Watch or Drop? Koikimo

Age gap romances with a pushy older guy – not sure comedy is the right tone here.

Watch or Drop? Rules

  1. The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
  2. At least 3 episodes have already aired.
  3. Episodes 1- 3 to be watched in a single sitting and a decision reached as to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
I’m wondering who that line would actually work on.

First Impressions:

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).

Affiliate Link – PlayAsia

Series Positives:

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.

Plus, she calls it like she sees it.

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.

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Series Negatives:

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.

Verdict?

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.

Other Impressions:

Images from: Koikimo. Dir. N Nakayama. Nomad. 2021.


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8 thoughts on “Watch or Drop? Koikimo

  1. I didn’t think I’d like this nearly as much as I have been. I think in my own predictions, I felt it would be disturbing as hell or funny in a super cringey way, and while it’s definitely the latter for the most part, I’m oddly curious to see where things shall go. I have my personal desires for how I want things to develop, but none of them are relating to her ending up with creepo, stalker dude.

  2. I honestly thought you would drop this one.

    The age gap is proving an issue among fans but not for the obvious reasons. because Ichika is a high schooler the flags are going up but high school in Japan goes up to 18, giving supporters of the show ammo to shut down the complainers. However, rather scarily, the age of consent there is 13 so maybe there is still room to be concerned about where this goes!

    Even though I don’t recall it being raised in the anime, Ichika is apparently 17 according to the manga readers so hardly a babe in arms, but Ryo is meant to be 27 who should really know better. That doesn’t stop this being creepy of course but this would classify Ryo’s interest as ephebophilia and not paedophilia.

    Actually, I once worked with a guy who was 23 and dating a 16 year-old. People called him cradle snatcher and such but I don’t think he cared. he wasn’t with us that long so I don’t know if this lasted or not (probably not).

    Judging by how Ichika rejects Ryo’s advances but is flattered by his help and attentions, this is treading a fine line at the moment but I am hoping this show is more about Ryo’s redemption as a womaniser than his fixation with Ichika.

    1. It certainly got more tolerable by ep 3. I thought this was a sure drop as well but it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated from some reviews. The power of low expectations at work.

  3. I did have to “wear down” my future wife. We’ve been married since 1986, so I don’t think it was such a bad thing. I think there’s a difference between “no” and “leave me alone, asshole.” Of course, my wife has never had any problem being assertive.

    The age-gap thing is a middle age male fantasy. (I think the market for anime includes of lot of them.) Japan has a fetish about young girls. There are guys in the US who feel the same way. I think age gap and related power disparity is what makes “won’t take no for an answer” creepy.

    1. As a girl, I just know that any guy who called me after I told him not to would have been blocked and his gifts wouldn’t be on display in my room, they’d have been tossed. The age gap makes it worse but even if he was the same age he is definitely harrassing her.

  4. This is great. I’ve been away from anime and blogging for far to long but I’m glad to finally come back and look for recommendations and engage in conversation with other anime watchers. I do worry about watching a story though that might put a positive light on a very unhealthy relationship. Oh if you don’t mind me asking did you get the idea for watch or drop from that one post I made to long ago. I’m just curious because I tired to start a series with a similar name.

    1. Didn’t get the name from anywhere in particular it was just the question I was trying to answer (I am bad at titles so tend to be pretty literal).
      The unhealthy relationship is definitely an issue fgor this anime and is going to put a lot of viewers off. Depending on how offensive you find it will deyermine whether you will keep watching or not. By episode 3 this was more enjoyable but it doesn’t change the foundation if the relationship being unhealthy.

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