Unpopular Opinion: Kimi ni Todoke

Ok since I have no idea how popular/ well known this series is I’m going to start with a quick premise summary and recommendation for those who haven’t seen it.  Then I will do my usual analysis thing.  First off the quick summary.

Kimi ni Todoke is a shoujo anime, which means it’s a romcom set in high school.  What sets this particular show apart from most of its contemporaries is that the female lead is characterized by terrifying others on accident since she looks like the girl from The Ring, and that she really really sucks at communicating.  This gives the show a very odd and in my opinion very funny sense of humor that really makes this show not only stand out, but be engaging as well.  It makes the show a little less predictable and certainly less annoying than I find shoujo anime to typically be.  So if you happen to be in the mood for some high school romcom I’d recommend this show, it’s a lot better than most everything else the genre has to offer in my experience.  From here on there will be spoilers you have been warned.

Now I am not a shoujo man, if you couldn’t tell already.  It’s one of my least favorite genres of anime, for example Ao Haru Ride or Blue Spring Ride was a shoujo show that I gathered was relatively well received and I couldn’t fucking stand it, the main girl was so goddamn annoying.  Anyway so when I say I think a shoujo show is good, y’all better fucking pay attention.  In all honesty this show is really good.  Well at least season one is good.  Season two on the other hand was one of the most painfully average shoujo slogs I’ve ever sat through.  But I’ll get into that later, let’s start by looking at what made season one great.

I already mentioned that the comedy was very good, this is huge because it keeps the show more interesting.  I found another shoujo with a similar effect, albeit to a much lesser degree, to be Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun which spiced up the romance with decent comedy.  What makes Kimi ni Todoke so effective in this regard is that everyone expects our heroine Sawako to be creepy and everyone runs when’s really the sweetest person imaginable but looks like Sadako from The Ring.  Sawako also frequently goes into a chibi mode during soliloquies and other events which makes her character adorable.  As I describe it the comedy doesn’t sound that impressive but for whatever reason I found it very endearing, which brings us too…

Sawako is an endearing character which is really, really fucking important for a shoujo series.  Most of the time, see Ao Haru Ride above, I don’t really care about a shoujo series’ leading lady and that means I don’t give a rat’s ass about her struggling to confess to her crush.  Sawako is different from the typical shoujo heroine, and a lot of how the show works with and around those differences is what makes it so much better than typical shoujo fare.  Also where I found Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun’s heroine to be sort of funny but not lovable and found Ao Haru Ride’s to be this annoying helpless girl, Sawako is a girl I can root for.  She’s a an endearing person between her awkward communication, funny misunderstandings and her incredibly kind conduct, in fact you almost can’t help but root for her, she deserves the guy she wants and works hard to get him.

I think part of what makes Sawako’s struggles to confess to her crush more interesting is not just Sawako herself, although they did a really good job with her, but it’s her friends.  Her two really good friends are both fun and interesting characters in their own right and neither of them wants to date Sawako’s crush and make this forced love triangle.  Instead they serve as interpreters almost, bringing some realism and common sense to Sawako who in typical Sawako fashion has interpreted something in an unusual way.  The three girls just make a good group and their relationships with other characters in the story add flavor and believability to the series.  Now with all these things going for it, how the hell could the second season go wrong?

Well it undoes almost everything the first season did well.  Sawako’s friends are still really good but Sawako herself suffers because of the introduction of a new guy whose all over her for some reason.  His attitude towards her comes out of the blue, feels a bit forced and to top it all off this guy is annoying as fuck.  It throws all the great chemistry the cast had out the window just by adding this guy and the thing is they didn’t need him at all.  Season two could’ve been the exact same as season one except that it covers the confession and it would have worked beautifully.  But instead they added this new element and everything went haywire.  I’m guessing they were trying to build tension or drama by adding a new guy going after Sawako but the guy himself is annoying and Sawako would never have gone for him in the first place.  So what we get is this new guy who bothers us all the time, who we know will never get Sawako and who actively messes with the chemistry everyone had before.  See Kimi ni Todoke is a show that took relationship development slow and made it work, so season two could literally have just been the same as season one and covered the relationship as it built up to the confession and it would have been fine.  Instead they tried to make the confession dramatic and sudden which doesn’t play to the first season’s or Sawako’s strengths at all.  It baffles me how the two seasons could be on such different levels.  How one could be one of the best shoujo anime I’ve seen and the other is so hard to watch is beyond me.  But whatever, there isn’t much else to say.  My advice is to watch season one, because it’s really good and then watch episode 12 of season two so you can see the confession scene, and you won’t have missed much if you do.  And that wraps this one up.  Hopefully you all enjoyed it and I’ll see you in the next one.

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