Kiss Him, Not Me
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Kiss Him, Not Me ?
With Kae's harem now sporting an interesting new addition, the boys' feelings are put to the test in this week's Kiss Him, Not Me. With the notable exception of Mutsumi, none of Kae's suitors have made any bones about pursuing her for her looks. In fact, until she suddenly shed a significant portion of her body mass, they could barely be troubled to give her the time of day. However, now that they've spent weeks (months?) pining after Kae, are they able to see past her looks and appreciate her for who she is? As it turns out, the answer is “sort of.”
In her efforts to create a Shion-themed confection for a Mirage Saga Valentine's Day contest, Kae produces an enormous number of duds. Not wanting to let so much food go to waste, the passionate fujoshi eats the bulk of the excess chocolate herself, gaining all her weight back in the span of a few days. This prompts a litany of reactions from her stable of suitors. Nanashima and Shinomiya are insistent that she shed her extra pounds as quickly as possible, Mutsumi and Shima have no real issue with Kae being festively plump, and Igarashi is somewhere in between. Since Kae's entry inexplicably got a special mention in the aforementioned contest, Nanashima claims his strict fitness regimen is necessary to get Kae looking her best in time for the award ceremony. After numerous failed efforts at getting Kae to exercise, Nana and Shinomiya agree to engage in increasingly suggestive acts in exchange for weight loss results, which proves to be just the impetus Kae needs to get serious. Despite swaying back and forth throughout the episode, Igarashi ultimately decides that he loves Kae no matter what she looks like.
With the return of “classic Kae” comes the deep, dopey voice the character spoke with prior to her cartoonish weight loss. Although this may be acceptable in an over-the-top animated comedy, depicting Kae as a bumbling simpleton when she's sporting her original appearance is offensive. Plus, the show once again plays fast and loose with the rules of weight loss and weight gain. Just as Kae couldn't have realistically lost so much weight in such a short span of time, neither could she have gained it all back in an even shorter span of time.
Technical gripes aside, I enjoyed the examination of everyone's feelings for Kae in the wake of her weight gain. This being Kiss Him, Not Me, the situation is mostly played for laughs, but everyone's reactions to such a major development are interesting, if unsurprising. I'm sure that in time, Nanashima and Shinomiya will feel the same way as Igarashi, but having everyone on the same page this early in the game wouldn't be much fun. If Kae gains weight this easily, it's likely she'll be overweight again in the future, so it's important that whoever she winds up with cares more about her personality than her looks.
Despite having a one-joke premise, Kiss Him, Not Me has thus far managed to feel fresh and entertaining from week to week. While none of the characters are particularly original, their various interactions and eccentricities are fun to watch and prevent things from getting stale. That said, if Kae's yo-yo-ing weight remains a prominent plot fixture, I can easily see it wearing thin.
Kiss Him, Not Me is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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