The new anime season has started, and I’ve got dozens of new shows I should be watching so I can write about them on the J-List blog. So naturally I’m ignoring all of them and watching Koi Kaze (aka Love Wind), the classic anime exploring the subject of forbidden brother / sister love, from 2004. Are you curious to learn why this is considered the best incest anime? Then keep reading!
What’s the Story of Koi Kaze?
Koishirou is a wedding planner who’s getting over a painful breakup, caused in part by the scars from his parent’s divorce. He lives with his father and hasn’t seen his mother and younger sister in years. One day he meets a cute high school girl who awakens strange feelings in him. He soon learns that the girl is in fact his sister Nanoka, 12 years younger than him, who’s coming to live with him in his father’s house. Where will these strange feelings that both Koushirou and Nanoka have for each other take them?
While the category of “incest anime” featuring brother / sister love themes is quite well-populated, in reality, most creators chicken out, using step-sibling relationships, or characters finding out they’re not blood-related after all via some convenient plot twist. Only a few works — Yosuga no Sora, Koi Kaze — are bold enough to explore real incest anime. Because for some fans…
…the real blood relationship is what’s good about it!
What Was Anime Like back in 2004?
I’ve argued before that the “modern” age of anime can be said to begin in the year 2000, when Fuji Film ceased manufacturing the cels anime had always been hand-painted on, forcing the industry to abruptly move to digital coloring. That’s why the old dude at your local anime convention hasn’t gotten in any stock of anime cels since the late 90s. Despite falling in the “modern” era of anime, Koi Kaze really took me back to the old days of animation. Yellow subtitles! 480p resolution! And hand-animated trains! When was the last time you saw a train or car that wasn’t rendered with CGI?
I’m fascinated at the way the technology that’s considered “cutting edge” at the time an anime gets made becomes frozen in time, as if trapped in amber, for us to observe later. Despite this show being set just three years before School Days, a show in which the flip-style cell phones the characters carry are a core element of the story, the world of Koi Kaze is a simpler one, without cell phones or even the Internet.
Like many, many anime, Koi Kaze is set in the real location of Kamakura, about 70 km south of Tokyo. This is partly because the area is conveniently located, with staff able to go there for roke-han (location hunting) from Tokyo on day trips.
The performances are all great, especially Chidori, Koushirou’s coworker, played by voice of One Piece’s Nami Akemi Okamura. If you ever wanted to hear Nami castigating someone for falling in love with his sister, this is the anime for you.
A List of Major Events in Koi Kaze
Since I’m assuming you won’t be watching the show, here’s a brief play-by-play of the story. Obviously you should stop reading if you want to avoid spoilers!
- After learning that the girl he felt a spark for was his long-lost sister Nanoka, Koishirou is conflicted.
- Nanoka gets “sick” and has to lie down in an episode. Koishirou learns a lesson about female biology.
- Koishirou goes to see a movie with Nanoka but his ex Shouko sees them. He goes to explain to Shouko that the girl he was with was his sister, and learns that Shouko has a new boyfriend.
- Koishirou finds Nanoka’s underwear in the laundry room and is unable to avoid masturbating while taking in the smell of his sister.
- Nanoka cleans Koishirou’s room, including emptying his “fap tissues,” causing awkward drama between them…though she’s so pure she didn’t understand what the trouble is all about.
- At Christmas, Koishirou finds Nanoka in his bed, asking if she can sleep there tonight. She confesses her love for him, and he tries to push her away, yet also embraces her.
- Disgusted with himself, Koishirou moves out into an apartment, though he can’t stop thinking of Nanoka. His coworker Chidori starts sleeping at his place because it’s close to where they work. She learns why Koishirou got his own apartment: because he was being tempted by his younger sister.
- Chidori pretends she’s dating Koishirou to get Nanoka to come to her senses, but the girl refuses. After making sure she understands that things can never be the same between them again, Koishirou has sex with Nanoka.
- The two make a visit to their mother’s home, then discuss whether they should commit shinjuu, ritual lovers’ suicide, together. Instead, Koishirou resigns from his job, and they both make fun memories sneaking into an amusement park after dark. Still in love, Nanoka goes home to her father’s house and they promise to come back to the park every spring.
Influences of Koi Kaze
In addition to being a lifelong anime fan, I’ve also been lucky enough to help make visual novels a viable genre in the West when I founded JAST USA. It was fun to watch an anime that has a connection to some of the VNs we’ve published.
Two such games were Kana Imouto (and the much-improved remaster Kana Okaeri), the VN that invented the sister love genre, and Family Project, both penned by genius VN writer Romeo Tanaka. Watching the incest anime Koi Kaze, it’s clear the work was taking cues from these two visual novels, released in 1999 and 2001. It’s equally clear that Scum’s Wish has been influenced by Koi Kaze, with its penchant for hyper-dramatic twists and turns and exploration of taboo relationships.
Want to know about the Kana Imouto remake, Kana Okaeri? We have a blog post here!
Thanks for reading this blog post about the highly dramatic Koi Kaze anime. What do you think of the “incest anime” genre? Tell us below, or share them on Twitter!
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