Kuzu no Honkai – 01
OP: 「嘘の火花」 (Uso no Hibana) by 96neko
「望み叶え給え」 (Nodomi Kanae Tamae)
“Make a Wish”
I’m coming back briefly to blog another noitamina broadcast – this time about unrequited love and a lot of self-discovery. And let me start by saying that wow… I did not expect to be so hooked to this story right off the bat. Given, I’m also in the mood for some dramatic romance so that motivates me to want to watch a series like Kuzu no Honkai. So with that said, be warned that this won’t be a series for everyone. It starts off with your typical female protagonist, Yasuraoka Hanabi (Anzai Chika) who is deeply infatuated with her “brother”, Kanai Narumi (Nojima Kenji) who also happens to be her homeroom teacher (P.S. He’s not actually a blood-related brother for all those that don’t like the incest theme). Unfortunately, Hanabi thinks that another teacher, Minagawa Akane (Toyosaki Aki) likes Narumi and can only watch from afar as they flirt. To make things more complicated, Awaya Mugi (Shimazaki Nobunaga) has a crush on Akane and together, Hanabi and Mugi find comfort knowing that they are both in unrequited relationships. To fill in that loneliness they both experience, they become quick friends – and then something more than that… although I wouldn’t say they’re exactly boyfriend and girlfriend just yet. Let’s just call them friends with benefits or “lovers”.
If you haven’t seen the anime just yet – I’ll let you know ahead of time that this isn’t a romcom. This is a story about several teenagers and young adults that are pretty much in the midst of self-discovery and it prompts a lot of good questions that I think a lot of us ask when it comes to relationships and love. To understand, I also think you have to put yourself in the mindset of a teenage boy/girl who yearns to be with someone that doesn’t even see you that way. Teenagers have needs too right? And that’s a huge aspect of this anime, balancing the physical and mental needs in a relationship with someone else. On one hand, you have someone that you really like but doesn’t like you back and here’s this other person that’s readily willing to be WITH you as a replacement. Is that such a bad thing? You don’t dislike one another and it’s all consensual so what’s the harm of wanting human companionship? The more I think about it, the more I honestly empathize with both Hanabi and Mugi because I’m also someone that doesn’t like being alone. It’s nice to feel wanted by someone. While I can’t hop on this train completely, I can understand why they’re doing it and why this relationship is a slippery one. And if you think that this will lead to a funny, disastrous comedy, you’re very wrong my friend. It only gets darker as we dive into the minds of all the characters.
After watching this premiere, I actually went ahead and decided to see what the manga was like and I started reading… and several hours later, I was already caught up! With less than 50 chapters, this manga is relatively short but a good length for an anime one-cour adaptation. If they keep up with the 4-chapters per episode adaptation, then we’re in for a good ride. I think there’s a lot of good material in the book and just enough to give a good story without dragging out the relationships or adding unnecessary fluff. Having read almost the entire story now, I can thankfully say that it WILL end in 2 months’ time (aligned with the end of the winter season) so at least we’ll get a conclusion on these awkward love squares/polygons. However, having read all that I did, it’s not exactly a happy-go-lucky type of anime either so you can expect a lot of frustration while dealing with some of the characters; a lot of teenage confusion and one-sided relationships; and of course, a lot of physical affections (if that’s your cup of tea). There can be a lot of inner dialogues that make you think too because the characters are terribly honest with themselves. Interestingly enough (even though I don’t love Lerche or anything), I think Lerche does do Kuzu no Honkai the justice it deserves. It feels like you’re watching the manga, rather than reading it and the scenes are done on-point. Their storytelling method is different than the manga’s but the point comes across well and I have no complaints on that end. It’s clearly a more mature romance story and I think Lerche conveys that well.
There will probably be a few bumps along the way for the anime, but given that I trust the source material to be sufficient enough – Lerche can’t screw it up too bad. So far I’m enjoying it and I like watching the downsides of being in a relationship as well since life is not always rainbows and unicorns. I can definitely see myself in a lot of the characters’ shoes and some of the same questions they ask, are ones that can cross the minds of many teenagers. You might end up hating the some of the characters and the decisions they make, but for what it’s worth, I’m sure everyone’s made stupid choices when they were young. So prepared for a bit of teenage angst, some frustration, some puppy love and a lot of heartache.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: #KuzuNoHonkai was actually better than I expected given how much teenage angst and smut I was expecting. So far so good =) In fact, after catching up with the manga, I’m very content with the way it’s going to end and as long as Lerche sticks to 4 chapters/ep. #KuzunoHonkai is an honest and mature look at relationships and self-discovery for young adults. I think people can probably empathize.
ED: 「平行線」 (Heikousen) by Sayuri