An Oasis of Thoughts

Kimi to Boku. Review: 80/100

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What show doesn’t start off slow nowadays only for it to actually become better overtime? Unfortunately many anime viewers are impatient and if they don’t like what they see on episode 1 it’s dropped from their viewing schedule.  A good example for this would be the Fall 2011 series “Kimi to Boku”. It had to deal with the consistent comments of “OMG TEH GAY DO NOT WANT (an exaggeration but still..) and “It’s boring”. Now i can talk in depth about the latter criticism. As a hard-core slice of life fan, even i had the urge to call KtB “boring” after the first two episodes. It was almost too realistic: a group of high school boys doing what high school boys usually do. No mechas, no ecchi, no outlandish premise but an everyday look at a regular group of friends. For most people this is just too mundane to give a watch but if you’re open to a slice of life series or this series is your first slice of life experience then watch till episode 3 and then you can drop this series if it still bores you. The hero who saves the show from total boredom and who also breaths life into these group of mundane characters is the boy in the middle of the picture: Chizuru Tachibana. Chizuru brings more energy to the show than the entire cast combined and it takes a bit to get used to his personality especially in contrast to the more easy-going twins Yuuta and Yuuki, effeminate Shun, and Kaname the typical megane character. But after a while, the show becomes so much better: the cast really works well together, the stories are more heart-warming and the music works really well at times. At times i want to call Chizuru a walking plot device but his own personality gives the show life which spreads to the other main characters in due time. The stories are very heart-warming and you may think “Oh, wow i did that too!”. It’s a series about high schoolers, so expect to relate to one of more of the stories presented in this series.

What really surprised me had nothing to do with the anime itself but the company involved with the production of it. If you were to tell me a year ago that J.C. Staff was going to animate a slice of life series with an all male-cast, i’d laugh at you. J.C. Staff is the biggest abuser of the tsundere anime character and the mascot promoting such characters (Rie Kugimiya) and most of their works are criticized for being unfaithful to the original source, bad pacing or sub-par animation.  Most of their series are about tsunderes or moe characters with little or no originality (tell me Hidan no Aria doesn’t resemble Shakugan no Shana?) and i was really fearing for the worst with news of this adaptation. Luckily it seems that my fears were quickly dashed and i commend J.C. Staff for doing a great job with this series even if it’s obvious they didn’t really put a lot of effort into it. Another surprise is how similar this show is to a favorite of mine: Natsume Yuujinchou. Not only that but this series even took over the timeslot of Natsume Yuujinchou San’s 1:30 AM showing on TV Tokyo. Anyways to make it short, if you’re a fan of Natsume Yuujinchou this show is a great fit for you.

To wrap it up, Kimi to Boku was a sweet surprise that managed to pull itself out of the weak first two episodes to become a great watch for us slice of life fans and a good watch to anyone willing to give this show a chance. I highly recommend this series, as a second season is already announced for next spring. Start watching this under-rated series and support the studio with buying DVDs or Blu-rays. I say this because as of right now, sales for volume 1 are really bad and if season 2 is just as good as this season then the sales really determine if a season 3 is possible. Anyways, enough pleading..Happy Holidays and have a happy New Year!

Animation: 8/10 – J.C. Staff didn’t really put in an effort except those gorgeous watercolor pictures in the end of the episodes (drawings courtesy of mangaka Hotta Kichi herself). Then again, it’s a slice of life so what do you expect? The OP looks pretty low-budget as well and the ED had no animation at all (but really nice drawings from Hotta Kichi). But some times, simple beats extravagant (*cough*Gurren Lagann*cough*) and the animation works really well in this series like with the occasional flower petal drops.

Story: 8/10 – It’s hard to define what a story is in this series. Like in my Michiko to Hatchin review, it was the journey and not the actual plot that matters and i think the same can apply here. The tremendous improval of each episode deserves praise and the stories are a real treat for us slice of life fans. Obviously YMMV (your milage may vary) on this score depending on your feelings towards this genre. A complaint is raised in the beginning of the usage of flashbacks but i didn’t mind them at all and it was nice to see our cast in their youthful days.

Sound: 8/10 – I really love the voice acting in this series. Yuuta and Yuuki’s voices are so scary similar you actually think they are voiced by actual twins but in reality kudos goes to Kouki Uchiyama (Yuuta) and Ryohei Kimura (Yuuki) for doing a splendid job. Of course the real star is Miyu Irino as the spunky Chizuru, balancing a tight line from being too dull and too annoying. Other notables are Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Shun, also Flit from Gundam AGE and Mikado from Durarara!!) and Yuuki Ono (Kaname, many minor roles).  The insert songs used in the series are also timed perfectly in most cases, and surprisingly the singer of those songs is a guy! But the real treat for me is the OP/ED: I really liked the cheerfulness of the OP with contrast with the more reminiscent feel of the ED.

Characters: 8/10 – They may be flawed (especially stereotyped) but the cast of KtB is fun and easily relatable in some situations. The twins employ deadpan humor, Kaname can be strict, Shun is the girliest one of them all and Chizuru is just all over the place. You can relate to at least one of them and with that feeling of similarity you can develop a closer bond with these characters.

Enjoyment: 8/10 – It started off weak and ended quite well. Kimi to Boku is the textbook definition of “improvement”. All across the board this series is helped with smooth animation, smoother BGM and characters you can easily relate to. It may have faults, but i really enjoyed the end result of Kimi to Boku and eagerly await season 2!

Kimi to Boku Score Tally:
Story – 12/15
Characters – 16/20
Animation – 8/10
Sound – 8/10
Enjoyment – 36/45
Total – 80/100 


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