Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances

Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances volume 1

Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda attracted me because of its lead character. Yukino is top of her class in just about everything until Soichiro, a similarly over-achieving boy, comes to her school. She learns to deal with her jealousy of him and her own growing self-awareness of the motivations driving her success.

Their rivalry becomes love within a few books, after which the story turns to their friends, which is where I began losing track of the characters. A whole group of gal pals was introduced at once, and through the rest of the volumes I tried (I read up to book 7) I got several of them confused.

Less attention is also paid to making them fully three-dimensional characters. A character chart at the beginning of each book would have been a big help, but the only extra material is one “story so far” page and the occasional author comments about her reading or hobbies.

Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances volume 1

I’m glad that the writer didn’t break up Yukino and Soichiro just for drama, so I didn’t mind seeing other people’s stories, but I would have enjoyed them more if I’d been more comfortable with who they all were. I also worry a bit that Yukino’s obsessive studying and self-improvement wasn’t replaced with an interest of her own; instead, she finds her own value in her love for Soichiro. There’s nothing wrong with replacing focus on oneself with learning to care for others, but it moves Yukino away from being the book’s central character as her friends are developing their own individual talents.

Currently, the series is at least 18 volumes. When a series gets up into the double digits, I really have to be enjoying it to sign on for that length, and I wonder about the author possibly padding just to continue the property. If I liked more of the supporting cast in their own right, I’d be more eager to keep reading. As it is, the only one that really grabbed me was Soichiro, and with the focus widening, I’m no longer as interested.



5 comments

  • danielle leigh

    The author has said the the first 8 or 9 volumes were really about Yukino’s story, volumes 10-13 are really padding, and Soichiro’s story begins in full-force around book 14. Since book 14, the tone of the story has changed, getting darker since it delves into Soichiro and his family’s past. These are in fact my favorite of the series so far (volume 14-18) but if you like your shojo sweeter and less angsty I wouldn’t recommend the later volumes.

  • Jake

    Aw, I really love volumes 11-12, even moreso than the mains story at times. It’s a self-contained story arc for about 350 pages that has the luxury of jumping right into the meat of the story. Padding or not, I still liked the the diversion.

  • You’re reminded me that I later sampled 12-16, but I didn’t find enough of what I was looking for to bring me back to the series. I found Soichiro’s story to be based on cliché and as you say, too dark for me.

  • David

    If the tangential storylines in the middle of the series have put anyone off this series, I’d recommend looking at it again. It’s now finished and fully published in the US, and the last few volumes return to Arima & Yukino in a good way — I was *very* pleased with the final volume.

  • velma

    I have to say that I hate this manga with a passion. I think the original premise was so cliche and overdone, of course they’d hook up.

    I didn’t find the lead to be a strong female to look up to, but an overbearing and annoying child instead.

    I only continued reading it under the advice of many that it got better as the story progressed, but was sadly disappointed.

    It’s not really dark, again, just cliche. I personally have been a victim of child abuse, so I found the portrayal here to be irritating. Like an interpretation from someone who has no idea what they’re talking about.

    And the flat art is so unoriginal and unstylish as well.

    I recommend passing on this title.

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