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Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is a Poorly Directed Anime

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On paper, there’s a lot to like about Kimiuso. As a burnt-out musician myself, I can relate to Kousei’s struggles. The concert scenes are particularly beautiful. But the anime is torn between being a teen melodrama and a silly romcom, and second-time director Kyohei Ishiguro can’t seem to pull off the right balance.

The biggest problem with the directing is that it lacks restraint. It’s clear that Ishiguro understands the basics of his craft, but he makes the common inexperienced director’s mistake of using these techniques in a heavy-handed way without understanding their deeper purpose. Kimiuso piles on the artistic effects in every single scene, regardless of their actual narrative weight, to the extent that it comes off as a distraction.

Now, I’m no expert when it comes to direction, cinematography, photography and all the other tricks of the visual trade. Deadlight knows a lot more than I do. That’s why this post is a collaborative effort. The two of us thought it would be a great idea to discuss how visual direction can alter the mood of an adaptation.

Most importantly, we both agree that the animation is detailed and there is a lot about the visuals that is beautiful on the surface level, but underneath that, the direction is messy and Ishiguro doesn’t seem to understand what sort of story he is trying to convey.

Anime versus Manga

I’ve read the Kimiuso manga, and to be honest, I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of that either. The common criticisms levelled at the anime (such as weak characterisation and manipulative drama) are reflective of the source material. But Naoshi Arakawa understands the art of manga very well and he is particularly good at framing and pacing, so the story comes across as remarkably different.

Some things are very simple, like how the size of the panels affects the reader’s perception of the importance of a scene. Take the below image for an example:

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Reading from right-to-left, the first image is the most striking. The closeups of Kousei and Kaori are also given a lot of weight, while the silly humour and deformed faces take up a miniscule panel. As a result, it’s a lot less annoying in the manga as opposed to the anime.

I understand the presentation of the jokes is a common problem in many manga -> anime adaptations. But I think Ishiguro handled it particularly poorly. In the anime, the chibi scenes draw particular attention to themselves for two reasons:

1) The music. This is symptomatic of Ishiguro’s more general urge to have a soundtrack blaring in every scene.

2) The chibi scenes make use of limited animation. It’s in clear contrast to the rest of the animation work. The camera angle is also very fixed during the anime chibi portions and makes use of only one or two shots. Because the contrast is so ungraceful, these scenes tend to stick out more, and more weight is placed on what should be offhand jokes.

I wonder if the insistence upon a copy-and-paste adaptation in these scenes is a sign of Ishiguro’s lack of confidence in handling the humorous aspects of the source material. He seems to be much more at home with dramatic scenes, given his willingness to inject his own artistic touches.

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The whole dramatic confession scene followed by a train zooming past is a nice romantic moment – only it doesn’t match the manga at all. In the manga, it all happened over the phone. Arakawa was trying to mute the confession scene, to portray its sheer ordinariness. This is to emphasise something we are later told (in both the anime and the manga): the confession does not excite Tsubaki as much as it should.

Another difference the anime has compared to the manga is the colouring. And here, again, we see Ishiguro’s tendency to go overboard and remove the nuance of the manga.

The colouring of the scenes is overly bright, especially in the earlier episodes. This, I believe, is Ishiguro’s attempt at portraying a romanticised setting of “youth”, where everything is seemingly bright and colourful. And that is one of the main themes of the story, so I don’t disagree with the intent. The problem is that in his eagerness to portray bright colours everywhere, Ishiguro ignores the context of the very drama he is attempting to portray.

I’ll leave it to Deadlight to cover the specifics behind this.

Deadlight: For a series dealing with domestic abuse and bullying, many of the artistic decisions initially struck me as incompetent direction. A “tone deaf” series with no real visions to convey.

01

The color palettes are loud and flamboyant; scenes are doused in bright cheesy light. It was always troubling, tasteless even, to see Kaori tormenting Kousei in comedic tones, keenly emphasizing the moments with exaggerated comical facial features and embossed floral designs.

However, under further analysis, I’d even go far enough to say the bright color palette trivializes Kousei’s “monochrome” outlook. Remember that this is a guy who was physically and mentally abused by his mother at a young age. Outside of a few key scenes, we aren’t actually shown the world through Kousei’s point of view – we are only shown the romanticised world Kaori wants to drag him into.

02

We don’t see a lot of these gorgeous shots where the colors are murky and subdued.

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Instead we have an over abundance of lurid scenery shots.

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Bloom lighting that’s always disturbingly working against Kousei’s favor.

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While working in Kaori’s favor, highlighting her “angelic” personality.

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Even when emotional levels are low, Kousei is often shot in bland unreasonable close-ups…

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…while Kaori’s framing fluctuate between strong seductive mid-level shots…

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…tight, deliberate close-ups…

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…and mise en scenes of good act towards little children.

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This does more than just cheapen Kousei’s character journey. There is something far more insidious about the show’s artistic glorification. Take note of the shading too.

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This is meant to be a serious, angst-ridden moment, but the cheery colours clashes with the overall mood. In fact, the whole rooftop scene in episode 3 is a very egregious example of this director’s worst impulses. The colours are blindingly bright, with minimal attempts at shading. It’s somewhat painful to look at, even disregarding how unfitting it is in context.

13

Kaori’s lack of shading is not unintentional on the rooftop. Kousei’s close-up is shrouded with much heavier shading, yet his ordeal is taking place right on the rooftop. This could be because Kousei is under the shade while Kaori is right out in the sun but I would argue that these character positions are strategic choices.

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There’s an additional close-up where the backdrop has been replaced with pitch blackness.

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Look at how Kaori stands up tall while Kousei kneels on the ground. The shot is framed in a deadpan manner, putting Kaori in the center and Kousei slightly off-balance. Shooting from behind Kousei emphasizes Kaori’s dominance.

This is distressing with context, because in this scene Kaori is belittling Kousei for choosing not to become her accompanist. There’s a bunch of horse shit about how Kousei needs to just “let go of his past” (because it’s always that easy for a victim of heavy trauma, right?) and the scene is shot in such a manner that antagonizes Kousei.

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Regardless of place, position and time, you can see throughout the series that Kousei is often shaded, opposing Kaori’s righteous worldview.

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But it’s really episode 5, the most troubling episode, that cements Kousei as an antagonist. Time and weather are dramatic elements manipulated by the creator’s hand to sync emotional moments. Episode five takes place in the dreary rain and marks this as the first episode not doused in cheery flamboyant colors. This is a deliberate choice because we saw Kaori collapse on stage last episode. The series is taking on such a drastic change of colors because for once, Kaori’s world has been shattered by Kousei’s “ignorance” and “stubbornness”. For once, Kaori has found herself in a state of severe depression and by the change of colors, the director is subconsciously getting the viewers to further empathize with Kaori’s dilemma. Cheap.

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Kousei feels guilty for screwing up the big recital and it’s not until he finally admits that it was his fault for Kaori’s health that the rain begins to dissipate, the color regain their vividness and the beautiful nature shots creep in again.

Frog-kun: What Deadlight has been getting at is that the visual language of this series supports the subtext of emotional abuse a number of viewers have been decrying. In fact, the issue was such a concern the series was dropped at Random Curiosity.

As a manga reader, I was curious about why the anime would bring up such concerns when the manga did not. The problematic elements did not strike me as much when I read the manga. I could think of a couple of reasons for this.

The reader controls their own pace when reading a manga. And given how the manga itself downplays its more tasteless jokes, it’s very natural for the reader’s eye to simply flit over that stuff. Framing and pacing is much more difficult to fine tune in an anime, and I suspect no matter how skilfully this material was presented, the core narrative problems in Kimiuso would still be more obvious in anime form.

But, as we have argued here, the director really didn’t know what he was doing in this case. He made deliberate choices that undercut the intent of the narrative. It’s easier to support the interpretation that the story is victim blaming Kousei when the colours depict his perspective in a deprecating light while simultaneously romanticising Kaori. I personally choose not to interpret the story that way, although I can certainly empathise with those who do.

In the end, it’s all very beautiful imagery, but it’s also very hollow and used very clumsily. I don’t think it’s malicious. I like what the series tries to do, even if it fails. I would put down most of the glaring problems to inexperience and I look forward to seeing how Ishiguro grows as a director. But Kimiuso is too much, too overbearing, and I hope you can understand why I am not a fan of this particular series.

(Note: Deadlight will be reading the comments of this post, so if you have any particular questions aimed at him, feel free to ask!)

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Posted on November 15, 2014, in Anime Analysis and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. The direction in KimiUso kind of reminds me of a romanctic version of Attack on Titan. It’s the same style sort of, every scene has to blare itself at you, and as you and Deadlight point out, it comes across as tone-deaf. It is very pretty, and I do find myself getting caught up in it most of the time, but Ishiguro needs to tone it down and stop channelling Tetsuro Araki. Yes I compared this to AoT WHAT OF IT.

    I can definitely see where Deadlight is coming from about the way the story frames both Kousei and Kaori, but I think some of this is a matter of interpretation. I’ve been under the impression that we’re always seeing Kaori from Kousei’s POV, and she’s always saturated with light and life to emphasize how captivated by her he is. Now *why* he would like all these assholes is beyond me, but I do think there’s a point there beyond manipulating viewers opinion of her.

    There are couple of other little things I could say here and there but it’s basically all the a same. Different interpretations of the intent of certain scenes. Perhaps I’m still caught under the shows veil, but yeah. I’m still enjoying it, despite my problems with the direction. No idea how they’re thought framing Kousei as the bad guy was a good idea though.

    Also the characters lips look stupid.

    • Okay, that’s it. Someone needs to do a parody video of the Shingeki no Kyojin OP with Kimiuso footage. I bet Kaori would symbolise the titans.

      Anyway, for what it’s worth, I also had minor disagreements with Deadlight over the intent of certain shots, and like I said in the post I don’t think the show is trying to be malicious. But as Deadlight said in his response to iblessall below, the director has not done a good job conveying the story’s vision, because Deadlight’s negative interpretation of the subtext can be supported by the context and visuals.

  2. There’s some really interesting analysis from both of you here. I do agree, definitely, with the overall criticism that the series lacks nuance (an issue I attribute both to the directing and to the writing). A lot of elements that ought be be treated with sensitivity are oversimplified or trivialized. That’s a troubling pattern, if only on a sustainability level for a show that’s going to be 22 episodes long.

    I actually wrote about the humor in KimiUso this week—my problems at this point with the humor are less about them being intrusive (that’s something I’ve found myself able to acclimate to) and much more about how the humor is used to gloss over difficult plot points by using jokes (from Kousei and Kaori’s first meeting to Kaori stealing his wallet to register him for the competition). I don’t know if that tendency comes from the mangaka or the direction; either way, it’s another worry for the long-term functionality of the anime.

    Deadlight: I like some of the points you made, especially about Kousei’s boring close ups (Why would you shoot this line like this?), but I think I disagree with your overall interpretation of the show portraying Kousei as an antagonist to Kaori’s brightness. Firstly, as whemleh said, I’ve also been assuming we’re seeing Kaori from Kousei’s perspective. After all, it’s his thoughts we’re getting most of the time. So, when it rains in episode 5 and then lifts on the bridge, I see it more of him being down about their performance and her illness moving into hope as she turns out to alright.

    I don’t see it as Kousei being wrong and Kaori being right. I see it as Kousei being in darkness and Kaori being light. I mean, Kousei even said it this episode: when he first saw Kaori playing the flute-piano thing on the playground, his world became colorful. So while he’s still trying to figure out himself, he’s got a bright light he’s looking ahead to.

    But that really is up to interpretation. I see exactly where you’re coming from with the pictures you’ve used as examples and your analysis of them. I just don’t really agree.

    • Well, to answer you and Whemleh, even if the series is framing and color scheming everything from Kousei’s point of view to emphasize his interest in Kaori, it shouldn’t be adopting the same visual flare whenever Kaori’s off-screen.

      What really troubles me the most is how the direction potrays Kaori’s determination to help Kousei with such empowerment and seduction even though the writing has indicated that her ways are selfish and problematic. If we’re seeing the world through the love-sick eyes of Kousei, then the director is far too caught up in trying to show him getting caught up in Kaori that we’re never given a reason why he SHOULDN’T be caught up in her.

      If the director wants to initially make Kaori seem alluring then there also needs to be clear shades of grey to elicit some sort of dual reaction. Because it hasn’t, the direction and the writing are a huge juxtaposition of each other.

      The shoddy direction is the primary reason why manga fans are so uncomfortable with this adaptation. It’s why viewers, like me, would interpret such negative messages from the series even though the story itself may not be conveying those messages at all.

  3. This is probably the most cogent and persuasive critique of the series I’ve seen so far. I think you and Deadlight have definitely demonstrated the show’s lack of subtlety in its framing and shading, and this is why in the most recent episode, I was reminded of how parallel scenes in both Honey and Clover and Toradora (where a guy is giving a piggyback ride to a hurt/drunken girl who one-sidedly loves him) were seemingly handled with more nuance. I think you’ve explained well why that might be. I like to think what this show would have been like in the hands of Tatsuyuki Nagai: it would most likely be even more masterful and nuanced and problem far less problematic in its subtext.

    Nevertheless I think I also agree with iblessall; the light/dark contrast is not so much setting up Kousei as being wrong so much as him seeing Kaori as a light in his life. This sort of idealization is essentially a visual manifestation of seeing someone you have a crush on, especially when you’re a young teen: you think your crush can do no wrong. Life seemed so grey and miserable by comparison before. You think she’ll rescue you out of your doldrums, you almost think of her as a savior….

    Is that attitude immature? Hell yes. It’s also exactly what most 14 years go through. This also applies to the floridness of the emotions, the excessively eloquent monologuing, etc. No, most kids don’t talk that way, but it really describes what that feeling is like. Warts and all. Watching KimiUso is like being 14 again for me. It has the same lack of hindsight and maturity that I had; it’s being inside that mindset with little filter.

    I will agree with the critics in one important way: the show has a problem if it stays stuck in that uncritical position for the whole series. Ideally, a good work of art moves people beyond their limited perspective. I know the manga, as least what’s been translated so far, begins to do so, but as you’ve shown, that is no guarantee the anime will transition as successfully. We’ll see, I guess.

    • My above response to Iblessall and Whemleh discusses most of what you stated. If the director’s intent is to showcase this naive worldview of Kousei, then it’s laying it on too thick, to the point where I feel disturbed by it.

      However, the biggest issue I want to drive is that the manga readers, people who are already familiar with the story and had no issue with it then, are finding it hard to stomach the anime. That’s what sparked this editorial in the first place. Maybe your interpretation of the director’s intent is correct, but it’s so poorly executed that there’s a reason why there have been so many other interpretations.

  4. Initial reaction: Deadlight, my man, you should definitely contribute more to the seasonal animu podcasts cause you know a lot of shit

  5. My main issue with KimiUso is the way Kousei’s problems and trauma are depicted and handled. Just like Deadlight said, he can’t just let it go and go to the bright side. I’m not expecting the author to have a PhD in human psychology but this almost insulting. I am going through a difficult moment in my life at the moment and if I happened to meet someone like Kaori, I think I’d slap her.
    And as you both said the director isn’t helping either.
    But I’m still going to watch it. I’m kinda interested in what is going to end.

    • As a manga reader, I can say It Gets Better, I Swear! At least, it begins to focus on other issues besides overcoming trauma, and it handles those themes with a good deal more maturity than what we have seen in the anime so far.

      I’m watching the anime because I really enjoy the music. That’s one thing you definitely can’t get from reading the manga.

      • That’s good to hear. I also really enjoy the music and even if I can’t say I hate the visuals. Let’s see where will this anime take us.

        I just realized I made a lot of typos in my comment… sorry.

  6. I’m glad to see a post that address the problems with ‘faithful’ adaptations in regards to relativity between page and screen – tone deafness. I’ve had that issue since FMA Brotherhood, in which it seemed like minor manga side gags were blown out of proportion and cut too much into the mood a scene was creating. More recently it’s cropped up in Akatsuki no Yona: http://mangafox.me/manga/akatsuki_no_yona/v02/c009/13.html. I’ve grown tired of people defending it since “it’s in the manga!”. Just doesn’t cut it.

    Manga isn’t sacrosanct, it’s up to the director to translate the mood of the source material effectively for screen, not just be ‘faithful’ by chucking everything in. In KimiUso’s case it’s complete inexperience, but I’ve seen that shit pulled elsewhere by more knowing hands.

    • Yeah, I have to say copy-and-paste adaptations really annoy me too. I think it must be really tempting for anime directors to rely on all the same shots in the manga since manga draws a lot from cinematic styles. There’s a lot of crossover between good manga shots and good anime shots, but it’s still not a 1:1 relationship. The gags are the most obvious offenders, but I also find bad anime adaptations can feel more bloated and that inconsequential shots and dialogue can drag out too long.

      Nice to see you bring up FMA Brotherhood. The anime did work because the source material was just that strong, but like you said, it was a tone deaf adaptation.

      • OTOH, I think Monster’s adaptation is excellent. It’s incredibly cinematic, credible and tonally consistent. I haven’t read the manga, but I’d heard criticisms leveled at the show for being a redundant adaptation.

  7. Di-Dorval (@Di_Dorval)

    Eh I think the over flourish fits with the overblown theatrical characters dialogues/emotions. Kousei sentiments feeling ignored and engulfed by the girl at time makes sense , it’s how he really feels at that time, she makes him want to forget about his doubts, to him she is this bright and unreachable being that got it all figured out (So of course he feels like he’s failing her). To me its a great show on almost everynotes outside for the gags coming out of nowhere at times breaking the flow and being downright unfunny and having poor timing (like a worse version of FMA problem), but that’s easy to overlook for me.

    • Interesting, isn’t it? I think with a show like this one, the lack of subtlety could be interpreted as a good thing for some. You either get swept away by the emotions or you don’t. It does misinterpret cues from the manga, but hey, at least the style the anime is going for is consistent!

      • Yea I can really understand people not buying into it. Though the whole abuse thing reaction is surprising, it’s that realism complain I never really care about.

        This show, so far, has tackled many sides of the artistic pursuit in lights I personally really relate to (though I wouldn’t call myself an artist). And for me the fact that it’s presented has this crazy overly dramatic thing makes it even more fitting. Because it’s such an emotive and personal subject!

  8. This is a really interesting read – and I have to admit that after all the glowing praise this series has gotten on a number of other blogs, it’s a breath a fresh air to see a different opinion. I can’t directly respond to a lot of it because it often concerns the manga-to-anime aspects, and I’m completely unfamiliar with the manga, but I do find myself largely in agreement with most of what’s been said here. On a more personal level, I just don’t care for much of what KimiUso presents; not only do the ‘comedic’ moments come across as ill-timed and weirdly immature compared to the rest of the show’s tone, but I outright dislike Kaori as a character. I assume she’s meant to be viewed as a pure-hearted, free-spirited genius – the beautiful and charming yet obviously strong-willed heroine – but I can only see her arrogant, rude, and emotionally manipulative (and I suspect less charitable audience members might use stronger language on that last one).

    • From my perspective, the show has been very polarising: you either love it or hate it, it seems. I personally feel I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t like Kaori either and I don’t agree with a lot of the directing choices, but I do appreciate what the series is trying to do, so maybe that makes me more critical.

      Kaori’s character has definitely been overly romanticised so far, I agree. I think it’s an intentional choice, but that doesn’t mean it jives with me.

      • I don’t know if I’d say I full on hate the series – I don’t think I care enough about it to hate it – but it certainly doesn’t gel with me. On the plus side… good OP? I really love that song.

  9. Interesting post. I’ve been hearing a fair number of complaints with regards to KimiUso’s treatment towards Kousei’s trauma, but since I’ve only seen the first episode I couldn’t really comment on it. After watching how some animes deals with mental illness or trauma, like Shino in Sword Art Online and how she was able to cure her PSTD by being part of Kirito’s, I’m starting to wonder if it’s a cultural thing more than anything else.

    I do agree that in the manga it’s easier to over look certain things, because it’s presented in a different way and it’s up to the reader to read between the lines. That’s harder to do with animes, especially if you’re trying to do a faithful adaptation to it. Some things don’t translate as well, especially the jokes.

    I’m not sure if I agree with the directing though. It may be heavy handed, but I don’t think displaying Kousei in a bland way is all that wrong. It may be heavy handed, but I think this is just their way of showing that Kousei isn’t really living at the moment. Since the show is in his eyes, since he’s the one narrating what’s happening, he seems himself as a side character while everyone else has life to them. If the abuse never happened and Kousei was just a normal person who stopped playing for whatever reason would your views regarding the directing and art change?

  10. I like the point Froggy brought up regarding the use of framing in manga to play down the (tasteless) comedy. I tried reading the manga before the anime started and I really did enjoy it more than the anime, although that’s still a really low bar since I find the anime quite repulsive.

    The heavy-handed directing does really get on my nerves. It’s quite alright for Kousei to view his world in this black and white way I think, it reflects his immaturity and whatnot. It’s just that the series doesn’t deal with (and isn’t aware of) the inherent flaws with his worldview afterwards and expects the audience to treat it as the be all and end all. It’s one thing for teenagers to be stupid in a story, but the author (or in this case, the director) needs to recognize their stupidity and do something about it, else they’re just telling me they think just like these 14 year olds.

  11. I rather enjoy this show, but you’ve brought up a number of things that get on my nerves about it.

    If this was a light novel and I simply read Kaori’s actions on paper, I have no doubt that I would come to detest her. She appears to be a seemingly flawless bishoujo that is incredibly manipulative and impetuous. Not to mention her tendency to burst in to tears on a number of occasions to emotionally blackmail Kosei in to doing her bidding. But the anime makes a contrived attempt to portray her as an angelic protagonist. Her abusive nature is excused when we discover her illness. It seems as though any situation which may suggest a more sinister aspect of her persona is immediately crushed when the situation arises. It feels forced, and I don’t particularly like it. I just wish she’d run off with Watari and leave Kosei alone. It’s a tale-tail trait of a poorly constructed show when the viewers are not given an opportunity to develop their own perception of a character, but when it is forcibly shoved down their throat.

    However, this biased portrayal has inadvertently made me a bit sick of Kaori and very sympathetic towards Kosei’s disposition, so I am viewing this show in a very different manner than what the director intended.

    Also, Tsubaki is best girl. I feel like writing a fanfic in which Kosei and her get together, because I’m sick of the childhood friend losing out in just about every school rom/com anime ever.

    • Write that fanfic, yo! I say that, even though I don’t really care about Tsubaki’s plight in the slightest, haha. Maybe in fanfic form she could come across as more relevant. I normally want to see the childhood friend win some more myself, but in this particular anime, I can’t bring myself to care. This is possibly because the love triangle seems especially superfluous in this anime.

  12. These posts about cinematography and visual language really are great and very helpful. I hope you’ll do more of them.

    What bugs me about this show is that I feel like I’m ALMOST on its side. I might be able to accept the interpretation that the framing is (messily, granted) attempting to show Kaori from Kousei’s point of view, and then maybe I’d enjoy the show. But the framing of the comedy just keeps me from that; it’s as bright and fluffy as anything else, but if I’m trying to take it from Kousei’s point of view it just doesn’t work.

  13. Froggy, you liked the Altair&Vega post on KimiUso. Any thoughts on the contrast in interpretations? Is this possibly a case of people getting squicked out by the Nisemonogatari stage of the story, and we haven’t seen the new more-grounded perspective A&V proposes? It took until Monogatari’s 2nd season to get out of Araragi’s POV, so people who didn’t like his perspective would be put off by how the visuals of the show supported him until then. Even within 2nd season and Hanamonogatari, you’d have to be looking for the differences of cinematography to really notice them, besides perhaps a feeling that there was less sexual fanservice then usual. The antagonisation of Kousei through the visuals may be indicating some Kousei sub-conscious self-loathing.
    As with Monogatari and Araragi’s perspective, though, until the audience sees the show signal Unreliable Narrator/Camera, it’s hard to say that it isn’t the show itself antagonising Kousei.

    I guess the upcoming episodes will tell.

    It’s been interesting seeing the analysis of KimiUso play out in parallel with the airing of the Korean live-action version of Nodame Cantabile, as the latter apparently downplays the slapstick and exaggerated acting compared to the Jdrama. (and perhaps the anime and/or manga, neither of which I’ve watched/read) Makes you wonder if KimiUso would benefit from a live-action adaptation, with the inherent grounding that practical production concerns bring, vs. the wilder visual tricks animation allows for that more vividly capture the surreal way we feel about certain memories compared to the reality.

    • I really liked the A&V post and I actually agree with SeHNNG’s interpretation of the narrative more than I agree with Deadlight. I have more issues with the anime from a formalist perspective than a moralistic perspective. While he had great things to say about episode 5, SeHNNG criticised the hollow imagery like I did. I personally think Kimiuso (the anime) is a show of beautiful nothings.

      So I’m not sure I really agree with the Monogatari comparison here. I mean, you can sort of see some similarities in how people have reacted, but I think the framing techniques they use are quite different and they’re off-putting in different ways. With Monogatari, the cinematography is much more consistent, but Kimiuso’s use of framing is much more ambiguous, and it frequently slips away from Kousei’s perspective altogether. In other words, Kimiuso’s directing choices don’t really tell us as much about the characters.

      Also, now that you bring it up, I think Kimiuso would make a great live action drama. That’s not to say it couldn’t have been done well as an anime, though. I think the director’s skill matters much more than the medium.

  14. SeHNNG seemed to be proposing that the beautiful nothings are indicative of Kousei having an immature concept of romance, and that as he begins to grow as a person, the visuals may change to match.
    This does depend on the previous 4 episodes not including scenes not from Kousei’s perspective. At that point, the interpretation becomes significantly weaker. But at least for episode 5 alone, it seems the director was trying to make a statement about perspective, paying attention to when Kousei wasn’t driving the POV. Again, upcoming episodes will show if this is the case or not.

    One thing I do wonder, though, is how the downplaying of the gags should be adapted. Most SoL shows do it by strictly segregating and clearly signalling “this is a comedy/pointless conversation scene, not necessarily in continuity, this character development scene is part of continuity, etc.” Others, like Lucky Star and Ouran, do one better and do both types of scenes at the same time. But even for those shows, the story is second in priority, and the characters remaining relatively static is okay. KimiUso is going for drama first with a side of comedy, with dynamic characters a necessity. So is it just a matter of timing? Making sure that the translation of gag panels only have minimum screentime? (Monogatari also strictly segregates comedy meandering conversations and plot conversations, despite being all about character growth, but that series is like the exception that proves every rule, and its style doesn’t work for a lot of people.)

  15. The fact that you misused mise en scene and act like you know what it means when it is quite the opposite of what you think it is in turn belies I can’t take any piece of dirt you all wrote seriously. There are so many points you all managed to contradict yourselves that it is bonkers you think your line of view is worth a damn. I don’t even like this anime. I don’t watch it or read the manga so trust me on one thing, my opinion of your credibility is based solely on the bashing horrible misuse of the term mise en scene and pretending you are credible enough to use it.

    • All right then, could you please explain what you think the “mise en scene” is and why you think Deadlight misused it. If we got our definitions wrong, then we are perfectly willing to correct ourselves, but you’ll have to clarify the error first.

      • Mise-en-scene is the arrangement of everything that appears inside the framing and I used the term to criticize KimiUso’s use of it by delibarately placing kids in each of those scene. Could you please elaborate how that might have contradicted with your definition of the term?

  16. A commenter on my own blog pointed me to this essay. Just wanted to say that this is really well-written and puts into words a lot of the issues I had with this show but, due to a lack of specific cinematic knowledge (I’m more on the lit end of the critical spectrum), I could never quite pinpoint. So thanks for this! Well done to both of you.

    I referenced and linked this article in my Fall Seasonal Retrospective. I’m somewhat new to the blogging community so I’m not sure what the etiquette is here, but I realize that maybe I should have checked with you first before I did that? At any rate, I did want you to know it was out there. I figure a little extra advertising is always a good thing, but if for some reason you’d like me to *remove* that link, please let me know.

    Oh – the post itself is here: http://joseinextdoor.tumblr.com/post/106665277900/glancing-upstream-fall-2014-retrospective-and

    And there’s a chance it will go up on The Mary Sue later this week as well. I can let you know if/when that happens, if you’d like.

    Cheers to you both, and have a happy New Year!

    • Thanks for linking to my blog and taking the time to let me know! I don’t use tumblr so I didn’t know about your blog before, but your post struck me as really well-written and in-depth, so you’ve definitely caught my interest. Keep up the good work and have a Happy New Year yourself :)

  17. Frog-Kun and Nightlight, I agree with both of your statements you said back in November, But I must also say that since January, Both the anime and Manga have taken a rather dark turn and it is barely flamboyant or joyful as it used to be, The ending episode (22) somehow had the same mood and framing and even lighting as the first episode and the ending was Great although not satisfying in my eyes. I would like to hear both of your thoughts on the latest Manga and Anime and would like to hear your opinions on the basis that Shigatsu Wa Kimi no Uso took a different turn in mood, Lighting and made it overall sad in the last 3 episodes.

  18. This is from a while ago, but I have to really say I disagree with many of the points made. Although Kousei’s character development may be lacking in the anime, everything mentioned about the “cheesy” colors are supposed to be bright. It’s supposed to be contrasting with Kousei, and benefiting Kaori. I don’t believe Kousei needs to “just let go,” not at all. But I think the color palette and the when the colors used are just right. Okay, sure the anime changed from the manga. Many anime do that, so that’s something to be expected, although it might let you down.

    And sure, maybe those up close scenes of Kousei might be unflattering, but again, that’s the point. He has so much stress on his life, and those shots just exaggerate it. Also, half the time when Kaori’s face is shown close up, you don’t see her eyes? She’s supposed to look angelic. She’s supposed to help him. Which brings me to argue that she is supposed to look a little like she’s antagonizing Kousei. If anything, one of the antagonists to the story is Kaori. She pressures him and shakes him mercilessly, but she wants to do something for him, to help him. Also, she has a stresser in her life too: she’s sick and probably won’t live.

    Kousei will feel bad for “messing up” the concert; that’s his personality. It doesn’t mean it is his fault, and I don’t get the impression that the director or anyone is making him an antagonist. These two are just fighting life and living, and the antagonization of each other is bound to happen. It’s not that Kaori’s world is “shattered by ignorance and stubborness,” but it’s shattered by the fact that she knows she couldn’t share her music. She’s hurt by the fact her body was failing her. It’s dreary because she’s in the freaking hospital.

    I can see some bias towards Kousei, though not against Kaori. There is just more points here that favor Kousei, which okay, I get it, Kaori is over the top. Kousei is having a hard time, Kaori is right there with a smile, some pink flowers and sparkles and a laugh. The thing is: it’s all a lie.

  1. Pingback: The Finale of KimiUso | deluscar

  2. Pingback: Glancing Upstream: Fall 2014 Retrospective and Review | The Josei Next Door

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