A-1 Pictures has delivered a lot of visually stunning anime recently and Engage Kiss is one of them. But are fluid animation and gorgeous compositing the only thing that this anime has going for it? Or is there meaning to the story that’s just being overlooked? Are the characters a lot more than just what they are on the surface?
In this article, we’re going to take a look into Engage Kiss to determine whether this anime is overrated, underrated, or properly rated. We will take into account everything from scriptwriting to fan ratings to poll rankings in order to determine where one of A-1 Pictures’ latest original anime series stands.
Engage Kiss – Plot
It’s no secret at this point in the Summer 2022 season that most anime fans’ attention is drawn to the other original anime series that A-1 Pictures is animating—Lycoris Recoil—and rightfully so. However, there’s still a good chunk of fans out there who have been following along with Engage Kiss as well. But does the series compare with others from this season?
If we take a look at the first 7 episodes, Engage Kiss is sporadic in its writing. We never really get a firm grasp on what the end goal of the story is truly about nor does it feel like we really get anywhere with the story. The exposition is okay, it’s neither great nor bad. It’s established early on how the loss of memory/gain of power situation works with Shu and Kisara. And that’s fine, but what is trying to become a linear storyline has ended up becoming a wild mess and that’s something that can’t be argued.
It wasn’t until two weeks ago that we started getting more plot-driven episodes. And while they have actually been rather enjoyable, you can’t just start establishing a concrete plot towards the end of the season. A giant portion of the series so far has been about Kisara and Ayano fighting over each other for their obsession for Shu who, frankly, couldn’t care less for either of them.
Engage Kiss has formed this habit of repetitiveness since it began airing. We get it, Kisara and Ayanao don’t like each other and are part of Shu’s “harem”. Then we get Sharon, an unhinged nun (also part of the harem) that feels like she belongs in Black Lagoon instead, telling us the entire city is doomed because of a giant demon lurking around. Wasn’t this series supposed to focus on Shu finding his sister? Or is that just a side story? Or is it the main story? This is where Engage Kiss fails miserably. Too many things happen that it’s hard for the viewer to grasp any decent plot line.
Is the series in its rising action? Are we even close to the climax? Is the end near? It’s hard to tell and that’s the problem.
Engage Kiss – Characters
Is there really anything to like about anyone from this series? Every single character is a terrible person in their own way and the one guy we thought was good, Miles, ended up becoming a demon for his own personal reason with no regard for how it affected others. It’s similar to our main protagonist Shu who uses whoever, physically and emotionally, he has to in order to find his sister with no remorse for anyone else.
Shu is a broke bum who spends all the money he earns on cigarettes. And if you want to use the argument he smokes for relief because he struggles with memory loss, which is his choice, by the way, that’s still no excuse nor is that even established. There are characters in plenty of anime who are horrible people, but they’re well-written and establish a following who enjoys watching them. Shu is neither fun to watch nor root for and he’s the main character. That’s usually not a good sign for a series when the main character is written as both boring and hard to like.
The worst part is that this is because of who he is as a character, when he swoops in for the save whenever everyone is in a pinch, that exciting feeling of seeing the main character go off isn’t there at all with Shu.
Despite having better career success and driving a Bentley, Ayano is the clingy ex who is co-dependent on Shu for some reasons and wants to get back together with him while simultaneously pushing away Kisara. This makes her character nothing more than an immature, jealous ex-girlfriend despite her actually being the oldest one out of Shu and Kisara.
The constant back and forth of wanting to get away from Shu while simultaneously doing the one thing that brings her closer to him (see episode 7) is a pathetic internal conflict with Ayano that should’ve been resolved by now. And, even after episode 10, it isn’t. She is well-established with a great career and can be a badass when needed, yet she’s constantly unbearable whenever she’s part of a scene.
Kisara saves her life and she complains. Then she accuses her closest friend of betraying her, holds a gun to her head, and then says she’s actually a wonderful friend moments later after Shu saves her (episode 10). Ayano is without a shadow of a doubt an insufferable character from top to bottom despite trying to be portrayed as a supportive one. So not only is the main protagonist a drag but so is another one of the main characters.
As for Kisara, we know she is no saint in her own right. But the good thing about her character is we’ve gotten some development of her character, especially in episode 10, which is completely non-existent in the previous two. She’s actually matured (somewhat) from episode 1 to now and it just makes her slightly more bearable than Ayano or Shu. But even then, that’s not saying much. So the plot does not properly develop and neither do the characters and their relationships. However, at least Kisara has an interesting character design and she actually develops a sense of responsibility.
One could argue that’s in perfect contrast with Ayano, and you may have a point. But her development being so forced in this tight window near the end of the series makes it feel incredibly rushed. And it’s hard to mirror her feelings in certain moments because we were so used to her being controlling of Shu for her own personal reasons. So when she starts to all of a sudden have a sense of remorse, it’s difficult to sympathize with her, even after what happened at the end of episode 10. And the worst part of all, she’s a demon but we’ve never once felt like she is either.
Engage Kiss – Production
Nobody is giving the thumbs down to Engage Kiss‘ animation, compositing, and sound design. Almost every week there are beautifully executed fight scenes with wild compositing that includes vivid colors and extreme choreography. That is undoubtedly something that nobody can take away from the series. First the first half of the season, we’re given what is practically a well-produced fight with a great soundtrack to end every episode. It’s the one consistent part of the series that actually makes Engage Kiss stand out from others this season and it hasn’t gone unrecognized.
This is definitely another part of the series that cannot be argued against and everyone working on these fights deserves their flowers. Almost every episode brightens the eyes of sakuga fans everywhere. But is incredible animation and compositing along with a creative storyboard and some intense music enough for the argument “more people need to watch this”? And to all of my Moon Knight fans out there, does the second half of the fight below remind you of something?
Engage Kiss – Ratings and Polls
Well, when we take a look at the numbers Engage Kiss has garnered so far, here is how everything lays out.
Anime Corner Polls: Engage Kiss has made our top 10 weekly polls in 6 of the current 9 weeks of the Summer 2022 season. The series hit #3 for Week 9 making it the first time the series has ever breached the top five for our polls. Most of the time, the series held a spot around the #9 mark. There are currently 43 series our following can vote for each week and Engage Kiss has managed to top most of them for the majority of the season.
MyAnimeList: Engage Kiss currently holds a 7.03/10 rating with over 73k viewers, making it the 13th most popular series of the season and the 20th highest rated on the site. Let the record show that a “7” is categorized as “good” on MyAnimeList.
Anilist: Engage Kiss currently has a 67% score on Anilist with over 19k viewers, making it the 10th most popular series on and the 20th highest-rated series for the season. But an interesting fact that Anilist gives us is that while you can see the rise in viewers, the lower the score the series starts to receive. So in Anilist terms, the series seems to not be one to bother with unless you need something to watch.
Engage Kiss is overrated. Despite having an incoherent plot and unbearable main characters, the series still managed to find its way into becoming one of the most successful anime of the summer according to the polls and ratings. Its above-average rating is higher than it deserves to be when we peel back the layers and look at the series from a wider point of view. And when you stack that up against more deserving series such as Made in Abyss and The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting, Engage Kiss should not have this much success.
There’s a fine line you have to draw when it comes to being subjective and objective towards certain series. And when the flaws of a series are practically shoved in your face every episode, it’s hard to ignore them. Engage Kiss is a prime example of having its success carried by its phenomenal production work, which A-1 Pictures has more recently shined for with other series such as 86 Eighty-Six, Kaguya-sama: Love is War, and the aforementioned Lycoris Recoil.
And while that seems like a shallow way of looking at it, take away the action and Engage Kiss becomes a ridiculously terrible romcom with absolutely no depth to it whatsoever that most would’ve dropped by episode 5. Now, don’t let the term overrated make you think this is just a way of saying “I hate this series.” It’s a matter of debating a series’ popularity based on the quality of the series. There are more spotlight-deserving anime from this season.
Overrated, Underrated, Properly Rated Explained
Underrated means not receiving the praise someone or something deserves. One Piece, for example, is not an underrated series. It’s the most successful-selling manga of all time and is regarded by many to be the greatest series in both anime and manga outright. It literally cannot be underrated.
Overrated is simply defined as “rated or valued too highly.” While discussions on series that are overrated become more complicated than underrated, there are still points an argument has to meet to consider an anime overrated.
Properly rated means any accolades the series has accumulated, or lack thereof, are as they should be for said series. Nothing more. Nothing less. It’s where it should be.