Reminiscing High School Life: Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances)

Want to reminisce about the good old high school days?
Dream about your first love?
Go back to high school? 

Welcome to High School Life, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou. 

Quite a mouthful
for a title of Gainax’s shoujo anime offering, but the guys who made the
insanely popular Neon Genesis Evangelion veered from the
big-robot-end-of-the-world story to something more down to earth, a lot more
down to earth – Japanese high school life.

Yukino Miyazawa is a first-rate honor student, always prim and proper,
scoring the highest on every exam, the very picture of a graceful young lady,
looked up to by her fellow students. 

All this changes when she gets home, puts
on an overly used jogging suit and acts like a total slob all the while
studying feverishly just so that she can be the model student that she is the
very next day and hear all the people praise her for being so good.


All this is disrupted as she enters her first year in high school,
expecting to score the highest on the entrance exams; she was outraged that
there is someone better than her, that someone is Soichiro Arima

From that point on, Miyazawa’s goal in life is to become number ONE at
any cost and humiliate Arima by being the best. 

Only one thing stands in her
way, Arima discovers her real sloppy self and makes her do all his homework or
else he’s going to tell the entire school just what kind of girl is Yukino

Miyazawa, of course, is furious at this unfortunate turn of events but
during this tenure as “Arima’s Slave” Yukino and Arima began hanging
out together more and more often, with Yukino acting that way she does at home
around Arima since he already found her out. 

Gradually Yukino starts telling
Arima why she is acts that way (looking prim and proper to get other people’s
praises) and Arima, in turn, tells her his reason for also striving to be the

Along the way, they encounter situations that put their relationship as
kareshi kanojo (boyfriend-girlfriend) to the test. 

Being the top two students
they have a ton of responsibility and are heads of the various committees
organizing one activity after another. 

All this plus the pressure to do well
with their studies prevents the couple from spending as much time as they like

After watching the series the immediate thought that will flash through
your mind is “DAMN! I want to go back to my high school days!” The viewers’
sentiments are echoed exactly by Miyazawa who says “Damn, I’m this close
to a lovey-dovey high school relationship!” 

Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou or
Kare Kano for short gives us a glimpse of what school life in Japan is like,
which is incidentally not that much different from school here where getting
good grades are of the utmost priority. 

Aside from academic work, they have to
deal with their classmates, and with that comes the all too familiar ugly
scenarios of bullies, jealousy fits, being left out, social rejection and
fitting in which all high school kids have gone through at some point. 

Karekano vs. EVA 

The man who directed Evangelion, Hideaki Anno, also manned the helm for
Kare Kano, so expect more stills, shots of power lines, corridors, stoplights
and whatnot, plenty of text scrolling around and in the background and a lot
of cute super-deformed transitions.

However, behind the comedy, we
have the main characters relating their feelings to the audience in the third-person view, which makes it all the more romantic. 

Kare Kano also pays tribute
to its predecessors by parodying some of the memorable from EVA (sunset with
EVA unit 1 and Samshell) and Mazinger Z (rocket punch), which make for great
Yukino Miyazawa of His and Her Circumstances

The viewer can choose to forgo the last two episodes, while they
do not suck as much as EVA, they are nonetheless not satisfying enough an
ending, especially episode 25 which disrupts
the flow of the entire
momentum that the series has built up so far. 

As for episode 26 expect a
similar treatment with EVA with various one-liners and a bunch of text on the
screen. The secret is to simply ignore the spoken one-liners and read the words
on the screen. 

This way the final episode provides more or less a conclusion to
the various events that have transpired over the last 24 episodes.

So how does Kare Kano fare? 

For romantics out there, anime can’t get any
more romantic than this, were every other odd couple out there keeps their
feelings repressed and suddenly BOOM they’re in love. 

Here, we see a gradual
build-up of the situations which lead to them being a couple. And just like the
memorable first love experience which hits us out of nowhere, the same thing
happens in Kare Kano, the unfamiliar feeling and not knowing how to react to it,
the proverbial “butterflies in the stomach” experience which makes
your heart skip beats whenever you see that special someone. 

Kare Kano lets you
relieve that feeling all over again. 

So if you’re still in school, don’t waste
this opportunity to have your “lovey-dovey high school relationship”
and for those of us that are not, you can always go back to school and take up
a master’s degree or something.