Written by: Nicole Castro
Published on: September 27, 2021 at 19:05 PHT (GMT+8)
Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui ("Koikimo" for short; English title: It's Disgusting to Call this Love) is an ongoing manga written and illustrated by Mogusu. It was adapted into an anime series that aired in Spring 2021 (from Apr. 5, 2021 to Jun. 14, 2021) with a total of 12 episodes.
The story features high school student Ichika Arima who saves corporate employee (and playboy) Ryou Amakusa. Ryou initially attempts to flirt with Ichika as compensation for saving his life at the train station, only for Ichika to call him creepy/disgusting (気持ち悪い; Kimochi warui). The two develop an unusual relationship that is complicated by their large age difference.
Today, we look back on seven things we loved about this underrated anime show. Join us as we relive some of its best moments and maybe you can encourage others to watch it too!
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead. Readers are asked to proceed with caution.
1. The opening theme is catchy
If you're the type who watches the promotional videos for upcoming anime series, Koikimo most likely caught your attention with its catchy, un-put-downable opening theme song Monoqlo City (モノクロシティ) by ACE COLLECTION. Its funky beat and romantic, slice-of-life vibe lyrics perfectly match the mood of the show as Ichika and Ryou struggle to deal with their feelings.
2. Ryou Amakusa is your not-so-typical playboy
CV: Toshiyuki Toyonaga
Both the official trailer and the first episode portray Ryou as your stereotypical playboy. He's sexy and he knows it. He's wealthy, highly respected at work, and couldn't care less about the people he has slept with to even remember their names. All this changes when Ichika doesn't look up to him the way other women do. This man is bad business. Ichika knows it too (so does the entire cast). But as the anime progresses, we're shown sides of Ryou that enlighten us about his personal issues. And by the end, we can respect this man as someone who can take good care of Ichika (provided she sets him in his place a little).
In addition, seiyuu fans will be delighted to hear the different facets of Ryou's personality with his deep voice by Toshiyuki Toyonaga (who also voiced Yūri Katsuki from Yuri!!! on Ice). Enjoy as Tosshi-san gives Ryou both sexiness and gentleness throughout the show!
3. Ichika Arima is a mature, sensible protagonist
CV: Yurie Kozakai
Ichika may be the younger of the two, but in some ways she's a lot more mature and sensible than Ryou. Most of the cast describe her as a normal high school girl, but episode one straight up shows us that Ichika being normal doesn't mean she's dull. She's kind, helpful, self-aware, and frank (especially towards Ryou). Her ability to analyze her feelings and motivations not only earns Ryou's respect, but also gives us viewers a satisfying conclusion regarding this unusual relationship.
In addition, seiyuu Yurie Kozakai's voice acting gives a lot of variety to Ichika's character. With Ryou's constant antics, Ichika is always alternating between kind and extremely annoyed, contributing to the comedic scenes in the series.
4. Kai Tamaru is a worthy love triangle rival
CV: Junya Enoki
Kai acts as Ryou's rival for Ichika's affections. What makes this love triangle exciting is that viewers will see Kai has boyfriend potential. He's athletic, shares the same hobbies as Ichika, and is sensible just like her. More importantly, he will not back down that easily no matter how intimidating Ryou tries to be.
5. Arie Matsushima is a gorgeous but also adorable adult
CV: Kana Hanazawa
As it turns out, this series is not a love triangle, but a love square! Arie is Ryou's coworker who realizes she has feelings for him (despite knowing Ryou is already in love with someone else). She's pretty, has an adorable voice (thanks to KanaHana), and doesn't put Ryou on a pedestal unlike their other colleagues. To no one's surprise, Ryou rejects her honest confession, but by the end of it all we viewers can't help but feel invested in Arie too. She fought her hardest and we hope she finds the love she deserves (after she heals her heart with some anime bingeing).
6. Rio Amakusa is an unforgettable supporting character whose role is just as important as the main characters
CV: Rena Hasegawa
Rio is Ryou's younger sister as well as Ichika's best friend, making her the bridge that ultimately brings the couple together. But don't expect Rio to be a wing woman whose only purpose is to drive the story. She's cool and confident, but also quirky and emotionally sensitive towards others. She goes through her own struggles in the series as well.
Ryou and Ichika understand that Rio isn't invincible. They respect her and understand she needs her own form of support even when she doesn't ask for it (watch out for the Christmas episode!). Rio is a lovable character simply for who she is, not just because she drives a huge chunk of the plot.
7. The romantic ending theme
The melody and lyrics of the ending theme song Rinaria (リナリア) by Maruritoryuuga (まるりとりゅうが) sound like a whispered confession, making it a perfect fit for the scenes where Ichika and Ryou realize the depths of their feelings (while also highlighting the complexities and mixed emotions regarding their age-gap relationship). The word リナリア is the equivalent of the "snapdragon flower" in Japanese. These flowers symbolize truth in romantic relationships, but also deviousness and grace. A flower that accurately represents Ichika and Ryou's relationship dynamics.
All in all, Koikimo shines for its lovable, complex characters who provide a breath of fresh air on the classic genre of romantic comedy. Thanks to their personalities, the story is never boring, so you'll end up rooting for everyone, not just the main characters. And with good music, concise story pacing, and realistic dialogue, Koikimo is a one-season anime that ends with a satisfying conclusion.
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