22 August 2020 | styguev
Problematic--could have been more responsible
I watched Kiss Him, Not Me because I wanted something light-of course slice of life would a contender. The premise is simple: it's about a group that formed based on their shared admiration for a fujoshi named Kae. The rest of the narrative as well as the characters' development and interaction with each other unfurl surrounding Kae as well. Given the show's themes, it was natural that gender and sexuality would be involved-to which the show addressed rather poorly.
To be honest, this series was sort of confusing. It was self-aware with sexual orientations, body image, sexual assault and harassment, and a person's (especially a woman's) individuality, but it didn't go beyond that. Most notable are the instances when Kae's pursuers made advances on her and left her utterly helpless. While the show was aware that these were inappropriate, it always left Kae looking defeated, unable to stand up for herself. Her pursuers learned where to draw the line, but it wasn't the same for Kae; she was always the damsel in distress, whose safety depended on other people and not on herself. For a show like this, it could easily address these issues simply through character development. The only thing I can give credit to is how she chose for herself in the end, proving that she does not have to live up to anyone's expectations ("and with that, I'm sorry!").
On another note, this show could have tackled issues surrounding fujoshi culture, especially concerning fetishizing gay love or even objectifying men. Maybe it's time we start to take cultural phenomena like this seriously.
I know that this genre and the anime industry in general can be problematic, and many people just leave it at that and enjoy anime for what it is. But it doesn't have to be that way. Kiss Him, Not Me had an OK premise that could have been both light AND responsible when it comes to issues on gender and sexuality. It's not that complicated.