His And Her Circumstances/Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo aka Tales at North Hills High

Dir: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki
Scr: Hideaki Anno
Des: Tadashi Hiramatsu
Ani: N/C
Mus: Shiro Sagisu
Prd: Gainax, JC Staff, TV Tokyo
Length: 25 Minutes. x26 Episodes
Released: 1998
Resources: The Anime Encyclopedia 2001 Release

Yukino Miyazawa is the most popular girl at school and a permanent straight-A student, her frantic home life hidden to preserve her seemingly effortless perfection. Her classroom kingdom is invaded by a newcomer, the handsome Soichiro Arima, who competes with her for every prize and accolade. Both are appointed as class reps and forced to work together. Behind icy masks of politeness, the pair fight a private battle of wills and slowly begin to fall in love.

Based on a 1996 manga by Masami Tsuda in Hana to Yume magazine, H & HC effortlessly outclasses its lookalike U.S. cousin Alley McBeal in its dramatic innovation and use of surreal "cartoon" effect in a contemporary sit-com. In Japan, it owes a bebt to earlier comedies of manners such as GOLDFISH WARNING and REIKO SHIRATORI I PRESUME, throwing in Greek choruses of cynical siblings, split-screens, and squashed-down cartoon versions of the lead character. In terms of off-the-wall experimentation, it rivals the earlier FIST OF THE NORTH STAR - not just stop-motion and live action, but one episode features a character whose head is a photograph of a Gainax staff member, while another is animated with paper cutouts, until Yukino bursts into real flames. As with director Anno's earlier EVANGELION, onscreen captions and subtitles comment on the action and warp the characters meanings, perfectly capturing the adolescent power struggles and hypocrisies of the original. A very funny satire about unlikeable people who are nevertheless sympathetic characters. Thought an English-language version from Right Stuf is forthcoming at time of writing, the authors doubt whether the show's chaotic onscreen action could survive translation intact.