I’ve always wanted to do a versus blog between the teen romance anime of Kimi Ni Todoke and Sukitte Iinayo because of the similarities between them. But I don’t know why I kept deferring it until my memory is close to nothing between both animes. So it goes to show that procrastination never gets you anywhere. Anyway both stories are similar in the general sense as the least popular girl in school ends up with the most popular guy that every girl would dream of having as her boyfriend. Life is not fair, right? Well, you can’t have everything you want. Nothing is perfect. Because if the world was, we wouldn’t be having such problematic teen romances in the first place.

The high school
Kimi Ni Todoke: Kitahoro High School.
Sukitte Iinayo: Tomei High School.

Unpopular girl protagonist
They are both outcast, introverts and not liked by many of their peers at school.
Kimi Ni Todoke: Sawako Kuronuma. She wants to make friends but due to her outward appearance looking like Sadako from those The Ring movies, people stay away from her.
Sukitte Iinayo: Mei Tachibana. She doesn’t want to make friends because of her past trauma of being hurt after being betrayed.

Her part time activity
Kimi Ni Todoke: Sawako loves attending to her medicinal plants she plants at school.
Sukitte Iinayo: Mei works part time at a bakery.

Popular guy protagonist
Enough said.
Kimi Ni Todoke: Shouta Kazehaya.
Sukitte Iinayo: Yamato Kurosawa.

Girl’s best friend
No matter how ‘spooky’ our main girl is, there are a few that warm up to her, right?
Kimi Ni Todoke: Ayane Yano and Chizuru “Chizu” Yoshida.
Sukitte Iinayo: Asami Oikawa and Aiko Mutou.

Guy’s best friend
Every guy needs a pal to talk to, right?
Kimi Ni Todoke: Ryuu Sanada.
Sukitte Iinayo: Kenji Nakanishi.

Siblings
Kimi Ni Todoke: Tohru is Ryuu’s older brother.
Sukitte Iinayo: Nagi is Yamato’s little sister.

Cute animal pet
I don’t think they appear enough to be the series’ mascot.
Kimi Ni Todoke: Once an abandoned puppy, Maru is adopted by Kazehaya.
Sukitte Iinayo: Mei already has a cat named Marshmallow. Thus the abandoned cat was taken in by Yamato and named Kuro.

First kiss
Kimi Ni Todoke: Actually it didn’t happen in the anime. A close one was in episode 17 whereby Pin played a prank and the two of them almost kissed.
Sukitte Iinayo: Right at the end of the first episode whereby Yamato kisses Mei to act as her boyfriend and shoo away the persistent stalker.

Love triangle rival (female)
The main b*tch of the series… Why do they have to be the prettiest girl?
Kimi Ni Todoke: Ume “Kurumi” Kurumizawa.
Sukitte Iinayo: Megumi Kitagawa.

Her painful past
Probably why they end up being the series’ b*tch…
Kimi Ni Todoke: A group of girls blamed Kurumi thinking she became friends in their circle just to steal one of their boyfriends.
Sukitte Iinayo: She was teased as a young girl for being ugly and plain. It was a reason why she was forced to stand at the back of the class photo rather than being tall or anything.

Love triangle rival (male)
Kimi Ni Todoke: Kento Miura.
Sukitte Iinayo: Kai Takemura.

Other love relationships
Kimi Ni Todoke: Ryuu and Chizu.
Sukitte Iinayo: Nakanishi and Asami.

The doll
Kimi Ni Todoke: Kurumi. Hey! She looks like a bisque doll, right?!
Sukitte Iinayo: Nagi’s stuffed doll rabbit, Yamato #2.

Tall tough girl
Kimi Ni Todoke: Chizu.
Sukitte Iinayo: Aiko.

Girly girl
Kimi Ni Todoke: Ayane.
Sukitte Iinayo: Asami.

The threatening rumour
Kimi Ni Todoke: Kurumi was the one responsible for spreading rumours that Ayane slept with many guys and Chizu a juvenile delinquent and pin it all on Sawako.
Sukitte Iinayo: Miki Arai is believed to be Yamato’s first love and the only girl in the entire school whom he never kissed.

Part time job
Kimi Ni Todoke: Nil. The characters don’t do any part time job. Unless you consider Ryuu’s family who runs a ramen store but I don’t remember seeing him or anybody else work there.
Sukitte Iinayo: Mei works part time at a bakery and Yamato had his short stint in modelling (when he was tricked by Megumi into breaking up with Mei).

The festival
Kimi Ni Todoke: School cultural festival. Sawako had a fortune telling booth and it was a hit!
Sukitte Iinayo: Fireworks festival. Yamato and Mei only meet when it ends.

The sleepover
Kimi Ni Todoke: Sawako and Ayane were invited to sleepover at Chizu’s place.
Sukitte Iinayo: Yamato and Mei spend a night together at a hotel at Nyako Sama Land.

Bracelet
Kimi Ni Todoke: Ryuu gives Chizu a bracelet as a birthday present.
Sukitte Iinayo: Yamato gives Mei a bracelet as symbol of their love.

Handphone strap
Kimi Ni Todoke: Kazehaya gave Sawako a handphone strap as his Christmas present.
Sukitte Iinayo: Asami gave Mei a matching furball handphone strap as token of their friendship.

The character called Arai
Kimi Ni Todoke: Sawako’s temporary homeroom teacher, Kazuichi “Pin” Arai, a loud and eccentric guy.
Sukitte Iinayo: Miki Arai, supposed to be Yamato’s first love. She likes Yamato but he rejects her.

Number of episodes
Kimi Ni Todoke: Spanning 2 seasons. First season had 25 episodes while the second only had 12.
Sukitte Iinayo: One season containing 13 episodes.

Other episodes
Kimi Ni Todoke: 2 short special episodes called Mini Todoke Theatre.
Sukitte Iinayo: A one episode OVA. There are 10 short specials that came with the DVDs called Mei and Meowrsmellow Special.

Studio production
Kimi Ni Todoke: Production I.G.
Sukitte Iinayo: ZEXCS.

Conclusion
It’s hard to call this one but if I had to choose it would be Sukitte Iinayo would fare slightly better than Kimi Ni Todoke. Because I watched the former more recently than the latter, in which there are many scenes that I have already forgotten. Also, Sukitte Iinayo is more down to earth from the drama, love romance and social issues such as bullying and outcast. I’m not saying that Kimi Ni Todoke is not down to earth but there is a little fantasy-story-like feel. I mean, in the sense that such love stories is more suited to be of the storybook kind and not as easy to relate to everyday life as compared to the other series. Sukitte Iinayo has a more mature theme because there is mention of sex (but no sex scenes) but Kimi Ni Todoke is more pure and innocent by that standards. Despite both series having good looking people, Sukitte Iinayo fares a lot better and the ones in Kimi Ni Todoke looks a little plain and simple. Just put the main couples together side by side and you could say the latter looks a bit cartoonish. In addition, the former due to the lesser number of episodes, there development of the characters and story pacing is much faster than the latter which at times can be draggy. The only major trivial thing that I like about Kimi Ni Todoke than Sukitte Iinayo is that Mamiko Noto is the voice of Sawako. Yeah. That’s about it. Both these shoujo romance genre aren’t bad and if you’re into such genres, they both should be worth to check it out. And it always goes to show that even if you’re an ugly duckling, you can still end up winning the race. Because generally the one who wins isn’t necessarily the fastest. But the ones who take part. As long as you are in the game and put in some effort, you will always have a chance.

Kimi Ni Todoke 2nd Season

February 11, 2012

I never expected Kimi Ni Todoke to have a second season. At least not within a year since the first season ended. But it’s a good thing it came out because the second season should finally end it all with the main protagonists officially going out with each other, right? It has to. Or else it wouldn’t live up to fans and viewers expectations.

The second season continues right off where the first season ended. So if you really want to jump into the sequel, it is best that you go watch the first season to understand better how things ended up this way. A brief summary of what this series is about. It’s about how opposite attracts. Okay, not exactly. On one hand, we have the popular, friendly and good looking Shouta Kazehaya. It’s not surprise he clicks pretty well with his classmates and is the object of desire of just about any girls. On the other hand, we have Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma whose looks may make look like she just came out from The Ring movies. So Sawako may be shy and honest but her modesty in correcting people’s misconceptions makes it hard for her to make friends or even approach them. But Sawako’s life isn’t a big horror or tragic movie because with a few friends who stood by her side thick and thin, she’ll be able to get by from all other b*tches and love rivals.

For this particular season, the drama is heavily focused on Kazehaya and Sawako. As we all know, these two are attracted to each other but don’t have the guts to confess those 3 magic words. Each thinks it’s a one-sided love after all. Sigh. Sometimes it got a little annoying and irritating but I guess it’s better for it all to build up rather than to have everything so rushed. So here once more, it’s those yet so close, yet so far moments. Before I thought I could pass it off as another nothing-much-happens (at least for the big majority of the episodes), I happen to find out a new character. Oooh. This might prove something interesting to the relationship of Kazehaya and Sawako. Either it will throw a spanner into the works or propel them further. Or both.

Episode 0
This is actually a recap episode from Kurumi’s point of view. I guess this is her only chance this season for her to take the spotlight before she is reduced to an irrelevant extra for the rest of the series. Boo hoo! No more Kurumi! No more pretty face for this series?! Uhm, what am I thinking? So this episode has snippets and flashbacks of how cunning Kurumi used other girls to secure Kazehaya for herself, to the day she met Sawako, the rivalry and attempts to break them up and of course her scheme exposed and lost. Not before she confessed her true feelings to Kazehaya though she was rejected. Ah, do you remember all that? But as Valentine’s Day looms, Kurumi ponders if she should get Kazehaya Valentine chocolates. Anyhow, it will be the first and last time for her. A little tad sad, don’t you think?

Episode 1
The seating arrangements have changed but don’t worry. Sawako no longer needs to be under the protection of Kazehaya, Ryuu, Ayane and Chizu any longer. Albeit she is still that same girl we know back in the first season. She is able to make new friends though she feels she is no longer that close to Kazehaya. Seating wise, that is. Duh. Sawako also makes Valentine chocolates for her classmates and especially Kazehaya. She even panics upon finding out she put too many nuts in his chocolate. Discrimination? Though she is able to give everybody theirs (even that loudmouth Pin got some), she is unable to give hers to Kazehaya, the person that matters the most. Her mind is bogged throughout the day while Kazehaya eagerly waits to get his. Something must be wrong because everybody got one except him. Sometimes procrastination isn’t good but I guess for Sawako’s case, she’s just summoning up her courage and when she finally decides to give her chocolates to Kazehaya, she sees him with Kurumi. Oh dear. She gives Kazehaya her chocolates. The first and the last. Sawako gets disheartened. Kurumi knows Sawako is spying and confronts her. She assures her it is only obligatory chocolates and makes it clear that Kazehaya rejected her a long time ago. Kurumi proceeds to tease Sawako a little, wondering if she’s hoping for a miracle and have never thought of dating Kazehaya. Of those chocolates are obligatory, she is sure Kazehaya will accept them since they are the only kind of chocolates he’ll accept. Whatever choice she makes, she hopes Sawako won’t regret her decision. With that, Sawako didn’t have the courage to give her chocolates (she thinks her chocolates are too serious to be considered as love chocolates?) and puts it back in her bag and leaves. Kento Miura (I thought Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club was making his cameo) passes by Sawako and takes an interest in her.

Episode 2
The gang are now second year students. Good thing that a big majority of them are in the same class. Even Tomo and Ekko are with them this year. Could it be Pin had a hand in this? Sawako has deep thoughts on Kurumi’s words and wonders if she’s being greedy of Kazehaya. Flamboyant Kento is a new addition to the class and he doesn’t hesitate to be very friendly with her. His no-reservation style shocks everybody (especially Kazehaya) and to cap it, he sits next to Sawako. While Kento volunteers to be the class rep (it makes him stands out more), Sawako is being made the environmental officer due to her exceptional skills in gardening. After Ayane confronts Pin and confirms that he was the one responsible in keeping the class together (I guess he isn’t all that bad), Ayane finds Kazehaya waiting in class. Seems he is waiting for Sawako to finish her gardening. Ayane offers to help him out with his love affairs but he prefers not to have any third parties meddling. Sawako goes back to class and finds Kazehaya waiting. The atmosphere gets a little awkward. Though they manage to strike up a conversation, that itself feels awkward because it’s like as though they’re strangers. Hesitating, can’t say, blush-blush. Kazehaya leaves upon noticing Sawako finds it hard to answer his question of whether he is being arrogant since he considered her as her closest friend. Kento spots them and finds them an interesting odd pair.

Episode 3
Maybe Sawako thinks too much. Yeah, she’s thinking what Kazehaya meant by that. Just be yourself, girl. Seeing how ‘gloomy’ Sawako is, Kento trains Sawako to be more cheerful! With hilarious results! Scarier? Kazehaya starts to feel jealous upon seeing the duo interacting well with each other. He confides in Ryuu about his dilemma but I’m sure that baseball guy doesn’t have a clue to what he’s talking about. Even if he did, it’s not like had a solution anyway. Sawako continues to take smiling lessons from Kento. She still has a long way to go. Oh, she starts calling him ‘Master’! Later Ayane confronts Kento and warns him not to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong but he assures her he is a nice guy and have no ulterior motives. In class when Kento learns Sawako’s notes helped everyone with their midterms last year, he announces that Sawako will have a study session after school. Did she say that? Or was it Kento putting words in her mouth. But the turnout is big! Thanks to Kazehaya spreading the word. Not wanting to lose out, eh? Sawako coaches the class and even class idiots like Chizu and Joe could understand! Amazing! Everyone praises her but what shocks them most is that they saw her beautiful smile for the first time. Eh? I thought she put on this kind of smile before? After class, Kazehaya and Sawako have another of those moments. She thanks him and he praises her for being a good teacher. Oh, and not to let those words he said the other day get to her. Kazehaya leaves but Kento is waiting for him.

Episode 4
Well, Sawako continues to ponder what Kazehaya meant by that. Sighs. Sure, forget about the words he said that day but I’m sure he doesn’t mean to go think about that forgetting part too. Meanwhile Kento advises Kazehaya not to get too close to Sawako or giving her too much attention or else he’ll end up making her an outcast like before. The more you dote on her, the more jealous others will be. Kazehaya isn’t happy he is butting in their private affairs but Kento is worried that Kazehaya may be giving Sawako false hope. Kento also asks if he likes anyone and though Kazehaya replies that he does, he offers his help to make them go on a date. No thanks. Kazehaya meets Chizu on his way back and asks her if he and Sawako are different. Chizu thought he doesn’t realize he is in love with Sawako and takes his question the wrong way and responds that he doesn’t understand Sawako. Next morning in school, there is an obvious distance between Kazehaya and Sawako. Ayane and Chizu go talk to her and learn about the things they talked and that she didn’t give him her Valentine chocolates. Sawako is afraid that by doing so Kazehaya may hate her. Ayane advises her that she needs to step up herself or else this excruciating situation will go on forever. Later Ayane sees Kazehaya and kicks him! She warns him never to avoid Sawako every again or quit making her assume that he is doing so. Then as Ayane and Chizu talk, Chizu thinks of spreading the news that Kazehaya and Sawako like each other but Ayane says that guy isn’t the kind who would be happy if others butt into his business. They can’t tell Sawako to just go out and date him because Ayane doesn’t want her to date him when she still feels inferior and wants her to build up her confidence first. Even so, Sawako isn’t going to believe it if they tell her straight in the face that Kazehaya likes her. Then Chizu remembers the blunder she said to Kazehaya yesterday. She can’t mention it to Ayane or else her head will roll. Sawako returns to class as everyone continues to praise her for her wonderful supplementary class and medicinal herb she planted.

Episode 5
With the midterms over and everyone passed, it’s time for the school cultural festival. They come up with a great idea to have Sadako’s Black Magic Cafe. They can use the ‘herbs’ she grows and also provide fortune telling services. This has got to be a blast. We take a detour as Ayane helps Chizu apply some make for Tohru and Haruka’s wedding, in which Ryuu also attends. After that, Chizu confronts Ryuu and wants him to do a favour. To help talk to Kazehaya so that it will fix her blunder the other day. He refuses. But he will talk to him his way. Not because of her, but because he’s also concerned about him as a friend. At school, Ryuu shoots it straight to Kazehaya if he’s coming clean with Sawako. Kazehaya is confused over how to treat her and up till recently, it was easy being himself. Pin joins them and he too knows about this case. He teases Kazehaya that his ‘wife’ is cheating on him. He denies so Pin thinks he got rejected. But realizing he hasn’t told her his feelings yet, Pin gives his advice to go all out and confess. He thinks he’s the man. Sometimes I think he’s annoying. Kento visits Sawako tending to her plants. He tells her she isn’t a loner anymore and thus doesn’t need Kazehaya as she is able to stand on her 2 feet. This only serves to make Sawako think too much. Sawako stands up for Kazehaya, reiterating his good traits and how they’re able to talk freely without a wall between them. She feels she has changed and is at fault for the misunderstanding. Kento misinterprets this and tells Sawako she should learn to be independent and enjoy life. He ultimately says that Kazehaya likes someone and she should start life anew and fall in love with somebody else. But at that point, Sawako’s mind has gone numb from the shock, unable to hear further Kento’s words. Tears start flowing down her cheeks. Kento apologizes and tries to cheer her up but she can’t stop crying. He then suggests if he could be her boyfriend. Gasp! Oh look. Kazehaya is here too. Double gasp!

Episode 6
Kazehaya’s immediate reaction is to grab Kento and grill him why he made her cry. Sawako instead apologizes that it’s not his fault and Kento was just praising him for being nice and fair to everyone. Several guys happen to pass by and joke if this is a love triangle and that if Kazehaya likes Sawako. Kazehaya admits he does. But the guys find it hard to believe and seeing that Sawako is still crying, they try to cheer her up that what he probably meant that he likes her as a friend. Though Kazehaya walks away, Sawako follows him and tries to clear the air. She acknowledges that she also likes him but Kazehaya feels they don’t mean the same thing and walks away. Sawako is left in tears and oddly both of them are missing from the subsequent class. Rumours spread that Kazehaya likes Sawako so Ayane and Chizu confront Kento again that he may be sticking his nose around again. As they go look for them, Kurumi confronts Kento and wants to know what kind of fight Kazehaya and Sawako had. Pin spots Sawako crying at a corner and nearly got a heart attack upon seeing her dark eye bags! She’s like a tragic ghost! He finds out from her that she got rejected but before he can play counsellor, Ayane and Chizu shoo him away. Sawako explains she has been making Kazehaya treating her extra nice compared to everyone else. Chizu makes her think that if they’re being nice to her by being her friends. Of course not. But it’s that very reason why Kazehaya is acting this way. She tells her to stop being so dense and not to feel inferior to everyone. Wow. Even Chizu can’t stop being teary eyed. Ayane takes over and says that there is no difference between them and that they all love her. Later Ayane talks to Chizu (who is feeling sorry for saying those ‘cruel’ things to her). She feels Chizu said what is exactly needed to Sawako since things have gone wrong because she failed to grasp that one important truth. Anyhow, she is confident Sawako will do something about it herself.

Episode 7
Preparations for the festival is on the way. Ryuu meets Kazehaya about his confession but the latter thinks she wasn’t convinced and thus rejected. He felt hurt. Kurumi was eavesdropping so she later confronts Sawako. Sawako mentions she was rejected so Kurumi tells her that they’re not rivals. She tells her off for being a dunce, never put much effort in it and the kind of side that she’s been seeing in him all the while. Kurumi may have been rejected but at least she made her feelings clear to him. As the class works late for the festival (they’re behind schedule), Pin hauls up Kazehaya for that rejection he gave to Sawako. He gets confused when Kazehaya says that he was the one who got rejected. So Pin’s advice? Just forget about her. After all that crap he’s been spouting about not understanding Sawako, it all boils down to that he’s thinking about himself. So what difference does it make? Sawako joins the other girls in making costumes for the festival. She thanks Chizu for her advice while pondering upon Kurumi’s. Next day in school, Ayane and Chizu try to prevent Kento for making the situation even harder but he starts apologizing and blurts out that on second thought, Kazehaya likes her. Sawako denies it and so happen Kazehaya was there. Everyone else thought it was just a rumour since Kazehaya left with the guys without responding to Sawako. Ryuu passes her and points out that she tends to get her tongue tied. She realizes if this goes on, she may not even be able to talk to him. Ayane was going to punish Kento and sew his mouth shut for good but was interrupted by Kurumi. They’re blocking the vending machine. The girls wonder if Kurumi had a hand in what happened and she wasn’t afraid to admit that she was the one who made Sawako doubt herself to give chocolates to Kazehaya. Upon realizing that Kurumi likes Kazehaya, Kento suggests that if he goes out with Sawako, wouldn’t it solve her problem? But Kurumi slaps him! She doesn’t want to think she lost to that unworthy opponent ever. Ayane tells Kento off that his intentions may be good but his actions have hurt Sawako. So just be a good boy and stay out of this.

Episode 8
Pin approaches Sawako to get a report on their progress for the festival. He aims to be number one this year. He even tells her to forget about Kazehaya before this egomaniac returns to his ‘slaves’ to see how they’re doing! With the progress on the festival making headway, Kazehaya and Sawako can’t help ponder about the things that happened. Ryuu meets Chizu and gives her a bracelet as her birthday present. During the festival, Sawako’s fortune telling booth is a hit! There is a long queue of unhappy people waiting for her to cast black magic on others! Oh sh*t! But the best part is, when they come in gloomy, they leave purified! They don’t hold any grudges anymore! AMAZING!!! During her break, Kento visits her and got honest with her. He never pictured her and Kazehaya to be an item. Though she mentioned there was no wall between them, he feels the opposite is true. Only a wall exists between them. At this point, Sawako’s mind turned off so she didn’t hear his subsequent words that she’d be better off giving up on him, blend in with the class and go out with someone else like him (still not giving up, eh?). But he notes that the only person who can make her cry and sad is the only one who can make her happy and smile. Kento leaves and sees Kazehaya. He thinks Sawako may have the wrong idea but Kazehaya feels that he is right that they are opposites and that it was him who admires her. He beats himself up that he is not the amazing guy she thought he is and is just somebody jealous and short tempered. Besides, she always put in the effort and gives him too much credit. Then at the end of the day after lots of thinking, Sawako has finally made a resolve. She doesn’t care who Kazehaya likes and is going to tell him her feelings. She wants to see all his different kind of faces and wonders what face he’ll put up when she confesses to him. She has so much she wants to tell him and also wants to break down the wall between them. Arriving outside the classroom, she prepares to open the door to face Kazehaya.

Episode 9
Sawako is nervous so Kazehaya starts first by apologizing for making her cry and being inconsiderate of her feelings. Now it’s Sawako’s turn. Maybe she needs to beat around the bush a little longer to blurt out her feelings, eh? Let’s see, his smile, thank you, I’ve changed, thank you, I’m happy, thank you, for being nice, for smiling, for introducing many feelings. Man, it feels like she’s giving an Oscar speech. Finally the moment we have all been waiting for. From Sawako: “I love you!”. Make that many times like a broken tape recorder. For all the missed chances? Kazehaya pulls her in and hugs her. She got very embarrassed but was told not to hide her face. This pleasant moment could’ve last longer if Joe didn’t come in looking for Kazehaya! F*CK! While the gathers gather to continue finishing up the costumes for tomorrow’s costume parade, Pin barges in because he has a wonderful idea and favour for Sawako. Something tells me he has an ulterior motive. Did he bet on some sushi or something? Pin notices Sawako being embarrassed as she couldn’t possibly face Kazehaya tomorrow after what happened due to her secret desires. Pin tells her that everyone (including him) have hidden desires. Yeah, Pin thought he was so amazing giving that advice that he marches over to the boys’ place to deal with Kazehaya. Oh God. As usual he’s being noisy but you know Kazehaya doesn’t really welcome him. Kazehaya SMS to Sawako that he wants another chance to see and talk to her.

Episode 10
While the girls continue their work, Sawako is stirred from her thoughts of Kazehaya hugging her when the other girls make a fuss when they get to know that one of them likes another boy in class. Yeah, seek Sawako for more advice! The next day in school before the parade starts, Kazehaya sees Sawako. Joe could’ve interrupted again but this time their buddies are well prepared to drag him away. Kazehaya has something to say but Sawako wants to go first (before her courage runs out). She was happy when he visited the shrine with her but got scared of how happy she was and didn’t want him to hate her for it. She wants things to be different now and will try to change things with all that she has learnt so that she won’t let down others. As she leaves, Kazehaya shouts out that he loves her. Wow! Right through the crowd! Everyone must be shocked to hear it! But it didn’t bother them because what really matters are just the both of them. The parade starts with the floats and all walking throughout town before ending back at school in front of the judges. Now, Sawako is really dressed up like a creepy ghost character that she looks authentic! Scary! She is bloody convincing as she drags herself up to the judges’ table and handing them drinks (all part of Pin’s idea). Though impressive, the judges feel this is some sort of a bribe. During the closing ceremony, the winners of each category are read out and it seems Sawako’s class won first place in the refreshment booth category! Hooray! Everybody rejoices and gives their thanks to Sawako. However as the announcer continued, due to the bribe given, they received no points thus voiding their win. Pin is extremely shocked and couldn’t accept the results. I think the entire hall has to restrain this raging bull. There goes his hidden desires… His seafood paradise… During the bonfire dance, Kazehaya talks to Sawako again and assures their feelings are the same. She starts crying but this time they are tears of joy. Like a dream but it finally reached her. He wipes her tears as everyone watches in either satisfaction or unbelievable awe.

Episode 11
Sawako’s dad is sad upon thinking that one day her daughter will get married and leave the nest. It’s only a matter of time. As Kazehaya and Sawako make their way to their class’ after-festival party, they see some of their classmates reacting that confession scene! It’s no surprise that everyone hounds them for more information. Not only that, they pray for Sawako to let them achieve happiness with their significant ones. Her black magic that effective, huh? Kazehaya clears the air that it was him who fell for her. Later as they stroll on the beach, Kento talks to Kazehaya not to make Sawako cry anymore. Pin also want to play match-make so he has Kazehaya ask Sawako out on a date. Pin even did a voice over to make it as though Kazehaya asked for her hand in marriage! Whose fault it is if she really gets scared? Oh, she did. But Pin notes that the worst case scenario is that she may say yes. Haha. Must be some marriage joke. Sawako even called her dad to ask her about his thoughts on marriage. That day may be coming sooner than expected. So of course Kazehaya and Sawako meet to have a proper talk and she’s not that stupid not to know that it was Pin who did that voice over. Kazehaya asks her to go out with him. Sawako had this moment recorded in her diary as it constantly reminds her that it wasn’t a dream. It really happened. Next day in school, another long queue awaiting Sawako’s advice. Maybe it’s just coincidence that everyone who sought her advice got together. But Sawako thinks she’s swindling them! She should start charging and hourly rate. In class, Kazehaya is having it tough convincing the guys that he really liked Sawako on his own accord. Ayane wants him to make it clear what Sawako means to him. He bluntly says she is his girlfriend. Yes, everyone is streaming out to notify the good news. Kento is satisfied the way things turned out but notices Kurumi walking away. He thinks nobody would’ve thought a scenario whereby Kurumi would be the one heart-broken and Sawako the winner.

Episode 12
Kazehaya and Sawako are close to each other even doing class chores that it is annoying Pin! WTF?! I don’t know if this is his theory of Law of Equivalent Exchange because for an amount of good fortune to exist, there has to be the same amount of misfortune. He’s just jealous. But there are rumours that Kazehaya and Sawako’s relationship won’t last because he just wants a girlfriend. Sawako goes to find Kurumi because she realized till a while ago, everyone was able to dream and now with them an official couple, she’s like standing on their dreams. Well, there are a group of girls who aren’t too happy that Sawako got the guy. But Kurumi snickers at them. Kurumi in this last bit is dignified, noble and gracious in telling off those girls that they’re just sore losers and taking out their frustration by blaming and harassing Sawako. Still not happy, Sawako arrives on scene so the girls bug her that she may have blackmailed Kazehaya. Kurumi tells them to stop it because Kazehaya already have decided this himself. They threaten to reveal her rumour mongering to Kazehaya but she dares them. If that happens, Kazehaya will realize their hidden intentions because he once said he didn’t like people who rats on others just to get ahead. Plus, if they do something to Sawako, she is bloody sure Kazehaya will never ever forgive them. Sawako goes after Kurumi because she is her rival. What a way to put it and make those jealous b*tches reeling. They still think she’s arrogant but now it’s Ayane and Chizu’s turn to give them a pep talk. Would it be better if Kurumi ended up with Kazehaya? Or someone in their circle? They all like him and it didn’t cross their mind that he can only have 1 girlfriend? There is nothing wrong with unrequited love but nothing noble too. They are regretting because they didn’t act sooner. Before this, none of them had problems with Sawako. Just that all of them liked Kazehaya. Though it hurts, all they want for him is to be happy. It’s complicated. So no reason to go on acting tough and feel sad. The girls end up crying out their feelings. Took them long enough to realize, eh? Even if they’re mean b*tches on the outside, they’re still girls deep down inside. Meanwhile Pin feels like he is the one who masterminded everything and brought them together. He adds that the first one who confesses has the right to fight and become a girl’s true love. The rest do not count so Kazehaya has to fight his best if Sawako’s true love appears.

Sawako meets Kurumi at the rooftop to tell her she has confessed to Kazehaya. No, she isn’t here to brag, she felt Kurumi would’ve done the same thing if their positions were switched, though she denies she would. Kurumi says that she was able to tell Kazehaya her true feelings because of Sawako. Likewise, without Kurumi, Sawako wouldn’t have told him hers. Kurumi is glad that she is her rival. Later Kento talks to Kurumi and seems he has overheard their conversation. He wonders if he had a chance with Sawako. Kurumi refutes 100% because if Kazehaya was going to fall for her, he would’ve done so a long time ago. She notes Kazehaya will never like her now because she did something despicable. Ayane interjects that it would be impossible for her to be with him and she must be thinking she wished she was better off being a guy so that if he knew what she did, it’d be okay. But Kurumi is relieved that this saga can finally end now. Kento is glad that everything ended before he could start liking Sawako. As Ryuu and Chizu walk home, Ryuu throws her off her feet when he says he likes her. Wait a minute. Didn’t he say that last season? Yeah, Chizu knew about it, just that she didn’t expect him to say it. Kazehaya and Sawako go out with each other and finally Sawako manages to give him her Christmas gift (a knitted hat) and the Valentine chocolates. He instantly puts the hat on and starts eating the chocolates and finds it delicious. Hey wait! Shouldn’t it be expired?! Oh well, with the power of love inside it, it won’t expire so fast. I know it’s far-fetched but I would like to think of it that way. See, good things come to those who wait. In Kazehaya’s case, maybe he waited a little too long. But it’s worth it. Sawako mentions that she doesn’t know how to be a good girlfriend but Kazehaya says that being a girlfriend isn’t a job. Just be herself. He hugs her and thought it was only him who had feelings for her and not the other way round. Sawako notes she too had that same feeling.

Special 1: Mini Todoke Theatre: Cinderella Umederella
This is the first of two short specials that come with the DVD and with Kurumi as the heroine. But even if she’s just taking up these roles, is she really the nice, polite and noble heroine the fairytale portrays them? It’s like she’s bossing around dense Sawako in ‘villainous’ roles and trying to make the story go her way or the audience feel pity for her. Not working. Anyway in this Cinderella spoof, Kurumi is of course Cinderella. Or rather Umederella. Or Kurumirella as she wants it. Sawako as the wicked stepmother and Ayane and Chizu as the wicked stepsisters, Kurumi forces Sawako to touch her so that she could feign abuse and made to clean the house (is she regretting this?) while they go to the ball. Then Sawako’s back! Now she’s playing the role as Fairy Godmother. Because Kurumi wants to go to the ball, Sawako gives her a thumb size dress, a horse made out of brinjal and a little pumpkin carriage. Kurumi insists she uses her magic so she starts chanting Buddhist lines! Eventually Kurumi dons the pretty dress and the brinjal horse and pumpkin carriage grow to life size. Kurumi also steal the glass slippers Sawako is wearing. Rushing to the ball, Kurumi arrives and waits for Prince Kazehaya to turn up. However to her horror, it is King Pin! In her disbelief, she twists her ankle and falls unconscious. When she wakes up, Sawako is going to use a defibrillator on her!!! On her face!!! Luckily for her, the brinjal horse uses its body to protect her. The clock strikes midnight so it reverts back to its tiny size. What else to do? Eat it!

Special 2: Mini Todoke Theatre: Snow White Princess Ume
Yeah, Kurumi this time is the super cute Snow White princess (she’s even picky on her name too) while Sawako as the evil queen who bullies her. Kurumi dreams of a happy ending whereby she gets bullied by Sawako by eating a poisonous apple making her fall asleep, in which she’ll be awaken by Prince Kazehaya’s kiss. Inside the room, they ask the mirror on the wall, who is the cutest of them all. Though Kurumi’s mug came out, she still isn’t happy so she proceeds to ask who is the most beautiful of them all. Pin???!!! WTF?! Kurumi then rips a table as warning to the mirror to give her a serious answer if it doesn’t want to end up in half. So the coolest of them all? Kazehaya. The perfect woman to suit him? Sawako. Grr!!! Kurumi kicks the mirror away and forces Sawako to kick her out of the castle with guards hot on her heels. She ends up in a cottage in the middle of the forest. She falls asleep on the bed and when she wakes up, she finds herself tied up Gulliver’s Travel style! Say, all those little dwarves, don’t they look like those imaginary old men from Pin’s imagination? I don’t know how but Kurumi ends up taking care of them. Sawako knocks on the door so Kurumi wants her to quickly give her a poison apple to knock her out and get her kiss from the prince. Well, she doesn’t have an apple. But an apple pie. Its expiration date was yesterday. Since the prince is coming, Kurumi feigns unconsciousness. Then she finds herself tied up like Gulliver again. Worse still, it’s not the prince but Pin! Kurumi actually saw this coming so she got a trap prepared. Pressing a button, Pin is sent falling through the trapdoor. Now the real prince is coming. Kurumi wants Sawako to quickly make her faint. Ghost story? Medicinal plant? That apple pie again? After a dwarf whispers into her ear, Sawako quickly rushes out. Seems the house is going to be torn down. Here comes the wrecking ball! At least this way Kurumi can get knocked out now. Lying on the bed of flowers, Kazehaya goes up to her and their lips inching closer. Then poof! Damn it was all a dream. She’s in hospital with Sawako by her side. She cuts apples for him but Kurumi is cautious if they’re poisoned. Though Sawako assures her it isn’t, when Sawako eats them herself, she collapses! Kurumi’s worst nightmare comes true when Kazehaya opens the door. Argh!!!

Love Delivered…
So I guess that’s the end, eh? Just like how most viewers would have predicted and hoped it would be. Kazehaya and Sawako finally an official couple. Unless they make another season that sees them going through the obstacles of maintaining and keeping their relationship together, that will be another different manner. But for this sequel, I guess I was my usual self. I started out with high hopes anticipating something that will bring in the tension between Kazehaya and Sawako. Then that feeling waned and I thought it was going to end up like something draggy just like in the first season. The ‘barrier’ between them was annoying enough that it want to make you scream “Go ahead and confess already!”. The tension between them was like a time bomb waiting to explode. Then gradually towards the end, what do you know, they actually confessed to each other and all that nervousness that prevented them from doing so vanished. Maybe if you have been so nervous, it’ll hit a point where you’ll even get immune to it.

I have mixed feelings of Kento’s role in this season. Though he is the new character, I felt his presence wasn’t enough to have any impact. Don’t get me wrong here. What I meant was I thought he was going to provide some rivalry and jealousy between Kazehaya and Sawako. When he mentioned that he would offer to be Sawako’s girlfriend, I really thought he was serious. In the end, Kento is a nice and good guy that everything was over before he could really start to have feelings for Sawako. Thus it doesn’t get complicated from the beginning, middle and at the end. But the good thing about Kento’s appearance is that he gives our dense lovers the much needed push to take that step forward. Without him, Kazehaya and Sawako would have continued to be uncertain, doubtful, vague and directionless in their feelings for each other. In a way, Kento did play an indirect role in leading towards this development.

Because of the heavy focus on Kazehaya and Sawako, the other characters are given less prominence. Though most of them provide backup and support to the main duo’s main issue in the form of advice. Ryuu and Chizu’s relationship are just short flashes and it felt like so that viewers won’t forget that they actually like each other as shown in the previous season’s mini arc. Even if Kurumi really had given up on Kazehaya, somewhere in my heart I was hoping that she too didn’t really give up completely and was hoping that she would make a comeback of some sort. Didn’t happen. For a proud and cunning girl, she made a graceful exit by acknowledging and accepting (perhaps not totally) Sawako as a rival and friend. Okay, maybe not so much of a friend but without each other, they wouldn’t have found enough courage to do what they had to. So will Kurumi find herself a new love or stay single for the rest of her life? That will be another story. And I hope for all those girls who yearned for Kazehaya can put this one behind them too. No use crying over spilled milk. It’s time to move on. I’m sure they aren’t thinking of giving Kazehaya are harem, right? Pin is as annoying as he was. He thinks he is so great. But even so, there are times when his advice and words are sincere in helping his fellow students out. With Kazehaya hanging out with Sawako now, I hope Pin doesn’t resort to more ‘blackmail’ tactics of revealing his embarrassing past secrets to do chores for him.

Kazehaya and Sawako aren’t what many would perceive them as initially. He is popular and nice because everyone made him so. He is not perfect and also faces problems that any other guys would especially when it comes to the topic of love. She on the other hand may not be as dense and slow as she was in the first season and is able to make some progress in making some friends (I just wished she showed us more of her beautiful smile this season). Sawako still provides some of the comic relief when she starts believing her actions are the main fault that causes others to think or do so but just like in the last season, it got a little repetitive. After all, this is Sawako’s behaviour. You don’t expect her to change overnight into a totally different character, right? So the best is of course for them to be as they are and take things one step at a time. Yeah, easier said than done. Oh wait. They had this communication problem throughout this series. I hope they don’t misunderstand each other from now on. The opening theme is Sawakaze (a play on the main protagonists’ names) by Tomofumi Tanizawa. I felt it is somewhat similar to the first season’s opening theme. Yeah, the opening credits lasts for only a minute too. As for the ending theme, it’s no longer that drunken-sounding vocal. In fact, it is a nice and slow ballad by MAY’S. It is called Kimi Ni Todoke and not to be confused with the first season’s opening theme which also goes by the same name.

Well, what else can I say. Sometimes just being different from the rest doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never have a same equal shot as everyone else. Sometimes it is the least expected that catches off everyone as a surprise and takes it all in the end. As this series proves, opposites do attract. But if Sawako wasn’t the ghost character look-a-like, would Kazehaya have fallen for her? If Kazehaya never extended his hand to help her out, would she have developed feelings for him? Though love is never anything easy or straightforward, but if handled with care, I’m sure it will be delivered.

If you notice that both girls have a creepy resemblance to a ghost character in a particular horror movie. Their pale skin, their long slender black hair and their socially inability to communicate with the other ‘normal’ people. Yes, that’s right. It is Sunako Nakahara from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge and Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma from Kimi Ni Todoke. From a stranger’s perspective, they may get scared out of their pants. But if you get to know them a little better, you’ll find out that they’re not as bad as they seem. Looks can be deceiving…

Age
Sunako: 15 years old.
Sawako: 16 years old.

Eye colour
Sunako: Violet.
Sawako: Dark brown.

Meaning of name
Sunako: Since her name is officially written in katakana, the meaning is not known. However some may translate it as sand or gold dust.
Sawako: It means “lively child” but often nicknamed as “Sadako” as reference to a character from the horror movie The Ring.

How her misunderstood creepy character came about
Sunako: The boy she first confessed her love too rejected her and called her “ugly”.
Sawako: Due to her very shy nature and tendency not to correct people about their misconceptions.

Her good traits
Other stuff she is good at. No, scaring people isn’t one of them.
Sunako: Cooking, athletic, intelligent and plays good piano.
Sawako: Cooking, neat and orderly notes, knits well and makes Christmas gifts by her own hands.

The boy
The XY that is seen as the prospect love interest.
Sunako: Kyouhei Takano.
Sawako: Shouta Kazehaya.

How the chemistry came about
Sunako: Kyouhei and the other guys are tasked by the Landlady to turn Sunako into a lady as part of a deal to live in the luxurious mansion rent-free. Oh course the hot-cold relationship between them is amusing though it isn’t hinted that if they have feelings for each other. I would say it is more of a mixed feeling.
Sawako: Kazehaya as the outgoing and very friendly guy can’t stand seeing others being left out or in trouble. Because the other classmates shun her, Kazehaya takes it to himself to help her not feel isolated. During the course of the series, both developed feelings for each other though they can’t tell each other yet.

The other boys
The other males who get along with her.
Sunako: Takenaga Oda, Yukinojo “Yuki” Toyama and Ranmaru Morii.
Sawako: Ryuu Sanada.

Her girl pals
Girls need to have their own girlfriends too, right?
Sunako: Noi Kasahara. Later it is Tamao Kikunoi
Sawako: Ayane Yano and Chizuru “Chizu” Yoshida. Later it is Eriko Hirano and Tomoko Endou.

Past friends
She wasn’t always alone.
Sunako: 4 mannequins namely Josephine the skeleton, George the husband of Josephine and the anatomical models figure Hiroshi and Akira.
Sawako: Her middle school classmate Shino.

Her rivals
You need this if there is going to be a love triangle, quadruple, etc or someone who just don’t like her.
Sunako: The Goth-loli girls, Ganguro Girls and just about the rest of the other girls who have a crush on our quartet of handsome guys.
Sawako: Ume “Kurumi” Kurumizawa and just about the rest of the other girls who have a crush on Kazehaya.
Yeah, I know. Being least popular is a sin. Especially if you’re hanging out with popular guys.

Her parents
Sunako: They live abroad, believed to be in Africa as they have left her in the care of her aunt known as the Landlady.
Sawako: They live together in a house in Japan.

Prone to
What I notice she is inclined to.
Sunako: Nose bleeds whenever she sees the dazzling light of the guys’ beauty.
Sawako: Profuse apologizing whenever she thinks her words upset people.

First kiss
Sunako: During a heated ping pong match against Kyouhei, they accidentally kissed in mid-air.
Sawako: While walking back alone with Kazehaya, she closed her eyes and tugged his shirt. They could’ve kissed if they didn’t open their eyes and back off. Seems Sawako misinterpreted this ‘advice’ from Pin to do this if she ever wants to talk to him.

Outing with others
Can’t stay cooked up at home all the time, can’t she?
Sunako: A visit to a hotspring inn with the guys, an invitation by the Landlady to an island with a rumoured legendary pirate and an outing with her girl pals to the spa.
Sawako: A sleepover at Chizu’s place with Ayane, a farewell party with her classmates for her homeroom teacher’s transfer and a visit to a local shrine temple with Kazehaya on New Year’s Eve.

Sports festival participation
Sunako: She fiercely participates in every darn event against Kyouhei. She wins some, he wins some. But in the end as they’re both neck-to-neck, neither won when the teacher puts off all deals on the bets (the motivation for the duo to beat each other was the prize they would receive from a couple of students betting on them).
Sawako: She joins her classmates in the football category. Her class lost all their matches.

Pretty version
When they don’t look ‘scary’, that is.
Sunako: Whenever we see her real eyes or her mood turns confident.
Sawako: Whenever she smiles.

Chibi mode
That super-deformed kawaii version we see them as sometimes.
Sunako: As a visual metaphor of how she and the rest see herself.
Sawako: Whenever she is dense, panic (comical) or dreamy.

In the end
The change she underwent.
Sunako: She may not have turned into an ideal lady but at least she doesn’t lock herself up in a dark room watching horror and bloody movies 24/7. She is more receptive towards the quartet of guys she has been living with.
Sawako: She gradually opens up herself and is able to talk to other people with more confidence albeit she still has a long way to go.

Seiyuu
Sunako: Yukiko Takaguchi.
Sawako: Mamiko Noto.

Conclusion
It was quite tough for me to do a comparison between both girls because Sunako lacked information on her personal bio-data while there is no sufficient data on the likes and dislikes of Sawako. Both girls show that it isn’t the outside appearance that counts but the inner beauty that lies within them. Because Sunako comes from the slapstick comedy genre, I’d love her character in the sensed that she went through a roller coaster ride of events. Especially when she is in action mode. On the other hand, because Mamiko Noto is my favourite seiyuu, in a way Sawako is likeable in that area. Otherwise the typically shoujo romance genre makes her less ‘formidable’ as compared to the former. As opposed to misconceptions that popular guys should end up with popular girls, it goes to show that total opposites do attract. After all, they’re both ‘normal’ teenage high school girls, right?

Sunako Nakahara Sawako Kuronuma

Kimi Ni Todoke

September 25, 2010

Another high school drama romance series. That’s what I should classify it after watching Kimi Ni Todoke. You know the usual ‘ingredients’. Girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy also likes girl but both do not have the courage enough to confess to each other’s face about their feelings, their buddies and pals some of which may add to the love triangle and complications. Yeah, those sort of things. But how about if the girl is more of a social outcast? Wouldn’t that make her an unlikely heroine? If you have seen Ugly Betty, then you should know that anything is possible. Uh huh. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
 
That said girl in the series, Sawako Kuronuma, has always been shunned by her classmates simply because she resembles very closely to that ghostly character in The Ring film. Thus the misconception and nickname given to her from that said movie, Sadako. Long black hair, eerie smile, ghostly voice. I think you can’t blame them for cowering in fear every time she tries to talk to them. They may think they have incurred the wrath of a spirit! To worsen things, though Sawako is a sweet girl, she is very shy and does not tend to correct people about their misconceptions. It is that and you will notice Sawako is some sort of dense and slow whenever it comes to making contact with the people around her. No, I don’t mean to say she’s stupid or a retard, just that she has been going through this all her life so in a way it ‘impedes’ her ability to do better. All that is about to change when she meets a lively, popular and outgoing classmate, Shouta Kazehaya. He’s like a total opposite. If Sawako drives away people, then Kazehaya attracts people. Man, he’s so popular that not only he’s got lots of girls admirers, but they even form an alliance to maintain peace and order among themselves! Kazehaya belongs to everyone? Since when did he become public property?
 
Episode 1 sees how Sawako is the object of fear in her high school and that her earnest wish is just to make friends. She gets taken in by Kazehaya’s friendliness while finding her way to Kitahoro High School. Because unlike others who fear her, he instead smiled and said thank you. Other than Kazehaya, Shino, Sawako’s middle high school friend is the only one who talks normally with her. Too bad they aren’t in the same class. Sawako volunteered herself to help her classroom teacher for some summer work when no one else did but Kazehaya thinks it’s not good to let her do all the work. However Sawako insists she’d love to do them. During that she was able to speak with Kazehaya and he compliments her for being able to speak her mind. Looks like Sawako will be getting more friends because she made 2 quick ones after expressing her earnest feelings of doing those work to the tomboyish Chizuru "Chizu" Yoshida and the perceptive and intelligent Ayane Yano. With that, Sawako is able to participate in the class’ event of kimodameshi (test of courage). Guess what part Sawako played? The scary ghost of course. She’s a natural even if she doesn’t understand what’s going on. Sawako and Kazehaya had some time together so they talk. She is pretty surprised herself that this is her first time that someone said such nice things to her and experiencing such feelings of the heart. Because Kazehaya lost the kimodameshi, his classmates have him undergo some penalty game. That is, to date Sawako for a week. But he chides them all for being rude and disrespectful. Sawako feels that it isn’t right for him to always stand up for her so she told the class the truth on what she thinks on Kazehaya’s integrity. During summer holidays on her way to school, she shed tears as she feels lonely but to her surprise sees Kazehaya waiting for her. He hands her a little present from everyone who was sorry for what they said to her. He thinks back the first time he first met her and indicates the feelings he had back then which continued to grow and wonders if it will reach her someday.
 
In episode 2, Sawako left her umbrella for a stray puppy on the roadside (even animals hate her!) so she got soaked when she reached school. Chizu lends her spare clothes and Kazehaya his towel. As gratitude, Sawako bought and left packet drinks for them. After school, Sawako and Kazehaya go see the puppy. See, Kazehaya is so popular that the little doggy instantly likes him. He decides to adopt it. Next day in class, Sawako baked some cookies for her pals but decides to wait after school to give it to them. Today is the day that the class rearrange their seating and there are talks among some of the classmates they don’t want to get Sawako’s cursed seat. As they draw lots, Sawako gets hers near the window. Those who aren’t close to her would love to stay as far as possible. Kazehaya decides to switch places with the one assigned to sit next to her. This is followed by Ayane and Chizu who ‘moved’ in front of her. And at the back of her, Ryuu Sanada, a baseball freak who seems to spend most of his time sleeping and bad with names. It’s like she’s being protected by a circle of friends, no? She hands the cookies to her friends and feels very happy to be in this seat. Sawako feels a feeling that overwhelms admiration and respect. Yes girl, it’s called love.
 
Kazuichi "Pin" Arai becomes the temporary replacement homeroom teacher for the gang in episode 3. Some loudmouth guy with some ego we’ve got here. Pin needs someone to help with the attendance log after school. Though Sawako volunteers, Kazehaya offers to help. Why is everyone else thinking of wanting to help too? Because Kazehaya is in? Sawako is doing the log after school and her private time with Kazehaya is cut short when Pin orders him to get his ass to the teacher’s room or else he will reveal his embarrassing ghost stories. It is that time that Sawako make more friends. They are Erika Hirano AKA Ekko and Tomoko Endou AKA Tomo. See, it’s not that bad once you get to know her. After school, Kazehaya invites Sawako out for a walk with him since he is taking the puppy, Maru, out for one too. Next day in class when Sawako helps tutor Chizu with her school work, everyone else got so amazed that they flock to her for assistance! That’s when everyone saw the most beautiful side of her: Her smile. A gleaming smile of a goddess. If she’d smile like this always. After school, Ayane and Chizu heard a bunch of girls talking how the former slept with lots of guys and the latter a juvenile delinquent. They confront them and demand who spread those rumours. In fear, the girl says it is Sawako.
 
As the rumour spreads in episode 4, Ayane and Chizu didn’t believe it is Sawako since she awfully looks like the type that couldn’t though they still have their doubts. Why would a girl who gladly lends her notes do such a thing? I don’t know what Pin’s problem is because he’s making Kazehaya listening to his weird stories of seeing drunken tiny men running around his cup! He thinks it’s Sawako’s doing so probably he wanted to ask Kazehaya since he sat close to her. He even thought he hooked up with her! When Shino talks to Sawako about the rumours, Sawako doesn’t even know that she’s the one being talked about but says she isn’t worried because of the kind people around her. Ayane and Chizu just happen to walk around the corner and heard her say "They’re not my friends" when Shino asks her about the duo. I’m sure they could’ve listened to the whole story if Pin hadn’t dragged them away. What Sawako meant was the kind of deep bond between the duo in which she doesn’t feel deserved to be called yet. Because of that, their suspicions of her increase and when they confront her to ask if she likes them, her hesitation causes her to be cut off. Looks like they aren’t on talking terms. Even if Sawako doesn’t understand what’s going on, she felt she was the cause that made them sad. Even Kazehaya notices Sawako is avoiding him. She says nothing when he confronts her and runs off instead.
 
The gloom and strain on their new friendship continues in episode 5. Sawako thinks of distancing herself like in the past so as not to hurt anyone anymore. Kazehaya can’t take it anymore and has Sawako tell him everything after school. She cries while telling about the rumours causing Kazehaya to lose his popularity. But he doesn’t care about all that because those things are for him to decide and not others. He continues to comfort and talk to her what if their positions were reversed and in other people’s shoe, would she like that? He has her promise never to avoid him again. Ayane and Chizu are still sorting their confused feelings and gets unlikely source of advice from Pin and Ryuu respectively. Blaming others won’t solve things and that there could be other reasons why she didn’t answer them back them. Next day, Sawako is in the girl’s toilet thinking of how to apologize to her girl pals when she hears a bunch of girls talking bad about them. She tells them otherwise and to clear the misunderstanding but they corner and mock like the bullies they are.
 
A large crowd gathers outside the female toilet in episode 6. Kazehaya obviously can’t go in to stop them. The b*tches get a little physical and push Sawako onto the floor. Sawako gets the shock of her life when she learns that SHE was the one spreading the rumours. Haha. And she didn’t even realize that herself. Ayane and Chizu step in after hearing no matter how much Sawako was blamed, she stood up for her pals. The bullies back off unless they want to ascertain Chizu’s rumours of beating up lots of people. When the bullies got out of the toilet, they hear Kazehaya’s voice on how he hates people who spread trashy rumours. You know what that means. You’re no more in his good books. Who cares what will happen to them because it’s over if they think they can get closer to Kazehaya now. And after everyone else thinks deep and hard how Sawako helped them, they believe she couldn’t be the one who spread them. Should’ve thought about this in the first place. Ayane and Chizu apologize to Sawako and for suspecting her. They reconcile and their friendship takes a healthy boost. Now they’re really best friends.
 
Sawako gets a call from Chizu and Ayane saying that they’re going out to eat ramen together in episode 7. Even Sawako’s parents are bloody shocked that she got calls from friends! Seems the place is Ryuu’s as his family runs a ramen store right beneath the house they’re staying. Since Chizu is so close to Ryuu like siblings (she’s his neighbour by the way), she can even enter his room and do what she likes. Not like that quiet ‘bo chap’ guy cares. The girls get an idea to get Sawako call Kazehaya over. Using Ryuu’s handphone so that Kazehaya would be caught offguard (in which he was), Kazehaya gladly makes his way there. They go over the school year book that Kazehaya was in as Sawako learns he was part of the baseball club then. They also talk their ideal kind of girls/boys. Sly Ayane decides to see Kazehaya’s reaction when she gets too close to Sawako. Pin, a regular customer at the store, invites himself into the room and is surprised to see the entire gang there. Sawako learns Pin and Kazehaya go a long way together because Kazehaya’s dad used to coach Pin’s little baseball team. I’m not sure why he’s asking Sawako’s exorcism advice for his apartment. At the end when everyone parts, Chizu asks Ryuu his ideal type of girl and his reply is dense and simple-minded ones (hint, hint). Kazehaya walks Sawako back and she is happy to see a part of his expressions she has never seen before.
 
In class, Sawako is trying hard to pronounce her friend’s name by their first names in episode 8. I know she’s not used to it and nervous but it’s mind boggling that she’s actually struggling! Ayane being a little sadist must be enjoying it and suggests calling Kazehaya by his first name. Pin is in charge for the sports festival so Chizu gets fired up as both the active people team up to do their best and win the championship. Sawako and the girls practice football but it seems she’s a ‘kaki ayam’. Yeah, reminds me of myself. Kazehaya attends the class rep meeting and meets an old acquaintance from middle school, the sweet and pretty looking (like a bisque doll!) Ume "Kurumi" Kurumizawa. Sure, any girl would love to chat with him but she notices him staring out of the window instead of paying attention to what she’s saying. What is there? Sawako watering the plants below. I know what to expect from this. At the end, Kazehaya practices with Sawako kicking the football and not bad for a beginner and though no World Cup material but she is able to return the ball to him.
 
There’s a vast improvement in Sawako’s performance in episode 9! Other than that, Sawako makes another new friend when she meets sweet Kurumi when she was trying to meet Kazehaya but was out practicing football. Then the practice of calling each other’s first name also continues with Kazehaya given the task. Of course he couldn’t do it and for Sawako it’s like a roller coaster because her heart’s beating fast. It’s just first name, right? Well to some, it’s a big deal. Sawako is also in dreamland after seeing how pretty Kurumi is. Trying to get a perm? Trying to act more girly? Maybe not. More ghostly and hair-raising if I should say. After class, Sawako is wondering how close Kazehaya is to Kurumi since he calls her by her first name, not knowing that it is short name for her surname. She’s thinking so much that she got surprised when Kazehaya pops up besides her. Their ‘tense’ moment is eased with Kurumi’s appearance. She wipes Sawako’s sweat and says that they’re friends. Yeah, Sawako is like so surprised with that statement. Since when did they become friends? Oh what the heck, she’s her friend and all that matters, right?
 
She must have sleepless nights that Kurumi suddenly become friends. But it’s no dream because Kurumi continues to be very friendly and helpful with Sawako in episode 10. Sawako and Kurumi continue to chat together about knowing Kazehaya and the likes. But something seems to be making Kurumi mad even if Sawako doesn’t realize it herself. Is it her density? Though Kurumi is encouraged to do her best and be like her, you tell that Kurumi’s ‘evil’ aura indicates otherwise. Chizu tells Ayane about Kurumi. When they were in middle school, she always asked her to help set up meetings with a particular girl with Kazehaya. Of course everything soon started asking for a set up and got mad when Chizu refused to help one after another. Kurumi shed sympathetic tears not to blame her so everyone decided to form an alliance that Kazehaya belonged to everyone. Not that it mattered to Chizu but she and Kurumi never got along well. Sawako and Kazehaya chat and the former learns of Kurumi’s full name and feels relieved. I guess Kurumi has up to here after seeing them both together for so long so she decides to ‘borrow’ Sawako. On the way home, Kurumi suddenly has a change in personality. She yells back to Sawako not to call her by that name. She proceeds to ask Sawako’s help because there is someone she likes but doesn’t know what to do. Sawako is initially nervous but decides to help out. Till Kurumi says the person she likes is Kazehaya.
 
Sawako apologizes she can’t help her out after all in episode 11 since Kazehaya is someone special to her. In the end, Kurumi snapped and showed her true colours. Oh such scathing words. Perhaps Sawako was so dense that at one point she thought there was a different person due to the different voice! Kurumi is visibly upset that a pretty girl like her needs to work hard to get Kazehaya’s attention. And how dense could Sawako get? She thought it’s tough being popular and she was benefitting from looking gloomy. I don’t know what else to say. The sports festival starts and with Sawako’s class having football. Her class is winning and perhaps Sawako needs a little more practice because her kick was great, she lost her shoe. Yeah, it landed on Kurumi’s head! She returns her shoe when the match is over. Kurumi could’ve blown her top if not for the other people around her so she’s trying real hard to control her sweet outlook. But Kurumi isn’t happy Sawako tried to call her by her first name which she despises. Then they go watch the boys’ softball match (because Kazehaya is in it). As they talk about Kazehaya and his friendliness, a stray ball threatens to hit Sawako. Luckily Ryuu catches it before it smashes into her face. Kurumi gets an idea that Sawako should go thank Ryuu and talk to him more often.
 
Kurumi continues to tell Sawako in episode 12 that she knew Kazehaya for a long time and was with him through all those times and even slipped her tongue in saying she went to great lengths he didn’t find a girlfriend. Luckily (or not) Sawako was getting emo that she went through lots of hard stuff. After the match, Kazehaya confronts Ryuu if he has feelings for Sawako. He makes it clear that it’s not of those lovers kind. What a relief. Kurumi goes to see Pin under the ruse of wanting to help out when her true intention is to know Kazehaya’s schedule on the sports committee. Kurumi meets Ayane and the latter hints that she knows she is the one who spread the rumours. Kurumi then leaves a note in Ryuu’s shoe locker. Faking it as from Sawako wanting to meet him at the sports equipment room to thank him. She then tells Sawako about Ryuu waiting there. Sawako arrives to see Ryuu sleeping there. She thanks him. They also talk about love and this is when Sawako is surprised to learn Ryuu confessing he likes Chizu but wants her to keep it a secret. Kurumi sees Kazehaya putting away sports equipment and goes to talk to him. She tries to stir things by saying Sawako had eyes for Ryuu. To prove it, at the sports equipment room they both see Ryuu and Sawako talking together. Kurumi thought her plan is a success and wishes Kazehaya to support them. But he dropped the sports equipment in aghast and rushes over, shocking Kurumi.
 
Kazehaya quickly takes Sawako away in episode 13. Ryuu just walks away leaving Kurumi visibly upset. At a place by themselves, Kazehaya asks it straight to Sawako’s face if she likes Ryuu. She says those feelings aren’t of romantic type so in addition to being relief, Kazehaya felt a little embarrassed and apologized. Then they talk more and Kazehaya asking about her opinion about 2 people going out. Not like she can answer. Meanwhile Ayane is telling Chizu her conclusion on what she knows about Kurumi. Her plans to make that pact so that the girls wouldn’t make Kazehaya their boyfriend. To ascertain that even further, Ryuu comes by to show the note Sawako wrote to him and he knew it was fake because it wasn’t her handwriting. Ayane decides to gather more evidence before pinning Kurumi down. Since when did this get personal? As for Kurumi, she’s waiting at the sports equipment room hoping and waiting for Kazehaya to return. But to her dismay she sees Pin. Noticing that she’s not leaving and her fidgety and nervous body language, Pin misinterprets that Kurumi may be in love with him! Perasan! Then he tells her he is too old for her and rejects her! Not that she said anything but the final blow has got to be when Kazehaya returned and heard all that! Oh the misconception! Her world is crumbling! How she’d wish she die now! But she deserves it! Ayane and Chizu then confront Kurumi about the rumours and show her proof. Sawako is looking for Kurumi and decides to tell her feelings for Kazehaya since Kurumi told her hers. She encounters the trio together and didn’t know they have become good friends (read the atmosphere, girl)! Ayane tells Sawako that Kurumi was the one who spread the rumours and put her through all that hardship.
 
I guess Sawako was so dense that Kurumi can’t take it and just revealed the whole damn truth that she was the one who spread the rumours in episode 14. All those like being her friend was just an act and she has never considered her as one. Ayane and Chizu want Sawako to give her piece of mind but Sawako shed tears instead and said nothing. Chizu can’t stand it so she tells Kurumi off that she can say bad about her but never to Sawako and Yano. Wow. She seemed so cool. Till she boast about it. How lame. Kurumi thinks it’s okay to use people so Ayane threatens to tell this to Kazehaya. Kurumi dares her. Since the girls’ volleyball match is starting, they leave. After the match, Sawako tries to find Kurumi but couldn’t find her. They haven’t leaked this to Kazehaya yet. Pin must still think he’s such a sinful man for breaking a girl’s heart and even tells Ayane and Chizu not to fall for him! Like they will. Even the girls felt pitiful for Kurumi. Sawako finds Kurumi at the same spot (she didn’t move an inch?) and confesses her she loves Kazehaya. But Kurumi is still upset. "What’s the use of being pretty if Kazehaya won’t fall in love with me?!". What does being pretty have to do with falling in love? I know it’s directly related but really is it a necessity? I guess the girls feel so pity for each other that they both cried. Sob, sob.
 
Sawako consoles Kurumi in episode 15 as they talk more about the man of their life. But it doesn’t matter to Kurumi because her life is over (yeah, the Pin’s case was a classic one). Sawako advises her to talk to Kazehaya and clear the misunderstanding just like how she did with Ryuu. Flashback how a group of girls didn’t like Kurumi because they thought she had stole the boyfriend of one of their friends. They even wanted to get in her way if she ever got a boyfriend. Kurumi of course was upset but the only guy who showed concern was Kazehaya. And the rest was history. Kurumi meets Kazehaya at the bicycle area. Finally she gets the courage to say he is the one she really loves. Kazehaya apologizes because there is someone else that he loves. Obviously we know who it is but at least Kazehaya felt a little happy that she told him her feelings. As a parting note, she tells him he’ll never find another girl as cute as her. Probably Kurumi tries to look cool in school tomorrow because she’s wearing shades. She comes across with Pin again but this time he tells her if a girl tells a boy her feelings, no matter what, his thoughts will be clouded with her for the whole day. True or not but at least it gave Kurumi something to be happy about. So when Kurumi passes by Sawako, the latter wonders if they’re still friends. Nope. Rivals. Too bad Sawako’s class didn’t win the championship since the girls lost all their football matches. After that, their class had a celebration. Kazehaya spots Sawako sleeping by the stairs (?!) and sits beside her. Since she’s dreaming and sleep talking, she leans on his shoulder. She realized she fell in love with him when he first called her name. Episode 16 is a recap episode. Remember those tiny little drunken men that only Pin sees? Yup, they narrate from start about Sawako, the friends she made, the nasty rumours and right up till the ultimate rivalry with Kurumi. Why the heck do we need a recap for?! Do we need to hear their comments and thoughts? I’m not sure if they’re figments of imagination since it ended with Pin coming in and all of them nowhere to be seen.
 
Ayane and Chizu visit Sawako’s house for the first time in episode 17 and even Sawako’s parents are pretty surprised. In her room, they show her photos they took during the celebration and even the one where she leaned on Kazehaya’s shoulders. Shocking! Ayane wants Sawako to quickly confess so that they can start dating but Sawako is satisfied with their current relationship now. Kazehaya and letting animal lover Ryuu play with Maru when he noticed he’s got 14 miscalls from Pin! What is wrong with that guy? Seems he is unwell and wants him to bring Sawako over this instant. He thinks Sawako has cursed him because they bump into each other at the video store and Sawako thought he is trying to rent adult videos. Of course adult in her context means grownup issues like documentaries and social issues. And that scary tone of hers didn’t help either. No choice, Kazehaya calls the girls as they head over to his pig sty apartment. They help clean his place up and since Kazehaya doesn’t want Sawako to do the job, he does it in her place instead. Don’t want Sawako to get ‘contaminated’, does he? Sadist Ayane tells him a ghost story to scare him out of his wits and put him to sleep. He’s sleeping soundly by the way. Sawako sees photos of Kazehaya during his baseball days but he is embarrassed about it. At the end of the day, Pin feels like he’s waken up in a different room! He decides to thank Sawako and whispers into her ear about Kazehaya. Kazehaya walks Sawako home. Behind him, she closes her eyes and tugs his shirt. Then their face got close to each other. Too bad their eyes had to open and instinctively back off. Seems Sawako was told that if she ever wanted to thank him, grab him and close her eyes for 5 seconds. She actually believed that?!
 
The Sawako-Kazehaya relationship takes a backseat for awhile in episode 18. Besides Ayane annoyed by her college boyfriend’s constant SMS on her situation and whereabouts, this episode focuses more on Ryuu and Chizu. Chizu takes Sawako out shopping with her since the former knows Ryuu’s birthday is around the corner. She decides to get him a glove sack with the words "Baseball Freak" on it. Sawako asks Chizu if she liked anyone in particular. Chizu admits there is but is a one-sided love as they have known each other since kids. Sawako must be getting real excited to think it is Ryuu but as Chizu continues ranting, the events don’t add up. He lives in Sapporo and didn’t come back for a year? So who is she talking about? It’s Ryuu’s brother, Tohru, that Chizu likes. And speaking of the devil, Ryuu tells Kazehaya that Tohru is coming back for the New Year next week and hasn’t told Chizu yet. In class, the gang are shocked to see Ayane’s left cheek bruised. Seems she got a slap from her boyfriend when she decided to break up. If Chizu could waltz into Ryuu’s room anytime, then the opposite must also be true, right? Yeah, Ryuu comes into Chizu’s room that night. She thought her birthday present surprise will be ruined so she kicks him out before he had time to say anything.
 
Sawako is invited to sleepover at Chizu’s place with Ayane in episode 19. Ryuu tells Chizu to stay away from his place for the next 2 days, not revealing anything further. The rest thought Chizu had upset him. I guess the girls decide to get this off their chest so they pay Ryuu a visit anyway. The guys in their class are having some consoling party for one of their mates, Joe, who got dumped after confessing to a girl. Does he really look that down? He’s more like the same as before. Just that this broken heart thingy is the topic. Suddenly Tohru returns. Wow. He’s quite the handsome guy he is. Seems he got off work early. Chizu rushes over to hug him. She is upset that Ryuu didn’t tell her this. But not as upset as she’ll soon find out. Tohru calls her girlfriend in, Haruka Katayama. Now the bombshell. They’re getting married. Gasp. I’m sure Chizu must feel very awkward so Kazehaya decides for everyone to call it a night. Even if Chizu acts like her normal self but I’m sure deep down she is hurt. Sawako’s mind is clouded over how Chizu must be feeling right now. She feels so bad that she couldn’t do or say anything to cheer Chizu up, Sawako cried. Chizu remembers how Tohru and her were like siblings even though they weren’t related anyhow. She always noticed the girls Tohru dated come and go so she wished to be his bride.
 
Tohru leaves the next morning in episode 20. Chizu has lots on her mind so that night she goes over and sees Ryuu waiting outside. She thinks he’s trying to be considerate by not telling about Tohru’s engagement to avoid her getting hurt. But Ryuu is relieved that it has come down to this because she will give up on him. Chizu throws his present at his face and says she hates him. Sawako and Chizu are depressed that they can’t help Chizu so Kazehaya talks to them. Though his honest opinion made Ayane want to pound him, at least if they don’t know what to say, they shouldn’t force themselves to. During recess, Ryuu meets Chizu. She wonders if he is to apologize for yesterday but he isn’t. She says she didn’t visit his place yesterday to see Tohru. At the top of her voice, she would’ve loved to see him but it wasn’t her place to do so and only went after he left. Besides, she went to give him his present. Later when she meets Ayane and Sawako, Chizu finally cried her heart out and told them everything. They let her express herself and just listened while comforting her. At the end of the day, she feels much better and notes how Sawako’s tears prompted her to spill everything.
 
While the girls are out together in episode 21, to their surprise they see Tohru who wishes to ‘borrow’ Chizu. They talk about things like Chizu’s mini skirt, the nikuman and anman dilemma she had due to lack of money, Chizu trying to catch a stag beetle at 3 in the morning, staring up at the starry sky together and the constant fights she and Ryuu had. She asks what made him decide to marry and his reply was he decided that she was the person whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He also mentions the reason why he called her "Chi" was because when one tries saying that, one’s mouth will break into a smile. Finally Chizu confesses she likes him he also replies the same but Chizu knew it wasn’t that kind of meaning though it makes her happy. She wonders if it’s alright to visit him next time even if they’re not related but Tohru says he has always seen her as his little sister. Later that night, Ryuu meets Chizu sitting alone at the pier. She knows he was the one who called Tohru over. They talk things out and reconcile. Chizu thinks her love for Tohru may be just admiration as an older brother but Ryuu knows she was really in love with him. Ryuu gives her his shoulder to cry on as it started snowing.
 
With Chizu’s love arc over, episode 22 has Kazehaya and his class planning a Christmas party. Sawako is of course excited to join her friends. Though Kazehaya would love her to come, Sawako decides to ask permission from her parents first. However she couldn’t get the moment right since her dad was kinda lively is looking forward to their own Christmas Day. Because of that, Sawako tells her inability to attend to Ayane and Chizu and hands them their early birthday presents, coasters and an apron respectively. Kazehaya learns about it but I guess since it’s her family I guess he understands. One morning, Sawako’s dad accidentally took a hat Sawako knitted meant as Kazehaya’s present and mistakes it as Sawako’s present to him. Now, remember Sawako’s incapacity to correct others so she just didn’t say anything since her dad was enjoying it so much. During dinner, Sawako’s pals in the middle of the party call to check on her. But Sawako just stood there paralyzed and started crying. Something is obviously wrong. Sawako’s mom takes over the phone while daddy goes talk to her. Kazehaya says they’re having fun but they’ll have twice as much fun if Sawako is here. Sawako finally mentions her wish to go to the party. Daddy gives her a present, which is a handphone. Now come to think of it, she never did have her own handphone. She rushes over. Why didn’t she take a cab? Maybe the snow conditions aren’t right. But running all the way there? Better hurry because the party is winding up. Just when Sawako reaches there, the party is long over and only Kazehaya is seen waiting for her. He gives her a handphone strap accessory as her present as they exchange handphone numbers. Sawako then gives him his Christmas present. He thinks it’s a neck warmer but was actually the waistband meant for her dad. Blooper…
 
The closing ceremony for the school before it breaks for the winter holidays in episode 23 falls on Christmas Day. Remember, Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan. Sawako’s original homeroom teacher returns so much so the class forgot who he was! Anyway this will be his last day as a teacher as he decided to help out with his wife’s business. A little farewell party after the ceremony and school’s off until the next 3 months. Sawako eats with Ayane and Chizu and after the latter duo help set her handphone, they plan to meet at the shrine on New Year’s Eve since Sawako mentioned if they are free. Sly Ayane convinces Sawako to call and invite Kazehaya to come with them quick or else he may have other plans. Though Sawako is nervous and her speech is messed up, at least she manages to sum up her courage and invite him. Of course he is coming. Can’t turn her down, can’t he? It will be a special day for Sawako too because it’s her birthday too. On New Year’s Eve, Ayane and Chizu come to Sawako’s help and help put make-up on her. Wow. She looks pretty. Better hold back those tears and emotions so as not to ruin the make-up. As they leave and before reaching the meet up point, Ayane and Chizu pull out and has Sawako go alone. Yeah, all part of their plan. But Sawako can’t withdraw since she was the one who invited Kazehaya. See how their plan all fits nicely? Sawako eventually meets Kazehaya waiting there. She thought he would be disappointed but he isn’t as they make their way to the shrine.
 
Sawako almost slips off the slippery snow covered steps in episode 24 but Kazehaya catches her in time and their face close enough to warrant a… Well, you know. They back off in embarrassment. Apparently our Chizu and Ayane are spying from a distance and aren’t too happy with the turtle-like development pace. Yeah, they even dragged Ryuu along. Chizu calls Kazehaya to tell him that they aren’t able to come due to ‘change in plans’ so the duo go get some amazake (a sweet drink). The stalkers continue their spying but see Joe. In order to prevent him from seeing Kazehaya and Sawako, they go talk to distract him. Thankfully his stupidity saves their plan from falling apart. After getting their drinks, Sawako learns it’s Kazehaya’s first time buying a handphone strap for a girl and also he is actually wearing the waistband gift under his shirt! Sawako decides to SMS Kazehaya for the first time. Then it hit him as he asks her birthday, in which she replied today. Fifteen minutes before the New Year, Kazehaya manages to wishes her happy birthday. Then they go on talking as Sawako tells her short summary of her life’s milestones on what she did and her hobbies. Sounds depressing in a way if you consider that she played those games alone. Then of course this year was the best year and the year of many changes for her because she got to meet and spend time with him. Ah, tears of joy.
 
As the duo reflect things that has happened during the year in episode 25, Kazehaya notes Sawako had changed in a good way. I guess Ryuu got bored playing hanging out with the girls’ spying game so he heads off. Ayane tells Chizu to go after him and her poor self is stuck with happy Joe. Broken hearts couple? He’s loving it, she’s not. Ryuu knows what Ayane and Chizu are up to but whatever they’re worried about, Kazehaya can handle it. True enough that guy and his gal are good together like how all of us would like to say. Chizu makes Ryuu stay with her longer. At the stroke of midnight, Sawako exchange "Happy New Year" emails with Ayane and Chizu. Sawako and Kazehaya go pray and then have their fortune read. It must be fate since Sawako’s read "Misfortune". But a side note says the person beside her is the right one and not to hesitate. Kazehaya decides to share his "Excellent Luck" fortune with her. Well, partly as his birthday gift to her and like he mentioned, he’s lucky to begin with. Yeah, spread the luck around. Ayane is finally relieved when Joe’s parents come to take him home. He’s so like a kid. I guess everyone around them just felt pity. Pin is nearby and I don’t know his problem with love or what because he’s in a bad mood and when he sees a couple of random guys trying to hit Ayane, he gives his intimidating scare to chase them away. Pin and Ayane aren’t happy to see each other and continue quarrelling on their way home. Kazehaya and Sawako leave and pass by the place where they first met as we see short clips of other characters. After Kazehaya walks Sawako home, we see his fortune reading note to offer his love that will lead him to happiness. Sawako feels she can’t just classify him as a friend but rather ‘someone she loves’.
 
I have to admit that though the series started out quite amusing but as it progresses, I just find it hard to keep that same enthusiasm. I was even having problems trying to focus and lost count of how many times I have yawned. I’m not saying that this series is bad or sucks but I should have expected that from a teenage romance drama. So where has the magic gone? Well, Sawako was a funny and amusing girl initially. She still is overall the same person right at the end so we have come to expect that at the passing of each episode and thus became ‘immune’ to her whenever she goes into that funny mode of hers. It’s funny though but the effect is less. Because of the nice people around her, we see good changes in her. She has become more open and receptive to other people. However she is still quite dense and simple in the bigger picture. You can thank the interaction of other people to her from her earlier years for that. It would be unfair to expect her to totally change from her typical behaviour in the span of 1 year but for those who have watched the series for half a year, I guess I don’t blame you if you feel that she’s the same old, same old. Sometimes her density of the obvious makes you feel like want to shake your head and laugh. Probably it’s her nature not to think badly of others. But I’m glad that Sawako is still the nice sweet girl she is despite her outer appearance to others. I just hope that the other classmates who shun and fear her in the beginning would become friends with her.
 
But the ending as I felt should have ended a little better. How much better? Like Sawako and Kazehaya confessing to each other face to face and officially become a couple! Yeah, maybe that’s too much to hope for. So I suppose it’s best for them to remain as they are now and take things at a little step at a time. The development of other characters is also quite satisfactory. In order for this series not to be totally Kazehaya-Sawako dominated, we have a little veering off towards Ryuu-Chizu. Kazehaya’s friendliness and popularity shows that he’s not just doing it to gain everyone’s favours as it is something natural of him. Who says nice good looking and popular guys should end up with equally popular girls? His case proves to be otherwise. Too bad Kurumi, you’d better find somebody else. I still loved that backfired plan that Pin thought she loved him. She so deserved it. Though she proclaimed herself as Sawako’s rival, I don’t see her doing much after her arc is over. Ryuu may not be the talkative or social kind of creature but his few words provides enough support and encouragement needed. Just as with Ayane and Chizu themselves.
 
The drawing and art are mainly simple so much so some of the background scenes felt like water colour drawing. I won’t go as far to say the characters’ drawing is too simple that it lacks details but they seem plain. However some of the art are nice for instance the snow falling which is quite spectacular in my opinion. Of course comical moments make those funny moments up a notch when the characters go into chibi mode. So it’s no surprise to me that Sawako has 3 forms. The chibi form in which she is in her dense/impressed/over-happy mode, the normal form just like any ordinary high school girl, and the scary form in which she resembles The Ring’s Sadako. I just wished Sawako smiled more like she did earlier on which caught everyone by surprise. The drawing for the title screen may show the cute chibi form but the way it is presented seemed to me like as though they are illustrations for children’s book.
 
Something about this whole series that somehow reminds me of another anime series, Bokura Ga Ita. Firstly, the drawing style, and then the genre of both animes. Next, both the lead male character has almost similar characteristics (like being friendly, popular and carefree) and so do the lead female characters. Well, almost in terms of their issues of trusting others or the other at first. The main female of both sides have 2 best friends to support and cheer them on. A little love triangle tussle that threatens the break up their relationship but in the end it still has to be the main boy and girl. Then in both series they have a character by the name of Yano. Of course I find out that both series which are based on the ongoing manga are by different authors. Maybe they’re just coincidence. Just like how Sawako seem to resemble Sadako?
 
Mamiko Noto plays Sawako to perfection with her various tones and moods. I guess her roles in other animes like Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo and Matsuri of Sola come in handy (there are too many other roles she played to name them here :). Seriously). She sounds cute in making Sawako during her dense and surprise mode, creepy during her ‘ghostly’ mode, choking when she’s sad or crying and otherwise her husky normal conversation tone. Other casts include Daisuke Namikawa as Kazehaya (Fye in Tsubasa Chronicle), Miyuki Sawashiro as Ayane (Shinku in Rozen Maiden), Yuko Sanpei as Chizu (Hajime in Natsu No Arashi), Yuuichi Nakamura as Ryuu (Tomoya in Clannad), Aya Hirano as Kurumi (Haruhi of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Wataru Hatano as Tohru (Yuuto in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Junichi in Akane-iro Ni Somaru Saka – initially I thought it was Shinichiro Miki who played Urahara in Bleach) and Yuuki Ono as Arai. The opening theme is the same name as this series and sung by Tomofumi Tanizawa. I may sound trivial but I noticed that the opening theme only lasts a minute long compared to the standard one minute and a half. No wonder when I was first listening to it, I got a feeling it ended so soon. The ending theme by Chara, Kataomoi, feels like a woman who has drank too much all night singing. Reminds me of Honey And Clover’s opening theme by YUKI. Man, at first I thought they were the same singer.
 
The lesson of this series is never to judge a book by its cover. A person may not be as bad as others perceived to be once you get to know the person better. Okay, sometimes it’s the other way round. But the important thing is that not to straightaway judge a person and come to conclusions based on one’s stereotypes before knowing him/her in depth. So people, are we ready to accept obese and plump people as swimsuit models? Are we ready to have a person with a face filled with scars, wearing an eye-patch and a broken set of teeth as our president? Are we all prepared to acknowledge a child prodigy who is half our age younger as our mentor or teacher? Am I ready to accept a girlfriend who looks like a cursed spirit? Erm… Eh… Urm… Ah… If she’s 2D, I don’t mind…
 

Kimi Ni Todoke