KISS, Zekkou, KISS manga by Fujiwara Yoshiko

I Love You But I Hate You back cover

I guess it's obvious by now, especially if you've read my Q.E.D. and Remote ramblings, that I have a fondness for relatively low-key and manhwa. "Relatively" because they're not altogether obscure—major players (TOKYOPOP for Remote, for Q.E.D.) released them outside Japan after all.

To continue the precedent, I present the next manga to hog the spotlight: a series created by or to use its release title here in Jakarta, I Hate You But I Love You. (Yeah, I cringed over what Hikaru from Ouran would've called its awesome naming sense, too.)

Originally conceived as a one-shot (if you can call a two-parter that), KISS, Zekkou, KISS proved popular enough to be elevated to series status, kinda like… hmm… lemme think, Shinozuka Hiromu-sensei's Mirumo de Pon? So about a year after the initial story was released by , the KISS series started publication. According to the KISS, Zekkou, KISS project page and my own research, it spans 11 tankoubon. In Indonesia, five I Hate You But I Love You volumes have already been published (as at original blog post publication, including volume 0).

Childhood sweethearts: KISS, Zekkou, KISS review
by huamulan03

Some rights reserved

Keywords: , , , , , ,

I Hate You But I Love You front cover

My introduction to the キス、絶交、キス series was the Indonesian version of the original story released without fanfare by in 2005. That it was published under the shoujo line Serial Cantik ("Beautiful Series" – with its Pepto-Bismol-pink heart logo, cringe again) didn't even deter me; I scooped it up, suppressed the blush, and plonked it down in front of the bookstore cashier.

And am I glad I did.

KISS, Zekkou, KISS tells the story of and , two kids who have known each other since grade school. The original installments follow 's relationship from their pre-teen days through to their graduation from chuugakkou.

Since elementary school, Sakisaka has attracted attention for pulling in consistent A's, while Hatori's claim to fame rests on his role as the class clown. Sakisaka is less than impressed by the popular Hatori's antics, and being classmates aside, "close" would be the last word used to describe their relationship. In fact, a certain incident after school even makes Sakisaka loathe Hatori. A cold war ensues, one that lasts until the pair enters junior high.

Just what exactly happened?

(I can't resist. *** SPOILER!!! *** Here's what (obviously) happened.)

Based on the above translation/rewrite of Elex's I Hate You But I Love You back cover blurb, the story's shaping up to be predictable with a capital P, right? But it's that anticipation that proferred the hook I bit. I just wub childhood sweethearts (Ryouki and Hatsumi from Hot Gimmick, anyone? ^^)

In any case, it wasn't all Obvious from kilometers away. Fujiwara Yoshiko-sensei put her own spin on KISS, Zekkou, KISS by telling the story of Sakisaka and Hatori in two parts: one from the point of view of Sakisaka, the other from Hatori's POV. Albeit not totally ground-breaking, the head-switching style eventually became this manga's story-telling convention.

to invest or not to invest?

We'll consider that a rhetorical question.

Probably because of my low expectations, KISS, Zekkou, KISS ended up blowing me away. (I'm a light-weight that way.) And as I write this, trying to recall why I loved it so much, the thing that immediately came to mind was that separate POV style. I adored the extended treatment given the story. Telling it once was not enough; telling it twice lifted it to the realm of the divine.

(Let's leave out the fact that I can't resist Hatori angsting.)

So it wasn't so much because of the mechanics, but more for the outcome: the creation of warm and fuzzy. Being privy to both Mao and Yuuya's thoughts made their story stronger, more memorable.

My evidence—I can remember these without cracking open volume 0:

  • A precocious Hatori bragging about having kissed a girl, in Mao's hearing
  • The aforementioned incident after school involving the two
  • Mao tying a napping Yuuya's shoelaces
  • Yuuya rescuing a swimsuit-clad Mao who couldn't get out the locker room because jealous swim teammates hid her uniform
  • Mao's graduation speech

You can say that repetition will do that (aid the remembering), but my point remains that the repeating ratcheted the WAFF. Anyway, the Mao and Yuuya relationship was sufficiently yummy that it merited, no, demanded, a retelling. So, kudos to Fujiwara-sensei for making that call.

And it also doesn't hurt that her chara designs are totally kawaii and the introduction of "the other man" to up the emotional stakes doesn't irritate.

Rating KISS, Zekkou, KISS

10 of 10 pairs of untied shoelaces
(My rating for KISS, Zekkou, KISS, also 10, is based exclusively on the original story but it's maintaining for the series)

KISS, Zekkou, KISS: The Bokura no baai series (volume 1-4 impressions)

I Hate You But I Love You 1 front cover

The キス、絶交、キス-ボクらの場合- KISS, Zekkou, KISS~Bokura no baai series, what I've read of it, seems a tad… uneven when compared with its sublime beginning. The evolution of Mao and Yuuya's relationship, the near-insurmountable obstacles placed in the pair's path and the resulting angst—whether internally or externally driven—seem forced.

I guess that's one of the drawbacks of turning KISS, Zekkou, KISS into a series. Had Mao and Yuuya not caught a break every now and then, I would've dropped this from my reading list. (It's a good thing that Fujiwara-sensei has the knack of handing the reader what s/he wants before the frustration meter gives out.)

There are also instances where the sequel doesn't suffer in comparison with its precursor. Like in dialogue. It holds it own there. My favorite lines of the series (thus far) actually come from volume four. Per the KISS, Zekkou, KISS tradition, I'm starting with Mao and ending with Yuuya:

Kamu lebih cocok dengan rambut pirang.
(You look better with blonde hair.)

With tears in her eyes, Mao tells this to Yuuya after he dyes his blonde hair back to black to impress Mao's mom when he first meets her. From that one unassuming, more-left-unsaid line, you can so feel how much Mao wubs Yuuya, bleached hair and all.

Izinkan saya mengantar Mao sampai depan rumah?
(Please allow me to escort Mao to your front door?)

This was the last line written on the script Yuuya brought with him when he went to visit Mao and her mom on the latter's behest. He thought he'd lost it but Mao's mother found the scrap of paper after he'd left. Oh, the utter yearning! It speaks volumes about just how much Yuuya was suffering at being forbidden to walk his girlfriend home because her parents don't approve of him. Kyaaa! (k, that was my one fangirly scream for the post).

I Hate You But I Love You 2 front cover I Hate You But I Love You 3 front cover I Hate You But I Love You 4 front cover

I look forward to the upcoming volume.

Prequel toka, sequel toka ga suki desu. Hope I sed that right. I'm so invested in KISS, Zekkou, KISS that it makes me wish I were an anime producer so that I can pitch it for production (hey, Mirumo de Pon became an anime, too, right?)

Oh. BTW. Other manga by Fujiwara Yoshiko-sensei include: Kimi no Koto Bakari (Always Thinking of You) and Tokyo Sabotage. Both were published in Indonesia by Elex Media. (You can find cover scans in Fujiwara-sensei's backlist.)

~niki DBA 花木兰03 who considers Fujiwara Yoshiko-sensei a goddess on par with Nakajo Hisaya-sensei, Tsuda Masami-sensei, Watase Yuu-sensei, Aihara Miki-sensei, Hino Matsuri-sensei, and other stars in the shoujo manga firmament

complete KISS, Zekkou, KISS and Fujiwara Yoshiko links

Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volumes 0, 1-4
Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volume five
Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volume six
Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volume seven
Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volume eight
Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volume nine
Review: KISS, Zekkou, KISS volume ten (series finale)
Backlist: Fujiwara Yoshiko

end notes (AKA where nik rambles to her heart's content)

awesome naming I have a theory as to why this manga was titled thus. Before this comic was released, there was a very popular song by the Indonesian group Slank entitled I Miss You But I Hate You. The refrain goes:

I miss you but I hate you, my girl…

I guess the publisher wanted KISS, Zekkou, KISS to ride on the song's popularity. The association totally works—whenever I read the manga title, the refrain resounds in my head; that lyric accompanies, like my dog when I'm carrying his dog dish.

point of view I've always been rabid about the limited third person POV in fiction.The thing guaranteed to turn me off when reading facfic is when the writer summarily "head switches" even during one scene, without any proper transitioning. So I insist upon the limited third person POV—sometimes with a stubborness that goes beyond reasonable.

By virtue of manga's graphic nature, we're often hit with the omniscient third person and while sometimes, it's not intrusive, at other times it totally is. So I like what Fujiwara Yoshiko-sensei did in KISS, Zekkou, KISS—rigidly (for about 99.9% of the time) telling the story from one character's POV or staying firmly rooted inside one character's head (scifi writer Robert J. Sawyer in On Writing — Point of View). And since it goes right, i.e., we don't lose track of with which character's eyes we're following the story, it heightens the enjoyment and locks in the emotional investment. Just as Sawyer so eloquently put it:

Stick with one person throughout the scene — and you'll find that readers are sticking with your story all the way until the end.

Source: On Writing by Robert J. Sawyer from Point of View: Two Heads Aren't Always Better Than One (© 1996 Robert J. Sawyer. All rights reserved.)

invaluable resource

Hanashi.org » KISS, Zekkou, KISS project page

KISS, Zekkou, KISS and KISS, Zekkou, KISS ~Bokura no baai~ are © Fujiwara Yoshiko. First published by Shogakukan in 2001. I Hate You But I Love You Indonesian copyright by PT Elex Media Komputindo. No infringement intended.

All other content (editorial and such) are huamulan03's. If for some strange reason you're moved to repost these summaries and/or review (or any of my content) elsewhere, do link back and attribute. DO NOT alter, transform, or build upon as this is licensed under Creative Commons. Thank you for the courtesy. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

: 2008.01.29


wontaek said...

This is a great series that my wife and I liked. I would very much like to see this series animated as well.

huamulan03 said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.^^ It makes me happy to know that there are other people who appreciate this unassuming yet wonderful series.

Now I wonder--how do I insinuate myself in one of the anime studios to drop a hint that this property is adaptation worthy? ^^

Diem said...

This series is so sweet
well, just sweet and not so sweeet + bitter like Bokura ga Ita, which I also like very much
Normally, I not a fan of happy endings but I love them so much
Kiss, Zekkkou, Kiss is 1 of my top 20 fav. manga, for sure

thank you very much for hard work

Diem said...

the happy endings in K,Z,K are just the best

huamulan03 said...

@ Diem-san,
Thanks for the Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss love. Good to know others are enjoying this series as much as I have ^^ Thank you, too, for the compliment--warm and fuzzy now...

Anonymous said...

I really love your blogs about this manga because even though the chapters 5-10 are missing or not up yet, your blogs/reviews helps me to know what happens even though I crave for more! haha

Keep reviewing and i seriously think that you're antics are so interesting and funny!

God Bless and hopefully that missing chapters will be up for the readers of English!

Ja ne!

huamulan03 said...

Thanks for the compliments! Really appreciate them ^^

If you're looking for the links to Kiss, Zekkou, Kiss volumes 5 through 10, here they are: volume 5, volume 6, volume 7, volume 8, volume 9, and volume 10.



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