Kare Kano, or His and Hers Circumstances, is considered by many to be an absolute classic romance series, both in its manga and anime forms. Both are renowned for their incredibly realistic look at relationships between young people, and for not focusing on typical genre tropes. Sadly, the anime adaptation had numerous problems toward its end, many of which curtailed these strengths.
Thankfully, remaking older anime has become a bit of a trend in the last couple of years, and it began with the newest version of Fruits Basket. Kare Kano should be the next older series to get a second chance on the silver screen, so it can provide a more accurate adaptation of the manga and its thoughtful, grounded take on romance.
Kare Kano: Manga vs. Anime
The series follows the unlikely romance of Yukino Miyazawa and Soichiro Arima. The former is a seemingly perfect student whose outward flawlessness is a cover for her conflicted home life, while the latter is a dutiful honor student who is secretly very self-centered. When Arima knocks Yukino from her spot as the school's top student, she immediately deems him a rival. But when he discovers the truth behind her facade, Arima uses the information to blackmail her.
Eventually, the two realize their legitimate affection for each other and resolve to end their mutual lies of perfection, aiming to be totally true to themselves. They also begin a relationship, though things begin to take a downward spiral when Soichiro can't grapple with both the complexities of a romance and his relationship with his parents. The series portrays their love in a fairly realistic way, lacking many of the tropes and cliches that are typically associated with shoujo. Chief among these is the tsundere trope and the "will they, won't they" story that so many modern romance anime are defined by.
The anime does a decent job of adapting the manga up until it starts to diverge around episode 16 of its 26 episode run. Part of this was that Hideaki Anno, the legendary director of Neon Genesis Evangelion, directed these episodes, but only co-directed the remaining 10. This was due to Anno's dissatisfaction with the constraints placed on primetime television. Likewise, more and more the show began to focus on the comedic elements of the manga and not the romance, lessening the realistic edge that the series was known for.
There was also a cut in the show's budget, which resulted in a sharp decline in animation quality for the last chunk of the series. The show notoriously implemented a crayon art style, which again contrasted with the more grounded storytelling. Fans of the manga were also disappointed to note that the anime's ending isn't the same as the manga, as the manga finished publication six years later, in 2005.
Why Kare Kano Deserves a New Anime
Kare Kano, as mentioned, is considered one of the best shoujo manga of the last several decades, and for this reason alone, it deserves another shot. It's quiet, considerate approach to its story would help it stand out in the current comedy-centric landscape of romance anime, and perhaps make more room in the genre for other stories like it.
Fruits Basket had a similar situation with how its first anime adapted the material. The new series, which is ending this year, is much more accurate to the manga and much better received because of it. This is also similar to Horimiya, which has had quite a few different adaptations, portraying both versions of the source material in different ways.
There's also the darker, more mature subject matter in the manga, such as the topic of abusive parents, that's especially present in the later volumes. This somewhat controversial material would be better served in a second adaptation that kept the darker tone and didn't dovetail into focusing on comedy. A more consistent budget would not only allow for multiple seasons that adapt these later volumes, but would also mean that the series can ditch the crayon art. With even shonen series like Shaman King getting a chance to better portray their entire manga on screen, the same treatment for the queen of romance manga only makes sense.