The way watching anime works in my household is simple: I have anime I watch, my fiance has anime she watches, and we have one show that we watch together. And by watch together I mean we usually binge it as fast as possible then spend the next few weeks finding a new show.
Kimi ni Todoke was a show that my fiance started a while back (or maybe she read the manga?). She thought it was a cute romance show so we decided to watch it from the beginning together.
The beginning was good, but as the series went on I found myself getting frustrated with the characters. My fiance and I actually still make jokes around the house about “misunderstanding” different situations (ie. If you keep holding my hand I might misunderstand your feelings). Because that’s what Kimi ni Todoke is, a layered pile of misunderstandings.
Our main character in the show is a girl called Kuronouma Sawako. She is a first year and has a tendency to be misunderstood…like all the time. She is a very quiet person, and doesn’t really know how to interact with people. It also doesn’t help that she strongly resembles the girl from the movie “The Ring”, and tends to get off on the wrong foot with people.
Things start to slowly change in her first year of high school, though, thanks to the efforts of two girls and a boy in her class. The girls, Chizuru and Ayane, initially joke around with her about scaring their classmates during an event, but soon realize just how nice of a person Sawako really is. They, slowly, become her first real friends.
The boy, Shouta, is known for being a nice guy around the school and is beloved by all of the girls. After meeting Sawako before their first year of high school started, he’s developed a soft spot for her. He makes attempts to stick up for her and be nice to her; however, he insists that it is out of his own self interest, and that he is actually quite selfish.
Things are set into motion as Sawako slowly joins into the class’ social structure. She slowly learns what it means to have real friends, and also learns that not everyone is nice. What follows is a story about love, jealousy, friendship, and lots of misunderstandings.
It’s a cute love story. It really is.
At the same time, it’s also a good slice of life story. Telling the story of a girl who had no friends, and had no idea how to interact with people, as she slowly gets accepted by those around her, is really sweet.
The characters are young, so naturally they are going to make dumb mistakes. This is especially true for Sawako, since she is too nice for her own good. It’s quite the journey seeing her grow and develop with those around her. The sweet thing is, no matter what, she is always nice to everyone around her, even to the point of thinking she did something wrong when it was clearly the other person.
This isn’t just all about Sawako though. We have other characters, Shouta, Ryuu, Chizuru, and Ayane, who are going through their own struggles all whilst trying to help Sawako through hers. We get to see the various sides of young high school life, and see the pain that people go through. It’s also interesting to see how some of them try to cover up their pain.
What we get is a tear-jerking story about a bunch of kids just trying to figure out life and love. Ahhhhh, youth.
Alright. So my main issue with this show is just how many misunderstandings happen. It’s crazy, really. Things that could easily get clarified go misunderstood and then the show jumps forward a couple months. Like, what? Did they just not talk for that timespan?
The anime is a total of 36 episodes, counting season 1 and 2. Honestly, at the end of season 1, I felt like it was in a good spot. Yeah, it did drag some stuff out, but it was still good. Actually, they could’ve just ended it there and it would’ve been fine.
Then we started season 2, and I couldn’t believe what was going on. They made the main character completely relapse. So all of the time spent developing Sawako in the first season felt like it was for not. It was frustrating, to say the least.
What was perhaps more frustrating at this point was Sawako and Shouta’s relationship. After the very sweet climax of the first season, with them going on a new years “date”, their entire relationship went into the dumpster fire.
They couldn’t talk to each other. They literally couldn’t communicate what they were feeling, and when they did, they completely misunderstood each other. With all the time jumps, it seemed like they didn’t talk at all, then suddenly something would happen and they would try to talk about something. Then, bam, another skip of them not talking.
I completely jumped off the ship wagon. It made me feel like these characters just weren’t a good match. Especially when the only time Shouta would talk to her was because he was jealous she was talking to someone else. Honestly, the dude is really selfish.
How many times can you confess your feelings for someone and they misunderstand?! They both did it like two or three times, and it always ended in a misunderstanding. Then you have Sawako believing every word that anyone ever says to her, even though they are clearly trying to push her away from Shouta.
Ugh. It was just frustrating to watch.
After It All
I would say that the first season was a nice romance / slice of life show that was enjoyable. I didn’t like the second season at all. In fact, it took us quite a while just to get through the episodes. It seemed like they were trying to drag it out a little too much.
There are only so many times you can make Sawako relapse and have the group misunderstand each other. At some point, they need to learn from their mistakes. Just when you think they do, it happens again. And again. It’s frustrating to watch.
Honestly, toward the end I found myself more interested in the Ryuu x Chizuru pairing than the actual main couple. Of course, they aren’t the main couple so you end up with absolutely no closure for them. Oh well.
Thanks for reading!