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.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Volume 22: Mayuge no Kakudo wa 45° de (45° Eyebrows)
I just had to write a review for this story, because even though it's not over yet, I am shocked by how addicted to it I am. The story is pretty simple, and not uncommon: girl has few friends. girl meets popular guy with lots of friends. girl slowly makes friends + develops crush on boy. When I read the summary for this manga, I think I rolled my eyes at the thought of a manga based on the fact that someone looked like a character from a horror movie. How could that be believable at all?
It totally was.
What makes this manga different? It's
really hard to put my finger on, but for some reason, even though it's a common story, this author has made it draw me in with the most refreshing characters and most realistic situations I have seen in a long time. Simply put, the characters are honest and real, the situations are believable and cute, not exaggerated and fantasized. At any time when you are reading, you'll put yourself in a place where you can put yourself in the place of a character... Sawako or her friends or even the girl who can't understand what Kazehaya can see in someone like Sawako. As the story continues along, the characters stay true to their roots, while being exciting and fun to read about at the same time.
Also, the author is excellent at writing the romantic side of the story in a way that while it is constantly touched on, but never becomes the sole focus of the plot. It's so exciting to see a romance that isn't focused on the couple, but on a character's journey though the world into romance and school and life in general.
The art is nothing to call home about, but it is nice and cleanly drawn.
I have really high hopes for the rest of the volumes and the conclusion. If the author keeps writing how she has been, I have no worries.
"Reaching you", no other words could have been the best title for this manga.
Kimi ni Todoke, when you look at its cover, seems like generic Shoujo romance manga with obvious development and obvious characters. Even some of actual fans of this manga seem to think that is a case. However, not much people notices how much shoujo cliche that Kimi ni Todoke broke in order to become one of the current most popular shoujo manga in Japan. It has so many appeal points for anyone who is not experienced with female-targetting series and it also hooked me up instantly. This review will be mostly
about why Kimi ni Todoke is successful, why Kimi ni Todoke is one of the best shoujo manga to the date.
The story starts with a single girl called Kuronuma Sawako. One key point about this character is that she is 'not normal'. Most of shoujo story deals with 'ordinary girl' with 'ordinary appearances' who experiences 'unusual situation' and 'unusual love', and later ends with becoming 'special person'. In this way, target population, 'ORDINARY female readers' can fantasize the events relation to themselves, and that's how shoujo story worked.
In Kimi ni Todoke, Sawako is 'unusual girl' with 'unusual appearance' who experiences 'ordinary situation' and 'ordinary love'. If you look at chapter 1 and the most recent chapters, you will find that Sawako's appearance never ever changed from the start. The only thing changed was her attitude and way to express her emotion. Thus, she was 'SPECIAL' and 'BEAUTIFUL' from the start of this series. Not just that, she is extremely good at studying, good at sports, good at teaching, only flaw point that she has seems to be her lack of personality, shyness and hikikomori-ness. This is complete antithesis of general shoujo heroine, and this constructs most of refreshing point that Kimi ni Todoke uses to appear viewers.
Let's go more deep inside Sawako's character development. Even though she is beauty who is basically good at everything, she is extremely shy and always with various rumours involving exorcism (...). She does not know how to communicate. She is way too pure and naive, definitely lacks some general social skills and way to express her feelings, which is already apparent in the various start of the series. As series develops, we find these hindering properties starts to be minimized, 'WITHOUT' diminishing some of appeal points comes from those elements. Sawako's appealing personality hasn't changed, but her 'attitude' is the major thing that changed. It adds a layer of realism and to herione and we can easily sympathise and adore her, unlike other major heroines in shoujo series who are mostly like Harem leads in shonen manga; indecisive and thoughtless.
However, if there is a reason why Kimi ni Todoke also appeals to Male viewers, Kazehaya Shouta is much definite reason for it. Situation that character confronts are... just unbearably cute and honest. It is 'VERY REAL', except Sawako's introvert personality. He is, compare to Kuronoma, very ordinary. If we exclude the fact that he is the most popular guy in the school, his reaction to ongoing romance and situation is extremely realistic, ordinary and even cute for male-standard. The way he blushes and react to Sawako is as if seeing ourselves in love there. Unlike most of shoujo male leads who always seems to be in rivalry or usual indecisiveness, Kazehaya Shouta's love interest is a single person from the start to the end, Sawako. It is also true for vice versa, Sawako's love interest was never a person other than Shouta. This makes things clear why Kimi ni Todoke is appealing. This is a manga about 'pure love', which was pretty rare in recent shoujo. And author is constructing this pure love in most interesting, effective and enjoyable way by creating characters that breaks the cliche and situations where characters react 'differently' compare to other manga.
Another key point is, that 'pure romance' is NOT the only enjoyable plot point it has. In has relatively few sub characters and all of them represents one of the key themes that act as strong point of Kimi ni Todoke. Sawako's relationship with her new friends, Chizuru, Yano and Sanada is never set aside from the plot. She is not only reaching to Shouta, but also her friends. It is interesting how Sawako, Chizuru and Yano is very different from each other, yet became best friends to each other. Even though they all have different personality, one thing they share is that they are all kind. They respect each other and they share each others thought. There has never been a serious fight between each other other than misunderstandings. Thus, viewers can enjoy this manga really relaxed, without worrying about some crazy development or accidents we normally see in other shoujo manga. Whenever I read Kimi ni Todoke, always have smile on my face, never annoyed by character what-so-ever.
It is true that Kimi ni Todoke has relatively slow story development compare to other shoujo series. It 'does' seem a bit too slow sometimes, which I can't really describe in this review due to spoiler issues. However, the way to negate that issue was already established from the start, it's Sawako's personality. The story is about pure romance and friends ship, but ultimately about Sawako's character development. Even though it is slow, we can see how Sawako is changing, compare to the start of the series, how she is more active, how she can express her thoughts and feelings more AND, how her personality has always been positive, kind and pure.
Art, is brilliant. Honestly, art was one of the major reason why I started this series. Compare to usual Shoujo manga with huuuuuge eyes, long eyelids, male character with triangle shaped head, extremely cold and tall and, most of all, never ever showing any realistic expression on their face. Art style of Kimi ni Todoke is acceptable for any readers, due to its sense of realism in terms of character's expressions. It is also beautifully drawn without those usual shoujo-style exaggeration I mentioned above, too; it has its own charm and uniqueness.
It is apparent that many people, including me, enjoys this series. Others, who don't, ask us 'Why?'. I can easily answer it. It has a pure story of realistic love. We were tired of reading stories like those from White Album or Strawberry 100%. When other shoujo series puts unrealistic fantasies into the story makes intresting, Kimi ni Todoke tells story of 'ordinary love' between friends, classmates and family and does its best attempt of it.
Kimi ni Todoke, is about unusual but naive girl who faces ordinary situation and ordinary love. That enough is already reason why it is, and will be one of the most unique and well-written shoujo I've seen.
Recently rated as the top manga for the week of 28th November 2007, I feel that the manga deserves its' ranking. While there are moments of pure shoujo cliches (angry rivals) I love the main protagonist's personality. Instead of having a warped personality from being treated as an outcast, Sawako keeps her naivete and is always wanting to help lighten the burdens of others.
I find the art cute and pretty, not overly shoujo with flower backgrounds but, similar to the style of Honey & Clover. Rather than being a love story of an unpopular girl falling for the most popular guy, I think that
Kimi ni Todoke is about a journey of a girl trying to reach understanding from her classmates.
I strongly believe that this manga is one of the best I have yet read/am reading. Even though I have only read chapters 0 to 3, I can honestly say that I believe this manga will turn out to be a great success. So far the characters have really started to come into play, and the story is just starting. It's only just the enterance of a great tale, and I am already looking forward to buying all the volumes of this manga. I truly think that the creator of this manga will be successful. I love this manga.
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