The age gap is something that has played both in manga and anime for years. A play on a taboo romance that usually takes place between someone who is an adult, while the other is a minor. These types of stories vary in a lot of ways, hell some of them play out so discreetly it becomes something most readers don’t really think about. Hina and Natsuo from Domestic Girlfriend, for example, he is 16, she is 24, plus add the extra layer of being his teacher.
Two major series have come out in the Spring 2021 lineup. Both of them are about high school girls, both of them are based on the age gap, but the stories they are trying to convey are quite different. I Shaved, Then I Brought Home a High School Girl tried to hit the cord of desperate, run away minor who fails to see her self-worth gets taken in by a guy who tries his hardest to give her the most normal life ever. And the other, Koikimo (it’s too sick to call this love) is about a womanizing businessman falling in love with a high school girl.
Now anyone that has been poking around in this space will know, Koikimo is a bit of a hot topic. Terms such as grooming, sexual harassment, stalking, and creepy finding themselves sticking to the show like super glue. Now while I don’t really disagree with tagging the show with any one of those, it’s a conversation I feel has been exhausted.
Koikimo follows 17-year-old Ichika Arima, a lass that saved 27-year-old businessman Ryou Amakusa one day, only to find out the fellow was actually her best friend’s (Rio) brother. Finding them both at the Amakusa household Ryou decides to pay back the girl using the single thing that has worked on women his whole life, his body.
Then Ichika calls him a gross weirdo and he falls in love with her or something.
So this sets the stage, Ryou proceeds to send Ichika gifts daily, flowers, chocolates, stuff animals, you know it he buys it for her, even against her wishes. This becomes the first (second if you count the age) tension as Ichika clearly tells him she isn’t interested and to fuck off where Ryou simply says, ‘Nah I’m good’ this plays out a bit awkwardly as Ichika slowly starts to open up to Ryou as he aggressively pursues her, allowing them to build a sort of friendship.
This leads me up to having some questions overall. One, why does everyone easily accept Ryou’s feelings for Ichika? That was one takeaway I don’t really understand, this man just shows up in her life one day and everyone around her is just, fine with it. Ryou even befriends her mom and they like hang out, which is, whack. Second, why does Rio help her brother so much if she understands he’s scumbag going after her best friend? And finally why is everyone literally fine with everything that is going on like it’s normal except Kai Tamaru, a friend of Ichika.
That was one of the strangest things I thought when I was watching the first 7 episodes like I said everything, and everybody seems cool with this guy harassing the shit out of this 17-year-old girl except him. Kai’s ability to buck the logic that yeah, no this isn’t normal just complicates what the story is trying to do unless it’s Kai that is out of his mind and it is indeed, normal.
But I digress, what I really wanted to talk about when it comes to this show isn’t Ryou at all, he is a weirdo and I think the general plot is a little too cutesy for what it’s doing but it’s fucking anime, I’ve read much more aggressive takes on age gap I can tolerate it. No, even in all of that there was a massive factor, this over-arcing reoccurring event I mentioned didn’t really talk about. Ichika’s best friend, Rio, is a massive sociopath.
When Rio walked in the living room to see her brother groveling at her friend’s feet I thought, ‘Oh, she is going to beat the shit out of him, that is how this goes yeah?’ but she doesn’t and I thought ‘ah a new take, the indifferent imouto’ but then she starts assisting her brother. She sets up events then bails, she leaves them alone on purpose, she gives Ryou info like what she likes, her phone number, where she lives, literally anything and everything. Keep in mind she is giving this information to a guy, who is obsessed with her best friend, who thinks he is creepy, annoying, and bothersome.
It’s unsettling for me to watch Rio use her position of closeness to Ichika to fuel her brother’s pursuance, even at the displeasure of her friend. It is a weird power dynamic that Rio seems to do out of her own entertainment. There are times she states that because of this she has grown closer to her brother but even so, selling out your pal to get some cookie point with an older brother just seems, dumb, comes to mind. For me, it was that part that really stuck with me, I don’t much care for Rio irrelevant to Ryou and Ichika. I’ll finish the show for sure, and hell I might even enjoy it but this is the first anime I’ve seen in a while that as I was watching it, I just felt unsure.
Anyways I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts on it, as always thanks for the read!