This anime gave us some of the most heartfelt moments between a couple learning vulnerability and becoming a part of each other's lives.
By: Nicole S. Castro on September 1, 2022 at 22:14 PHT
We often joke that most romcom anime nowadays drag out the flirting-but-have-not-yet-confessed-their-feelings stage, but let's not forget that serious romance anime with major relationship development existed as early as 1998 in the form of His and Her Circumstances!
His and Her Circumstances (Japanese: 彼氏彼女の事情, Romaji: Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō), also known as Kare Kano, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masami Tsuda. It was serialized in LaLa from 1996 to 2005 and collected in 21 tankōbon volumes by Hakusensha. The series is licensed and was published in English in North America by Tokyopop.
The chapters from the first seven volumes were adapted into a 26-episode TV anime series by Gainax and J.C.Staff, under the direction of Hideaki Anno (who is most popular for Neon Genesis Evangelion). His and Her Circumstances aired in Japan on TV Tokyo from October 1998 to March 1999.
Plot and Throwback (anime)
The anime stars leading couple Yukino Miyazawa (CV: Atsuko Enomoto) and Soichiro Arima (CV: Chihiro Suzuki) who are both first-year high school students. Their bond begins as a rivalry to be the best and most perfect student in their school. Yukino maintains her false, nice honor student persona to earn praise from her peers, while Soichiro maintains his calm and composed demeanor to cover up deeply rooted childhood trauma.
But as Soichiro discovers after his first love confession, Yukino is actually spoiled, stubborn, and fiercely competitive when it comes to grades. Since he was the only one who knew about her true nature, he blackmails her into doing his student council work as an excuse to regularly hang out with her. Later on, Yukino realizes she wants Soichiro to hang out with her for who she really is. They communicate [and bicker] until they are able to open up their true selves to each other and start dating as boyfriend and girlfriend.
How did the anime end?
First off, this anime is beautiful because it doesn't take the couple forever to confess. Much of the series actually focuses on what happens after they officially start dating. It makes for a very mature and insightful series wherein Yukino and Soichiro learn to love and stay with each other despite their flaws and secrets. They learn to communicate in a frank but sincere, bickering-but-also-fond-way that feels natural and realistic. It truly showed us viewers that they were going to be each other's end game (and they do get married in the manga).
While there were no graphic scenes, the anime makes it clear they even had sex, something many romcoms shy away from.
Another major factor that makes this anime unique among romcoms is the equal balance it gives to both the funny and serious moments. Much of the comedy comes from Yukino's spoiled, "un-lady-like" personality while much of the seriousness comes from Soichiro's troubled past and his bad habit of suppressing his feelings. Through honest, no holds barred communication, Soichiro learns to cater to Yukino's spoiled side while Yukino learns to be patient with Soichiro's silences and dark thoughts.
Unfortunately, the manga was still ongoing at the time so the anime had to end on a filler-ish note. Episode 26 ends with hints of Soichiro's jealous and possessive side that is later given more attention in the manga when his estranged parents return in his life. In the manga, Soichiro eventually overcomes his past and loses the fear that he will end up like his parents.
Yukino becomes pregnant in her senior year and marries Soichiro after graduation. She becomes a housewife for a few years before going to medical school to become a doctor. Sixteen years later, she and Soichiro have three children: a daughter named Sakura and two sons named Suoh and Ai.
This romcom anime officially makes it to our list of "100 Anime You Absolutely MUST Watch Before You Die" and we know many of you will agree. It's a 5/5 from us. Now, go out there and relive the nostalgia!
Digest by AniradioPlus
NICOLE S. CASTRO
Nicole is based in the Philippines and works as a freelance Japanese Translator/Interpreter and copywriter (English). She is a JLPT N2 passer who watches anime to "study" for N1. She has a long career history on LinkedIn (with primary focus on media and translation), but her anime watchlist is much, much longer.