That is the entirety of my line of reasoning behind reviewing Kawai Complex right now. 😉
Full name: The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior. No need to wonder why it has a nickname.
Kawai Complex is… I believe the term is shojo anime? This is one sort of term I’ve never properly mastered. Anyway, it mainly follows a high school boy and girl, with some colorful supporting characters added in, with the question of if they’ll ever couple up. It’s thirteen episodes long, and it fails to answer the question.
Have I ever mentioned my pet peeve of unfinished stories?
The premise is that Kazunari Usa had more interesting times in junior high than he ever wants to have again, due to some weirdos he was regrettably associated with, so he moves into an old-style complex, only to be beset by yet more weirdos that put the old ones to shame in their weirdness. On the bright side, there’s Ritsu Kawai, a girl who goes to the same school as him and now living under the same roof, an overwhelming bookworm, mostly quiet and reluctant to socialize, and oh so very easy on the eyes. One instant, and, in the words of Baloo, “He’s hooked.”
The other residents, of course, are completely aware the their most junior roommate is over the moon for her. The only other guy in the complex doesn’t come down one way or the other (he’s too busy indulging in his masochistic nature to really do that anyway). The sweet old lady who runs the place, on behalf of Ritsu’s mother, who actually owns it, doesn’t interfere, but does offer quite a bit of wisdom to the kids in need of it. Now, the other two residents, a busty drunk and a manipulative master of make-up, they would love to squash this potential romance (they have issues), if not for the landlady’s ability to manage everyone so well.
Yet, for all that this could-be love story gets a good portion of the attention at first, and lurks around throughout the entire series, it never really progresses. Indeed, there are a few smaller stories featuring the respective members of the cast in the lead role, but they all pretty much just fizzle out. Life just goes on, with very few lasting developments.
The entire show really feels like it’s only the beginning of something, and it doesn’t even leave off on much of a dramatic note. Almost nothing is resolved. In that sense, it’s really very disappointing.
Yet, it’s also pretty amusing! And occasionally touching, too! 🙂
The amusement, of course, comes from basically locking these weirdos up together and hilarity ensues. For the most part, weirdness included, there is something very human and eminently easy to relate to about most of these characters. They all have their endearing moments, some of them quite surprising. And despite how much grief they honestly give each other, they don’t go too far with it. Indeed, when the situation calls for it, they will happily and enthusiastically stand up for one another.
One of my favorite moments in all of anime, actually, was when Usa was being made fun of for spurious reasons by a bunch of idiots trying to make themselves look impressive. Then Ritsu steps in and shuts them up in an unusual display of assertiveness. The other two girls them immediately shower him with affection, further stupefying the raucous fools with a demonstration of female attention they can only dream of.
So, things aren’t actually so bad among the strange roommates. They actually look out for each other, and that camaraderie was quite endearing.
It is only unfortunate, really, that the anime has such a lackluster ending, as I mentioned. It feels like very little actually happens, especially in the latter few episodes. They could have easily built up a little more momentum, but it never happened. Oh well.
For the humor value, the endearing characters, and the potential that could have been, I like Kawai Complex. Not necessarily love, though that one scene will always be a favorite of mine, but I like it quite well.
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.