My friend (who gave this to me for my birthday) and I went into this anime after reading the first couple deluxe editions of the Kizuna manga. I would imagine that if you haven't read the series, it would be hard to follow the storyline without thinking that it is completely stupid. It is no easy task to stuff a story involving a shattered Kendo career, the complicated relationship that a bastard son of a Yakuza boss shares with the younger legitimate child, the desire said younger legitimate child has for the bastard's boyfriend, a gross professor who apparently has access to large gangs of men that beat up random guys for him (?), and the obligatory and never-consensual sexy-time that accompanies most yaois... all within the span of 30 minutes.
The product of this impossible endeavor is a cheesy, complicated, fluffy and confusing anime that we,personally, managed to salvage by poking fun at the entire time.
The original Japanese version of Kizuna was easier to take serious, probably because stupid stuff sounds less stupid when you read it in subtitles. The heightened emotions and reactions are easier to swallow as well when it's delivered in Japanese. However, Enjoji's voice is quite annoying and whiny and made me hate the character.
In the English dub, that voice is significantly improved (and I plan on getting Dan Green to sign my copy of the DVD if I ever see him at a con). However, the actor voicing Ranmaru sounds like he's bored and whiny throughout the entire episode. This is harder to ignore when you actually speak the language. And the voices of the hosts at the gay (ahem, I mean hustler) bar are really, REALLY funny.
The horrible dialogue is also impossible to ignore when put into English. Everything seems forced or grossly cheesy, which I suppose is typical for Yaoi. For example, there is a part where Enjoji gets cut with a sword (Wondering how this happens in a fluffy story about host clubs and perverted professors? Get used to it.). He then licks the blood off of his face while making a noise most akin to a snake rasping its tongue. Also, when characters get mad their eyes turn scarlet red or their entire body is surrounded by a blue glow. I guess that's just what happens to red-headed Japanese boys when they get, like, really, really mad.
I just wish that they had done a better job. Kizuna legitimately had potential to be just a tiny bit better than the average Yaoi, and they totally dropped the ball. Why they chose to put the parts of the story they did into the anime is beyond me but hey: if you've read the manga this will at least be interesting. And if you're willing to go into it with a sense of humor, you might even get a few laughs out of it.