It seems rather unfair to treat Kimikiss as anything other than a complete 24-episode unit–the dizzying roller-coaster whirl nature of the series rarely makes any outcome inevitable. At the same time, it’s also hard not to deal with the series in three discrete units, one for each of the main characters (Kouichi, Kazumi, and Mao); even if two of them are essentially part of the same arc, reducing the series to two intertwined story arcs still seems to do a disservice to the stories of each.
All three of Kimikiss’s main arcs deal directly with a love triangle; polygonic though the series might frequently be, the triangular nature of the relationships remains when considered on a character-by-character basis. The points of the triangle remain the same, but merely shifted: the central character supported by a long-standing friend who cheers them on (to their detriment) and pursuing the promise of love. I was struck by the realization upon completion that Kimikiss was eerily like Toradora! in structure: the friends, each supporting the romantic pursuits of the other, while remaining blissfully unaware of what exists between the two of them in the first place. Whereas Toradora! seems to have mutually exclusive outcomes (barring a final episode that ends in a five-person orgy–which, let’s face it, would be the best outcome for all involved, character and viewer alike, in Toradora!), Kimikiss, by its bifurcated nature, can exhibit both possible denouements, and the inevitable heartbreak that accompanies both resolutions.
In addition, Kimikiss’s other strength is the high level of “show, don’t tell” execution. Even in the end, we never got an explicit reveal of the pasts of the characters, at least, not more than was necessary to aid in the understanding of the present, and always implicit rather than explicit. The implicit nature of the characterization and motives means that the viewer of Kimikiss cannot exactly be a passive viewer, it would seem; the viewer is forced to interact with Kimikiss, mentally and/or textually, in order to understand if not necessarily agree with the decisions made by the characters.
As such, I feel it necessary to split the discussion of the three main characters into three parts; there will obviously be crossing-over of paths for at least two of them, but it still doesn’t feel right to stick them both in the same post, being from different perspectives and having different ramifications. I’m going to play with paginated posts for this one, if only because a) three posts is ridiculously excessive and b) feature experimentation is fun.
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