January 01, 2006

His & Her Circumstances...

Once upon a time there was a girl that, to all outward appearances, was perfect. Intelligent, pretty, cultured, she was far and away the most popular girl in her school.

But it was all a facade. She loved, craved, NEEDED the acclaim of her peers, so she worked and WORKED and WORKED at this mask in public, while at home... at home she was a shlub (yes, that's the same person!).

Then HE showed up. Intelligent, handsome, cultured, athletic, he was far and away the most popular boy... in HER school. To make matters worse for her, he scored higher on the entry tests than she did.

HE stole her glory away from her. This was an affront that could not be borne! She MUST beat him immediately! And when the mid-term scores were posted? Success! She scored higher than him!!! Ha-HAH!!! Now to revel in his failure; look, here he comes now!

But he was nice to her and wasn't upset at all that he had lost to her... in fact he didn't even notice that there was a war to the death going on between them!

What?

...in a nutshell, that's the first 7 minutes of the first episode of the anime series His and Her Circumstances, or KareKano as it's more commonly known.

I've gotten through 9 of the 26 episodes so far... but after what you just read above, I was hooked. The main character, Yukino (Her), is a bundle of contradictions; in short, pretty human. The not-quite-main-character, Arima (Him), is a different bundle of puzzles; human in a different way. And while they don't know it after the first 7 minutes, they might be absolutely perfect for each other... if only they can drop the masks they wear (or is he not wearing one at all?)!

KareKano was directed by Hideaki Anno, the same man that led the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion to it's ultimate successes (and storied 'crash-and-burn' failure to tell a legible story), but it's about as far from that show as it's possible to be. The angst is kept to a bare minimum (they ARE teenagers, after all...), and the trademark Gainax weirdness (and boing!)is turned down to very low levels.

In fact, that's the biggest complaint I've seen leveled at this show in reviews. The quality of the animation is probably the weakest of any of the Gainax shows (Evangelion, FLCL, Mahoromatic, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, amongst others)... while I don't know this for a fact, I suspect that's because it was their first TV series after the disasterous ending that was Evangelion, and it just wasn't given the budget their other shows have had.

Nevertheless, the animation is perfectly acceptable... indeed, the slow pan shots work well with the storyline. It's a romance, for heaven's sake, there doesn't NEED to be all the quick edits you get in the Mecha shows.

The humor level is high; generally when I'm watching a show alone, I don't laugh out loud. I'll smile, I'll chuckle, but that's about all. This one, though, has made me laugh.

It's a good'un. If I didn't have to work on Monday, I'd probably charge through this disc and the next tonight. Alas, the Duck has (ahem) bills to pay, so...

But, wow... so far, whatta ride!

(UPDATE: 105am)
Forgot to mention this, but one thing that's amused me to no end is the character design for one of Yukino's sisters. It's perfectly normal... and got reused in FLCL. Here's Eri from FLCL, and here's Yukino's sister from KareKano.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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