Looking back at some old series: A first look at Kimi ga Nozomu Eien

Ah, 2003… life was so much simpler back in those halcyon days of our youth. Songbirds were sweeter, the grass was greener, and harem leads could somehow round third base before the second episode was even over. But let’s back things up a bit. Remember a poll I had on this blog? From a choice of four classic romance series to choose from, a lot of you guys voted for Kimi ga Nozomu Eien without any hesitation. But why? At the time, I wanted to help my dear readers make the correct choice, so I provided excerpts of some of MyAnimeList’s greatest and brightest minds. Upon reading a particularly scintillating review for Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, the choice was clear:

Ok to describe this show just role play with me here for just a sec,

lets pretend your at a party and you see a very cute and sweet girl, very attractive and cute and she totally is into you, sparks fly as you talk and one thing leads to another and your heading back to her apartment getting ready to do the naughty bit, but then you sober up and it turns out this girl is not a girl but instead a fat middle aged man that goes by the name of bub, you try to escape but bub pins you down and forces himself inside you, you try to resist but fail as he enters your eardrum, he then progressively screws you in the ear and as his massive manhood is poking at your brain you start to lose your motor skills and abeewity tah taipe,

after you wake from a coma somehow find out your pregnant despite the fact your a man, and you relise that the place you were was not a apartment but instead a half finished bridge at the construction yard, as you wander out you are run over by 15 cars simultaneously, as you lie there dieing your old friend bub pays a visit to your flattened body for one last session

that is how i felt while watching this show

So today, I finally had some free time to watch a few episodes. Let’s start the show.

I know some of you old school anime fans would love to go “Pshaw, why I’ve been watching anime for the past THREE decades!” But in my mind, nine years is a long time. As a result, some plot recapping is a little necessary even if most of you have seen the show before. It doesn’t hurt to refresh things a bit, right? But if your memory of the show is crystal clear, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.

So Kimi ga Nozomu Eien started out as a PC game, and like most PC games, it was a harem. You could end up with anybody, including a character that “suffers from a terminal illness that stopped her physical development so that she looks like a very young girl.” If the illness is so terminal, why hasn’t she died in her youth where she supposedly stopped aging? In fact, she’s managed to cope with the disease long enough to become a nurse! Why, that doesn’t feel very terminal at all! It’s as though we just wanted to make up a bullshit reason for an adult woman to look like a loli… naaaaaah, that couldn’t be. By the way, this is what she looks like:

Come now, don’t be shy! She’s got an old soul! But luckily, I don’t play visual novels. Like I’ve always said elsewhere on this blog, an adaptation should be able to stand on its own two feet. The only version of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien that I will acquaint myself with is the anime adaptation, and surprisingly enough, the anime series decided to pare the harem down to just the two main love interests. Wow, an adaptation actually made a positive change!

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien seems atypical in other ways too. First of all, I’ve mentioned how the harem lead nearly beds a girl in just the second episode. Usually, sex is icky and we can’t have that in anime! But yeah, the guy nearly screws his girlfriend, then turns around and screws her best friend in the very next episode–… oops, spoilers. Secondly, although the story begins when the characters are in high school, this is not a high school romance. But right, right, let’s get on with that plot recap for those of you who haven’t seen or have forgotten details about the series. Narumi is your typical mild-mannered harem lead. He’s not particularly bright or talented, but it is love at first sight for Suzumiya Haruka, one of the main love interests. She seems cripplingly shy, however, and their first encounter ends awkwardly. Here he is grabbing a book for the girl:

Then she completely freaks out and dashes out of his presence. Oh, those socially awkward girls are so… so moe! Luckily, Hayase Mitsuki is a good friend of Haruka. Knowing that Haruka has a crush on some boy, Mitsuki decides to befriend Narumi just to get the two closer together. Unfortunately, she ends up falling in love with the guy too! But hey, friends don’t play friends like that, and she kinda… sorta… lets Haruka have Narumi. The two start dating, things seem rosy, then BAM!

Oh no! It’s Haruka’s ribbon stained red with blood! Y’see, there has been a car accident. A high schooler was in a payphone booth when some out of control car rammed into it. The drama here is that Haruka only climbed into the phone booth because Narumi was late. Oh yeah, Narumi was only late because he was too busy buying a birthday present for Mitsuki–… DUN DUN DUN. By the way, this merely marks the end of the second episode. The rest of the story takes place three years later. For now, Haruka is still in a coma. Narumi and Mitsuki have presumably graduated from high school, but even better, Narumi has hooked up Mitsuki. In fact, they’re even making plans to live together. The drama is thick when they run into Haruka’s younger sister.

Three episodes are all I’ve seen for now, so we’ll just leave off here. So what do I think? Is the anime shaping up to be as bad as the review above would have you believe? Well, maybe… let’s get to know our main characters a little better though.

Meet our derpy harem lead:

Like I’ve said above, he’s not very bright. What I find particularly interesting about Narumi, however, is that he’s an outright deadbeat. He’s not like your Shougos where immense wealth is just handed to the harem lead on a silver platter. Rather, Narumi is a dumbass who is too lazy to study. Naturally, he now works as a waiter in some crappy family restaurant.

The funniest bit about Narumi in the first three episode comes shortly after he and Mitsuki have sex. She’s feeling all romantic, so she suggests that they find a place to move in together. Whoops, he’s a waiter; he’s not exactly pulling in substantial dough with a job like that so they can’t afford to find a bigger place. The following morning, however, our casanova suggests to his girlfriend that she move into his place. This way, they can live together and save money. Win-win, right? Mitsuki then takes a look around the room. There’s some childish mugs here…

and an anime poster there…

…mmhmm, definitely feels like a place a grown woman would love to move into! We always grumble about how every romance anime seemingly takes place in a high school, but deep down, we know why. C’mon, we know. For whatever reason, most harem leads are not super smart (he has to be someone your average viewer can identify with, after all). As a result, if they’re not already filthy rich or going to be filthy rich in the near future, the harem lead will most likely be a chump with little education and thus no career prospects (that’s just how it works in Japan). Oh, but with a high school setting, we don’t have to worry about that. Let’s just have wacky high school antics for now! We’ll go to the beach, we’ll take a class trip to Kyoto, which will magically include an amazing hot spring, etc. On the other hand, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien bravely jumps ahead three years, and its reward is a deadbeat harem lead in Narumi, a guy whose greatest job responsibility is pinching his co-worker’s cheeks:

Oh yeah, the man likes meat pies, and like Ryousuke from the recently finished Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai, Narumi suffers from PTSD. Oh, that pink, blood-stained ribbon… how it haunts him so! We thus get treated to these hilariously overwrought moments. For example, I’ve mentioned above how Narumi and Mitsuki bump into Haruka’s younger sister. Narumi is instantly reminded of his former girlfriend’s accident, so the camera zooms into a set of telephone booths while sad music plays. Oooh, dramatic!

Meet Mitsuki, the woman dating a manchild:

She’s not exactly doing too hot herself. While she was a star swimmer in high school, our dear heroine is now peddling pasta as a saleswoman:

Well, at least it is a step above whatever the hell her boyfriend is doing. Mitsuki even has the keen insight to observe that her manchild boyfriend hasn’t matured since that tragic day three years ago, but she stays with the guy anyway (for now). Here’s another thing: Mitsuki also suffers from her own trauma as a result of Haruka’s accident. She doesn’t have PTSD like our hero, but at night, she’ll have nightmares where she is sinking, uh, naked into a deep pool while Haruka cheers her on as if she was at a swimming meet. So far, this seems to be Kimi ga Nozomu Eien‘s problem.

I’m not trying to imply that Mitsuki shouldn’t feel guilty. After all, she’s dating her comatose best friend’s guy. Plus, she probably thinks that if she hadn’t distracted Narumi on that fateful day three years ago, Haruka never would’ve gotten into a telephone booth and gotten hit by a car. I mean, it’s a silly thing to blame yourself for, but people jump through these ridiculous mental hoops all the time. So yeah, I don’t take issue with Mitsuki feeling guilty. I do, however, take issue with the hopelessly dramatic Mitsuki drowning in a large body of water whilst naked deal. I mean, c’mon… then you realize that it’s just the third episode. How much more dramatic and overwrought can it get?

Finally, we get to our comatose heroine, the final third of our love triangle:

Like Narumi, she’s not too bright. She regales her boyfriend with wonderful stories of her own intelligence like how her sister can repeatedly trick her into watching horror movies. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a billion times… well… Since Haruka goes into a coma at the end of the second episode, we don’t really get know her that well besides the fact that she’s sort of dim, she’s shy, and that she likes to draw. In fact, she wants to specialize in child psychology in order to draw… picture… books… Anywho, how can such a girl compete with Mitsuki? What sort of twist can we add to this story to make this story even remotely interesting? Okay, I cheated and looked ahead a bit, but it’s obvious that Haruka would eventually wake up from her coma. So now what?

…because of [Haruka’s] delicate psyche, her family and Takayuki conceal the truth that three years have passed, which forms much of the tension in the series.

Yep, this is why anime parents are usually dead, because they do horrible, cruel things to their kids. Oh, like tell them that they’re still in high school when they’re an adult.

Anyway, my first impression is that the show’s a little more interesting and unique than your average romance, but things are veering a little too hard toward the melodrama. I may as well be watching a Korean live drama at this rate. Still, I’ll push on for now.

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12 thoughts on “Looking back at some old series: A first look at Kimi ga Nozomu Eien

  1. alsozara

    More interesting and unique than your average romance but veering too hard toward the melodrama is pretty much exactly my feelings about this show. I was kind of hopeful when they got all the corny high school romance stuff out of the way then time-skipped three years ahead, but things just get so over-wrought and angsty, and our lead just gets so indecisive later on that it turns into a painful, generic high school love triangle drama that just happens to not be set at school.

    If you buy the premise, the parents kind of have no choice but to lie like that, they’re told that she’ll probably revert into a coma if they don’t.

    For all it’s problems I thought it was still a cut above the average romance series, and I think it will make an interesting study, so please do push on.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      If you buy the premise, the parents kind of have no choice but to lie like that, they’re told that she’ll probably revert into a coma if they don’t.

      If you buy the premise,

      Nope.

      Reply
  2. epoxie

    I watched the first episode about a year ago on Hulu and voted for you to “re-visit” this series. Looking forward to more of your posts about this<3

    Reply
  3. appropriant

    Pff, sex in broadcast anime would probably still be okay these days as long as the characters aren’t pretty enough for people to care about their purity. E-virginity. Whatever it is that makes people want waifus. On the other hand, more recent anime that have included sex in the romance aren’t especially rare, but at the same time aren’t as madly popular as mainstream moe stuff. Most recent example I can think of is Yosuga no Sora, though it’s one of those harem omnibus formats and not so much love triangle stuff.

    I have not watched this, but it seems like something I wouldn’t personally mind watching so far. I find melodrama rather delicious and that makes me a terrible person for enjoying other people angst about their feelings.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I find melodrama rather delicious and that makes me a terrible person for enjoying other people angst about their feelings.

      Melodrama can be pretty captivating when smart, intelligent characters are faced with truly difficult, controversial choices to make. Y’know, like Sophie’s Choice. I still have to see how everything plays out here, but Narumi is shaping up to be a giant clod.

      Reply
      1. appropriant

        WELP, since I’ve been meaning to watch Sophie’s Choice for a while I might as well do so now before the torrent of college takes over.

        Reply
  4. Stef

    The way I read the post, this anime does seem to have some neat ideas. The manchildren phenomenon, precarious lives, why people stay in obviously bad relationships, how they can blame themselves for things they’re not responsible for, and a Goodbye Lenin! type scenario to complicate things. I doubt the show takes itself seriously enough to explore those ideas fully though. But we could deconstruct this as a meta commentary on anime tropes as a whole.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I doubt the show takes itself seriously enough to explore those ideas fully though.

      I dunno, there’s no reason to think it doesn’t take itself seriously. The problem is just execution. Sure, I’m taking the piss, but that’s just what I’m wont to do. I think the show’s premise is actually fairly solid, but as always in anime, the it’s the characters that underdeliver. If Haruka wasn’t just a cult dullard, her situation — a Goodbye Lenin! scenario, as you put it — would be quite a tragedy, but I can’t imagine an anime character conveying the idea across without being heavy-handed. The dramatic zoom-ins to the telephone booths epitomize this very problem.

      Reply
  5. Andmeuths

    Behold, this story is the birth of a grim-dark world where Om Nom Nom Nom is the Fate of Humanity, a crucible these walking cliches suffer in. For it has spawn a demented genius, a storm of cliches that screens it’s readers from the terrible, terrible truth of grimdarkness that is called Muv Luv..

    A series that proves that not all Harem Leads are created equal. Some are more equal than others, if put into the right crucible of grimdark suffering. Humanity is collateral damage (=.

    Reply

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