Another day, another conquest—though truth be told, misogynistic businessman Ryo Amakusa doesn’t seem to take much delight in taking so many women to bed. But his mindset is about to change. After being saved from taking a horrible tumble down the stairs in a subway station, he discovers his savior is higher schooler Ichika Arima. Later, when Ryo learns that Ichika is his sister’s friend, he offers her a kiss as a reward but is rebutted by Ichika, who doesn’t dice words, calling him “creepy.” Ryo’s response? Well, he seems to have fallen completely, head-over-heels, in love.
Let’s start by getting this out of the way: The central conceit of Koikimo, of a twenty-something man trying to establish a romantic relationship with a high schooler, will be too steep an entry point for many viewers, even if the series is light-hearted. But aside from that, I’m more interested in how the anime is trying to make the relationship palatable. There’s a strong comparison to be made to After the Rain, which featured a far older male and a similarly-aged female. That series used soft color tones, nostalgic effects and music, and a very cautiously developed plot to encourage the audience to consider the May-September romance to be reasonable. Koikimo goes an entirely opposite direction: By keeping it cute and humorous, making the ages of the characters appear similar, and showing Ryo to be absolutely, 100% sweet around Ichika softens the blow, trying to draw viewers in to accepting them in a more subtle way. I think that’s what makes the end of the episode quizzical, when Ryo stands up for Ichika in fairly dramatic fashion (at least for this series). The shows seems to not only want audiences to accept the possibility of RyoChika, but (and also demonstrated by the fairly serious OP and ED, which are both kickin’ by the way) to embrace it as the ultimate goal, as if to say, “We’ve got plenty of romance to go along with the comedy.” The latter seems like it’s going to be really strong, but the former? It’ll be quite interesting to see this series balance a romance of this type between sweet and “creepy.”
Koikimo can be streamed on Crunchyroll.