Kuronuma Sawako is completely misunderstood by her classmates. Her timid and sweet demeanor is often mistaken for malicious behavior. This is due to her resemblance to the ghost girl from "The Ring," which has led her peers to give her the nickname Sadako. Longing to make friends and live a normal life, she is naturally drawn to Kazehaya Shouta, the most popular guy in class, whose "100% refreshing" personality earns him great admiration from Sawako. So when Kazehaya starts talking to her, maybe there is hope for the friendships Sawako has always longed for. Maybe... there is even a little hope for some romance in her future.
Only rarely does a series break the mold its genre has cast for it and even more uncommonly does it set itself apart from all others. Such is the case with Kimi ni Todake. It takes all the classic shoujo romance stereotypes and plot devices and flips them on its head leaving us with a thoroughly rewarding and groundbreaking romance.
At first, Kimi ni Todake drew me in before I saw its first frame of film with its story concept. Our heroine is Sawako, a sweet and gentle girl with an awkward personality and an uncanny resemblance to Sadako from The Ring. Desperately wanting others to understand her she is instead shunned and feared by her classmates. This all changes when she meets a boy named Kazehaya who is the first to truly see her and slowly she begins to draw herself out of her shell. The remaining story is one of self discovery as Sawako experiences the first feelings of love and friendship she has ever felt. While her situation is a bit contrived and not overly realistic, the way it is presented is so wonderfully sweet and beautiful that it is impossible not to love.
I firmly believe that in order to really fully appreciate just how special Kimi ni Todake is, you have to already be a veteran of at least a dozen or more of its shoujo peers. There are none of the usual tired clichés. Sawako isn’t the plain and perky heroine determined to get a man to fall for her who ignores her or treats her horribly. She isn’t out for revenge nor is she being pursued by a harem of bishounens with a desperate struggle to choose between them. Kazehaya isn’t a dick, for lack of a better term. He’s a guy who will be loved by viewers not because he’s hot, but because he’s just a really nice guy any girl would want to fall in love with and guys would want as a friend.
The feelings and situations presented to us are real and powerful but not in an overly dramatic way. Nobody has torturous family lives or tragic pasts or other situations that always feel forced in a way to create drama that could be better achieved with fantastic characters and storytelling. The concepts are simple, the pacing slow, and full of the required blushes and aw shucks moments. Much like its soft artwork and color palette, Kimi ni Todake is the kind of show you will sit back and relax too, forgetting about all the problems of your day.
This is not to say that it doesn’t have its faults. While just about every aspect of the series was wonderful to behold, the series already slow pace comes to an even greater crawl over the last 8-10 episodes. While I still enjoyed them immensely, I suspect some viewers will likely begin to lose patience at the lack of progress or action in the story. And while perhaps we are also being setup for a continuation at some point, since the manga is still ongoing, the ending was also not particularly ideal.
Sawako herself goes down as one of my all-time favorite characters. She is so completely earnest and innocent that she is impossible not to love. While her character concept is initially not all that unique she becomes so much more than just a socially awkward, shy, and moe girl. Everyone can find something to relate with her over and from a character development standpoint, the person she becomes by the end of the series is so remarkably different from her beginning that it’s truly amazing. Yet despite this enormous change she never deep down changes from what she really is at her core. Her closing monologue at the end of the show is a prime example of just how much she has grown.
Kazehaya is a rare breed for a romance series. First he is the one and only love interest. No reverse harems of bishies here to waste story time or antagonize the heroine. He is also unique in that outside series such as Kanon or Clannad, he is one of the only leads that looks and feels like a real person. He is never made out to be a caricature of the fantasies and dreams of young girls. He is not super wealthy, nor is he a famous athlete, or come from a notorious family. Sure he is really good looking, popular with the girls and the guys, and good at baseball but you never feel like these are things that he didn’t earn with his own merits. Unlike most of his anime contemporaries who have abrasive or aloof personalities but are still enormously popular because well they are supposed to be. They’re perfect men after all! His personality is the kind that draws people to him and his popularity is not just because he’s handsome. People like him because he's nice to them. What a novel idea!
While on the surface, Kazehaya and Sawako seem to be completely different people, deep down they both share the same confusing emotions and fears about the feelings each has for the other. The interaction between the two is truly special and lovely. Amazingly I never really lost my patience with them either or yell at the screen, “Oh come on just kiss her already!”
Kimi’s supporting cast is also quite remarkable. This is nowhere more evident than with Sawako’s new best friends, Ayane and Chizu. From the start of the story you never would have though these girls would have become her friends. They had almost written on their faces “villainess” and it was such a pleasant surprise to see these two develop into perhaps the best shoujo best friends I have seen yet. They are so completely different from one another that it is a bit surprising they are friends. Ayane is the beautiful, fashionable temptress, while Chizu is the butch and athletic type. Their reactions to Sawako kind of mirror the way the audience will perceive her. There bonds grow stronger as they experience things together, and overcome some adversity. They were truly a joy to watch.
Other characters come and go but are no less impactful to the story. The only real rival, Kurumi, who appears in the middle portions of the story never, outstays her welcome and while she would technically serve as the series villainess, she never really feels to me like a villain. Shockingly Sawako’s family life is also quite normal, she neither has a tragic home situation or a perverted father, and they are both loving and normal parents (both to her and to each other).
Artistically Kimi really shines. Its soft colors and artwork just match the beauty and sweetness in the story perfectly. It does a good job of mixing in comedic art along with its beautiful scenery to make every episode visually appealing and smile inducing. This is even more brought out with the spectacular musical score and cast. Mamiko Noto seems to have been born to play this role. It’s a typical character type for her, one that we have heard from her many times, but this will be one that fans will remember for years and years to come. I can’t say enough about the OP theme, I was instantly in love with from the first chorus and its animation is tremendous. I also found the ED to be equally perfect, though I suspect Chara’s gravelly voice to be unappealing to some.
Overall, Kimi ni Todake is easily a top 5 series for me and one of the best shows of the decade. It was immediately appealing to me from the first episode and I am extremely sad to see it end. This is how more romance shows should be done and is not to be missed by anyone who likes the genre in even the slightest bit. It really doesn’t get much better than this one. read more
How do you recognize that you’ve watched a great show? Do you wake up the next morning and think about it the whole day? Do you talk to people full enthusiasm and passion about the show? Or did you just get that feeling that makes your heart ache and feel all good and warm inside? Kimi ni Todoke manages to do all this.
Kimi ni Todoke starts off as an anime that could make you wonder if you’re actually watching said series. The very first scene is practically a half-horror scene attempted by the animators to make you understand in a snap what kind of person the main character is. Kuronuma Sawako: a girl who looks a bit gloomy and scares away most of the people she’s nearby to. The reason because of that is a simple one: she’s very easily misunderstood. The tone of her voice sounds like a ghost that waited a thousand years in a closet and finally sees someone to scare away. Sawako may not have waited a thousand years but she does scare away people with her awkward attempt to greet someone, which earned her the nickname ''Sadako'' (the ghost from the movie ''The Ring'').
It’s natural that any person watching until now will get a feeling of sympathy. We see and hear things that play in Sawako’s mind, and in Sawako’s mind only. She doesn’t mean to scare anyone away. She doesn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Even her life motto (''A good deed a day'') sounds like it’s something made up by a loving person who likes to help. This is by far the biggest message the story is trying to convey: no matter how good your intentions are deep inside, if it’s not coming out in the proper way, nobody will see it on the outside. Sawako is struggling with this harsh truth that tackles her every single day. She has no real friends, feels very lonely at times and has a hard time understanding social situations not knowing how to react. It all feels very sad for Sawako and she is just trying to fit in and help people. But she can’t because of her way of conveying a message to another person; she hasn’t learned to do that properly.
If there is a second message this anime tries to portray, it has to be the message of hope. Because even for Sawako, light in the dark tunnel of social situations can be seen. You could say that Sawako actually is a clean slate of life that hasn’t been written on. The good things and the bad. Because that slate is almost empty, she’s never learned to interact, to recognize backstabbers and to clear up a misunderstanding. But also, she’s never learned to talk behind someone’s back, to steal anything or even to spread rumors.
Sawako is unique. An empty book that can be written in with all the things that life teaches us. That is one of the most brilliant ways to begin a story about an individual that grows up and steadily learns new things.
It’s actually unusual to write so much about a character in a show, even if it’s one of the most complex main characters. The story and the thought behind the story is what should be elaborately written about. But here, the character IS actually the story. Of course it’s possible to name all the events that happened in the show and write a bunch of thoughts about that. The truth is however that the story itself is very thin. And the best thing about that: it does not matter at all.
Which brings me to my next point. To understand why the story doesn’t matter, we have to look at the pacing of the show. Most stories tend to start off with a bang. Then there are some small events that explain all the things about that big happening and move the story forward. Then there is another peak in the story and the cycle repeats itself.
Kimi ni Todoke is nothing like that. You must realize that the pacing is extremely slow in this show. But the joke is that you must ask yourself the question if it matters to you. The story is about Sawako experiencing all the things in life that almost anyone can relate to. From your first classmate ever sitting next to you, to your first love in high school. It’s that emotional ride that makes this anime so darn special. And the pacing has a very, very important role in delivering those emotions. Basically, it actually makes it possible to notice all the small talk that the characters are having, the fun moments that they’re experiencing, the flowing rivers of sadness that are shown and even the growing love between characters. And most importantly: it’s possible to notice Sawako coming out of her shell. It’s because the pacing is that slow, you can notice and appreciate those things that come by in the anime.
In terms of art, it’s really crucial that you watch this show with an open mind without prejudices. Keep in mind that this is a ''shoujo''. This means that it’s a story with the point of view of a girl and most likely with some ''girly'' elements. But if you manage to overcome these things (or are a girl yourself), Kimi ni Todoke is a breath of fresh air to watch. While the animation may not be the greatest you will ever see, the art is amazing. It’s one of those anime which captures the feel of the manga almost perfectly. The scenery is beautiful and everything has this ''fresh'' feel, as if you’re diving in a nice cold bath after sweating.
Most of the time in animated shows, either the characters are well drawn or the backgrounds are. Kimi ni Todoke does both well with maybe the backgrounds being a tiny bit better drawn than the characters. Cute bubbles and sparkles pop up randomly in many scenes but actually fit very snuggly in the story strangely enough. And the people who composed the musical score deserve applause. The music captures those emotions portrayed beautifully and manages to play as a nice ear massage if listened to.
It’s too bad that Kimi ni Todoke has one of the most banal summaries you will ever see. Ever. Anyone who decides to watch an anime based on the summary he or she has read will most likely miss this gem of a show. If one day someone will invent a way to include snippets of emotions in a summary, Kimi ni Todoke will stand at the top of the charts and that inventor will hopefully be rich and famous. It’s also too bad that the anime is over. The manga is still going strong so there is hope for a second season; there are literally many who are begging for one. It’s not possible to fully share in words what this anime makes so special, it’s an experience you’ll have to call your own. And because you can relate to almost anyone in the show, it will give you that honest feeling. That feeling which makes you believe that life has more in store, that you CAN move forward and change things. Sawako manages to do it, and so does everyone.read more
Okay, here's what I thought after watching this Anime up to it's latest episode. Also, I didn't include spoilers, so don't worry.
One word, superb. I got hooked up since episode one because this Anime looks like it's real, and by real, I mean no swords, magics, etc. It portrays love and friendship as you can see these elements in every episodes. Also, I love where this Anime is going. It might get cheesy sometimes, but they did it so well, that you have no choice but to go with the flow and be affectionate.
The Art/Animation was outstanding. I loved everything. It was well drawn/animated. Every detail and objects stood up, even the surroundings, and the characters. Also, adding a chibi form of every characters made it more enjoyable. You can't help it but laugh after seeing their chibi forms.
The sound was perfect. I loved the OP/ ED songs. It fits perfectly with the Anime. Also, everytime something happens, the background music/sound always fits into it, and because of that, it emphasizes the event even more.
You can't help it but love our main girl, Sawako, and others. There's nothing to hate. Everyone has their own emotions, characteristics, which made everyone unique and be part of the Anime. They also give spotlight to Supporting Characters, which is good, in my opinion. They don't focus on 2 characters, but everyone, which is great.
I was really entertained while watching this. I didn't get bored at all. This Anime is one of the Anime that I've seen that made a good job combining the elements (Comedy, Drama, and Romance). They didn't fail in doing that. You can find those elements in each episode. Some episodes are really relaxing, which can make you smile or laugh the entire time, while some episodes are really touching that you can't help it but eith cry or be teary.
I recommend this Anime to everyone. Guys, don't be scared to watch this. I'm a guy and I find this Anime incredible. I'm 100% straight, don't worry. I've only seen 8 episodes but I can tell that it's going to be awesome from beginning to end. It's a masterpiece.
Also, this is my first review, so please bear with my mistakes. :3read more
This anime left a bad taste in my mouth. Before watching I read some of the previous reviews and was spurred to watch it after many comments stating how original it was. It's not. There are certain aspects of the anime that differ from the usual but really it was just another shy girl meets popular boy type of anime.
The first few episodes were definitely enjoyable, the back story to why Sawako is an outcast is different and interesting and so is how she begins to make friends. Unfortunately after about episode 6 or 7 you are wasting your time. This anime should have been shorter as it moves at an incredible slow pace. Honestly it began to become a mission to sit through another episode. Not only were the episodes repetitive (never has a character cried so much before this) but you can pretty much guess what is going to happen in each episode after the first minute. Unfortunately there is no great ending to uplift the series, it just sort of flattens out part way through and never gets any momentum back.
I think was really annoyed me the most is the lack of development with the characters. There were so many beginnings of side stories and other love interests in this anime that never really developed. At least these could have livened up the second half of the series.
A few good things about this anime were the art, I thoroughly enjoyed the almost water colour style. The opening track is lovely to listen to as well and suits the anime perfectly. Kazehaya was actually quite a good character and was probably the most original out of all of them with his glass half full attitude that never wavered.
Overall I am giving this a 5/10 as although the first half was enjoyable the second half nearly put me into a coma.read more
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