Episodes 1-4 - Engage Kiss

Episodes 1-4 – Engage Kiss | Pro Club Bd

How do you rate episode 1 from
engage kiss? Community grade: 3.6

How do you rate episode 2 from
engage kiss? Community grade: 3.5

How do you rate episode 3 from
engage kiss? Community grade: 3.9

How do you rate Episode 4 from
engage kiss? Community grade: 3.9

My first impressions of engage kiss were nostalgic more than anything. While once the preferences Future Diary‘s Yuno Gasai and elf song‘s Lucy seemed ubiquitous, anime and manga have left behind the age of the frighteningly co-dependent and rosy-haired killer. Maybe that’s for the best, but as with all passe trends after a certain age, the imperfections of memory erode their desperation faster than their attraction. So I can’t deny that I felt my withered heart churn when I saw Kisara transform into a Deviantart-worthy one-winged demon with a neon pink blade and a carefully proportioned zettai-ryouiki. And all it took was a game of tonsil hockey with the protagonist. This is a perfect slice of trashy youthful edgelordism from a bygone era, and I kind of miss it.

Unfortunately for engage kiss, my rose-colored glasses are non-prescription so they can only see so far before the rest of the show obscures my vision with its mess of an introduction. The first two episodes just aren’t very good, and their main crime boils down to razor-thin characterization. The show doesn’t make any of these people interesting, either as individuals or as part of a relationship. Kisara exhibits no personality trait other than “is Yandere,” Ayano acts only as a spoilsport on the third wheel, and Shu does not inherently have redeeming traits. I actually respect the commitment to Shu’s freeloader deadbeat behavior; Badass protagonists can be a lot of fun (just check it out Better call Saul), but the catch is that you have to be able to write them in a convincing or at least amusing way, and engage kiss‘s dialogue lacks the necessary wit and charm. None of the jokes land. It’s all tropes and no substance.

Without characters to hold on to, the narrative suffers from its bluntness. engage kiss breaks up the details of his oceanic cities, future fuel, demon terrorists, international espionage, PMCs, and virtual reality auctions in bits and chunks. Only now, after four episodes, do I have the feeling that I have the setting and its main actors well under control. Usually that’s fine, and in fact I think modern anime might be a lot of coyer about their conspiracy and world building. I long for a recap on this post-evangelion Time when the creators just didn’t care to make simple sense. That said engage kiss‘ needed better mysteries or better investigators to justify the long journey.

However, one could argue that engage kiss makes its primary appeal to audiences not through plot or characters, but through action and spectacle, and I’d sympathize with that argument. The anime looks great, with sparkling production values, well-choreographed fight scenes, and the aforementioned edginess of its demon designs. That’s enough to make it stand out this season, and I’m not surprised there’s a decent buzz about it. To appreciate it, I laughed out loud as I saw Ayano tear up her dress, draw her pistol, and shoot off the remaining scraps of fabric. It’s endearingly stupid action movie logic. Overall, the spectacle didn’t convince me in the first two episodes. But if all you need in life is a pink demon girl slashing baddies, then you have my respect, and engage kiss could be for you

For me, the series improved a lot in the third and fourth episodes, mostly because it started treating its characters less like cardboard cutouts and more like people with a complicated story together. engage kiss trades its early silliness for brooding melodrama while better embracing the sincere trash evoked by Kisara’s character design. A series like Future Diary, for example, can certainly be appreciated ironically, but only because the series has dedicated itself entirely to its own part. While engage kiss hasn’t even touched the over-the-top heights of its predecessors, I’d much rather delve into it as a vehicle for fear and action than a self-aware concatenation of anime tropes.

Of course, this development has strayed a bit from the heels of the first two episodes. It’s hard to expect to suddenly take Shu seriously, and his motivation is as cliche as it gets. Still, I’m glad we’re finally starting to explore the ramifications of his contract with Kisara and the high cost of trading his memories for her demon-slaying power. It’s nice that the audience learns about his past relationships at the same time as he does. Ayano’s frustration with him looks less routine and tragic knowing this, and now that she knows about his Faustian deal herself, I’m much more interested in what their previous time together was like. Even Kisara’s Yandere-Schtick has taken a back seat to show that she’s emotionally anticipating what she’s doing to Shu. Her scene this week with Ayano is genuinely haunting at times, as she tells her his now-rotten memory in painful detail. I doubt we’ll ever see either of these ladies talk about anything that isn’t Shu, but if that love triangle persists, it’s far better off gnarled and full of thorns.

As for the rest of the plot, there are some seeds of social commentary that intrigue me, even if they haven’t germinated yet. Bayron City, for example, stands out as an independent capitalist hell state. All this power and wealth, but there are entire districts mired in poverty, rampant terrorist attacks, rolling blackouts, a pompous idiot figurehead and so on (remember anything?). The auctions are also nice and dystopian to find out which PMC will face the demon of the week. And I like that the demons themselves are disgruntled citizens being encircled by a pyramid scheme salesman. It’s almost as if Bayron were the architect of his own disaster. It’s too early to tell if engage kiss I will continue to develop these themes, but I hope it does because I think this is way more interesting than the revenge deal of Shu’s dead family demons.

At the moment, engage kiss is a mediocre anime, but it’s a mediocre anime with a rising trend. The premiere in particular is way more boring than it should be, especially given the outrageousness of Shu and Kisara’s public display of vigorous fondling. However, I’m more curious about the yarns of personal and political intrigue spun in the last two episodes. If it can keep up that momentum and keep throwing us decent action sets (this week’s mirror scene looked very cool), then there’s a chance this series will end up being more appealing than a quick peck on the cheek.


engage kiss is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Steve’s Twitter DMs are only open to vampires and vampires. Otherwise, you can catch him chattering about junk and treasure alike in This Week in Anime.

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