- Genre: Josei: Action, Romance, Organized Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Psychological
- Director: Ooba, Hideaki
- Writer: Hiseao Ayumu
- Studio: Platinum Vision
- License: Crunchyroll, Animax Korea, Bilibili, Bahamut Anime Crazy, Laftel
- Producers: Toy’s Factory, Crunchyroll, Kadokawa Media House, Kadokawa, Bit Promotion, Bit grooove promotion, A3
- Aired: January – March (Winter) 2022
- 12 episodes
In a bid to watch more josei, I stumbled upon Koroshi Ai (殺し愛) or Love of Kill—originally written and drawn by Fe. This story is a lot—but not in a good way.
Plot & Pace of Love of Kill
In this story set in the underground world of assassinations, Château Dankworth is a hitman whose whole career is disrupted when she is assigned to kill Song Ryang Ha. Song is said to be one of the best in the business—i.e. extremely dangerous—but we are also shown how he infiltrated an organised crime business and rose through the ranks just to kill the top brass. So. Not so loyal—or at least not to them. All of this makes it even weirder when Song starts getting in the way of Château’s jobs, killing her assignments before she can get to them. He takes it as courting, she takes it as being annoying—a rom-com trope.
From there, who Song is, why he is doing this, and the machinations working in the background are explored. These 12 episodes apparently cover the first out of 13 volumes of the ongoing manga.
Personally, I didn’t mind the slow beginning, but I can understand if you drop this series before you reach episode 3. But if you ask me, that’s not even one of the top 5 issues with Koroshi Ai. In fact, its messy ending with lots of plot threads hanging for a season 2 that has yet to be announced isn’t one of the major issues either!
The Good in Love of Kill
I’ll give this anime one thing: It’s really interesting. The mystery kept me going. There are lots of plot twists and many questions are asked. That said, we don’t get an answer to many of these questions since the story is not complete.
What’s truly disappointing is that for a psychological thriller, there is a great character foundation, yet they barely explore the main characters’ PTSD or their pasts—truly a missed opportunity.
Who is the real main character?
While we mostly follow Château except for some flashbacks from Song’s perspective much later on in the series, the story is barely about her. She is not curious about her past. She doesn’t investigate. She is just a subject in the inciting incident.
Song is the one with all the mystery, all the drive to act. And don’t even get me started on the fact that Château is literally the worst fighter here. Did they really want us to believe she can do anything, actually is a killer for hire, when she can barely take down anyone? Has to be saved when she is literally on a protective detail? Can’t help but be the perpetual damsel in distress? Anyway, Song is clearly the more interesting and more active character. Pulling the perspective away from him just to keep the mysterious vibes only weakens the story.
Off-beat Relationship or Toxic Relationship?
Personally, I don’t mind the more toxic relationships as long as they are tackled with tact. This, however, is not it, sis. Song is not just damaged from working in this line of work—they are all in this line of work, and yet he stands out as deeply disturbing. As maladjusted as Château is, she sees that, tries to stay away from him, and expresses that she wants nothing to do with him—bar his death—and yet he keeps trying to insinuate himself in her life. Ew. Another romcom trope.
And if that was not enough, so many of his lines are either low-key or high-key misogynistic. I can buy Château seeing a kindred soul in Song, but not when he treats her like she’s trash adjacent. Château has lots of problems from her troubled past including having issues understanding implied meanings, but she doesn’t devalue herself enough to eat up all this shit.
Either way, if anything is toxic here, it’s Song.
Koroshi Ai is very much watchable, the way that so many barely okay shows are. Nevertheless, an interesting mystery is not enough to excuse problems in the: POV, stereotypical characters, pacing issues, unfinished storyline, inexplicable romance, whack sound design, or the barely funded BL animation aesthetics this anime was rocking.
Both IMDb and MAL gave it nearly 7/10 but I can’t give it any more than a 2/10.
If you have a josei you think can actually measure up to the task, do leave a comment below.