Kimi ni Todoke

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vivafruit's avatar By vivafruit on Jun 5, 2010

Have you ever craved fast food? Well, there's an anime-related analogue; sometimes, all I want to see is some cheesy shoujo. I don't always want a hip crossover title like Nana, or a "normal" male-oriented romcom ala Toradora. No no no, sometimes, all I want are episodes where the characters do nothing but talk about their feelings. Sometimes, all I want are too-perfect boys that sparkle when they smile. Sometimes, all I want is a story about a girl that overcomes hardship with the power of FRIENDSHIP. Sometimes, all I want is a goddamn shoujo.

Kimi ni Todoke will scratch that itch, if you let it. But can I whole-heartedly recommend this to everyone? God, no! This anime unapologetically caters to its target audience (15 year old Japanese girls... AND ME), to the point that it will most likely alienate anyone not accustomed to shoujo. If the prospect of seeing an anime with a title like Princess Tutu makes you gag, you are probably not ready for this show, either. Perhaps, just perhaps, you'll someday get bored of watching giant metal robots crashing into each other. You'll dabble in some of the some more accessible stuff in the genre, like Nana or Ouran Host Club. Maybe then, you will be ready, young padawan. Until then, get off my lawn, and go back to watching Goku power up.

For everyone left, the series is an uneven but ultimately worthwhile entry into the genre. The first half focuses on the loveable Sawako overcoming her social awkwardness to connect with the other students in her class. This part is wonderfully done, and is an excellent example of the genre done right. Unfortunately, the second part focuses primarily on a side character who is not strong enough to carry the show by herself. As such, her story feels like a filler subplot and bogs down the narrative. What's left is a show that's a great watch for fans of the genre, but not quite praise-worthy enough to be a must-see.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
Chelsae's avatar By Chelsae on Feb 9, 2011

I started Kimi ni Todoke after a recommendation from my friend, since I’m not usually that keen on romance anime, I wasn’t exactly in a rush to watch this. But am I glad that I did!

Story - 8/10

Kimi ni Todoke is to put it simply, a brilliant anime; it blends the first school love, with comedy and drama and succeeds without making it awfully cheesy like most of the anime out there at the moment.

The storyline, although it can be awfully cliché at times, it succeeds in monopolizing a great, original concept which remain entertaining for the full 25 episodes, without ever getting boring! Big shocker for me since I have a short attention span!

Sawako is a school girl forsaken by most in her class because she has an uncanny resemblance to the Girl from the Ring, and because of this she is dubbed “Sadako” by her classmates, with the exception of one boy, who is actually the most popular guy in the class! Through a sudden seating change, they end up sitting near each other, and in doing so grow to know each other, and develop feelings for each other. Not that it isn't evident; it is a romance anime after all. But being a shoujo anime, many obstacles stand in the way to their love and true happiness, thus presenting the drama that takes place in Kimi ni Todoke, such as rivals and Sawako and Kazehaya themselves.

These obstacles, as mentioned earlier, are pretty mediocre, as in, they are present in nearly all shoujo anime and manga, even shounen contains these obstacles, however Kimi ni Todoke has something that makes it so different from every other anime, something that makes it so good that you can't even put it into words.

Animation - 7/10

Yes.. I'm giving it a low score! I love the animation in Kimi ni Todoke, however there is something that gets in the way of this, and that is THE CHIBI MOMENTS!!! Seriously! I'm all for chibi moments but in careful moderation, however in Kimi ni Todoke I don't think it can go five seconds without one of the characters going all chibi! This really annoyed me! But other than that, I think the animation is pretty good.

For a shoujo anime, I think the art is really cute. The colours were pretty and interesting to look at, and its clear and sharp and well done, as well as characters being well polished as well, with the exception of the chibi moments...

The lip syncing was amazingly good also, basically, to sum it up, I have no complaints except that it was very, very annoying sometimes!!!

Sound - 9/10

The music in Kimi ni Todoke was one of the best things about it. The opening song is so sweet, and corresponded perfectly to the overall feel of the anime, the soft shyness of it, and the evident romantic feeling about it. The ending song too, was relevent, and I actually have them on my itunes because I love them so much!

As well as the opening and ending song, there are also the voices to consider. The voice actors they used, do their job well; they project the character's feelings so well, that you can almost feel what they're feeling, and imagine what they must be thinking at the time they say it. Sawako's voice wasn't annoying, or at least it wasn't as annoying as some girl voice actors out there, and I think she portrayed her character really well. The other main character, Kazehaya was voiced by Daisuke Namikawa, a popular voice actor who is in almost every anime I've watched! I swear! He's a really talented voice actor, with his roles ranging from Italy in Hetalia: Axis Powers, to Ulquiorra in Bleach, which is an extreme contrast. However, because he's so popular, I think for me, this is what brought the anime down a bit, at first, I couldn't concentrate because all I could picture was him standing up and shouting "PASTAAA!", yet he does do his job well, and about halfway through the second episode I just rolled with it.

The background music is also nicely done. It sets the scene nicely, and I have no complaints about it, except that now, looking over an episode, the music really reminds me of something off Harvest Moon, which is really bizarre.

Characters - 8/10

The characters were mostly original, except for Kazehaya, however I found that I liked him more than Sawako.

Sawako is, as mentioned above, supposed to look like the girl from the Ring, however she has a bright personality, and is very shy. This is what annoyed me! Come on! I'm really shy and even I can speak my mind more than this girl! Seriously, I felt myself wanting to jump into the screen and shake her until she says to Kazehaya, "I like you". IT'S NOT THAT HARD! Granted, it probably is when it's someone you're in love with, but honestly, she could hardly speak to anyone!! Not only this, she was really annoying when her friends, Chizu and Ayane, did something nice for her she's always apologizing! She's always worrying, which in my opinion is not an accurate portrayal of a school girl, even if she is meant to be really shy!

Half the time I just wanted to shake the characters or whack them over the head or something!! But I did really like most of the characters, even the bitchy girl Kurumi had an interesting character, so it was okay!

Sawako and Kazehaya are one of my favourite couples out of anime ever! Just beating them are Azuki and Mashiro from Bakuman and Tamaki and Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club.

Overall - 8/10

In conclusion, yes, Kimi ni Todoke has an original concept that pulls through in the anime, however there are some factors dragging it down in my opinion. If you like this kind of girlish, romantic anime, with cute chibi moments, then I definitely recommend it!

8/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
inbee2in's avatar By inbee2in on Nov 18, 2009

I love the softness of the story line. It reminds me of the feel you get when I was watching "Fruits Basket". It feels innocent, pure and has an air of optimism throughout. 

The storyline and characters drew me to them and I finished the episode 5 already vested and attached to the 4 main characters.

It kept me curious with the wonder of what extra layer of drama it will come with next. But not too much that I would become too frustrated because the challenges that characters are presented with are never achieved or overcome. 

The episodes so far kept me engaged and has delivered cleverly spaced moments that brought me to laughter, tears, hope and satisfaction. 

To me the this is about that first crush/love from high school and finding out that the feeling is reciprocated. About finding people who stick by you and genuinely like being around you..and how during the early days of entering high school, we all desperately want to fit in and be accepted.

I love the soft touch of the characters close ups. This style of animation is both adorable and hilarious.

Character development is fantastic for me. I can't wait for the next episode.

I give this 10/10

Are there any other anime similar to this?

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
cherrywolfchan's avatar By cherrywolfchan on Dec 10, 2009

I had been waiting for this release after reading what little was available in english and wasn't disappointed in the least when I finally saw the anime.

Kimi ni Todoke is about a young high schooler named Kuronama Sawako, who all throughout her life had the unfortunate name of 'Sadako', which if you guys didn't know, is the same name as the girl from The Ring.

Well, it stuck with her into highschool. So much that rumors of her and her 'supernatural powers' were floating around and most of her classmates were frightened of her.

Of course, nothing is what it seems to be. Sawako isn't this evil spirit or anything of the sort. No, she is just a really shy and really awkward young woman. Her smiles appear to be smirks and evil grins because she has never had to smile naturally... she doesn't know how.

All of that begins to change when the favorite of her homeroom class, Kazehaya Shota, begins to open up to her and she slowly becomes more open and starts to really crack out of her shell.

Story - 9/10

I gave this story a 9 out of 10 because it is a pretty average story. Boy meets Girl. Girl meets Boy. However, the story of this anime is very innocent and calming. I can sit back and just let my mind flow with the anime, not force myself to think too harshly when watching it. The story is slow paced and yet isn't too slow where you're rolling your eyes thinking the episode should have ended 10 minutes ago. While the story of an "ugly duckling" becoming something of a "swan" isn't new, Kimi ni Todoke makes it feel wonderful.

Animation - 7/10

Don't get me wrong, I do like the animation Production I.G. uses for Kimi ni Todoke. Production I.G. has done a couple of anime I really like(Ghost Hound, Tokyo Marble Chocolate, Eden of the East...) But the only downfall the animation has for me is the chibi moments and the over use of bubbles and flowers to put an emphasis on feelings. Granted, the chibi moments in the manga are quite the same, so sticking with the original story's art is a plus. But sometimes they over use bubbles, flowers, and sparkles. It is not needed and kind of makes some of the moments feel immature and weak.

Sound - 10/10

I love Kimi ni Todoke's music. From the Opening to the closing and the background music in between. The score sets the mood completely. And do not forget the voices. This is one of the first anime that as soon as I watched, after have read the manga, was completely shocked at how much the characters sounded exactly as I imagined them. Sawako's softness and shyness rings true through her voice. Kazehaya's friendliness, Yoshida's attitude, Yano's maturity... all of it is captured beautifully. The music and seiyuu impressed me completely.

Characters - 10/10

The characters of Kimi ni Todoke are what suck you in more than an anything. With an average story, characters have got to be memorable or at least eye catching. The narration from Sawako at times makes you really feel like you are inside of her head... wishing with her to be more open and to be more like Kazehaya. As you watch the episodes you really hope that Sawako truly does find happiness. You see Kazeahaya's blushing face and you know that the two of them are clueless about the other and instead of being annoying, it's endearing. Yoshida's loud bravado is lovable, especially when she shows herself to be a very sensitive and caring individual. Yano's maturity and often "matchmaking" ways are something you can't help but grin at.

Character development is a pretty dominant thing in Kimi ni Todoke. After all, the whole series is centered around Sawako trying to become a more open person and gain more friends. But don't let that fool you, Sawako isn't the only one who is given a distinctive personality or the only developed character. They all have feelings in this series, and they all get good amount of screen time to flourish and become fantastic characters.

Overall- 9/10

I was wary of giving this a full on 10 because I wouldn't call this the best anime ever and I don't think it deserves a full rating because of it's ordinary storyline. But I also think it deserves more than a rating of 8/10.

Kimi ni Todoke is a beautiful story. One that anyone can watch and find something to enjoy. Granted, females will probably enjoy this more than males, but I can very well see many male anime watchers like this too. The blend of character and story mix so well that sometimes the two will overlap each other. The sound is pleasant and makes up for the over use of bubbles and makes even those moments seem pleasant and enjoyable.

I definitely recommend Kimi ni Todoke for anyone who is a fan of high school romances. Even if you're not, you could always give it a try and see what you think.

9/10 story
7/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
ThePatches's avatar By ThePatches on May 28, 2010

Story

Despite my Y chromosome, I have a thing for shoujo. Raised on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and The Cutting Edge, I love watching chemistry develop between two paramours from either furtive affection or outright antagonism into burning romance. Such a predilection stands behind my decision to watch Spring 2010's Kimi ni Todoke, a delicate flower of a high school love-story told through Production I.G.'s crisp visuals and astute sound direction. And, while the solid technical aspects and a fistful of fun characters keeps me interested in the anime, its shambling pacing takes much of the wind from its sails.

Kimi ni Todoke tells the straightforward story of the ghoulish Sawako Kuronuma as she tries to overcome her passing similarity to 'Sadako' of Ringu fame and make friends as she enters high school. As the year progresses, her circle grows, along with a budding friendship with class hottie, Shota Kazehaya. In lockstep with Sawako's growing social capability, the anime traces three and a half arcs concerning the tribulations and small victories that accompany the process of making new acquaintances into friends. After a enjoyable introductory vignette, the show launches feet first into conflict as the naive lead finds herself the victim of a smear campaign designed to split her group up before it can solidify. The arc's considerable drama and exciting climax of this portion serves--in the grand scheme of things--as herald to the series antagonist, Ume Kurumizawa. And when she arrives, everything improves. Despite the fact that Kurumi incites rage in any of Sawako's fans, the presence of a focused and able villain in a shoujo romance energizes the proceedings. Watching each of the girl's plots unfurl to impair or confuse the hapless protagonist elevates those episodes above the rest of the series by a considerable margin. Sadly, however, the series follows up this climactic battle of wits and wills with an important, but auxiliary examination of the love triangle surrounding Sawako's friend, Chizuru, and here the show stumbles.

Given the shuffling pace of the main plot, the choice to spend a majority of the season's remaining episodes on things not directly related to the interaction between Kazehaya and Sawako hamstrings the show's ending. The abbreviated tone of the last segment--which concerns the end of the calendar year and Sawako's birthday--feels less like an optimistic end and more like an abortive return to the story already in progress. Winding up when the anime should have been winding down delivers disappointment where viewers expect closure. Of course, the second season (announced at the time this review goes to... press?) should push aside these issues as it gets back into the saddle of the leads' growing affection, but as a standalone effort the state of Kimi ni Todoke in its final installment felt far short of its initial promise.


Animation

Production I.G. certainly did the source material justice with its visuals. Kimi ni Todoke's original manga looks like Wallflower on extra shoujo juice, making heavy use of chibi characters, fanciful spreads, and heaps of sparklies. The show's animation takes all this in and improves on it. Pin, Chizu, and Ryu look better in color by a mile, as it lends a depth and plasticity which suits these direct and solid characters better than their previously diaphanous character designs. Similarly, each and every one of Sawako's emotional swings gets a royal treatment: her joyous highs become brilliant bursts of pastel fauna, and her depression covers the screen in deep blues and purples. When this combines with the deformed characters, the anime emanates an overall impressionistic and emotive feel which complements the mercurial cast and high school romance.

Unfortunately, this purposeful corner-cutting wears a little thin on occasion. No matter how thematically or artistically consistent the simplified character designs may be, long stretches without any detail make some episodes seem more lazy than fanciful. And, when Kimi ni Todoke chooses to immediately switch into chibi mode during important scenes or use stills apparently lifted from the manga as substitute for subtly animated close-ups, something feels lost in the adaptation.


Sound

The show's mild, unobtrusive classical pieces complement the show's wafting plot and fits perfectly with the mood of every episode. The OP, named after the series, features a catchy chorus section which surfaces repeatedly as a deliberate piano number throughout the work. Its hopeful strains can transform in temperament with interpretation and tempo, allowing it to fit the mood of any scene. In contrast, the saccharinely stately ending theme, "Kataomoi", while a delightful enough song in its own right, overpowers the rest of the anime's score and takes a little getting used to, even though it adheres to the overall feel of the work.

The best voice work in the series comes from the three main females. Makimo Noto's Sawako has three distinct voices and the seiyuu transitions between them with admirable agility. Her pitching of the young, insecure high school student at somewhere between oujo-sama and bookworm strikes a fine balance for the naive girl, and the resulting voice is both easy on the ears and helps make her seem more sympathetic. Similarly, Miyuki Sawashiro and Yuko Sanpei execute their charges with verve. Yuko Sanpei all but sings her lines in order to capture Chizuru's upbeat attitude, and when the tears flow, bawls in a manner that's believable and comedic in equal measure. But the accolades go to Sawashiro-san, who manages the subtler role of Yano with a deft hand in order to bring the calculating social mover and the steadfast friend into one whole character.

Across the way, Dasiuke Namikawa applies a subdued vulnerability to Kazehaya, which adds a much-needed touch of believability to his cautious emotional development. Nevertheless, Yuuichi Nakamura's performance as Ryuu again shows the superiority of the secondary characters in this anime. The voice actor manages to turn the barely vocal athlete into a delightful combination of straight man and comic relief through a mastery of utterance and single-word delivery ("Amazake...").


Characters

As female leads go, Sawako sits on the cusp between compelling and repetitive: her naivete makes her easy to root for, but her crippling awkwardness and social ignorance wears thin as the episodes pile on. And, when she continues to walk on eggshells around her classmates deep into the season despite her increasing number of friends, even the most indulgent fans should find it stretches reason. That said, her enthusiasm and wry sense of humor make her entertaining and empathetic. As the object of her affection, Kazehaya suffers from a similarly flat set of character traits wrapped around a glaring inconsistency. Fans who engage their brains as he blushes should spend a good deal of time wondering how someone so friendly and frequently the center of attention can be petrified by the presence of meek and well-meaning Sawako. Of course, he's a charmer and fully capable of washing away any doubts with his winning smile and steadfast friendship. But this sincerity itself causes his paramore-to-be place him on a pedestal high above her own perceived position, and further attenuates the already awkward interactions between the two. In another title, the resulting lack of chemistry between the leads would stop the whole effort dead in its tracks, but here, it actually serves as focus for the narrative (hence the translated title, "Reaching You").

Luckily, both main characters get exceptional support from an effervescent secondary cast. Leading the charge out of Sawako's corner, Chizuru steals many scenes in the show. Her tough-as-nails and athletic exterior hides a delightful sensitivity, which frequently causes the girl to explode into tears at the slightest display of sincere emotion. However, unlike the also-frequently-wet Lag Seeing, Chizu's waterworks draw out another side of her character, and in so doing, provide depth and comic relief in equal measure. The lead's other new best friend, Ayane Yano (Yano-chin to her pals) hides a cynical and sadistic streak under a kind and beautiful exterior, which contrasts her heartfelt affection for those she cares about and paints her as that one bitch you love to have in your corner. Though she shines brightest when pitted against the similarly cunning Kurumi, her level-headed reactions complement Chizu's zesty outbursts the practiced rhythm of a straight man/funny man comedy act.

Of course, like a brilliant sun, Kazehaya himself pulls both the tall drink of water, Ryuu Saneda, and the amusingly brash Pin into his orbit to serve as counterpoint to the otherwise reserved male lead. The young baseball player adorns his laconic nature with a pinch of laziness and a blunt delivery that helps him sober the group despite the fact that he, too, can be a sentimental and emotional teenager. When paired with the vivacious Chizuru or skittish Sawako, his curt utterances pry giggles from the audience by some strange, subtle comedic alchemy. Conversely, the loud, dense, and egotistical Pin wanders through the plot like a force of nature, capable of dispensing humor, misfortune, or solutions on his students. His absurdity and power provide excellent contrast to the seemingly grave arcs that consume the show's middle while also offering some genuine belly-laughs.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
8.75/10 characters
8/10 overall