In the spring of 2010, Kimi ni Todoke charmed many viewers with its floral visuals and stunning performance by Mamiko Noto as Sawako Kuronuma. Like a rarefied picture of high school romance, the series drew out the bittersweet anticipation that comes from not knowing how your crush feels about you, and turned it into a kind of delightful torture--for viewers who were into that kind of thing. Sadly, the second season didn't understand that a heart (and attention span) can only handle so much tension and tried to cram in too many extra episodes before giving us sweet, sweet resolution.
As season two gets underway Sawako seems in a good place. She’s gone on a date with the ever-cheerful and quick-to-blush Kazehaya and seems to have weathered the machinations of Kurumi. So, the stage SHOULD be set for sloppy make-outs and episode after episode of gooey fawning, right? Not really. Instead of trudging forward and exploring a developing relationship, Kimi ni Todoke Season 2 backpedals from the first installment, retreating into the same painful pattern of misunderstandings that shaped the prequel. As a result, the first half of this series plays out in a painful exercise of “been there, done that” that seriously stretches Sawako’s credibility as a character.
Luckily, as time grows short near the end, the best parts of the cast (no, Kent, you are not included in that group) press the two leads towards the conclusion for which all of us have been waiting. These final episodes capture the hand-wringing anticipation of high school romance and showcase the nuggets of sincerity hiding underneath the overblown melodrama. In the end, however, the show drags out too little content to be worthy of its twelve episode run, regardless of the warm feelings that Kimi ni Todoke brings forth.
Production I.G.’s sparkles are back in force as the second season makes use of the same decorative flowers, bubbles, and stills to highlight key emotional moments. The vivid color palette and detailed school backgrounds also return, all of which make this series easy on the eyes. Lastly, charming shifts between chibi and realistic characters once again forms the cornerstone of the show's humor and helps the animation retain a manga-seque senseibility
In a small twist, this show seems to feature more silhouette shots than its prequel, which draws attention to the characters' odd appearances. Their small, smooth noses and bulbous lips conjure the appearance of humanoid dinosaurs (I didn't believe it until I saw it, but look for yourself).
Once again, Mamiko Noto animates Sawako through an extremely nimble performance that anchors the cast. Sliding from saccharine highs to throaty lows suits the wild emotions of the series just fine and ensures that even as her character development stalls a touch, the show’s lead remains entertaining. Following Noto-san’s, example, the rest of the cast delivers in the same strong turns that set them apart last season.
"Sawakaze"--the opening theme--conjures the same intimate kindness of the first season's opening and the fits--despite it's electric instrumentation--with the collection of piano-based incidental music that adorns the each episode. The simple themes suit the pastel visuals well, conjuring a sense of idyllic high school life. Sadly, the ending, which is named after the series, feels a bit too stuffed with schmaltz. While this sits with the show's melodrama, it lacks the endearing sincerity of the prequel's ending number.
Sawako remains much the social cripple and Kazehaya the insecure nice boy. These roles worked fine in the first season, but threaten to flatten the leads when they’re locked in their holding patterns in regard to each other. While the protagonist does learn from Kurumi's machinations that she has a group of sincere and steadfast friends, she remains overly concerned with Kazehaya's reputation and continues to clam up in the face of misunderstandings. This character trait serves as the entire force behind the plot, but that seems a weak excuse when viewers are treated to an indentical set of anxieties in this show as what we saw before.
As a result, it falls once again to the antagonist to create some sparks and forward motion. Kurumi spices up the proceedings in season one, and her scheming pushes Sawako to examine her feelings for Kazehaya. After her confession, the blonde rival slides into the background requiring this season to produce a new catalyst in the form of Kento Miura. Where his predecessor has an solid motive, considerable cunning, and the delicious voice of Aya Hirano, Kent relies heavily on whimsy and mystery. Not a terribly strong combination. Since he lacks malice and refuses to reveal any goals whatsoever, his actions never rise above annoying meddling. The kind of hatred he inspires comes from his underlying uselessness instead of anger at any deliberate harm he does to Sawako. In this case, a deep snow or power outage would have proven a more compelling villain.
Thankfully, everyone else knows how to dance the dance, acting in the second season like a group of sophomores returning to school (see what I did there?). Chizuru and Pin, in particular inhabit their skins comfortably, blundering into the right or wrong actions with such unflappable confidence as to further endear them to the viewer. These developments act as salve against the painful possibility of stagnation that looms when Sawako ties herself up in knots about whether she can be more than friends with her crush.
Kimi ni Todoke Season Two still manages to delight the ears and eyes but overstays its welcome. By dragging out its meager plot allotment longer than believable and trying to make a villain out of a decidedly vanilla antagonist, this installment tarnishes much of the magic so adeptly conjured by the prequel.
Kimi ni Todoke 2nd picks up right after Sawako and Kazehaya spend a nice New Year's Eve together, and Sawako comes to terms with her romantic feelings for Kazehaya. A multitude of emotional rollercoasters is endured as everything but the kitchen sink is thrown between our two main characters attempts to unite in a romantic relationship. If you've experienced a high school romance in real life, there is a decent chance that most of the problems experienced by Sawako and Kazehaya will seem familiar to you. If you haven't, you're in for a stressful ride that may not be terribly enjoyable from start to finish, and may not be rewarding enough at the end to justify all the stress. The story would normally net a solid 7 out of 10, however a few minor issues knock it down to a wanting 6.
They never kiss in this series. If you, like me, live for the kiss at the end of a romance story then you're in for a disappointment. It is okay for an anime to try to be pure and wholesome, yet I feel like one simple tongue-free kiss at the end is not too much to hope for. The kiss is what makes a romance story memorable, in my opinion, and the lack of one threatens to cause Kimi ni Todoke to be forgettable.
Chizuru's plot could've been treated a bit better, in my opinion. They went through all the trouble to tell the story of her crush on Ryu's older brother, and Ryu's crush on her, they might as well have gone the extra mile and developed the Chizuru x Ryu ship. One episode could've done it well enough to end it better than "Ryu: I like you. Chizuru: I know that dummy." What the hell was that? What just happened?
Character designs were gorgeous, and this is overall a visually pleasing anime. However, I do feel that in both seasons they went overboard on the chibi scenes with Sawako. I get it, she's awkward, but it would be way cuter to see her awkwardness in non-chibi form. If they cut the number of Sawako-chibi scenes in half I could see this being a 7 rather than a 6.
This was really well voice acted, with a pleasant opening and endings. However, it wasn't exactly anything extraordinary.
This is the strongest point of the anime. There are so many well-developed characters at this point, that they really bring this story to life and make it believable and immersive. I feel like I really knew some of these characters in high school. My favorite character is Kurumi. Even though she plays the villain's role in this series, I think that she is one of the most human and, at the end of the day, decent characters I've ever seen in an anime. There aren't really any characters I thought were poorly done in this anime.
This is a solid romance anime. If you've seen the first season, you can't just not watch this. The story could've been a bit better, but the characters manage to carry it and make it something decent.
I enjoyed the second season more than the first one but I still feel it was too slowed paced for my liking. Despite that, I still loved the characters and the humor of the anime!
I think it is something powerful about loving someone for who they really are. The fact that the main character is bullied is something than many can relate to including myself. Thus, I could not help but shared some of the feelings and be happy for the happy ending.
was a more innocent, tender love story ever told? if so, i don't want to watch it because the warm feels will make my chest implode. some people i know will criticize this anime because it is somewhat shallow in plot, maybe boring. but i really found this anime to be very charming. everytime shouta and sawako blushed at each other i swear i started fangirling so hard i couldn't breath. maybe you have to be a sucker for romance to enjoy this, ha! i also have always wished that love like this existed. there is no rationale to it, two people are just so precious to each other that they see colors when they're together, time almost stops and they're in some other third space of their own. i've just never seen someone so crazy about someone else and it was just truly touching to see shouta chasing after her, to see them so nervous around each other, it just feels like the cutest love story ever told. and the perfect ending was shouta fist pumping away on his bike and it feels like "yes!" and finally
I commited to this show in the first season one wintery afternoon while avoiding schoolwork. At first it seems quite charming, and then nothing happens.
Some hand holding.
It hurts to watch.