Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Sentai Filmworks
- MSRP: 49.98
- Running time: 300
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Kimikiss
Kimikiss: Pure Rouge Collection 2
Kimikiss: Pure Rouge Collection 2 Anime DVD Review
By Chris Beveridge
December 14, 2010
Release Date: December 07, 2010
Kimikiss: Pure Rouge Collection 2
© Sentai Filmworks
With so many couples in so many states of distress, teenage hormones and anxiety reign supreme.
What They Say
Making a movie is supposed to be difficult, but as production begins on the movie club's film, the complicated web that ties the members together quickly threatens to become far more complex than the movie itself. After all, any problem that occurs in a movie has to resolve itself in just a few hours, whereas things that happen in the real world have ramifications that last forever. As the relationships between Kouichi, Mao, Kazuki and the rest continue to evolve and unravel, however, it soon becomes obvious that the movies and real romance have at least one thing in common: not every ending is going to be a happy one. Get ready for role reversals, cast changes, unexpected exits and 12 episodes filled with heartrending teen drama galore as the drama builds to a cinematic climax in the second stunning collection of KIMIKISS PURE ROUGE!
The language options for this release are unfortunately a bit short as we only get the Japanese stereo language mix encoded at 224kbps. The strength of this show is in its dialogue and it really deserved a dub. The Japanese mix is really good though as it works the forward soundstage to good effect with dialogue well placed and clear throughout. There's a lot of low moments to be had but it's all discernible and clean. Sometimes we do get a fair number of characters talking across the screen at a time and it does a good job of providing placement and clarity for it. This isn't a knockout attention getter of a mix, but it's one that does a very good job with the material.
Originally airing in late 2007 and early 2008, the transfer for this TV is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series is spread across two discs in in a six/seven breakdown which Sentai favors with its thirteen episode releases. The show is done with a real world style to it so it has some good colors but nothing too terribly vibrant while using a lot of soft pastels as well. Some of the backgrounds when it comes to interiors has a bit more noise than normal, but for the most part it's a good looking transfer even with the average bit rate since it's not a terribly active show. It's a lot of dialogue, a lot of simple walking around and school based real world that doesn't stress an encoder all that much. The show is generally clean and solid with no visible cross coloration and only a touch of aliasing during some panning sequences.
Kimikiss gets a standard single sized keepcase for this release which holds the two discs against the interior sides. The front cover goes with the style of having multiple pictures with a shot of Futami by herself and Sakino by herself with different background colors and positions for the characters themselves. The logo is simply and girly, something we see elsewhere in the release as well, but it fits in an okay kind of way. The character artwork looks good and is nicely detailed but not flashy or distracting or even all that filled with fanservice, short as the skirts may be. The back cover has another shot of Furyu and a nice collage style shot along the bottom for the clips from the show itself that ties it together well. The summary is a bit text heavy but not overly so as it covers the basics well enough. The episode and disc count is clear as well so you know what you're getting into. Add in a solid technical grid with everything laid out in a very easy to read manner and you've got a good cover overall, but one that doesn't sell the show too strongly and ends up being a touch too girlish when it really shouldn't. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for Kimikiss are pretty straightforward and girly in its own way, because anything relating to romance must be girly I suppose. The background is made up of pinks and purples with a different piece of character artwork for each disc. The artwork is good with lots of detail that has a vibrant look without being too much. To complement it, the right side has a sheet of paper, with some feminine style to it, where we get a bit more than normal. Usually we just get the episode number with Sentai releases but here they give us that plus the episode title in a nice script font that gives it a more personal feeling. Submenus are minimal overall here since it's a monolingual release and the extras are on the second volume. Everything moves smoothly though with cursors and access times making it a problem free experience that sets the mood right for the show.
The only extras included are clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of Kimikiss was one of those shows that managed to take the show beyond preconceptions of a video game turned anime and prove that it can be done well. When dealing with high school romances, it can get pretty melodramatic depending on how far they want to go, so finding the right balance can be difficult for a lot of shows. Kimikiss managed it very well in those first thirteen episodes by using the standard idea of a childhood friend returning in the midst of other relationships that were in the early stages. The return of Mao to Kouichi's life sets off a series of events that resulted in confessions of interest and other experiments.
Watching these kids go through first loves, coming to understand love itself as best as you can at that age and coping with the hormones as well is very endearing. The primary couple of Kouichi and Yuumi is still one of better ones to watch in terms of something that makes you feel warm inside. With the knowledge that Yuumi is transferring after the culture festival, Kouichi is doing what he can to find good things to do with her that will make memories. He's made his intentions clear on visiting her regularly, but Mao at least talks him out of getting part time jobs for some trips and just find smaller and more personal things to do that will mean more in the end. It's a bittersweet romance as it plays out simply because of the distance the two will have to deal with. The closeness they present to the world makes you smile, since they're not hiding it like many other shows often do for awhile and they're not high maintenance personalities.
The relationship triangle of the series is difficult to watch simply because the pairings can work both ways. Of with the triangle, one of them does not fit well and it's plainly obvious. For Kazuki, there's a lot of reasons for him to be interested in Eriko and for her to come to like him as well. There's an honest attraction there on his part and something more is expressed there that's hard to pin down with why we become interested in someone. With Asuka's interest in Kazuki, you can feel that just as well as it's a very earnest and true long time affection that she wants to make something more of. Yet she's terribly conflicted because she wants Kazuki to be happy even if it isn't with her. The two certainly can work well together, but I really appreciated the fact that Kazuki simply likes her as a friend and when she finally confronts him about it, he admits it plainly that that's the extent of his feelings.
The frustrating relationship that's dealt with in this series is that of Mao and Kai. Mao makes it plain when she arrives in the series that she has no interest in Kouichi or Kazuki and her attraction to Kai works on a few levels. With good looks, musical talent, a steady job and is something of a loner. There's something of a bad boy feeling to him as well, though it's not very strong outwardly. When Mao starts to realize her true feelings involve Kouichi more, something that she comes to grips with while doing the film with him that he wrote the screenplay for and is acting as the lead in, it sets her down an emotional spiral. As much as I like Mao as she's portrayed in the series, I still don't see her as being the right fit for Kouichi. But that in itself is what love is all about in that not all relationships make sense from the outside. The connections that are created and the bonds that flow from it sometimes can only be felt by those actively involved.
A good part of this half of the series revolves around the culture festival, but mostly in the form of the actual filming of the movie, “True Hearts” that Kouichi wrote. The difficulty in finding a female lead is dealt with and the actual process of filming intersects with most of the relationships as well. The dilemma of the actress is fun since Yuumi goes in for it first and then encourages Mao to take it over, which in itself is what leads to the downfall of her own relationship. Yet for Yuumi, she comes off the best here I think as she gains the memories she wanted to have of her friends, she had her first boyfriend and much of what it entails and she doesn't have to deal with a long distance relationship afterward. She has pain and grows because of it, which will lead her to likely having a better relationship the next time around. While I liked Kouichi overal, Yuumi proved to be the better of the couple, much like Kazuki filled that role in his relationship with Eriko.
Kimikiss spends its run telling quite a number of interesting tales of first loves in a high school setting. This second half takes all the setup, the moves made and the first connections and pushes it forward. The more open relationship between Yuumi and Kouichi plays out innocently and beautifully while the more complicated ones deal with nuance and other issues. With the way the couples deal with their problems and the way they feel, it opens up a lot of possibilities with where it may go and that keeps it fresh. It's not guaranteed who will end up with who considering how they feel, and whether those feelings are truly real, and that has you watching right through the end until it's all laid clear. Kimikiss is the kind of show where it can definitely leave an impression as it keeps things real, doesn't become overly dramatic and has characters that actually admit feelings and move on to the next level. The chase is certainly fun, but the real drama and the best writing comes from shows that advance into actual relationships and all that's involved there. Kimikiss does just that and succeeds very well at it. Definitely a very good show if you''re interested in that particular subgenre and a great one to start out with if you haven't watched one before.Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean ClosingReview Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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