Kimi ni Todoke Review: Will I Reach You?
Kimi ni Todoke – 君に届け
Daisuke Namikawa as Shōta Kazehaya
Mamiko Noto as Sawako Kuronuma
Aya Hirano as Ume Kurumizawa
Masahiro Yamanaka as Souichi Jounouchi
Mayuki Makiguchi as Eriko Hirano
Miho Miyagawa as Tomomi Endou
Miyuki Sawashiro as Ayane Yano
Takuma Suzuki as Yoshiyuki Arai
Yūichi Nakamura as Ryū Sanada
Yuko Sanpei as Chizuru Yoshida
Yuuki Ono as Kazuichi Arai (Pin)
Theme: Slice of life, Romance, Shoujo, Comedy
Opening Sequence: Kimi ni Todoke by Tomofumi Tanizawa
Ending Sequence: Kataomoi by Chara
Opening Sequence: Sawakaze by Tomofumi Tanizawa
Ending Sequence: Kimi ni Todoke… by MAY’S
Number of Episodes: Season 1 – 25 Episodes, Season 2 – 12 Episodes + 1 Recap Episode
A high school shoujo romance between two refreshing people that you can understand and connect with that their troubles feel like they’re tugging at your own heartstrings as well. The girl is an innocent, caring, misunderstood person named Sawako Kuronuma, and the guy is a refreshing, energetic and friendly person named Shouta Kazehaya. It’s a no-brainer that their love for each other is true, but they have to face many hardships to get to each other with each hardship causing you to feel emotional in some way. But with good friends by their sides they slowly get closer to each other after figuring out each other’s feeling and discovering themselves in the process and develop themselves. We see Sawako undertake a huge transformation as her character develops immensely throughout the series.
Our heroine is Sawako Kuronuma. She is social outcast amongst her classmates because she is easily misunderstood. She is very shy but very sweet and always tries to help anyone she can. However because of her straight long black hair and an odd sinister smile she is nicknamed ‘Sadako’ from The Ring and because of this, she scares off anyone that tries to approach her. She wants to be helpful and fit in so much so that she wishes she could do everything her classmates thinks she can do such as calling out ghosts.
However all that starts to change as a boy named Shota Kazehaya enters the scene, one of the most popular boys in school. He wasn’t afraid of her when they first met and smiled at her. She found him refreshing and was instantly drawn to him as he helps her fit into class and tries to include her into class activities. He sees her like no other person has and with his help she makes real friends in Yoshida and Yano, and to a lesser extent Ryu Sanada.
They slowly clear the misunderstandings that have followed Sawako since starting school and as Sawako fits more into the class, she and Kazehaya start to realise their true feelings for each other. Will they both realise the other’s feelings? And what hardships will both of them endure to get through to each other?
As you can tell from the synopsis it’s a very simple Shoujo rom-com story. Neglected girl meets her charming prince and she comes out of her shell as their relationship develops into more than just friends. What makes this one of the best series I’ve ever watched is how the authors shove in so many well planned and emotional obstacles, tests and hurdles that never get tiring or repetitive into this simple story.
With many of these rom-coms you know the girl will end up with the boy eventually, or if it’s a reverse harem you know it’s probably the one guy or it’s not going to be resolved. But for this, whilst you know it’s Sawako and Kazehaya as the main couple, with each hurdle they have to get through, you become completely unsure because of that hurdle. For each problem they come across, it puts a question mark on their relationship and you always wonder if they’ll be alright. The series has an excellent way for you to feel anxious. Each hurdle always has the perfect balance by letting the tension and anxiety build to the point where we start to ask the question ‘will they be alright?’ and at that moment, they solve the problem, giving the maximum impact of happiness felt that the couple ‘cleared’ another difficult hurdle.
After each hurdle the two do draw closer and you can see the development clearly. And the story plans the cliff-hangers so well that many times you won’t want to sleep until you know that the hurdle is cleared as it hurts so much watching her pain and watching the misunderstandings.
There were many times, and I think those who have seen it will agree with me, where it really irritated me that some things happened to a point it felt like I was losing at my favourite game repeatedly and not improving so that I wanted to throw something out of the window. That’s how bad it got, and when a story can affect you that much, I think it’s done a great job of making you care. But of course there are good times as well and the bad times which gives an uplifting and warm feeling. They are heart-warming to watch and you start to think that getting through all that frustration was worth it. Sometimes I think the story overdoes the negatives but then they turn it around and get the balance right. One of the main things that a story should leave with you is the emotions that you felt during it. A good story should make you feel negative and positive emotions equally, Kimi ni Todoke is what I call a great story with both emotions equally felt and if anyone asks I’d say it was a beautifully done emotional story. So many times I was on the verge of happy tears, and it’s something I’ve loved about this series.
Sawako was an interesting character that developed well with the series. However I can’t help but think the author went over the top with everything about her. She is over naïve to the point it’s actually funny, and it’s to a point where you could probably easily trick her away/kidnap her by offering her some sweets. It’s such a childish naivety but it’s so touching at the same time. She’s also too overly gratifying to everyone and overly affectionate to her friends and hands out presents for the smallest of deeds people do for her. This makes her seem so desperate yet it makes her easy to sympathise with. And it is rather nice as you feel this warm feeling towards her, but even still, it’s over the top and I think it can be toned down a bit as it feels like she lacks a lot of common sense and because of that sometimes she can feel a bit ‘fake’. But most of the time, her character is so well done that even with the over the top characteristics we can still sense her feelings clearly.
She is voiced by a fitting voice actress in Mamiko Noto who’s well known to have a very soft shy type of voice. So she is well versed with voicing gentle feminine characters and Sawako definitely fits that description.
The rest of the main cast is a nice mix of different personalities that seem to meld together. Kazehaya, the male protagonist of this series is a refreshingly lovely guy that Sawako couldn’t help but fall for. And there are Sawako’s main two female friends, Chizuru Yoshida and Ayane Yano. Chizuru is a fairly aggressive girl who’s usually in front of Sawako protecting her, but when with Sawako and friends she’s a fun loving girl who can get emotional. Ayane’s slightly harder to understand, she’s a very observant girl and picks up on things before others and gets on top of it. She’s also very witty and can outsmart people, like clearly on top of Kurumi when she figured what Kurumi was doing. But her personal life is a bit of a mystery, not much of that is shown, unlike Chizuru’s personal life who we see a bit too much of. Nothing much is known of Ayane, but we do know that she’s mature enough to get a boyfriend, however it sounds a lot more complicated and I don’t think the story intended to get Sawako involved.
Apart from that there are a few important minor characters. Ryu who’s terrible with names but likes Chizuru and has a weird way of showing it. Probably because he knows she’s not ready for anything yet as she likes a certain someone else which I think you’ll be surprised to find out. And then there’s the closest person who I’d call a villain, which is Kurumizawa Ume. A two timing, scheming, manipulative girl with only one thing in her mind and that’s to get Kazehaya.
Apart from Sawako, who as I’ve said feels heavily exaggerated, the others feel real. Not terribly over the top and I think reactions and actions were all pretty ‘normal’, normal enough that it’s believable. And I think because of that sometimes you become more attached to them than Sawako. Like when Yano and Chizuru came to Sawako’s rescue in one of the first misunderstandings they had, I was very moved by that which is when I started to really like those two. Sure they feel like support characters giving Sawako little pushes here and there, but I feel that makes them more real, showing human characteristics and helping those in need. And it’s not just Sawako that develops with the story, you can see a change in them as well and may even become more attached to one of them at some point. I think the series has been great at spreading out the focus of attention, even if it wasn’t intended it’s done very well.
The art was nice, it was calm and the soft colours allowed you to settle into the story. They weren’t overly stimulating but wasn’t overly lackadaisical. It was relaxing yet engaging. A lot of other shoujo romance uses too much bright colours to pull/drag you in, but I liked this one a lot more as it allowed you to settle in at your own pace, and the overall pace of the series helped that along. The art combined with the story, I think, gave it a sense of fluidity that works so well with the way the characters are planned out, as you would expect from Production I.G. Although a quick negative I have to say is that sometimes they don’t really use the beautiful art to their advantage and opt for the fun chibi Sawako a lot. It was actually like that in the manga, so I’m not complaining, but it feels like they’re wasting resources, even though I found it fun most of the time.
Ever since watching this series it has always ranked in my top 5 anime of all time. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite mainly because my favourite and what I think is the best has never been the same. And I can admit here that Kimi ni Todoke is what I think to be the best anime I’ve seen so far. It was one of the most emotional I’ve seen since Clannad and everyone knows how emotional that was. But this just does what Clannad does repeatedly in different events and all to the same quality. And also this series wasn’t that intense in its emotions, it certainly wasn’t a rollercoaster, it was nicely spaced out and gave us time to have a laugh here and there as well, which I think many seriously emotional series lack. They forget that without positive emotions sometimes a series can become too depressing to watch, like how I remember Saikano (She, The Ultimate Weapon).
Plus I liked the art here more than Clannad and found it more relaxing and easier to get into. The characters here feel like you can relate to them and aren’t too distant from reality apart from an exaggerated Sawako, but because of that over the top innocence and sincerity she was all the more lovable.
A series that I highly recommend to anyone as I think many will be able to relate to this, whether it’s a character, or the ‘typical’ high school life. And even if you’re not a shoujo fan, you should give it a chance and see if the emotions grip you into the story so much that you must finish it. There is a lot more I want to say about how great this series is, but somethings just can’t be put into words, so my last words in this review for you is that it’s a typical shoujo, but done so brilliantly well that anyone and everyone should and can enjoy.
What do you think? Leave a comment.