Engage Kiss Season 1 is an action/comedy series produced by A-1 Pictures. The floating city of Bayron is a modern city-state and home to the much sought-after resource Orgonium. But Bayron has a problem. It finds itself under periodic attack from D Hazards (read Demons). To keep its citizens safe and unaware, the government employs a group of contractors to put down the monsters as they show up and then cover up the incidents. One such contractor is Shu—a young man on a quest to avenge his family who was taken from him by demons.
While the other contractors employed to protect Bayron utilize conventual weapons to fight off the menace of the D Hazards, Shu has a secret weapon. He made a pact with a demon named Kisara to use her strength to obtain his goals. With Kisara by his side, few things can stand in Shu’s way. However, his ex-girlfriend and fellow demon fighter, Ayano, is undoubtedly one of them.
Engage Kiss Season 1 is a tale of two shows. On the one hand, you have a story revolving around demons, a global conspiracy, and a young man searching for answers and vengeance. But, simultaneously, you have an awkward rom-com style love triangle that produces far more cringe than anything else.
Right off the bat, the romantic aspects of this series struggle due to the choice of how the series presents its primary love interest for Shu, Kisara. While she is a demon of extreme age, she is presented in the form of a 16-year-old girl. She goes to high school, has friends her age, and has many of the typical demeanors anime imparts onto characters that age. Shu, however, is an 18-year-old. While Kisara is technically much older and only appears to be a minor, it is unfortunate that they couldn’t just let her be an adult in body to avoid this uncomfortable setup.
Building off of this less-than-stellar start is the fact that Shu himself doesn’t seem like a great guy. Described as lazy and overly reliant on others, Kisara is portrayed as needing to provide everything from food and cleaning to money for his bills. Unfortunately, he seems far too much like a deadbeat to warrant the attention he gets from Kiasara and Ayano. Kisara and Ayano’s feuding over Shu takes up far too much of Engage Kiss Season 1‘s 13 episodes. The cliched way they are constantly at each other’s throats for a guy who won’t even stand up for either of them is never truly interesting or entertaining.
While all these romantic/jealous elements come to weigh down the story overall, the larger plot of Shu and how far he is willing to go to complete his mission brings a compelling narrative that kept me engaged with the story, even as the show made me wade through its sub-par romantic trappings to experience it. What Shu ultimately does to himself in pursuing his goal left me stunned in a way that a quest for vengeance arc hasn’t in a long time. Its slow build-up over the series crafts a growing sense of inevitable peril that made me need to know how the character’s journey would end.
That ending, however, falls a bit short of what the series needed. While I would plant it solidly in the region of good, it doesn’t hit with the force its core story deserves. Instead, it dances out of its hardest moments, allowing everything to resolve in far too tidy a package.
The animation in Engage Kiss Season 1 does its best to make all the elements of its story work. The comedic romantic spats between the quarreling central trio go hard into the classic slapstick look that anime fans expect. Combined with gorgeous, over-the-top fight sequences, you have a visual presentation that doesn’t fail to deliver, even when the story does.
When all is said and done, Engage Kiss Season 1 is a mixed bag of awkward romantic choices and a compelling narrative core. But, if you can weather the show’s worst, its best delivers something truly worth experiencing.
Engage Kiss Season 1 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Engage Kiss Season 1
Engage Kiss Season 1 is a mixed bag of awkward romantic choices and a compelling narrative core. But, if you can weather the show’s worst, its best delivers something truly worth experiencing.