite aged. It shares the same time period as classics such as Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Rurouni Kenshin, Trigun, and more, where that flavor of “traditional” animation was still alive and kicking. Like its fellow peers, Kare Kano is one of the series of this period whose story and animation was distinct enough to survive the test of time. Even after 12 years, His and Her Circumstances stands to be a real test of time, both in animation direction and plot. Sounds like a eulogy, right?



But for most of you reading this, you’re probably wondering,

“What could this series be possibly about? Why blog THIS series? Why haven’t you answered my question about you not wearing the pants in the relationship?” 

No, this show isn’t about gundam-sized people.
Unlike many of the top rating anime in its time period, His and Her Circumstances does not revolve around any fantastical setting, such as space, the future, or historical Japan. It instead pioneered the setting (along with Boys over Flowers), many “romantic comedies set at school” would follow in the next decade. Before the year 2000, not many series of this mold existed. Compare that to the next decade or so, where about four to five times as many series were produced that fit such a mold. This isn’t suggesting that the shows that followed looked to Kare Kano as their exemplar, but rather that Kare Kano was one of the first to execute the niche properly.

Plot-wise, the show revolves around the world of Yukino Miyazawa: your overachieving high school girl viewed in high regards. A normal stereotype, but what the show equation in adds is…

This isn’t your tsundere. This is your two-faced heroine. She shows her admirable, refined and polite mask to 99% percent of the population, whilst her family is stuck with the spoiled, rash, narcissistic, and unfashionable inner self. In fact, recent anime character Kuroneko from Oreimo could be considered her complete opposite. That’s not to say that either of them are bad people, but that her family gets the more “human” side of her, to be gentle on words ^^.

Do I see some…
…similarities here?
Naw, it couldn’t…
…be possible!

Our two-faced heroine has one goal in high school: to be admired and adored by everyone, to be excellent in everything she does, and to be the best. She is the self-proclaimed “queen of vanity” after all.

However, we wouldn’t have a plot if things went too smooth. A new challenger appears, whether he knows about it or not! Meet Keita- I mean Soichiro Arima! Top-ranking class rep, son of the owner of a huge hospital, and has great looks, great manners, great athleticism, and of course, greater grades.

Keitaro wishes he could be this guy.

Miss Miyazawa’s reaction?

I didn’t know he was a cardboard cutout!

 

Thus Kare Kano begins with a rivalry between the high-achieving girl and the higher-achieving boy. However, knowing this was a love-comedy-school anime already, you’ll know they’ll make their amends soon enough, and maybe even more… =). As a reader, you’ll just have to find that out yourself. As the plot progresses, more characters come into play, and the plot even diverts often to the other characters in the series.

However, above all else, you’ll find that Kare Kano is deeply rooted in examining the logistics of relationships. Whether it’s between family, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, grandparents, or stepbrothers, Kare Kano seeks to show all these relationships possible, albeit in comedic and dramatic tones, which constantly alternate throughout to the end. The anime doesn’t follow the traditional approach of “pure comedy firsthand, then transition into drama”, but rather evenly distributes the two styles within the series, within episodes, and within each other.

Something to note is the surrealism that the series tends to do during dramatic moments. Often symbolism is shown rather than the scene itself, accompanied by ambiguous words that leave interpretation to the reader. If you’ve seen Hideaki Anno’s other famous work, Evangelion, the surreal kind of flavor is recognizable.

“But what of the animation Zan?” -my inner editor

Animation-wise, His and Her Circumstances is…unique. Imagine your favorite manga being animated, but not fully. Certain parts say…stay 2D.

=3

 

Quite often does Kare Kano make use of stills and “sketches” such as this one to emphasize the mood. In fact, certain episodes take on “experimental” storytelling styles….
She’s on fire. Literally.
Certain scenes, are illustrated manga-wise…
The character designed improved for Arima! ^^’

 

…whilst others take super exaggerated approaches.

*click*
I totally smell Hideaki Anno in here.

If you like super-exaggerated scenes that bounce all over the place, then you’ll appreciate the style Kare Kano has to offer. If you prefer more consistent and humanistic representations of emotion…well bear with it if you’re here for the plot ^^.

It’s this varied art style usage that has helped Kare Kano remain a classic in many people’s hearts. Never will you get an episode that’s the same, whether’s it through paper cutouts, crayon drawings, or even a black-and-white film scheme. Although smooth animation isn’t something that’s demonstrated in this show, it’s varied use of everything else shows its obvious efforts.

Kare Kano: going where no one goes. Ever.

Kare Kano. Personally one of my favorite series of all-time. Although it definitely isn’t for everyone, it still is a show many will find worth watching despite its age. If you’re looking for a classic and earth-grounded love story, then I suggest you check this series out. However, if Key’s various side stories in it’s anime have appealed to you too, I’d also recommend seeing this as well.

Please leave a comment! ^^

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About Zanibas

I want to be a real blogger someday...but for now, I'll be content just writing about random anime ^_^.
This entry was posted in Anime, Retrospectives and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Kare Kano – An introduction to the series in retrospective.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Shadiic here,Nice intro as I felt prepared to follow this series as you have given me infomation about the series and what to expect in the episodes. This being said, it can't be applied to shows which are currently airing. Will be waiting for your first ep/group/arc review to see what's your style and what to expect.

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