art by Taro Shinonome; story by Enterbrain, Inc.; adapted by Katherine Schilling
published by Tokyopop; $10.99 US
I don’t understand why someone would want to read a manga based on a dating sim game. I can understand the appeal of the game concept — although I’ve never played one, it sounds entertaining to see what results your choices bring — but books based on them too often reduce all the possibilities to just one, so the conclusion is foregone, the user has no input, and the end result ends up being fanboy wank.
Exhibit A: KimiKiss. Kouichi would like to kiss a girl, so it’s awfully convenient when the slightly older neighbor Mao-chan (who sports a huge rack) offers to teach him to be a great boyfriend, including kissing lessons.
Whenever things are getting boring, there’s a panel of Mao-chan staring right at the reader, puckering up or otherwise inviting him to envision interacting with her. I assume that this is reminiscent of the sim screens, with the characters facing the players directly, especially when she’s asking a question like “wanna give it a try?” In the game, I imagine that this is when the user would get to choose an action, but here, it’s pointless, because you know what his answer’s going to be: whatever gets him further along with the girl.
I understand why Mao-chan is so excessively built, but is it too much to ask that the artist remember her huge cup size from panel to panel? Many pages feature a normal-looking schoolgirl, until it comes time for the big “stare at me” focus panel, at which point she’s suddenly smuggling cantaloupes under her shirt.
In case you get bored of this eye candy, there’s also implied lesbianism between Mao-chan and Kouichi’s younger sister. The two bathe together, in the most explicit sequence in the book, before they end up falling asleep together. (Between the two sequences, Mao-chan climbs into bed with Kouichi.) There’s also a pool chapter, with plenty of bikini cleavage.
KimiKiss Book 1 is due out July 6. Future volumes will apparently focus on different types of girls, with a “hot sports jock” up next. A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.