Kiss Him, Not Me
私がモテてどうすんだ (Watashi ga Motete Dousunda)
Shoujo – Romance, comedy, reverse harem
24 Chapters (ongoing)
Crunchyroll / Kodansha USA
Kae is a self-proclaimed fujoshi who spends most of her days watching anime and dreaming of BL. But when her favorite character dies, she is so grief-stricken that she ends up losing a lot of weight. The once-heavy Kae is now a beauty! Her sudden transformation intrigues four boys, but she can’t get rid of her BL fantasies.
Kiss Him, Not Me is a strange manga. When I think it takes itself too seriously, it then becomes a parody, but when I begin to think it’s a parody, the series spends too much time on romance.
The series makes more sense when you consider the author is a BL manga author. She has written both doujinshi and professional shounen-ai and yaoi titles. So I wonder if part of the weird feeling I had when reading is some of the author projecting onto the heroine. Let’s face it, even without the BL elements, almost any girl would dream to have guys who are
her slaves willing to accept her as she is and do almost anything for her.
I think a big problem is that the characters are almost too pure. Kae’s obsession with BL and her admirers’ affections are genuine. Does this make them terrible? Not at all. But is it hard to enjoy the comedy when the story spends chapters on discovering or reaffirming their deep feelings? Absolutely. Kae, in some aspects, doesn’t deserve some of the praise her admirers give her. She says she is going to consider their feelings, and then she promptly ditches them. I think the author was going for the comedic aspect, but it just makes Kae look like a terrible person (at the very least, inconsiderate). Her harem views her as some kind of angel, but she’s actually pretty normal (minus her fujoshi tendencies). I don’t think not laughing at someone in a haunted house makes her great, but at least one guy does. To me, it makes her nice. Nice, but not amazing.
“Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” Well, in this case, methinks the boys protest too little. The guys don’t understand Kae’s obsession, but they quickly throw away their pride to make her happy. The guys are mostly initially attracted to Kae’s beauty, but they later affirm their feelings are not just skin-deep. I will also give the author credit for maintaining their individual personalities even though they tend to operate as a group and individually on the same wavelength.
One of Kae’s admirers is rather unusual for a member of a reverse harem, and this is, uniquely, not a major comedic point. Another character could have been the perfect troll. I liked him better when he was messing with the others and they had no idea if he was being serious or not. Unfortunately, the author decides to devote a whole arc to him realizing his feelings. It plays out like a typical shoujo scenario. Why, if this is a parody, do these chapters seem so uninspiring and feel like they just drag?
The artwork is shounen-ai fare. Eyes are sharp, and the guys are nice-looking without being bishounen. Kae is generally drawn as a bishoujo. Her heavy-set self does not resemble her skinny self in any way, a fact often brought up by the characters. Comedic moments are often drawn with the modern “gah!” expressions with oversized white pupils or eyebrows, but I actually prefer Kae’s “moe!” face with her pupils going in opposite directions. Panels are easy to follow. The author uses a lot of greytones to stand out against the white pages. She also uses a lot of screentones and manga effects.
Honorifics are typically used. One noticeable aspect is that “senpai” and “kohai” are used, but not “sensei”? Really weird. A few (unusual) Japanese terms are kept with translator’s notes. The speech is more casual than many other Kodansha USA / Crunchyroll titles, but this helps keep the speech sounding natural without deviating from the original Japanese text. I wonder if the print versions will include some notes on all the manga references Kae and her friends make. And there is a lot, from current manga hits to old classics.
I really don’t know how I feel about this manga. I think it might be worth reading on Crunchyroll, but I doubt I’ll be investing in Kodansha USA’s upcoming physical volumes. And if it were pulled from Crunchyroll’s lineup, I wouldn’t really be upset. It just takes itself too seriously at times to be considered a satire of typical shoujo and otome game elements. I will say I don’t think I’ve ever read a manga where a date consists of a visit to an alpaca farm.