His and Her Circumstances, Volume 2: Love and War under the Cherry Blossoms

Matt Brown (Editor in Chief) — December 18th, 2002
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Love is in the air as Volume 2 of Kare Kano opens. Souichirou and Yukino are at the beginning of a promising romance, and their fans have five more episodes to fall in love with, after an excruciating five-month wait. While the wait was unquestionably worth it, the quality of transfer slipped slightly in this volume. Despite this fact, Right Stuf continues to impress with their excellent translations, as does Gainax with their ingenuity.

Volume 2 begins with Yukino and Souichirou getting hit hard with a reality check. They've spent so much time with each other that their grades slipped, and now their math teacher is getting involved. As can be expected though, those two aren't the type to back down from pressure. Trouble is brewing elsewhere as well, however. Maho, a classmate of Yukino's, is determined to turn the girls of the class against her. Also, a girl who knew Souichirou in middle school arrives after being hospitalized. Her name is Tsubasa, and she won't let Yukino take her Arima away. In other words, this volume has almost exclusive focus on Yukino and her new troubles. Souichirou does add some confessions about his life before he started dating her, though. His account explains how he developed a crush on her. Though not long, it adds a little sweetness to an already sweet love story.

As with the first volume, I'm speechless when attempting to come up with any criticism for the story. The pacing during this time of relationship development is perfect, and the entertainment value and humor gets better and better as the show continues. The depth of character displayed in Miyazawa and Arima continues to impress. She wishes to be herself from now on, instead of leading everyone on. She is going to have to face the music though, and confront those who would attack her character. The only thing missing from this volume is a lack of real stresses on the relationship. There is certainly a premonition of possible future difficulties looming over the couple, but for now they're happy and completely carefree, a feeling which is conveyed with ease. Once again, the intricacies of their exchanges and personalities are a treat to watch.

Arima and Miyazawa are getting along rather well, but their studies are suffering. The couple then makes the discovery that parents are smarter than they seem, something we all realize sooner or later, or even more than once.

Right Stuf's transfer still manages to carry a high quality in most respects. The audio is clean and clear, and the subtitling is top notch. However, video quality seemed to take a slight downturn, with the picture being not as clean and sharp as the previous volume. Also, the picture on the front of the package suffers from a slight blur. It is a nice picture though, showcasing Yukino's sisters Tsukino and Kano, and Hideaki Asaba, a friend of Yukino.

Right Stuf really hits home with a certain prized extra in this release. Aside from the character bios and translation notes that were present in the first volume as well, we're treated to an interview with Yuki Watanabe and Maria Yamamoto, who play Tsukino and Kano (Yukino's sisters) respectively. They share some entertaining stories about working with each other and director Anno. This is the kind of extra I'm dying to see more of, and really raised the value of the purchase in my eyes.

Volume 2 of Kare Kano only serves to solidify its standing as a show to follow to the end. The show's sentiment, presentation, and honest portrayal of high school life make Kare Kano easily one of the best releases of the year. This reviewer cannot wait to see more.

Video Quality: A
Audio Quality: A
Presentation: B+
Content: A+
Overall: A