*This is a really old review, wanted to keep it the way it was. Enjoy.
His and Her Circumstances: Romancing a rival
There are only so many ways to tell a love story. Hero saves the damsel in distress? Check. Good guy makes bad girl fall for him? Check. Satisfied high school student gets shown up by handsome, dreamy honor student? Now this could be interesting. Or at least that’s what I thought after watching the first couple of episodes of His and Her Circumstances. Now that I’ve seen the entire series, I pretty much feel the same way I did before I started it. This is that His and Her Circumstances mixes romance and comedy in a way that really kept my attention. Although I didn’t like how the romance soon took a backseat to the comedy.
I swear the production on this show reminds me of something…
When I first started to watch the show, I felt as if the animation and production value were automatically the best part of the series. For some reason, both of those aspects of the show reminded me of something else I had seen.
The manga series was written by Masami Tsuda. His and Her Circumstances was serialized in LaLa from 1996 to 2005 and had 21 volumes of one-shot story arcs. Tokyopop held the license for the manga in the USA, while Hakusensha distributed the series throughout Japan. The series ran for 9 years (February 1996 – June 2005) and also led to the anime series being produced. The anime was directed by Hideaki Anno and Kazuya Tsurumaki; who have also worked on projects such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Nadia: The Secret of the Blue Water. The anime series itself ran from October 2, 1998 – March 23, 1999 for a total of 26 episodes. Gainax and J.C. Staff were the studios behind the show, and TV Tokyo, Anime Selects, and Funimation helped spread the series across the networks. And that’s why the animation reminded me of something! It’s because the same two people worked on Neon Genesis Evangelion!
Alright Desmond, what’s something to look forward to in this series?
The production quality and the comedy. His and Her Circumstances isn’t just funny, it can be downright hilarious. There were a number of times where I would just watch what was taking place in the background of scenes just to catch some of the sight gags and jokes the animators through into the show. Easily the most fun I’ve had with a shojo series, even if I didn’t give a rat’s butt what the main characters were dealing with. Well, okay. I won’t say I didn’t care, but after awhile I just wanted the characters to grow up. The writers do an exceptional job portraying high school students as inquisitive individuals just starting to understand how the world works. In addition to the two main characters and their story arc, several different people undergo series changes for the better in His and Her Circumstances. All types of problems are examined here too. Sex, love, neglect, hazing, and just school life in general. And it’s all done tastefully too, even the one sex scene between the two main characters! Calm down, you don’t see a damn thing when it happens.
Now for the negative part of the show: do the problems within the story create any sort of genuine risk for the players involved? I gotta say, sort of. Heck, the two main characters have sex and pretty much get lucky nothing comes of that in itself. I pretty much had enough of the high school drama after awhile, but I did enjoy how the families of both main characters were brought to life in the series. That made for more interesting story telling, but after the writers stretched that aspect out, it was back to the drama of high school students.
“Wah. She picked on me when we were little. Now I wanna pick on her now, to teach her a lesson”
“All this time I’ve been pretending to be someone I’m not. I have you to thank for bringing me out of my shell. I love you.”
I can stomach lines such as the ones above for just a little while before I begin to feel queasy. Slice of life anime is an acquired taste, but needless to say if you have the appetite for it; there are a ton of different shows you’ll enjoy. I’m happy to say that His and Her Circumstances can be regarded as that very thing: a show that will feed your appetite.
*Burp*, let me break this show down….
One of the stronger aspects of this show. During parts of the episode, where the story dragged a bit, I often just admired all the detail that went into every frame of each episode. The opening and ending are well animated as well making for a very glamorous looking show.
The players did a good job of making the high school drama in this series feel real. Even though they all sound somewhat older than high school. Never did I feel as though a scene failed because of voice acting. If anything, I’d say the writing for some parts fell flat.
Not the first time I’ve seen a relationship the two main characters in this show have. The way their romance played out wasn’t all that surprising either. The fact that they had sex, and didn’t really have to experience consequences (physical or psychological) was a bit unrealistic. It’s almost as if no one on the planet minded these two doing the horizontal shuffle. Other story arcs, such as ones dealing with family and old grudges were handled really well; but I didn’t see anything breathtaking. In fact, His and Her Circumstances was pretty much an incredibly grounded soap opera. The only thing being exaggerated in this show was the faces the characters made during comical or awkward situations.
The way this show was made was incredible. The characters all looked and interacted the way you’d think high school students would. And on top of that, real issues a high school student has to deal with are examined in this show too! Awesome! The only thing holding this series back is the fact that there are way too many other shows like this. It’s cliché, recycled, worn, old school, and boring. It’s all of these things, but you truthfully won’t notice them until after you’ve watched the series with a critical eye. The first time I watched this show all the way through I love it. The second time, I just appreciated it.