Monday, July 11, 2011
Kimi ni Todoke #1-59 (Thoughts so far)
So for those of who are miraculously unfamiliar with this series, Kimi ni Todoke is the adorable tale of Kuronuma Sawako, a ridiculously sweet, and compassionate girl who can't seem to catch a break. She wants to make friends and have fun with her classmates, but her long black hair and involuntarily frightening facial expressions make her look like Sadako (of The Ring), which her classmates call her due to mishearing her real name. Thus, her classmates avoid her out of fear of being cursed. However, thanks to the kindness and encouragement of the school's most popular guy, Shouta Kazehaya, she begins to break out of her shell and clear up the many misunderstandings regarding her. Along the way, she makes friends with the beautiful Ayane Yano and the tomboyish Chizuru Yoshida, two best friends who become the first to see past Sawako's terrifying image, as well as Ryu Sanada, a stoic friend of Kazehaya and Chizuru. Of course, there are many other colorful characters as well, including Ume "Kurumi" Kurumizawa, a seemingly sweet girl who become Sawako's rival, and Kazuichi "Pin" Arai, the students' obnoxious homeroom teacher. I absolutely love the characters in this manga, as well all the relationships they have with one another. I love the sense of loyalty and trust Chizu and Ayane have, I love Sawako's infinite ability to be endearing, I love Kazehaya's mature-yet-immature personality, I love Ryu's stoicism, Kurumi's multi-layered personality, etc. etc. Although I listed a few traits per person, they all, of course, have so much more to them.
Eventually, the manga veers away from friendship, and dips into the pot of love (as it should as a shoujo). Of course, it concentrates heavily on the budding romance between Sawako and Kazehaya. In spite of them liking each other mutually, however, they are met with one frustrating hurdle after another. Or, rather, I should say they only have one hurdle: misunderstandings. No matter how close they seem to get, they're always kept from closing the gap because of one misunderstanding or the other. Jebus, no wonder anime watchers called it "Misunderstandings: The Anime." Nonetheless, they do eventually get there, and it's so sweet and innocent, that it almost gave me diabetes. Fortunately, between all the sugary goodness, there were developing relationships between the side characters as well. Although not as emotionally engaging (for me at least) as the main relationship, they are no less awesome to read about. DAMMIT CHIZU, RYU'S RIGHT THAR.
When the first started this series at chapter 1, I kind of expected the typical shoujo. It still kinda is, but it's execution is fantastic. I instantly fell in love with the characters too. Who can't love the adorable Sawako, and her earnest ways? No wonder Kazehaya can't leave her alone! And my god, that smile. The real one of course. Not the one that strikes fear into the hearts of men. The art is just gorgeous too. Gotta love that watercolor-like feel to it. I definitely don't foresee myself dropping this any time soon, and will plan to read this until the very end!