Kimi Ni Todoke

“Kimi ni Todoke” (“From Me To You” or “Reaching You”) is a 37-episode shoujo series focused on a girl named Kuronuma Sawako. Her nickname since childhood has been “Sadako” for her resemblance to the scary ghost girl from the “Ring” franchise. Her presence is eerie, her smile is unsettling, and she scares people when she approaches.

Sawako Kuronuma

However, she’s also one of the kindest, gentlest, and sweetest girls you’ll ever meet. She likes animals (even if they avoid her due to her scary aura), she’s honest to a fault, and she’s so good-hearted that she doesn’t understand sarcastic or cutting remarks, instead interpreting them seriously. Her major problems are her total lack of self-worth and her social withdrawal.

This starts to change when she meets Kazehaya Shota, a popular and good-looking boy who treats everyone well regardless of their popularity or looks. When he smiles at her, Sawako begins - slowly, painfully, uncomprehendingly - to fall in love.

What works

The series develops slowly, taking its time with two people who have deep-rooted insecurities and showing how their mutual attraction won’t just work out without problems. The theme of the series is miscommunication, and the title indicates the problems the characters face in reaching each other with their true feelings. Sawako slowly develops a circle of loyal friends who get to know the real her, and each of them has their own problems, personalities, and romantic woes.

The series remembers its own history, with new situations and problems emerging from old ones. Rumors that are being spread early in the first season are still remembered - and still a problem - in the second. Flashbacks and memories of earlier conversations, good and bad, are a significant element of each episode.

What doesn’t work

The second season - following right after a heartwarming and promising outcome - seems to push things back toward the status quo. While setbacks in relationships are to be expected, this one feels a little forced.

Conclusion

If you want to see two shy people fall in love, watch this show. If you want to see some supporting couples go through their own ups and downs, there’s plenty of that for you as well. If you can watch a slow, romantic, heartwarming series without getting bored, this is the series for you.