Kimi ni Todoke, Season 2 – Impressions after 1-4

Kimi ni Todoke: Second Season, fansubbed by gg

If you saw the first season, you have a good idea of what to expect with this second season.  Kimi no Todoke 2 (From Me to You, Season 2) starts off exactly where the first season ended, picking up with the start of Kuronuma Sawako’s 2nd year of high school.  For me, this anime represents everything that is young innocence, insecurity in love and its reciprocation, friendship and fitting in, and girlhood blossoming into womanhood.  Everything about Kimi ni Todoke blurs soft in color and lines, from the characters, to the art, to the music, and even to the connections that bind this story together.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kimi ni Todoke, then I suggest you try out the first season if you like shoujo story lines.  Kuronuma Sawako is slightly different than your average high school girl though, as she holds a reputation equal to Sadako, the antagonist of Ringu (The Ring) by appearance and aura alone.  Due to her awkward shyness and complete inability to convey her friendly intentions to others, she comes across as creepy.  The long, straight black hair, pale skin, and strained facial expression lend her a nickname to equal the name of the movie character, “Sadako.”  In truth, she is anything but evil; she’s like most any typical shy girl looking for acceptance and friendship.

OP Theme and Credits
“Sawakaze (爽風)” by Tomofumi Tanizawa, Japanese artist who is most known for his work on Kimi ni Todoke‘s music, is the perfect opening song for this new season.  It echoes the sentiments of the show: fresh beginnings, hopes for an exciting future, and the desire to share that journey with another.  I like “Sawakaze” as it doesn’t go overboard with the typical J-pop glitzy effects and cutesy voicing, but aims for simplicity.

I also quite enjoy the graphics that go along with the OP theme, showing the various styles of mangaka Shiina Karuko.  There’s the soft, almost water-color like style that pervades the majority of the episodes, and there’s the ridiculous chibi art that perfectly contrasts that softness.

Episode 1: “Valentine’s Day”

Ready for the unwrapping.... :O

Despite enjoying this episode, I found it to be in an odd place.  Since the start of the new school year doesn’t happen until the next episode, why would they choose to start off the whole second season with an event that supposedly happened during the first year? I’m not exactly sure about the timing on this and maybe need to watch it again, but so far in my understanding, this would have worked better either in the first season somewhere or re-worked and placed sometime later during 2nd year.

To give, or not to give?

My only reasoning for why it wasn’t placed in the first season is because of how that one ended, with the New Year and Kazehaya and Sawako’s visit to the shrine to pay their respects.  The first season felt like a culmination of their blossoming friendship and beginning wish for something more.  The tone set by “Valentine’s Day” was touching in that Sawako realizes the depth of her feelings–she cannot give “obligatory” chocolates to Kazehaya because she honestly wants for more than that.  However, it’s also a sad episode, as the two pass by one another with misunderstandings despite the mutual attraction.  She wants his affection and to give him the chocolates as tokens of her feelings, and he wants her affection and a Valentine’s Day gift.  Perfect set-up, right? No! Frustrating!

Episode 2: “2nd Years”

Beautiful, yes?

With that frustration echoing from the first episode, finally enters the start of Sawako’s second year at high school.  So also enters Kazehaya’s foil to romance: Miura Kento.  Here again is a character with a very familiar voice actor, and after some investigation, what did I find? Aha! The same VA for Durarara!!‘s Kida Masaomi.  Solid 2010 show, and solid character.

So you DO have eyebrows!

“Kent” shows immediate interest in Sawako and has no hesitation in getting right up close to her, mentally and physically.  I had to agree with Kazehaya’s reaction: get your hand off Sawako! What’s most interesting to me is Sawako’s reaction.  While she is shocked, like most any typical Japanese person would be with such forward tactics, she isn’t afraid enough to shun him.  She actively responds to his questions and prompts to try out different expressions and greetings, making for some very silly interaction between the two.  I initially felt somewhat wary of his character, but find him necessary to eventually push Sawako and Kazehaya together.

The end of this episode shows some forward momentum on Kazehaya’s part, as he attempts to tell Sawako his feelings.  Her shock and complete inexperience with handling confessions leads to awkwardness, and Kazehaya’s completely misunderstands her reactions and takes his leave.  Kent witnesses their parting of ways and becomes one of the few to understand their mutual longing.

Episode 3: “Forget About It”
Following Kazehaya’s misinterpretation of Sawako’s silence and nervousness, episode 3 slams another obstacle between the two.  Her awkwardness from the confession follows into the next day, and she is unable to act herself when he next greets her, leading to his further evaluations about her non-mutual sentiments.  It also doesn’t help seeing her act so naturally and lively in response to Kent’s antics.

A witch's garden?

One of my favorite parts of this episode doesn’t have anything to do with the romantic plot line, but does feature more of Sawako’s charm: her garden.  As part of the gardening club and as 2D Class Life Representative, she maintains a garden on the school grounds, and part of it grows herbs for medicinal purposes.  In hopes to better help her peers, Sawako labels the plants not by their names, but by the afflictions they cure/soothe.  As her friends point out, this instead encourages Sawako’s “dark” image, as if these plants cause the named illnesses.

Ahhh, that's what I was waiting for.

This episode is also where we see a more tangible change in Kent’s attraction to Sawako.  In episode 2, he saw a hint of her true face, but in this one, we see his shock when he finally gets to see Sawako’s very rare, and fully released, smile.  His reaction is very similar to Kazehaya’s from the first season; interest turns into fascination and beginning attraction.  Like Kazehaya, Kent is able to capably gather people around Sawako so they can discover for themselves how truly kind a person she is and readjust their images of her.  As Kazehaya watches the situation unfold, he follow through on his initial misunderstanding and asks her to “forget about” everything he had told her the day prior, as he views the knowledge as burdensome to Sawako.  The agony of misunderstood youth, aughhhhh!

Episode 4: “Misunderstood”

Face-off!

Again, as with most high school romance anime, there usually comes the love rival.  While the first season introduced a love rival for Sawako in the form of Kurumizawa Ume, the situation switches for this second season.  Kent and Kazehaya confront one another for the first time, and some well chosen words from Kent push Kazehaya further away from understanding Sawako.  We also see a more serious side to Kent, very different from the kidding self he shows everyone else.  He warns Kazehaya that trying to be close to Sawako will only make other girls jealous of her, thus reversing all the progress she’s made so far.  He also throws out the fact that the two have completely different expectations of their relationship, and that further meddling will make school life very difficult for Sawako.  Very effective work, Kent!

doh!

We get to see come comical ignorance on Chizuru’s part, when she stumbles into Kazehaya outside of school and the two talk about Sawako.  Unwittingly crushing him further into Kent’s previous comments, she confirms that Kazehaya probably understands Sawako the least, as his experiences differ vastly from hers.  She finds it shocking that he has no knowledge of Sawako’s feelings for him, yet the next time at school Ayano discovers that Chizuru also is unaware of Kazehaya’s tenderness for Sawako.  Ignorance abounds!

Green light!
Having adored the first season, read as far as I could into the manga, and after these 4 episodes, I’ve resolved to keep on chugging with Kimi ni Todoke.  Of all the anime I’m watching this season, this one is probably the most heartwarming and endearing.  We’re already nearing the point to where I remember from the manga, so hopefully there will be pleasant surprises to come. :)

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2 thoughts on “Kimi ni Todoke, Season 2 – Impressions after 1-4

  1. I’m going to be honest. When I first saw this blog post I thought this was another easy pass for me. Then you described Sawako and in doing so described me. Being able to relate to a character makes it all the more watchable. I’m just curious as to how I will feel with her successes. It will be either happiness as it should be or sadness as it will show my own failures. Either way I think I want to know.

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    1. There are quite a few guys I know who watch this show, so I’m not surprised that you took an interest in it. Here’s hoping you feel that connection with Sawako and enjoy the anime!

      Like

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