Can I Kiss You Every Day?
毎日キスしていいですか? (Mainichi Kiss shite Ii Desu ka?)
Shoujo – Comedy, romance
4 Volumes (complete)
As children, Kurumi and Nagio had a secret place where they hung out — and even kissed. Years pass, Nagio suddenly transfers to Kurumi’s school! She can’t help but flustered upon meeting again, as he’s different now. Nagio denies he’s changed much, but Kurumi knows one thing has changed: his more passionate kisses!
Can I Kiss You Every Day? should have been either just been a pure romance or a comedy, as it can’t handle both kisses and squabbling.
Kurumi, a rather clumsy high schooler, lives with her father and her abrasive brother, Ataka, the student council president. She’s dated a few people, but all her relationships ended suddenly. She then bumps into a transfer student, who recognizes her immediately. It’s Nagio, a boy she used to play with when they attended elementary school. But the somewhat sullen young boy she played with — and kissed — is now the outgoing touchy-feely sort. Still, while his initial request for a kiss he plays off as a joke, he quickly switches gears when he sees Kurumi’s reaction. Shortly after, Nagio confesses he likes Kurumi, while she’s still confused about her feelings.
Meanwhile, Ataka makes it very clear to Nagio to not mess with his little sister. Nagio casually waves off his concerns and Ataka himself as he continues to find reasons to kiss Kurumi.
So that’s what this manga is about: a guy wanting (and scheming) to physically and emotionally get closer to his crush as her overprotective brother tries to interfere. Oh, and there’s a narcissist and a lot of in-universe fujoshi bait.
I have to say that was a rather unexpected aspect to the manga. You don’t often see other girls recording the protagonist’s boyfriend and brother doing the infamous kabe-don. Or the boyfriend actually kissing the brother to get him to back off. Then, when the wannabe exhibitionist joins the cast, well, now there’s even more opportunities for the school’s BL fans to get excited. Ataka, of course, is not at all pleased by this type of attention. I don’t know if a lot of people will find this funny or not. Yes, Ataka kind of deserves everything he gets. But it could be construed as mocking gay couples, because the comedy wouldn’t have worked, say, if Ataka had been Kurumi’s older sister.
But that’s not Can I Kiss You Every Day?‘s true issue. Most fiction, even if it has a primary genre, is actually a blend. Romance, for instance, tends to fall into one of two categories: a more serious story (drama) or a funny one (comedy). Can I Kiss You Every Day? keeps switching between them, and it makes for a messy story.
On one hand, you have the fluff. Nagio doesn’t have eyes for anyone but Kurumi, and he’s delighted she starts returning his feelings. Each chapter is centered (and titled) around a kiss, like “Parting Kiss” and “A Kiss on The Holy Night”. I like how this manga has a theme. Plenty of romance manga find reasons for the couple to have an intimate moment, but Can I Kiss You Every Day? forgets the pretenses and goes straight into indulging readers.
However, instead of keeping the slow, sweet pace established in the opening chapters, the manga suddenly dials up Akata’s siscon tendencies to 11 as he tries to sabotage his classmate’s chances with his sister. Kurumi rightfully blames her brother whenever things go awry, but Nagio also ends up being dragged to his level, like both suddenly stripping when it comes to a carnival eel fishing game. There’s no doubt that despite the creepiness of Akata’s overbearing personality (he actually locks Kurumi up in her room to stop her from dating Nagio), the oneup-manship between boyfriend and brother is hilarious.
So those those prefer the antics between Nagio and Akata are going to be annoyed whenever Nagio and Kurumi flirt and fall deeper for each other, and those who want to see those scenes will be irritated whenever Akata decides to be creepy. There’s too much of each for drama and comedy fans to just ignore the other type, and a single chapter may cycle through both.
Other things that affect both these aspects is the late arrival (end of third volume) of the third male character, Hiro, who doesn’t serve much of a purpose and disrupts both the Nagio-Akata antics and Kurumi-Nagio romance, and the utter nonsense that is the final chapter. No, it’s not some tragedy, a last-second rival, or something completely out of left field, but… it’s just dumb, flushing away the rising romantic tension and readers’ good-will. I’m not sure if Can I Kiss You Every Day? ended early or not, but the ending info dump about Nagio’s family (and Haru’s debut) makes me inclined to believe so.
In addition, Kurumi is rather flat as a character. We know she’s clumsy, a bit simpleminded, and does most if not all of the housework, but she doesn’t seem to have any particular hobbies or anything. I am glad that the author didn’t go down the route of making Kurumi and Akata no biologically related or anything. In fact, there’s no real love triangle at all. (Although I bet some of their classmates certainly thought there was…) The author certainly could have set up the story that way, especially since so many male leads are angry and possessive like Akata is. In comparison, Nagio may be a bit forward in his advances, but his overall caring demeanor (and putting up with Akata) mitigate this.
Otherwise, the story is episodic, covering popular school events, holidays, and activities with no real overreaching plot. Which may not be shocking because of the “every day” part of the title, but again, that’s probably a negative for readers who want to see more progression besides whether the couple will reach the next level or not. Kurumi does wonder about what happened to Nagio while they were separated, which is about the closest thing to intrigue outside of wondering if Ataka will back down or not. But Kurumi’s curiosity is just wanting to know more about the one she loves rather than trying to ease his wounds or anything. And at least Nagio has something he can’t handle to balance out his talents.
One of Kurumi’s friends had some hilarious ideas on how Nagio could prove his love, and I think she would have shined if this manga had a more comedic bent. I also may have been a little harsh on Haru, but my dislike isn’t necessarily of his character but because he’s introduced so late and adds little to the story. But it’s Akata who’s going to be the make-it-or-break-it character for most manga readers. I mean, in his debut scene, he’s grabbing Kurumi’s face and telling her to shut up… oh, and then he adds to her chores and complains about breakfast. Even Kurumi can’t understand why her brother is so popular.
Before I talk more about the art, I have to ask… is it just me, or does she look kind of evil here, like her eyes aren’t smiling because she’s plotting something (mainly in the first panel below and maybe the last)?
There’s a fine line between softness and strength, good and bad, love and hate. And in the art, sometimes, those lines get crossed. Nagio and Ataka (moreso the latter) do tend to have a lot of angry, scheming faces, but there are times when the characters look unintentionally Machiavellian. If it weren’t for those occasional panels, I would say I really like the art. I am fond of Kurumi’s poofy hair, and the Nagio-Ataka warfare results in some solid hilarity. Let’s just say the play makes every guy in the audience wince. There is some partial nudity at times when Kurumi and Nagio make out. But with kissing being the theme of this manga, of course HATSUHARU puts a lot of effort into making them visual highlights of Can I Kiss You Every Day?. They’re just full of romantic passion. Really, everything but the occasional dark side in the characters is pretty.
Honorifics are used. Western name order is used. “Onii-chan” (well, Ataka-onii-chan) is used. Footnotes are included for terms like yokai, fujoshi, and shojo manga (yes, really). They’re also used for a few signs that are only shown in part because of the angle (like “tako” for takoyaki).
While the idea was nice, Can I Kiss You Every Day? just isn’t very good with its mix of narrative tones. The siscon brother is also going to be a divisive character, and the final chapter is mostly at odds with the rest of the series.
Kodansha Comics also has licensed Hatsuharu’s A Girl & Her Guard Dog.
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