Koikimo may tread on some uncomfortable territory for some viewers. But is it worth giving a go?
Watch or Drop? Rules
Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.
- The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
- I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
Right, so I went into this expecting to hate it. I know, very open minded of me going into a show thinking I’m going to hate it. Largely because I don’t like age-gap relationships, but I’d get over that. I really don’t like guys being persistent toward a girl when they’ve already been told no and stories that somehow reward characters for pressuring someone and ‘wearing them down’. Taken in a real world context, it is just creepy. Add in the age gap factor here and it is really creepy. Throw in the friend who is siding with her older brother and actually enabling the whole thing and in any real world context there would be serious issues to deal with here.
So, we’ve established I hate the premise here. And yet I watched all three available episodes and actually didn’t hate it. The creep factor isn’t going away if you logically think about the story so for those who can’t distance themselves from the fact that the premise is built around a behaviour that in the real world really should not be accepted given how it makes the recipient feel, this story is going to be an instant drop. If you get through the set-up though, is there enough to keep you watching?
Realistically, the set-up here is no worse than Dakaichi (or plenty of other boys love anime) and I really loved that anime once we moved beyond the set-up and into the story (actually one might argue Dakaichi is actually worse in terms of its set-up because at least here there’s no alcohol or sex involved).
Ichika, the main girl involved in this story, is actually a pretty good character so far. Her blunt reactions to Ryo’s earlier advanced and her general caution in dealing with him there-after are relatively sensible. Less sensible is her continuing to answer his calls and not block his number, but he is her friend’s brother and that could make her friendship a little awkward so you can kind of let that go. She also has genuine enthusiasm for anime and manga and really she comes across as a fairly interesting protagonist in general who has more going for her than just being a romantic lead.
Likewise, I found Ryo’s friendship with Masuda came off as fairly genuine as the two drink together and Masuda’s reaction to Ryo’s current situation was nicely handled. Ichika’s classmate, Tamaru, who may actually have a crush on her was also a decently interesting character. Actually, so far the only cast members I don’t like are Ryo, and I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to like him in episode one but they are gradually turning down the creep factor in the subsequent episodes, and Rio, his sister, who seems to exist just to keep stirring the romance.
I’d definitely have to point out that a positive is that while in episode one, Ryo comes across very much as unbalanced, stalkerish, and generally an incredibly unlikeable character in a story described as a romance, however over episodes two and three, while he doesn’t do an about face, there’s a genuine effort being made to reduce his off-putting traits and to focus in on his strengths. He also seems to take on board some of Ichika’s critiques and isn’t quite as pushy by the end of episode 3.
I kind of covered the main negative in my first impressions. This anime is definitely not depicting a solid foundation for a healthy relationship. If you can’t put that aside, this anime is going to crash and burn hard for you because it is the basis of everything that comes after.
Otherwise though, the weakest link in the cast is Rio, Ryo’s sister. She’s supposedly Ichika’s friend, but really her only role in the story has been to enable Ryo. She gives him Ichika’s number, delivers gifts, and gives him intel. Without Rio, Ryo wouldn’t have had an in to meet Ichika again. However, despite her being essential to the plot, they haven’t really bothered with giving Rio much else to be other than plot device so far. It would be nice if her character was a little more fleshed out.
That might be a weird verdict but while I found the first episode almost as obnoxious as I expected to find it, by episode 3 I was getting more drawn into the story and characters and I kind of want to know where this will end up. I think what saves it is that Ichika does call Ryo out on his behaviour and his behaviour is toning down so we might get to a point where it actually does feel more natural and less forced. Of course, I definitely think the English title: “It’s Too Sick To Call This Love” kind of got it right. Then again, I’m solidly on team Tamaru even if he isn’t interested in Ichika. I could listen to those two geek out quite happily for the rest of the season.
- From TWWK: First Impressions Koikimo
- From Aquagaze: First Look – Koikimo
- From Sesameacryllic – Koikimo First Impressions (So We’re Doing This, Huh?)
Images from: Koikimo. Dir. N Nakayama. Nomad. 2021.
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