Kimikiss~pure rouge: A Tripartite Case Study

Case A: Kazuki, Sakino, and Futami

I start with these three, in part because I quite liked them, and also in part because Mao and Kouichi pose a slightly more complex analysis. Maybe.

Our intrepid love researcher.

Our intrepid love researcher, researching love because she doesn't quite know what it is.

It’s fairly obvious, from the moment Sakino is introduced as a friend of Kazuki’s, that Sakino feels she should be Kazuki’s cheerleader, given that he’s the only person who’s ever been able to hold his own against her in [soccer|football], which she excels at. For unknown reasons, though, Kazuki has fallen into the Pit of Malaise that high schoolers (especially visual novel protagonist high schoolers) have a disturbing tendency to fall into, and now lacks the motivation to do anything, including actually be good at [football|soccer]. This drives Sakino nuts, as she’s unable to actually play on the school’s [soccer|football] team, due to her being a girl, and wishes Kazuki to be on the team since he’s capable of playing on her level.

Of course, Sakino’s nagging insistence that he be part of the team only makes Kazuki blind to the fact that Sakino actually cares about him (or else she wouldn’t be nagging), the sad fate that befalls any relationship that involves large amounts of nagging. The nagging, perhaps, even drives him further away from actually doing what is probably best for him (i.e., playing [football|soccer]) and furthers his general malaise, prompting further nagging concern from Sakino.

All this, of course, merely sets Kazuki up for his chance encounter with the even-more-malaised Futami, who kisses him, not out of any particular affection, but because he a) was male and b) had lips, and so therefore was a prime candidate for her ongoing investigation into what, exactly, is love. Result: kissing a male for no apparent reason whom you have met thirty seconds ago produces no immediate effect that can be quantized as “love,” subject dismissed.

Whether by an innate feeling of camaraderie in a girl who shares his general disinterest and malaise towards the topic of education, a girl who is intentionally flunking tests of Major Import “to see what will happen,” the shocked disbelief that some girl would actually kiss him, even if they didn’t really have much of a reason to kiss him and it was a pretty boring kiss anyway, or a combination of the two, Kazuki is instantly smitten with Futami and insists on spending time with her, a fact which first makes him even more lackadaisical as he spends every chance he can with Futami; eventually, perhaps endowed with a new raison d’etre, he finds a renewed interest in [soccer|football], to Sakino’s delight.

The dilemma of Asuka Sakino liking someone who likes someone Not Her: study in ponytail and cardboard tubes

Sakino, however, then becomes faced with a dilemma: she quite enjoys Kazuki’s rejuvenation, not least because he actually plays [football|soccer] now, and so actively encourages Kazuki to maintain a relationship with Futami; but through Kazuki’s reformation, she begins to feel a bit vaguely jealous of Futami and the attention Kazuki fosters upon her. Her feelings, of course, naturally grow as she realizes what almost no one else has: she actually loves Kazuki. Yet she doesn’t try to force her feelings upon him; she makes the decision that, since she truly cares for and loves Kazuki, rather than try to steal him away from his obvious love interest in a fit of jealousy (as other hapless romance series protagonists have stooped to), she tries her best to put and keep them together throughout the series, in spite of her feelings otherwise.

Perhaps, in a way, Sakino is the most mature of the main cast of characters; her parting words to Kazuki after confessing her feelings and instructing him to stay by Futami (who she has also come to care about) are “I’m going to be successful so you can regret losing me.” Perhaps not the friendliest of words in meaning, but spoken in a tone of friendship that belies no regrets, and the confidence that she does what she believes right. In a sense, this is an ultimate act of love: sacrificing one’s own feelings for the sake of a loved one. Ethical debates might abound as to whether that is true or not, but Sakino made the smart decision to not trample on a relatioship that brought out the best in two friends; by imposing her feelings she would merely cause heartbreak, misery, and bitter feelings amongst the three of them.

The dilemma of Asuka Sakino liking someone who likes someone Not Her: study in ponytail and non-descript background

Realizing that, and then releasing those feelings, takes a certain level of maturity to accomplish in a healthy manner. Her statement to Kazuki is not a wish for Futami and Kazuki to break up and fall apart, but rather to press upon Kazuki the knowledge that she will always be “the one that got away,” and the implication that he will regret it. Kazuki cheerfully accepts this future burden with an equal measure of maturity; the three remain friends, even with conflicting feelings coursing between them, under the realization that things would be much worse if the balance were upset.

More interesting to me, perhaps, is Futami’s gradual realization of human emotions. Futami provides (almost incidentally) a major framing device for the series: an “experiment” on love and how it comes to be. Being an emotionless scientific zombie focused on cold, hard reason and deductive logic over all else, she kisses Kazuki not out of affection, but to investigate what, exactly, a kiss feels like–apparently, she decides, rather boring. Yet Kazuki might not have been as entranced by Futami had it not been for that sterile kiss, and, had he not been entranced, he might not have pursued her so vigorously, leading directly into an awakening of feelings in Futami–of love, of affection; perhaps just feelings at all–that she hasn’t had since childhood, if at all.

An offhand, half-joking episode preview (mentioned in the earlier post) has Futami posing the (paraphrased) question “does a romance begin with a kiss, or does a kiss merely provide a consummation of an existing romance?” It’s an offhand, disposable comment to be sure, but just looking at Kimikiss, we have several answers to this question, none of which are mutually exclusive: a kiss can start a relationship, or end it; a kiss can be a consummation of a pre-existing relationship, or a hollow external display of non-existent intimate affection. In short, through Kimikiss, the answer to Futami’s idle question is that a kiss is all of those things at the same time. For a series named Kimikiss, there isn’t a lot of kissing–but when it does happen, it’s a more complex affair than it might be elsewhere.

Front Page: 1
Case A: Kazuki, Sakino, and Futami: 2
Case B: Mao/Kai Side: 3
Case B: Souichi/Yuumi Side: 4
Final Thoughts: 5

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

4 Responses to “Kimikiss~pure rouge: A Tripartite Case Study”

  1. 1 The_Observer 2 February 2009 at 3:07 am

    I enjoyed your discourse, well done and good on you ! ^_^

  2. 2 omo 2 February 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Good write-up. I skimmed so 3848 words didn’t seem so daunting. I do like the overall framework you use to map the show’s relationship though.

    Maybe you can take a step further and draw some conclusions ftw.

  3. 3 ETERNAL 9 February 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Great job, as expected. There isn’t much I can say to add to what you’ve already done, other than that – on a completely separate note – there really is a ton of stuff that you can only realize through writing rather than reading. It’s a mystery, but I guess it’s also part of the incentive to churn out gargantuan posts like this :P

  1. 1 So Apparently There’s This Thing Called Valentine’s Day… Trackback on 14 February 2009 at 3:33 pm

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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a ridiculously long and only partially organized list of subjects


February 2009

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