14 August 2001 | evilkeen
Looking for a non-clichéd animé romance? This is it.
You have to admit that a great deal of the allure towards Japanese Animation is the relief from the clichés of American Film and Television.
However, if you have watched animé for any real period of time, you'll come to the painful realization that it too has it's own set of horribly predictable clichés.
Take the Romance genre for example. Female Heroines seem to all be infected with the dreaded "Who do I like this week?" syndrome. Love Triangles/Cubes/Dodecahedrons are rampant throughout these storylines.
This is why Gainax's "Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou" is such a breath of fresh air. Gone are the dizzy female characters with the cheesy inner monologues, gone are the overattractive male characters that exist only as temptations. Karekano is the simple story of a boy and a girl who have difficulty being truthful to others, and the difficulty of maintaining an honest public image (a theme dealt in Gainax Studio's "Neon Genesis Evangelion".) The show smoothly switches from serious drama to high comedy with nary a glaring disparity. Which is how it should be. High School--especially High School Romance--can indeed (at least in hindsight) be remembered by many real people as a very humorous period in their life.
Karekano was directed by Hideaki "Man am I ever depressed" Anno (his first animated work since "Evangelion") and he imbues his world with a unique visual presentation. Characters can be animated in an unbelievably over-the-top way when the situation calls for it. Yet in another scene appear as a beautiful monochromatic pencil rendering that is absolutely dead on emotionally. Anno's style for this series is to show situations in an indirect visual way. The time of day is indicated wordlessly by a series of outdoor vignettes that astonishes me with their verisimilitude. Shots of traffic control lights and construction signs can indicate a character's emotional cycle.
To digress. You should definitely try this series out if your tastes run deeper then a "Fight of the week show" and if you are getting disillusioned with the frustrating unoriginality of many modern animé.