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Kiss Him, Not Me UK Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

A mixed message here with fun and comedy but at something that definitely seems a bit off…

What They Say:
Kae Serinuma is what you’d call a “fujoshi”. When she sees boys getting along with each other, she loves to indulge in wild fantasies! One day her favourite anime character dies and the shock causes her to lose a ton of weight. Then four hot guys at school ask her out, but that isn’t exciting to her at all – she’d rather see them date each other!
Contains episodes 1-12 on Blu-Ray with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio has a 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese – I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare – and with the Japanese release I did have to raise the volume a little from my default settings, however, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall. The dub is excellent too, albeit I’m certain there were some issues with some of the material…

Video:
Similar with the audio, the video is set in full screen format via NTSC transfer to PAL format with the show combining animation with some of the brightest clarity I’ve seen on a Blu-Ray, it is incredibly well defined and in your face with the animation (pretty boy and girl sparkles certainly help) because of just how bright and colourful it is –with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in either language, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release…though you feel so much effort and style in a harem show seems a bit overkill…

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release.
Menu:

The menu on both discs is pretty basic – we have Kae in the middle of her harem of Yusuke, Nozomu, Shima, and Hayato with the shows logo above them and a red bar is underneath them with the selections Play All, Episodes, Setup, and Extras – easily selectable and also via the pop-up menu can return to these selections (bar extras) – straightforward but fitting for the show’s style.

Extras:
The only extras are the clean opening and ending, and trailers for Fruits Basket, Cheer Boys and Handa-kun.

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Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kiss Him, Not Me is one of those series that the concept didn’t really draw me in – a couple of my friends quite liked it but wasn’t on my radar. The manga has recently concluded in Japan in February after 5 years, whilst the anime aired late 2016 and with a second season screaming out for it, I was wondering what my opinion would be as there are definitely a few things and concepts that wasn’t keen on. And whilst I will admit I did laugh out loud a number of times at some of the humour, there was still an element of the set up which meant I couldn’t fully embrace it…

Our first episode introduces all our main characters – Kae, a boys-love fan (fujioshi) is a girl who is a bit overweight but has a fun personality, who along with her best friend Amane fantasises about both real life and anime boy-boy pairings – the four that Kae seems to have an eye on in this regime is Yusuke, a kind soccer star, Nozomu, a bad boy type guy, Hayato, a girlish looking younger boy and Asuma, her senior in the history club. At first, this seems like a comedy show, but then takes a twist when after her favourite character in her favourite show dies; she goes into shock and doesn’t leave her bed for a week…

…and then when she leaves, she discovers she has lost a ton of weight and from this, she is now quite the looker…

O.K, biology licence aside, this is going to be the ongoing issue I have in the show (especially in one episode which will explain near the end) is that once she has lost the weight and looks really cute, the 4 mentioned boys all suddenly begin to crush on her (Asuma might be the exception because he may be apart from a later character have liked her before hand)…so yeah, the elephant of the room is that the guys suddenly are attracted to her because she is no longer fat. This would normally be a much bigger deal if it wasn’t for the fact that she is STILL a giant otaku and this saves the show a lot because a) she doesn’t know how to deal with the attention and b) she fangirls like made despite trying to be ‘normal.’ The first episode is classic when she goes to a movie with the 4 guys and has to withhold her urges at otaku stuff…but fails when a store is down to the last limited item and she runs and ‘reveals’ her true self. The group now have to try and see how they can handle it, which is the primary focus of the story and indeed, the comedy…

Each of the guys gets their moments but in the end, they are all rivals as well, as they don’t want Kae to be with anyone else, so they have to join the other guys when they ask her to do something…even if it something they aren’t keen on (usually to do with Kae’s otaku tendencies…the title itself should be a clue, she wants the guys to get with each other, not with her!) – we get help from Yusuke and Nozomu when she is recruited into the soccer club (Yusuke the normal nice guy with Nozomu more blunt but is the classic ‘tsundere’ style character), her older brother part disgusted at his sister and part trying to keep the creepy boys off her, small dates with each of them at the culture festival (hilariously defied when she can’t handle the attention, they please her by dancing with each other at the Bon Dance), going to Comiket with her to buy her doujins – and there they meet another potential suitor for Kae…this one a bit different because it’s a girl – a handsome young woman named Shima who is also quite the fujioshi and being quite manly yet still attractive, she is the other person who knew her when she was fat (she even calls out many of the girls who didn’t find her attractive until she lost the weight – more on that at the end), she gives the yuri alternative to Kae (even steals her first kiss, though claims because it was from a girl it ‘doesn’t count’…hmm…)…they even have a falling out over a pairing they like in a new anime and when Shima wins a contest over it, she feels incredibly guilty and shows how she knew her beforehand – the two are definitely best friends/soulmate material if nothing else…

Because of Kae’s tendencies, the guys whether they want to or not tend to get roped into her mischief, usually giving one of the other characters a chance to shine – the one I tend to like the most is Asuma who because of his connection to Kae prior to her weight loss via the history club, seems to genuinely connect with her and one of the few who knew her personality and still liked her beforehand. He is more of a nice guy than the actual nice guy character and is far more interesting because of that – an episode where after a trip to a historical site based on an anime she likes, Asuna and Kae are stranded along after a ‘storm’ happened (might have been a hallucination) and it is revealed he was in love with her before her transformation , whilst Nozomu is probably the other interesting guy (albeit for different and in one case, not as good reasons) is revealed to work part time on a magical girl like stage show when some staff get sick and works alongside Kae but gets a cold and leads to a moment where delirious from the fever he kisses her forcibly and he regrets this, so the two have to make up the understanding before the show concludes…

The youngest guy, Hayato, really doesn’t have as much interaction as the others – his gimmick seems to be simply he’s stern, young and a bit weak – which again isn’t the best message the show is portraying if he wants to be ‘manly’ for the girl – his focus episode when on the beach and failing to impress Kae, he runs away but is found by Kae in an area where some delinquents the other guys shooed away – he gets ‘brave’ before the others help him out, but again, a lack of character for him and Takuro doesn’t help and whilst the concept of the show is in your brain, the characters themselves aren’t for the most part.

The last few episodes try to fast forward and even add another suitor to the miss, Asuma’s brother Kazuma, who is a bit of a bully with a smile on his face as he becomes a student teacher at the school. Outside of a few yaoi moments and a Yu-Gi-Oh style card game with Kae as the prize (again, great message…) it doesn’t really add much, and then when the final episode has each of the cast have a small date with her (again) it ends rather stupidity with no real resolution apart from a couch gag from the first episode…

So it seems from this the show is a bit annoying for me, but for a lot of it, I actually quite enjoyed it. A lot of the comedy actually really hits well – though that’s because most of the comedy is through Kae. It’s funny despite her harem mostly being uninteresting; Kae herself is quite a lively and fun character. What I love is that despite her transformation, she never changes who she is – she’s still an otaku and everyone has to accept it, whether they like it or not – her new looks are accidental and she can’t hide the fact that it bugs her and doesn’t like it or understand the attention…part of the fun is the fact she wishes the guys would hit on each other. This is why I love her pairing with soulmate Shima, as the yuri option seems to be the best one in terms of friendship, with Asuma being the only one of the guys with any real personality that isn’t a bit dickish or uninteresting as his nice guy tendencies make you wonder if he did have any romantic interest in Kae, the last few episodes though do spell it out…

The problem is though two things. One as mentioned is the fact the harem is particularly uninteresting – and coming into the second point, also quite shallow. Yusuke, for example, admits he has begun to fall in love with Kae even during a certain period said below, but only because it got spelt out via Shima. Nozomu almost seems like a Kyo from Fruits Basket expy, but without the charm. He gets a few good guy moments especially with his little sister, but again, he is quite shallow and despite trying to grow out of it, it hurts the show. And Hayato’s tendencies to not like his girlish looks yet also trying to be stern, really doesn’t make him memorable…

The second big problem is simply the concept. I mentioned early there was an episode which really felt like was hard to adapt? Episode 5 – basically is a Valentine’s Day episode – the first half is fun as Kae is trying to make a 3D chocolate sculpture for a contest and the gang all help her out with some hijinks – simple but funny. The second half however is pretty much a blunt episode of fat shaming and made me quite uncomfortable. Long story short – Kae gains all the weight she lost by eating all the Valentines’ chocolate she had left over, and with the exception of Asuma and Shima, the rest are pretty much upset and try to force her to lose the weight. Shima calls them out on being shallow (leading to Yusuke realising he was truly in love with her even with the weight) – it could have set up the guys falling for her here…but instead they set up a scheme that every time she loses weight, they set up some yaoi fanservice for her to ‘motivate’ her…

Great message there.

So yeah, it leaves a bit of an uncomfortable spot for me with this episode in particular – though the entire show is built around the concept of Kae becoming formerly fat and now a beautiful girl. There are plenty of funny moments but most are due to Kae being a hardcore fujioshi and how the guys handle that – in one respect, the guys aren’t trying to force her to change her ways…but when it comes to her looks, that’s another story so the show is a real mixed message. It’s a shame because there were definite ideas here but whilst not a dud of a show thanks to Kae, the cast bar Shima and Azuma are dull and shallow, and the moments of laughing out loud, whilst there, are not enough to really make this a top show to recommend.

Summary:
Kiss Him, Not Me is a show not sure if aimed for yaoi fans or romance fans, but strangely the yaoi/fujioshi tendencies are the best parts of the show thanks to Kae’s amazing imagination, and the moments she gets with Shima at least are entertaining, and Azuma at least is kind and sempai enough to be remembered. Sadly whilst there are some fun moments, the entire concept combined with some very dull and shallow harem members make this one of those that can make you feel a bit ‘ugh’ and not really worth the hassle….

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Anime Limited
Release Date: April 30th, 2018
MSRP: £19.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
PlayStation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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