- Alt. Name
- Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui
- Release Date
- Spring 2021
- No. of Episodes
- Web Manga
Koikimo is a 2021 Romantic Comedy anime series from Japanese animation studio Nomad. Now, if this anime studio rings some bell in anyone’s brain and they’re unable to recall exactly why that is precise. The most extensive series that this studio has created was Rosen Maiden, which premiered in 2004, almost twenty years prior. According to any online database, Nomad has yet to make another anime series that has performed anything alike. Though this is not a terrible thing to have, the closest animation studio in America that does the same thing is Illumination. So it seems to be a global problem to have with a popular franchise. But just because something may not take the world by storm doesn’t mean it’s terrible. However, it’s also not a pleasant positive to have.
People fall in love in the most mysterious of ways. This statement seems to be especially true for the affluent genius playboy Ryou Amakusa. When he nearly falls off the stairs one rainy morning, a girl named Ichika Arima saves him. As if by fate, Ryou reencounters Ichika later that night; she happens to be the best friend of his little sister, Rio. She later finds out that he is somewhat of a womanizer, and he wants to repay her for saving him. He suggests that he should kiss her or even go out on a date sometime with her, which she finds rather creepy.
Though persistent, Ryou continues to “thank” her by wooing her, usually to no avail. His flirtatious tactics only to be immediately shot down. Rather than being discouraged, Ryou instead becomes more enthralled by her, and he begins to do everything he can to steal Ichika’s heart despite receiving disgusted rejections every time. However, as time passes by, will Ichika remain repulsed by Ryou’s creepy yet dedicated advances? Or will he move onto a new plaything?
When any anime series comes out within the boy meets girl romance genre, the formula has been done to death. However, if the series can put a wrench into the mix, they might create something beautiful. Koikimo has a fundamental yet entertaining story where boy meets girl, but the gimmick in this series is a slightly abnormal age gap. The story has solid pacing where each episode does make progress, but not an unrealistic amount where the viewer may find it boring. Within this story, they take a more realistic approach to its problems, like the age gap, family relationships, societies views on what we should want versus what we want. Having all those plus creating a romance story is rather intriguing.
While the most significant compliment, this story must be acknowledged is that it doesn’t play itself as a typical romance anime. For over half, the episodes are more slice of life with one or two scenes of potential romance, which is terrific considering the two main characters aren’t a couple, even though they might be. Each person is at a different point in their lives, and having characters in separate parts of life means challenges outside of the scope of normalcy within romance anime. Having something outside of the norm is a terrific thing, and within those opens up so many more possibilities for growth.
Unfortunately, this series has a couple of significant problems, and some are unbearable to potential viewers. For starters, the beginning pacing is languid and mundane. For whatever reason, Koikimo didn’t find its pacing until the fourth episode, which is way too long considering that’s one-third of the series. Most viewers on the fence about any series will immediately stop watching if they are disinterested in anime, especially when hundreds of new anime are coming out every three months. However, this was not the main problem within the story; the main problem is that it relies too heavily on the slow pacing a bit too much. Having a slow-paced show is okay if they have a remarkable story to back it up with, but it’s a bit anticlimactic at the end of the series.
Another problem some viewers may find troubling about this anime’s story is that it’s a bit generic. Of course, that’s hard to do with a series within the romance genre; everyone knows what to expect, but it’s generic within the outcomes of the dilemmas. There are no “oh no” moments to make the viewer question what will happen next. This story is a prime example of an amusement park ride experience; it’s set on a track that goes from point A to B, then to C, the person who has been on any ride similar knows precisely what’s going to happen whenever it comes up. Sure, the ride is still fun, but nothing new to experience.
Though the art style in Koikimo is a bit lackluster, this is not a negative within any means of the word. It’s realistic and dull when the characters feel nothing, but the colors slightly get brighter as they grow emotionally. The sudden shift from severe to the comical art style is fresh and perfectly timed. What makes this stand out more than anything is that they don’t play too much into its art styles like other shows. It’s beautiful for what it is and not for the backgrounds and colorful characters. This level of realism is a nice touch that anyone can feel appreciative of, especially when the characters are bonding.
The animation production, however, is another story. On the surface, it looks generic with very little to praise. But once you get past this assumption, the viewer will immediately realize just how wrong they were. There is a bit more to this anime than generics. The opening animation is perfectly timed and animated exceptionally well; whoever was part of this creative work exceptionally well together. The song “Monoqio City” by ACE COLLECTION was a perfect fit for a series such as this. It had a catchy pop song that was not too overly pop, making it sound generic, and it’s easy to get stuck inside one’s head.
Then the ending animation was a fine choice as well, slow and steady until the very last episode. The song is best compared to completing a puzzle backward. The pieces are all there, but the person can’t understand what’s happening until the very last part of the puzzle is in place. The animation was pleasing to one’s eye, and even the singer is remarkable within this song. When it comes to the voice actors being perfect throughout the series is not only an understatement, it’s notable that it’s paired with a beautiful original soundtrack. The slowness of each piece paired with the precise and perfectly timed emotion of certain scenes was the icing on the cake.
Perhaps when it comes to any romance anime series characters, this is one of the most important factors to consider. If one isn’t interested in any of the characters, then the story is bound to fail. Ichika Arima is a seventeen-year-old high school student who, after saving Ryo from falling down the stairs and giving him her lunch, receives Ryo’s enthusiastic approach. Her name means “one flower,” and because of this, it catches Ryo’s attention. She is a little hardheaded, and in doing so, is also close-minded on things such as love since she thinks she doesn’t have the time to do so.
Ryo Amakusa is a twenty-seven-year-old womanizer salaryman who loves Ichika after receiving a cold reply from her when offering his own body as gratitude for saving him. He is best described as a person who encompasses nearly all love languages; Acts of service, Quality time. Words of Affirmation and finally Physical Touch. He is considered a player, though when he catches feelings for Ichika, that’s the only woman he could ever see. Though there was one word to describe him, he’s a bit of an accidental manipulator. However, this may sound not good, but it fits his personality perfectly. He is a person that others perceive to be one thing, and when he incorrectly says something that could be misconstrued as something else, that’s what starts the domino effect of the manipulation.
Rio Amakusa is Ryo’s younger sister and best friend at school. She is very supportive of their relationship but is also very protective of both her best friend and older brother. She helps whenever she feels like she needs to but doesn’t overstep the line of getting in-between their business. Out of anyone within this series, she’s the only one who has a solid maturity level, making her wise beyond her years. There are a few other characters within this series, but these are the main ones that add anything to the significant chunk of the series without giving potential spoilers to the story. Overall, this series has a decent cast of entertaining and relatable characters to any viewer watching.
When the last episode is done, the viewer will bathe in this anime’s complete existence. One can fall in love with plenty of aspects, but just as many negatives as one could disapprove of anime. This series can please everyone and doesn’t dive too heavily into romance like some romcom anime series have done in the past. The most significant caveat that any potential viewer is okay with a ten-year age gap between the characters will be a fantastic series for the viewer. Though nothing physically happens to the underage girl’s past of kissing, some may find the age difference weird and a vital turn-off to any series. For the most part, this series will be entertaining to most viewers, especially those looking for a better and more realistic romance.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.