While there have been a lot of anime recently that are catering towards the “moe” and “tsundere” fans recently, Kimi ni Todoke is not one of them. Based on a shoujo manga by the same name written by Karuho Shiina, the story revolves around a high school girl named Sawako Kuronuma who has an uncanny resemblance to Sadako from The Ring. Incidentally, everyone at school calls her Sadako and avoids her at all costs for fear of being cursed, everyone except the most popular guy at school, Shota Kazehaya. Shota calls Sawako by her real name and initially is the only person willing to talk to her at all. Eventually, through Shota’s influence, Sawako starts getting to know the other people in her class and learns the meaning of friendship. As the story progresses, Sawako not only makes her first friends, but also her first enemy, and her first love, it’s like a crash course in human social interaction.
A lot of you are probably thinking right now that this is just another boring old chick flick, but I can assure you that this one is worth watching. Sawako not only looks like Sadako from The Ring, but the way she pops up out of nowhere and how she randomly does an evil laugh frighten those around her even more and make for some comedic scenes for the viewer. The monologues that the characters have are also very amusing because it may sound like two characters are having a conversation about a certain topic, but then you realize that one of them is talking about something completely different and the other is misunderstanding them in a funny way.
Sawako is not the only unique character in the story; the supporting cast also has their own little personality traits that set them apart from what you would normally find in this genre. Chizuru Yoshida, one of Sawako’s new friends, is said to have beaten up 100 guys and seems loud and obnoxious, but deep down just wants to be a regular girl. Ayane Yano, another of Sawako’s friends, is said to have dated 100 guys and is viewed as a really loose girl, but probably hasn’t gotten very far with any of her ex-boyfriends. Ryu Sanada is Shota’s best friends and although it seems like he only has a one-track mind since he’s always talking about food, he actually has some pretty deep insight when it comes to people and relationships. The only side character that I found to be really generic was Kurumi, Sawako’s rival in love. She’s the typical I’m-pretty-so-I’m-better-than-you character that you normally find in asian dramas.
The animation for Kimi ni Todoke seemed to be really simplistic at first, but the reason for drawing it in this way becomes clear after watching a few episodes. Most anime have characters with bright, unnatural hair colours and large eyes that glow in the dark, but in Kimi ni Todoke the characters have natural hair colours, (relatively) small eyes, and simple straight lines. It seems that the anime was done this way to emphasize the emotions that characters felt when they were extremely sad or happy as the screen zoomed in on their faces, animation quality improved, and sparkles were everywhere in the background. Personally, I thought this was really well done; it’s not something you normally see in anime.
Overall, I thought this anime was great, not only is it one of the few series with an actual plot these days, it was very amusing with its unique line-up of characters. If you’ve gotten tired of watching cute anime, harem anime, or ero-anime, then Kimi ni Todoke is a good series to take a break from it all.