12 CommentsTwelve Days / By Inushinde /

12 Days of Anime #12: Everybody Hates Kotoura-san

Kotoura Dead Eyes

Show of hands, who even remembers that this aired? I almost didn’t, until I scoured my list for shows from earlier seasons that I might have had fond memories of. Considering that I watch nearly 100 anime a year (60-70 of which I watch airing), I nearly forgot that this was a thing. I mean that’s probably for a good reason, seeing as Kotoura-san wasn’t really that good, but it still did enough right to warrant revisiting before permanently being relegated to the mental junk drawer.

It’s rare for a show to be so willing to dump on its own protagonist to the concentrated degree that Kotoura-san did. In the first few minutes, Kotoura-san goes full-steam into painting its namesake protagonist’s childhood as the one of the most miserable, non-starvation-related experiences imaginable, short of getting injected with lead paint from used syringes.

From a relatively innocuous start of using her psychic powers to guess what her mom made her for breakfast, the series yanks her from one awkward moment to the next, as she alienates everyone that she comes in contact with. The events finally come to a head when she’s outright abandoned by her mother, and forced to live with her less shitty grandfather. If it had no tact, the barrage of adversity would have come across as wholly forced.  But it remains strong.

What’s odd is the shift from borderline-cartoonish misfortune to intentionally goofy comedy goes off without a hitch. All it takes is a short, goofy thought on the part of the male love interest to pull a graceful 180 on the series’ tone. Kotoura-san doesn’t keep up the momentum, even outright falling apart, but for half an episode, it deftly played the emotional field, thanks to a burst of strong direction. For half an episode, it could hold its head high, before giving up and smothering it in the grotesquely large cleavage of clumsy fanservice.

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  1. kero92
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    this is one of the few I remember this year

    • blackice85
      Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      Yeah I liked it too. Not saying it should win any awards or anything, but I don’t think it was terrible.

  2. Posted December 15, 2013 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe I remembered to include the rooftop confrontation in my Worst of 2013 list, but completely forgot about this part of Kotoura-san.

    • Inushinde
      Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s the only part of the show that I remembered. At the very least it was one hell of a way to start things off.

  3. Posted December 15, 2013 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    I remember this. It was a good episode. It was as you said both crushingly depressing and quite funny as well.

    Perhaps the most memorable thing though was just how surprising the depression was. Everyone was taken aback.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 15, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I remember that. It wasn’t quite guillotine gorilla levels, but I remember a bunch of people coming onto twitter and going “hey…I wasn’t the only one who thought that was really good, right?”

      • Inushinde
        Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        To be fair, nothing can reach the dizzying heights of Guillotine Gorilla.

  4. kiriko
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    At least the intro song was cute.

    • Someone Else
      Posted December 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I remember even /a/ guys and girls made a chorus of the opening. But I still don’t know why this thing became a thing, it wasn’t bad but it’s pretty average

  5. Fumoffu!!
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Nope, I am not anyone claiming Kotoura-san became bad, Kotoura-san was shit from the very start. That “tragic” backstory pissed me off with how in your face melodramatic it was. I definitely remember not being enraged by it at all: http://www.nihonreview.com/forum/index.php?topic=1882.msg33987#msg33987

  6. Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I actually liked the first 4 episodes or so, when we still have Kotoura dealing with the new club, with Moritani-san (I almost remembered the name correctly, heh). And then yeah, it hit the second half depression as so many shows did.

    And yes, I absolutely loved that first episode. Sure it was really overt, but it also worked really well for me. That bit where the cat was taken and she cried to the sky as she had been left completely alone really broke me, shit, I’m tearing up just thinking of that sequence right now.

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