Kuzu no Honkai 01 – First Impressions

Coping with an unrequited love can be difficult, unless you have someone to confide in. Probably should avoid dating that person though. (Mature Content)

“Make A Wish”

Is there a sub-genre of ‘dark romance’ out there? This series opens right from the top as being so seriously netorare that dark may be the most appropriate way to describe it. We’re probably so used to the tropes of romantic comedy, or even the rare serious romance drama, that this feels almost a bit jarring in its honesty. It’s still a rather ridiculous concept, but two people “settling” while secretly hoping for their unrequited love to suddenly come around is most certainly something that has happened in real life at least a few times. But the two people involved probably don’t know that about each other – not so here! Better yet, both of the unrequited loves are with teachers! I’ve probably said about as much as I can on that problem with Hibike! Euphonium, but it really can’t be said enough – loving your teacher is probably a bad idea.

These kids are in seriously bad places in their lives. Hana (Yasuraoka Hanabi) has a serious long-time crush on someone who is like an older brother to her (calls him onii-chan) and kind of a surrogate father figure and her homeroom teacher. There are so many things wrong with that all at once, while all of those things also tend to lend themselves to infatuation. Mugi isn’t much better off, but his situation seems a bit more reasonable. He is interested in his music tutor-turned high school music teacher. The age difference is supposed to be less than most other teachers, but even at the earliest you’re looking at upwards of 6-8 years. Not too bad for two people in their 20’s, much less so for a high school student. What’s the unwritten rule, half your age plus seven?

With both of these characters so madly in love with their teachers, they still seem to realize that it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Which is all the more interesting that they seem to like each other enough to be essentially dating, best friends, and nearly full-on romantically involved with each other. They seem to understand and appreciate each other at a level that they can’t even be sure they will be compatible on with their unrequited loves. Now it’s almost a game of who can break their promise first. Near soft-core porn aside, it’s nice to see a story not hung up on the stereotypical aspects of young love. They have already kissed, and more, so if there is going to be any build to a climax (*cough*) in this series it will have to be emotional. Despite the naiveté of these characters, which is understandable for high school, there is a certain maturity to the presentation that is quite refreshing.

Considering the fact that this series doesn’t rely too much on motion in its animation, the use of frames and still shots works quite well. There’s the occasional moment of slight comedy that warrants a more caricatured art style and it never felt too out of place. If this episode is anything to go by, there will be a lot of kissing animation, and is it ever detailed here. If it’s going to be a big focus of the series, why not go all in? It would be a drastically different feeling throughout the episode if the art style or animation were any less serious. There is clearly passion in the details and it lends itself well to this story so far.

Episode Score
8.0/10 (Good)

Summary: And so begins the story of two people that don’t realize they love each other, but totally do. Unrequited love be damned.

kuzu-no-honkai-01-first-time
Is it getting hot in here?

Extra thoughts:
– NTR the anime.
– You clicked on this because of the mature tag.
– What a substitute Oedipus complex.
– Damn this is getting steamy
– My eyebrows can’t get any higher.
– I’m pretty sure you’re already in love with each other.
– “You’re totally not my type… but…”
– Isn’t friends without benefits just, like, friends?

First Impressions

It is probably fairly clear from the episode review above, but love stories involving teachers can be seriously problematic. There’s a few reasons why it is so enthralling, from interest in an authority figure to wanting what you can’t have, but it is almost always painted as being kind of normal in anime. Not that it is normalizing the concept, considering the audience of this series is definitely not supposed to be current high school students. It just feels like the reality of the situation is never really fully confronted, which gives more plausibility to the option and serves to continue the plot of a series like this. In most realities, this series set-up would just end up with the two main characters either being completely faithful to their forbidden loves or realizing very quickly that they’re more interested in the person that they can actually interact with normally. But alas, there must be conflict for romantic drama. Fortunately it’s not so absurd to be frustrating, but from the first impression it looks like there could be a lot of really forced conflict. Hopefully the majority of this conflict is in the realizations each character is making about themselves as they become closer and closer. In this series, as in the far less serious Masamune-kun no Revenge, we can probably guess the expected ending. Somebody’s head ends up in a duffel bag. Wait. That’s been done.

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