Kareshi Kanojou No Jijou (Kare Kano) Manga review

My Gosh, what a brilliant romance manga. Thats all I could think off after finishing it. Finshing it even made me sad that there were no other volumes of it.

So a little background info to start this review off. Kareshi Kanojou No Jijou or Kare Kano as it’s better known, is a romance manga written by Masami Tsuda. It’s 21 volumes in length and was published from 1995 to 2005. According to my sources (wikipedia lol), Kare Kano has already been animated by the people from Gainax but wasn’t really finished due to some conflict between the mangaka and the studio. SO that means I haven’t seen the anime.

SO what prompted me to read this manga in the first place? Well people have been talking about Kare Kano for a long long time, and the first time I heard of it had to be last year. However it wasn’t until recently that I decided to give it a try and as you might have guessed (from my first line xD) I totally loved it. I was just drawn in deeper as I read on and by the time I reached the middle volumes I was hooked.

Anyway, the main characters of Kare Kano are Souichiro Arima and Miyazawa Yukino. The manga focuses on the trials and hardships they face as they go through high school while maintaining their relationship. Okay, Yukino is at first glance your average smart kid, but her outward appearance is just a facade. On the inside, she’s actually a schemer who keeps up appearances just to draw attention to herself. Ruthless, jealous and cold, this pretty much sums up Yukino’s character. Arima, like Yukino, is also a top achiever; Handsome, athletic, good grades and the like, except for the fact that he beats her in pretty much everything she does. Always polite, always kind, Arima is the model student of their high school, Hakuou academy. However, like Yukino, he also hides dark and painful secrets.

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However, amidst it all they manage to see through each others facades, fall in love and start a relationship. As they go on they are joined by many friends such as Hideaki Asaba, a handsome playboy who becomes Arima’s best friend, Tsubasa, Arima’s childhood friend, Maho, rival turned friend, Tsubaki, Aya and Risa, once distant but ending up being Yukino’s best friends, and many others such as Tonami, Kazuma and even the Yin and Yang band.

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Okay, now to the heart of the matter. I’d say the themes of this manga are quite obvious. Facing the past, Love and understanding, handling relationships, and stuff like that. I’ll start with Yukino. Her obsessive attitude towards being the first is probably what defined the start of this manga. Smart, brilliant but at the same time all alone. However, she doesn’t notice this until she meets Arima who is equally, if not more perfect. Since this manga starts with Yukino as the main character it’s easy to see that the mangaka, Masami Tsuda, is setting her up for a relationship. However, Yukino only starts to shine in earnest when she pairs up with Arima. Both seemingly perfect, yet alone all the time, their relationship is what propels the series onwards.

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The part of the story I can relate the most too would be Arima’s story. Coming from an established family yet treated as an outcast, Arima’s past is awfully complex. Being the illegitimate child of an illegitimate child made his relatives see him as nothing more than a disgrace. Living with his foster parents, who unlike everyone else love him very much, he starts to fall deeper into his self made prison. It’s only until he meets Yukino that things start to change for the better. Now I won’t write too much in detail about Arima’s past. I’ll leave that to you to figure out.

There are many other side stories too. One I enjoyed alot was Kazuma and Tsubasa’s story. Meeting, becoming related through their parents marriage, loving as brother and sister, and eventually loving each other as couples. What struck me the most about Kazuma’s story was his love for music. After joining the band Yin and Yang (who were indie at the time but ended up as worldwide stars at the end of the manga) to struggling between his love for Tsubasa and music, to finding out that both loves can coexist together, I was just hooked all along the way. Being a man of music myself this spoke volumes to me as I’ve always known that music is something that you pour part of yourself into, emotions, pain. experiences and the like.

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Souji and Reiji’s (Arima’s foster and biological father) backstory was also very touching and just served to give Arima’s childhood more depth. Seeing them deal with all the pain that’d been handed down from generation to generation just spoke to me on many different levels, making the manga even greater to me than what I originally felt it was. Other stories such as Tonami and Tsubaki’s past, Rika and Aya’s lives, Maho’s journey to love, the Steel Snow play and even Miyazawa’s parent’s backstory were just breaths of fresh air for me too. Yup, I pretty much loved every part of it.

Okay, Just bear with me for a while more while I explain why it is that I’m so drawn to this manga. I believe that Arima’s inner struggle with his past and how it gradually ruined his relationship with Yukino can be said as a parallel with many of the relationships we have. His past caused him to shun love from others, never opening himself up too much for fear of getting rejected again. So unsurprisingly, It wasn’t until he set things right with Yukino, his parents and everyone else that their relationship became stronger than before.

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I believe that we can learn many things from this, one of them is that no matter who we are or what we do, all of us need someone we can fall back onto. Taking all the burden ourself will just push us further away from the people we really care about. Secondly, I believe that just as Arima tried to change himself for the better, we need to do so too. Now, in regard to this matter, I’ve found that its amazing what God ( being a christian and all) can do to change our lives. What I’ve personally failed to change myself in the past, God has done for me. Even if you don’t share my sentiments I’m sure you’ll agree that , just like Arima, all of us would do better leaving bad habits behind.

Lastly, I totally loved the closure the final chapter (71 pages!) gave to this manga. Taking a look 16 years into the future was really great. The final panel where both Yukino and Arima bid their farewells(breaking the fourth dimension by talking to us, the viewers) was just really touching.

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Wow that was a long review. I even lost track of my time while I was doing it! Anyway, Kare Kano to me, is probably the best romance manga I’ve ever read and will probably be the best I’ve read for a long time to come. So I hope my review did justice to this great series and that you enjoyed my thoughts on this awesome manga, until next time then! xD

P.S sorry for the long review and scrunched up pictures! xD

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