Watashi ga Motete Dousunda First Impressions
“Even if I have a connection with hot guys, it’s wasted on me. A prince should be with a prince. My happiness comes from peeping on the sidelines, not bothering them.”
Oh dearie me, I guess it had been a while since anime had provided me a show that I had difficulty justifying my affinity for based on the title alone. The most recent one that comes to mind would be 2010’s Princess Jellyfish, but this one might just take the cake when you take into consideration the English title for this show. Watashi ga Motete Dousunda or Kiss Him, Not Me is a show that could have gone two different ways. It could have been painfully awkward or it could have turned out to be quite funny. By and large, I think it succeeded in gravitating towards the latter. There are numerous potential pitfalls involved in the premise though, and I don’t know if the production will ultimately prove capable of avoiding all of them. This first episode appears to largely dodge those issues by being intentionally ridiculous and essentially steering the narrative head on into the weirdness. It proves to be an interesting strategy as, had it taken an even slightly more realistic approach, this could have come off as being far creepier.
The show centers around Kae Serinuma, a slightly plain 2nd year high school student who is a hardcore fujoshi (EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who don’t know, a fujoshi is a female fan of gay manga and such). She even spends much of her time at school imagining pairings between the various male students. However, when her favorite anime kills off one half of her favorite pairing, she shuts herself away in her room for a week due to depression, inadvertently losing weight in the process. This might be the biggest sticking point for me as, even with the silly tone of the show, the transformation that Serinuma undergoes is a bit too ridiculous. Upon returning to school, she finds herself the subject of the affections of four of her favorite pairing targets. Again, this is quite ridiculous, but each of the characters is presented in broad strokes which helps cover up the fact that the average human would not have this immediate a response to someone losing a bit of weight. The suitors include Yusuke Igarashi, a polite classmate who despite his pleasant nature seems to be rather competitive, Nozomu Nanashima, a rather brash classmate who had previously been keen to poke fun at Serinuma, Hayato Shinomiya, an underclassman who was previously derisive of Serinuma, and Asuma Mutsumi, a laid back upperclassman who was always kind to Serinuma.
Of the four suitors, Mutsumi is the one that I found most amusing, since he is the only character who is completely unsurprised by Serinuma’s transformation and his laid back responses allow him to serve as the perfect straight-man for the rest of the cast to bounce off of. I find the idea of fantasizing about, much less pairing, personal acquaintances to be a little off putting, but viewers’ mileage may vary on that front. And despite my reservations with regard to that notion, I was largely able to ignore them due to the humor present in various characters reactions. If I were to compare the humor to anything, there was an episode of the comedy series Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun, episode 4, where two of the male characters are hanging out and through a bizarre series of events end up writing a BL story based on the best friend character from a dating sim. Due to its ludicrous narrative and ridiculous humor, that proved to be one of my favorite episodes from that series, and this show appears to employ a similar brand of comedy. The moments that don’t work are the ones where the humor takes a back seat to the narrative, though, thankfully, it never fully goes away. There is an ending scene where Serinuma confesses to the boys that she is an otaku, and the emotional elements of that scene just seem to fall flat for me. That being said, whenever I started to question the show’s choices, it always drew me back in with a well timed joke or reaction shot.
This is a difficult title for me to review, as I feel the material could evoke a very diverse range of reactions even from a single individual. For me, it largely worked. I went into it with a strong sense of trepidation, but was pleasantly surprised by what I got. Hopefully, this will prove to be a helpful guide as to whether or not others will like it as well. I think if you are in the mood for some decent situational humor, then this is worth a look, but be wary as the phrase “Mileage may vary,” is certainly appropriate here.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- The circumstances by which all five of the major characters ended up going to a movie together was a bit contrived, but I was willing to overlook it if only for Mutsumi’s reactions when everyone was trying to ask Serinuma out. I get the feeling that if I end up sticking with this show, it will be primarily due to his shtick… Oh, God! There are certainly some innuendos in that one line if you read it the wrong way…
- This also reminds me of some of the awkward humor present in Genshikan 2, though it is hard for me to judge the similarities since I don’t think I actually watched all of Genshikan 2. I may need to remedy that when I get a chance.
- Those with even a passing knowledge of Japanese might notice that the title, Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, doesn’t actually translate to Kiss Him, Not Me. The literal translation is closer to “What Should I Do? I’m Popular!”
To be perfectly honest, I'm still a little dismayed by the fact that I enjoyed this. I don't have many titles that I can call guilty pleasures, since I'm usually pretty open about what I enjoy, but this might end up being listed as one such title. If you like weird situational comedies, this might be up your alley.