Kiss Him, Not Me Anime Review

*The following article contains spoilers.*
Original Run: October 06, 2016 – December 22, 2016 
Number of Episodes: 12 
Genre: Reverse Harem, Romantic Comedy

This anime follows a girl named Kae Serinuma. When you first meet her in the series, she is on the heavier overweight side and is completely obsessed with anime, also known as an otaku. On top of that, she is a complete yaoi fan and has an enormous collection of boys love manga. At school, she tends to get treated as an average person, with no one paying any special attention to her. As she watches her favorite show one night, the main character dies and Kae immediately gets sent into a depression where she is bed-ridden for about a week, missing school and all. When we see her again she has completely changed into a ‘beautiful’ teenage girl. From there, when she heads back to school she is almost unrecognizable and no one knew who she was at first, not even her best friend.

When people do realize who she is, we are fully introduced to our main male characters. The boys include: Yusuke Igarashi (the boy next door type), Nozomu Nanashima (the bad boy type), Hayato Shinomiya (the tsundere type), and Asuma Mitsumi (the gentle type). Out of these 4 gentlemen, Mitsumi knew who Kae was the second he saw her. He did not treat her any different before or after her change in appearance. Shinomiya, is described as the tsundere because when he had met Kae before he gave the cold shoulder, but after she transforms, he is almost head-over-heels, while also on the timid, easy-to-blush side.  Igarashi was always kind to Kae, but after she changes, he is the one later in the story who tries the hardest to understand and realize his true feelings. Lastly, we have Nanashima, who is really a bad boy. Before Kae changes, he doesn’t respect her at all, and after, we see a lot of ups and downs with his character development. The final character in her harem we do not meet right away. We are introduced to them in episode four. When Kae first meets her, she thinks she is a male because she is cosplaying as a butler. When the group meets this mysterious person at school, we learn that she is androgynous, but a female, and therefore the guys don’t see her as a threat right away. Her name is Shima Nishima, and she fell for Kae the moment she set her eyes on her.

Through the story, we get to see each character have special moments with our leading female, Kae. They all develop their character growth while also figuring out their feelings for her. The group also tends to fight a lot for her attention and also argue that they are not hanging out because they think of each other as friends, but to be with Kae; even though us watchers obviously know they are friends in some capacity.

Overarching Themes
When I first began watching it, I thought to myself, as I am sure many other girls did, “I wish I could stay in bed for a week and look beautiful.” Of course, that is just anime magic and that will never happen. This event is also the main plot to the storyline. This makes it obvious at first that the guys are all over her for her looks, and don’t even realize how sweet and nice she is (except Mitsumi and Nishima). Again, this changes, and this is where we see Igarashi’s character development with his internal debate of whether he actually loves her, or her looks. This story takes you through Kae hating her new ‘skinny’ appearance, to getting a bit bigger again, then wanting to lose the weight she re-gained. I think adding in the part where she chooses to lose the weight again brings out a little more about Kae herself, but also the other characters’ true intentions. This whole analysis I did is probably a little in-depth for an anime, but hey, it’s important!

This other aspect of the story where Nishima is a female brings another addition to the romance. Kae and Nishima become good and close friends because they are both into yaoi and are both otakus. The issue is Kae trying to understand Nishima’s feelings, and Nishima not going into territory that Kae finds uncomfortable. As the story progresses, the guys begin to feel uncomfortable and jealous of the idea of the two girls hanging out together alone. But Nishima and Kae, like every friendship, also have their fights and make-ups. It gives another layer to love in this story.

If you are a fan of the reverse harem genre or romance, I would highly recommend this anime. I love the animation design, and the characters are appealing in style but also the coloring of the animation itself. *BIG SPOILER* The worst part of the show is the finale because, in the end of the anime, she doesn’t choose anyone. This show has rumors swirling around about a possibility of a season two, and even hearing speculations about it in summer 2020. So I will keep you updated if I hear any news!

“I was trying so hard not to show my flaws that I didn’t enjoy myself. Really, I’m so sorry. But, I just can’t lie to myself.” 
-Kae Serinuma (Kiss Him, Not Me)