Although I really enjoyed this show, there is a certain degree or caliber of sexism in it. I’ll explain that as we proceed. OK, so it’s another school-based rom-com. What are the odds of that!??!
“Watashi ga Motete Dōsunda” (“Kiss Him, Not Me”) tells the story of Kae Serinuma (that’s her in the middle, amid all those folks). She is a fujoshi. What, like a ninja? No; that’s a kunoichi. A fujoshi is a female otaku who loves yaoi material (either anime or manga) and imagining men together in romantic relationships, both fictional and real. However, when the show starts out, she is a blob, a rather overweight type (I mean, even the art style for hefty Kae is rather different) and so she is easily dismissed by all, as they cannot see the sparkling personality underneath the rolls and mounds and the questionable fashions she sports (although she does dress better than Kellyanne Conway).
There is a show that she loves and adores and lives and dies for, ‘Mirage Saga’. She does not miss a single episode and chases after all the tchotchkes out there. One day, the show had the temerity to kill off a main character, Shion. This so devastates her, she stays at home for a full week, neither eating nor sleeping, as she weeps mightily into her body pillow of him. When she finally returns to school, she has done the Ugly Duckling. What was once a blob is now a babe, but she initially does not see it and no one is seemingly able to put two and two together to realize that A IS B. Now, all of a sudden, she attracts the attention of four lads in her classroom (left to right):
Yūsuke Igarashi (behind Kae)
The one in maroon, Shima Nishina, is initially an androgynous girl, who dresses like a boy, and runs a dojin circle, where she does yaoi art and stories. She and Kai share fujoshi tendencies. The story talks about not only Kae’s emergence as a romantic focal point, but also the rivalries of all those involved to prove that they would be the best for Kae. Yes, even Nishina is involved in this competition as well. I feel her intrusion is done more to show that (a) ladies can be girl friends and not girlfriends and (b) just to tick off the guys.
We run through a series of paces, setting up a bunch of romantic situations and circumstances, as everyone slowly comes to the conclusion that they do, indeed, love Kae. I mean, a deep, abiding love and not just drooling fantasy love. Now, there is an episode in the middle, when Kae gains back all the weight she lost. The guys then get together to help her lose the weight she gained, so she is her cute self again. Yeah, there’s the sexism for me. We want ‘em cute and sexy, not fat and blobby. And she will do ANYTHING for a yaoi reward (what she gets for losing the weight).
So, the story steams to its first season conclusion as to whom Kae will decide to be with. The rest will be in the Friend Zone, but only one gets the garland of roses. Who will it be?
This is a rare anime, as you hardly see overweight ladies and any guy who’s ‘hefty’ is usually an otaku nerd NEET, so they can be dismissed. It’s not a bad show, but they could have done more to play up the dichotomy as to how attitudes change when the physical part of a person changes. But I guess we don’t want anything too heavy to get in the way of all the goofy fun. And, yes, there will, there must, there is, gonna be a second season, so we can really up the stakes.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Interesting takes on things, but overall standard)
Plot 8 (Nice revamp on the “My Fair Lady”)
Pacing 8 (Veers towards slapstick)
Effectiveness 7 (Sometimes too obvious)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 1 (A similar show would be “Ouran High School”)
Overall 7 (Got a bit too silly for its own good)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. How could they do that?!!?