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.

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.

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.

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.

Sukitte Iinayo OVA

November 22, 2013

For those hoping to see any sort of love developments between Yamato and Mei in Sukitte Iinayo OVA, be very sorely disappointed. I’m not even sure why they made this OVA in the first place. Perhaps it is the trend these days to boost DVD sales or to bundle with another volume of the manga. I would have understood and accepted even if the OVA had nothing to do with the original storyline and maybe something nonsensical (don’t put too much hope on it either) but this one was just mind boggling. There is nothing much that happens in this OVA unless you want to count time wasting as one of its intention.

Nagi, Asami and Aiko are at Mei’s place to bake some cookies. Because it is going to take some time, Yamato is told to kill some time elsewhere. So happens he gets a mail from Kai to hang out at the playground they once frequented when they were kids. They think back about the old times and Kai had this thought always bugging him. Since he himself isn’t popular, he always can’t wait to leave school for this place. But he noticed that Yamato despite being popular, always come to this rundown playground too. Yamato himself doesn’t know why. Maybe he likes the place (obviously, duh). Yamato thinks he was like a chameleon. He was anxious he had no personality of his own outside of adjusting to others. So he started coming here to lie down and look at the sky. It made him feel relaxed. Kai says he once hated this town. Not anymore. Maybe it’s because having people around him somehow readjusted all that. Yamato remembers when Mei said she didn’t need any friends, he felt sad himself. It felt like Mei had some emptiness within him when that happened. Kai calls him a simple guy and is glad he told his feelings.

Later Kai meets Megumi waiting at the bus stop. He tries to strike up a conversation with her but she isn’t too enthusiastic about it. It’s like as though she can’t wait for her friend Momoko to turn up so that she could whisk her away from this annoying guy. They talk about Yamato and about the modelling job that she is having and I don’t know how they ended up having an argument with Kai leaving. So when Momoko finally arrives, Megumi heaves the biggest sigh ever and complains she had to put up with Kai and all. Momoko thinks she’s trying to put up a brave front to seem cooler and that they make a cute couple. Megumi regrets saying some harsh things to him so Momoko has an idea and gets pushy in convincing her to go apologize to him although Megumi gave several excuses why she can’t (like she doesn’t have his handphone number, etc). Kai is walking around and he wondered why he had to alight the bus when he saw Megumi waiting at the bus stop just to go talk to her. Regretting it? Now he probably has to walk all the way home.

Yamato has returned, just in time to taste Mei’s cookies. Looks very fragile. Very. Despite so, he gives the thumbs up. It goes to show never judge a book by its cover. Later Mei’s mom sends her daughter out with Yamato to do some errand. I guess this is necessary seeing that we just spend almost the entire OVA with Yamato and Mei apart so it’s fair they get some fair share of the screen time no matter how small it is. Yamato hugs Mei and tells her how lonely he felt without her. He is happy to have met her. What’s the occasion for saying this? Nothing, really. He just felt like he wanted to. Is there something he wants to tell her? Well, he told her all that he wanted. Yamato notices the beautiful sunset glow over the town. He thinks the scenery is beautiful because Mei is here. They continue to make their way holding each other’s hands.

Say I “Yawn” You…
Eh? What? It’s over? Really? Phew. What a relief. That last bit of romance didn’t do much justice to Yamato and Mei. But it’s better than never showing it either. Somehow it should have been more because we know how close they are and are hoping they would get even closer, not just a few minutes like that. We wanted something more intimate for God’s sake. Even if it won’t cross the explicit line, at least something to convince us and make it memorable in the long run that there is some improvement going on. I’m sure we are confident that their love will grow but seeing that this OVA is made, we expected to see something tangible too. And what do we have here? The first part some male buddy talk, the middle part it’s like Kai and Megumi trying to reconcile but didn’t go so smoothly and that last bit just to remind us what this show was really about. No progress, no development, no excitement whatsoever. I guess not every kind of love you encounter will be exciting. There are boring days and there will be mundane days where nothing much happens. Maybe sometimes love can’t be expressed in words or even in shows. This OVA wasn’t it.

Sukitte Iinayo

July 27, 2013

Have I seen this somewhere before? Let’s see. Unpopular girl and very popular boy fall in love and become a couple. Doesn’t this sound familiar? If you thought that this sounds very much like Kimi Ni Todoke, then you are right. On the surface. Sukitte Iinayo is another one of those shoujo genres in which the hot looking guy whom every other girl would dream and die for to be his girlfriend, takes an uncanny interest with a girl whom almost everybody shuns. I know. You’re going to tell me either opposite attracts or the power of love or something like that. I mean, it would be so boring to see two popular and pretty people become couples and fall in love, right? But out unpopular girl here doesn’t look like she came out from a popular Japanese horror movie. She looks like any normal girl. Due to her bad experience with friends, she vows never to have one as she believes they will only betray her. All that is about to change when this guy takes an interest in her. From there, we see their relationship changing and love blossoming as she gives life and love another chance.

Episode 1
Mei Tachibana never believed in having friends. Not after her traumatic experience how she was blamed for the class’ pet rabbit’s death during her elementary school days. She ignores all the b*tchy remarks by other girls that she is on a streak of being boyfriendless. At Tomei High, Yamato Kurosawa is probably the most popular guy around. Kenji Nakanishi is his close friend but is a pervert. Asami Oikawa, those humungous boobs define her. That’s what everybody does. Asami prefers to run into arms of Yamato instead of Nakanishi. She invites him to go on a karaoke outing. Yamato accidentally bumps into Mei but she gives him the cold shoulder and walks off. Later while the other girls are busy gathering around Yamato about a mixer, Nakanishi feels naughty and starts flipping short skirts. Little did he know, he flipped Mei’s. She gives him a roundhouse kick but kicked Yamato instead. He blocks it with his palm. She gives her piece of mind before leaving. Yamato despite shocked at first, bursts into laughter. After school, Mei discovers lots of pins in her shoes and an angry note wanting her to apologize to Yamato. Yamato apologizes for Nakanishi’s behaviour but she’s not interested. However admits he is interested in her. She doesn’t care. He wants to trade handphones. Numbers, that is. Think she would just give it to him like that? He gives her a piece of paper containing his and is expecting her to call. She passes him a band aid for his palm. After Mei finishes her part time job at the bakery, she goes home and starts pondering about Yamato’s gesture. She believes he will betray her. Next day in school, Yamato pesters Mei about last night. He was really waiting for her call. She shows him her handphone has only 2 numbers: Her home and bakery store. She reveals her distrust in others and how they would find a scapegoat and look things the other way for their convenience. Mei leaves the bakery late that night and she realizes somebody stalking her. She panics and runs into a convenience store to hide. She calls home but her widowed mom isn’t home. Which number is left? Reluctantly, she calls Yamato. And thankfully he picks up because it was just about his turn to sing in the karaoke. He rushes to her side and learns that stalker is still out there waiting! 35 minutes… The stalker is a regular customer of the bakery. Yamato buys an ice cream and leaves with her like as though they’re a couple. When the stalker confronts them and asks Mei who this guy is, Yamato confesses he loves her and kisses her! Enough for the stalker to lose interest and walk away. Mei just stood there stunned. Her first kiss…

Episode 2
Mei joins Yamato and his friends in the karaoke. She doesn’t want to sing and causes a scene. She leaves. Yamato goes after her. Mei remembers she was surprised he came to her rescue because she never expected him to come but he was happy to be of her assistance. Mei thinks it is okay to trust him a little and that kiss was just a reason to get her out of the sticky situation. In class, Asami quickly becomes Mei’s friend and gives her a matching furball handphone strap as token of friendship. In the toilet, Asami can tell that Yamato kissed Mei. She’s cute so it’s no wonder. What does that mean? Asami has kissed Yamato before too. A couple of bullies walk in and tease Asami of her huge melons. She just ignores them and leaves. Mei admires Asami that she could shrug something like that off. Of course she doesn’t particularly enjoy it. Guys used to tease her a lot about her boobs to a point she wanted to stop going to school. However Yamato told them off how disgusting they were staring at every girl’s breast despite there’s nothing wrong in liking big boobs. That’s her first meeting with Yamato. He always worries about others before himself. She likes him but they’re over. She asked for a kiss and he did it. Probably he was nervous. There’s also this rumour he kissed every girl in school except for one: Miki Arai, Yamato’s first love. Back home, Mei’s thought is heavily clouded with this Arai girl. Yamato calls to ask her to come with his friends to the karaoke. She asks about Arai and the rumour. They’re just that: Rumours. Since Arai is coming, Mei doesn’t want to go. At school, Mei looks a bit like a stalker, stealing glances whenever she can when she sees Arai. At the toilet, she hears the bullies badmouthing Asami and tells them off.

Yamato wants to know how Mei got that hideous bruise on her cheek and who did this to her but she says she fell down from the stairs. Asami accompanies Mei to the infirmary and so happens the bullies decide to play hooky here. They start badmouthing Asami about her boobs. Nakanishi happened to walk by jump to Asami’s defence. He goes on ranting about his love for big boobs and got stimulated. Unintentionally he hurt Asami’s feelings despite he didn’t actually mean what he said. Mei says that even though he thinks big boobs are great, it’s still his opinion. Doing whatever he wants will eventually end up hurting someone. Thinking he has a special place in Asami’s heart since he is more open about his feelings, she advises him to be honest with her. Nakanishi meets Asami and apologizes. He cares for her. He loves her. He loves everything about her and the things she does. It makes him happy for the rest of the day and wants to be the first person to see it than anyone else. With that, the duo become a couple. Yamato is at the karaoke with his friends. Arai heard that rumour of his and tries to convince him to give her one because it’s not fair everybody got one except her. Yamato takes a breather outside and what a pleasant surprise, Mei is there. Like a stalker. What’s with the getup? So she’s concern he would leave with Arai? I guess he’s more interested in her. Yamato didn’t like Mei talking about Arai the whole time and kisses her. This only upsets Mei. What reason does he have this time? Does he go around kissing everyone? A kiss can hurt a girl. A kiss without feeling doesn’t make anyone happy. Then here comes a barrage of kisses. This one is for greeting. This one is for a cute girl. This one is for wanting to go further with her. And lastly, this one is for the girl he has feelings for. He asks if she loves him and will give her a serious kiss if she doesn’t answer. Mei is confused. Her heart races each time she thinks of him. That means she loves him, right? Yamato gives her a serious kiss. Mmm… Tastes like chicken… Karaoke food…

Episode 3
Yamato wants to accompany Mei to go cut her hair. He calls it a date. She doesn’t. But why did she spend a long time to pick a dress to wear? Is she really going to a haircut? Even her mom thinks it’s a date and wishes her good luck. Along the way, Mei notices lots of girls fawning at Yamato’s handsomeness. Even some scouting agency approached him but he declined. Mei feels inferior and thinks it’s an embarrassment for him to hang around someone as cool as him. She doesn’t know him well enough so he holds her hand and suggests they start acting like a couple. Didn’t know how warm his hands are, eh? Yamato comes across his old friend, Masashi Tachikawa and Aiko Mutou. They are going bowling and Aiko seeing her ex-crush is with a plain girl, insists they come along. Think Mei is going to suck in bowling? She scores a strike on her first try! Apparently she tried it before when she was young. She’s a natural talent. Of course Aiko has been putting up a sulking mood ever since so on the pretence of buying drinks, she goes talk to Mei. Because Mei isn’t sure if she’s in love with Yamato, Aiko tells her off that so many girls are after him and yet she is so half hearted. She can’t even fathom why Yamato chose Mei over her when they had sex. She tells him to stay away from Yamato if she doesn’t love him. That statement dealt a heavy blow to Mei. Her next bowl ended in the gutter and she calls it quits. Aiko tries to stop Yamato from following her but I guess he’s with Mei today. Aiko continues to ponder what is so good about Mei because she would have done anything for the man she loves. Flashback reveals she bought lots of make-ups and accessories to beautify herself for her ex-boyfriend even if it ruined her skin. Till the first time she met Yamato and he pointed out she looked cute even without all those make-up. That was the first time anybody said that to her. When she found out her ex was cheating of her, she broke down and sought Yamato for comfort. She took advantage of his kindness and ended up having sex. She even went on a diet for Yamato’s sake and would do anything to be beautiful.

Yamato finds Mei sitting in the rain and knows Aiko has said something to her. He brings her to show her a wooden wall being patched up. He once punched and made a hole here. Back in those wild days, his school had lots of bullies and fights. Yamato blended into his surroundings so as not to be targeted. One day his best friend became a bully victim and soon everyone shunned him including Yamato. When nobody was around, Yamato finally talked to him but it was too late because he transferred the next day even though he was happy that he did. He felt stupid and got so upset he couldn’t do anything and punched that wall. He hated himself. Mei claims she wasn’t good enough for him but in actual fact, Yamato feels he is not good enough for her. Mei is the one to say because she talks about friendship above looks and should trust people more. Did she look in the mirror recently? Well, she claims Yamato made her that way and she wants to try trusting others. Yamato admits he fell in love with her kick. Seriously? What? Noting that this is terrible timing, he asks her permission to kiss. Okay. They walk back hand in hand. Too late for a haircut now. Yamato thinks long hair suits her. Mei realizes that when she’s with people, there are some things that aren’t the same when she was alone. Just like herself, Yamato too had his own scars. It’s time she stands up and faces them.

Episode 4
Yamato gives Mei a bracelet as symbol of their love. Mei’s popularity seems to have skyrocketed in school as rumours of her dating Yamato are going around. Yamato’s friend, Kakeru Hayakawa wants to treat them for lunch simply because he wants to see his girlfriend. Mei treasures her bracelet so much that when the teacher tried to confiscate it, she hit his head with the world map and run away! But she’s glad he didn’t take it. Yamato kisses her hand but it makes Mei feel bothersome to do such things easily. Yamato tells Mei about his friend who wants to meet her and thinks it’s nice if she has more friends. Hayakawa and Aiko chat. Aiko remembers when she was dumped by her ex, Yamato told her not to waste the effort she put in to attract him. If that’s the case, she wants him to sleep with her and since she insists on it as it will make her feel better, one thing led to another. Of course she didn’t intend to make it a one night stand. She tried to confess her feelings to him but this Mei problem cropped up. Yamato tells Hayakawa that Mei is only free on Saturdays. Hayakawa agrees to meet on that day as he deletes a date he got set on that day. Irresponsible jerk… So Hayakawa treats them to quite a meal. Mei wants to pay her share and Yamato wants to help chip in but Hayakawa insists guys should always be the ones who pay. Yamato explains Mei is nervous around new people but has gotten better in making friends. Hayakawa offers to exchange numbers and that he could have Mei make more friends via his connection of his. When Yamato leaves to answer a call, Hayakawa tries to flirt with her and suggests getting closer with him. Though he says he doesn’t intend to destroy her relationship, he thinks some guy friends for her will be good. That’s when Mei deletes his number from her handphone, pays her share of the food and leaves for home. She doesn’t need friends like him and feels disgusted being alone with him. Yamato returns and finds Mei gone. Attempts to call her turn futile. When he learns what Hayakawa said, he punches him. He won’t let his comment that Mei is just another girl slip. Mei is his! He tells him off she isn’t the kind of girl that would fall for a scumbag like him.

In school, Hayakawa talks to Aiko on what happened. He thinks the weird ones attract each other and that Yamato must have gotten weirder ever since meeting Mei. Aiko tells him off that he doesn’t understand. He gets upset everyone only cares about Yamato so Aiko says Yamato doesn’t make shallow friends like him. Hayakawa brings up the topic that Aiko was once fat and disgusting. She hurt herself just to lose weight and Yamato won’t even look at her hideous body. Mei overheard it all and reveals about Hayakawa’s bad eating habits. She adds he is much more pitiful than her. Hayakawa pushes her and leaves. Mei reveals she doesn’t like people badmouthing others. She understands the problem Aiko went through losing weight but she isn’t going to get friendly yet. It’s not like she knows exactly the pain she went through. Mei is thankful that Yamato gave her a chance. She feels human now rather than her lonely pitiful life before. Now that she has deeper feelings for him, she doesn’t want to lose those feelings to her. Aiko brushes this so called declaration of war because Yamato dumped her a long time ago and she is free to do whatever she wants. Later Mei talks to Yamato who regrets letting her meet Hayakawa. Mei asks if he really had sex with Aiko. He affirms it because he can’t leave her alone then. She would’ve gone crazy then. Also, he wants to be honest with Mei. He promises he won’t do it with anyone anymore. Except her. Nothing his bandaged hand, she kisses it to make it feel better. That’s because even though everyone has their own scars, his was the scar that protected her. This scar was for her. She won’t forget these emotions and will not be afraid to get hurt. They both huddle close to each other.

Episode 5
Mei sees an abandoned cat but she can’t take it home since she already has one, Marshmallow. Yamato is confident somebody will pick it up but Mei tells him not to take this lightly because it is life and death situation for the kitten. Seems Yamato adopts the cat and that night he is having trouble with it so he calls Mei for help in his panic. Mei was a big help and Yamato is very much relieved. Now that his family has accepted Kuro (the cat’s new name), Yamato is really going to take care of it and not giving it back to its original owner if he/she has a change of mind. He suggests Mei to come to his house with Marshmallow so that their cats can play house. Mei meet Yamato’s little sister, Nagi. But she doesn’t like Mei and doesn’t think she is worthy to be his girlfriend. Does she have brother complex? Inside his room, Yamato hugs Mei from behind and wants to stay like this for a while. He hopes she can address him by his first name but she can’t. Not just yet. That will do for now but one day he’d like to hear her say “I love you”. Nagi comes in and sees them. She misinterprets Mei is assaulting Yamato and freaks out! Yamato explains to her but she still isn’t convinced. She throws her stuffed bunny at him and locks herself in her room. Yamato apologizes for Nagi’s behaviour and mentions she used to be nicer. She started acting weird about half a year ago and even stopped inviting her friends. Flashback reveals Nagi happily used to have her friends over. She enjoyed their company. One day she can’t let them come over because relatives were visiting. Then she heard them say that if they can’t come over to eat free snacks and play all the games they want, there’s no use in becoming her friend anymore. She started making excuses to skip school and Yamato really wanted to help her out. He gave to her a stuffed bunny and told her she can talk to him if anything was bothering her. The bunny she named Yamato #2 became her best friend.

Mei notices the delicious cake Nagi made. Yamato explains this isn’t the only thing she is good at. In fact she is good in making lots of things. Just then Yamato gets an urgent call from Nakanishi to pick up something. Since he can’t say no, he promises to be back in a jiffy. Mei waits in his room, noticing Marshmallow and Kuro are in some standoff. Mei goes to give Yamato #2 back to Nagi. She praises her baking so Nagi lets her into her room and shows her all the stuffs animals she made. Mei is impressed but also gives her account of the first cookies she baked that turned into a ‘weapon’. Weapon? It broke her father’s teeth… Learning Yamato #2 is her best friend, Mei says that she too is trying to make more friends. She used to be alone and hated others. But after meeting Yamato, she realizes that the most important thing is not to reject people because one day you can share your troubles with them. Mei realizes she left the cats alone and rushes back. To her relief, they are sleeping comfortably by each other. Nagi gives her a stuffed bear. Mei is confident she can make friends again. When Yamato rushes back he sees not only the cats sleeping together but the girls snuggled closely to each other. Wow. What happened? Whatever it was, he has Mei to be thankful for.

Episode 6
Nagi teaches Mei how to bake cookies. She won’t forgive her if she fails to impress Yamato. Even Mei’s mother can tell she is doing it for her boyfriend although Mei tries to cover it up. Megumi Kitawa, the famous model from Dessert Magazine makes a surprise debut at Tomei High. Can she waltz in just like that? Well, everybody is too stunned to say anything but stare at her. Isn’t that what models are for? To look at. Seems she will be transferring to this school. Nakanishi takes Yamato to have a look at her. Yeah, she’s like some big deal. But guess what? When Megumi and Yamato meet, seems they know each other. After school, Megumi waits for Yamato outside the gates. She is straight to tell him she fell in love with him at first sight and wants to be by his side. She doesn’t care if he has a girlfriend or not. Huh? She thinks they’ll be super hot. Well, this is what Yamato thinks. He too gets straight with her that he has no interest in shallow girls and leaves with Mei. Next day, Megumi profusely apologizes to Yamato for stepping over her line. Yamato also apologizes that he said too much. She wants to be his friend and he sees no harm in treating her like his other normal classmates. Yamato and Mei walk home and though Mei didn’t ask about his past with her, Yamato thinks she should be more sceptical. Of course by looking at Mei’s body reaction, we can tell that she’s not that happy to see Yamato and Megumi interact with each other. Mei bakes her cookies and the first thing she did was to strike it with her hammer! It crumbles! At least it proves it isn’t hard as rock. But what about the taste? Nothing?! Back to the drawing board. One day, Megumi tells Yamato that her agency is looking for a male model and since they are short of one, she hopes Yamato could help fill out temporarily. At first he wasn’t interested but after so much pleading, he can’t say no to a friend in need, can’t he? So just this once. Megumi invites his friends to come over and watch them. Well, we know Mei doesn’t really like it but can she say otherwise? On the day of the photo shoot, Megumi and Yamato dress up and had their makeup on. Mei, Nakanishi and Asami are amazed at how pretty Megumi is. Now here comes the true star Yamato! He’s so dazzling so do you need sunglasses? The shooting begins and the theme is for them to act like couples. The staffs are pretty excited they look good together and the shots are wonderful. They are just natural. Like as though a real couple. But Mei is feeling otherwise. Despite the happy atmosphere around him, she feels lonely, inferior, that Yamato is moving away from her as tears stat welling in her eyes.

Episode 7
Yamato is getting popular ever since he debuted as a model. But that’s going to be just one off, right? Apparently it doesn’t seem like it. Megumi begs to Yamato that her chief really liked him and wants him to consider continuing working for the agency and will be paid like other models. Though reluctant, he asks Mei’s opinion. Despite her encouraging words to give it a shot for the exposure, her tone of her voice doesn’t seem convincing. Before Yamato goes off with Megumi for work, he cheers Mei up that he will text her. Mei becomes anxious girl awaiting his text. Any call or mail that comes in, she jumps in hoping it is Yamato. And disappointed when it is not. Yamato had wanted to text her but Megumi kept distracting him. She even invited him home to her house for dinner. He agrees to come for dinner each time they finish work. Is it to keep her company since she says her mom works late and nobody is around? So when Mei gets Yamato’s first text of the day, she became so happy. This trend continues and Mei accepts it since it is part of his job. But slowly it is starting to get to her as Yamato and Megumi are suspiciously too close together. It’s like he isn’t defensive of her anymore. Then Mei heard rumours that Yamato is seen coming out from Megumi’s house. It causes her on the verge of tears. Asami knows something is wrong but Mei won’t say. Till Aiko tells her off Asami was just trying to help her and if she wanted to just cry it was nothing, she’d be better crying alone. Asami apologizes for being pushy because she too sensed that Mei had something wrong when Yamato first modelled with Megumi. She wants to return the favour and help her back. Mei relents and tells about the rumour. Asami gives her advice while Aiko speaks from her own experience. In short, it is ultimately Mei who has to take action because she is the one who is in love with Yamato. Mei realizes she really loves him and soon walks up to Yamato and kisses him! She didn’t say anything! Don’t need to state her reason? Did she catch this from him?

Episode 8
With tears in her eyes, even the densest guy should know something is wrong. So he walks home with her today and they stop by the park. Mei really wanted to know what is going on with Yamato at Megumi’s place but she couldn’t ask. Yamato says Megumi wanted him to continue modelling and since he looked good in it, he asks her opinion. I suppose it was her chance to tell him to stop. But she couldn’t. An ambiguous answer that it’s his choice. Yeah. Maybe he thought if he continues, he would get a surprise kiss from her like that. She asserts she is not that kind of person. Of course it’s not what he is expecting. Mei notices that Yamato for the first time lets go of her hand when he got up to leave. She sinks into further depression that it is so obvious. Asami gives Mei a limited edition key chain from Nyako Sama Land and says Yamato has one too (was given by Nakanishi). Just when Mei is settling down to believe in Yamato, then those rumours surface again. This time the magazine prints the interview with Megumi and she states that she is in love with a guy. The one who is modelling with her. Guess who? Back to depression zone. Asami wants to help but Aiko says Mei will come to them when she needs help. Otherwise, it’s better to leave her alone. Later Aiko talks to Yamato to show him Megumi’s interview. The rumours has spread in school and reached Mei. Though Yamato asserts they had nothing going on, Aiko tells him to put himself in Mei’s shoes. What if she goes to another guy’s house without telling him? How would he feel? Mei has been worried about him since he started modelling. She’s been keeping it to herself all this time. Yamato rushes off to clarify this to Mei in person. But she’s not picking up her phone so he goes to her home. However her mom says she has not returned from school yet. He calls Megumi that he can’t attend today’s photo shoot due to an emergency. Oh dear. See that unhappy face she puts on.

Seems Mei went to her bakery part time job instead. A young punk walks in. After making his selection and is about to pay at the counter, he catches sight of Mei’s key chain. Instantly he grabs her hand and squeals in delight the limited edition key chain she has. He goes on ranting on how he loves Nyako, blah, blah, blah. He hopes she could give it to him. However she can’t because it is important to her. He apologizes for his rudeness. As he leaves, he introduces himself as Kai Takemura and will be transferring to Tomei next week. Oh. Why do I have a feeling how this will turn out? When Mei leaves, she can’t help think about Yamato. She is so in love with him and breaks down she doesn’t know what to do. It gets worse when the bracelet breaks. Did she rub her tears away too hard? That’s when Yamato finds her. He sees her sad face. Her dead face. Instantly he hugs her and apologizes. Mei tells him she loves him and is always on her mind. He is the only thing she cares about. She blames herself for making her friends worry and becoming worse by the minute. He blames himself for making her feel this way. Then he tells her everything. From his pit stop at Megumi’s place and to how Aiko opened his eyes. He asserts there is nothing going on between them. He sees the broken bracelet and picks them up. Mei helps him as she realizes they are both amateurs in love when he hugs her in tears.

Episode 9
Yamato tells Megumi he is quitting this modelling job because he doesn’t want to make Mei feel isolated anymore. Megumi feels devastated but nothing can change his mind on his number one priority. Asami and Aiko can see Mei is feeling much better than before. When Asami turns down Megumi’s offer to follow her to the shoot today, Aiko can tell she is still baiting people and completely ignoring Mei. Mei realizes Megumi still has feelings for Yamato. Yamato goes to buy a gift while Mei goes to work at the bakery. Kai makes his visit again. Care to give that Nyako Sama Land key chain again? You better be kidding. He tells her about a rumour that if she writes a wish on a yellow ribbon and tie it to that key chain, if her lover has a matching one, their love will come true. From Mei’s reaction, he can tell she has a boyfriend. Even the bakery manager is surprised to hear this. Yamato picks Mei up after work. She notices his consideration when his shoulder gets wet while he holds the umbrella for her. She offers him to dry back at her place. After he gives her a gift, a matching set of rings, things could have gotten steamier if not for Mei’s mom returning home. So they both get to know each other and mommy is quite delighted. So happy that Mei met such wonderful person that she starts crying. No kidding. Asami and Aiko continue to tease Mei of this ‘engagement ring’ and feel happy for her. The only one not happy is of course Megumi. As Yamato and Mei talk, they are surprised when Kai walks up to them. It seems Kai and Yamato know each other. Upon seeing their Nyako Sama Land key chain, he realizes Mei’s girlfriend is Yamato. Later Yamato explains who Kai is. They were once in middle school together but transferred away. He can’t believe he has returned. Remember Yamato’s friend who got bullied real bad back then? Yup. That’s him. Kai visits Mei at the bakery once more. Noting that Yamato has told him about his bully case, he reveals his goal of returning: To get revenge on the bullies. He has toughen up and even held back a year at school. Mei feels revenge won’t settle anything. Relating herself as a bully victim, she recently made friends. Even if it takes a long time, she wants to make the bully see who she is. Kai is adamant he will change things his way. Kai nervously waits for the bully and manages to identify him. When he bumps into him, the bully seems panicky and rushes away. Kai is left in shock wondering if he had forgotten all about him. Was he an insignificant victim? Then he starts thinking about Mei’s words and it opened his eyes. When Kai bumps into Yamato along the way, despite knowing he is going out with Mei, Kai says he likes her. He can say that with a smile to his (ex) best friend? Well, Yamato pulled out a shocker face indeed.

Episode 10
Asami is surprised that Mei hasn’t told anybody that Yamato is her boyfriend. When Kai comes into the picture, Asami asks if he would tell the world if he has a girlfriend. He asks back a question that if she would rather go to Nyako Sama Land with friends or her lover. Kai sees Megumi receiving Nyako Sama Land gifts from her admirers. Apparently they know each other. Does he want those gifts? Well, Megumi is willing to give it to him but he won’t accept since they’re given by her fans. She iterates she doesn’t like that place although she lied in her interview she loved it. She then gives him tickets to Nyako Sama Land. She got it from her agency. She thought she’d be able to get close to Yamato if she gets close to him but she changes her mind and will do it on her own. Later Megumi tells Yamato she overheard Kai inviting Mei to Nyako Land Sama. Yamato thinks she has misheard but how come he looks worried? Megumi continues to get praised by her friends, fans and fellow models. Clearly we can see she’s putting up a façade to be happy. She remembers hurtful comments on how her friends said she had to stand at the back of the group in a photo shoot not because she is tall but rather she is the ugliest. When Mei walks back with Yamato, suddenly that guy seems angry. He asks if she has confessed or hang out with any other guys. And if she talks such things to anybody else other than him. Woah. What did she do? Mei is left bewildered. It’s like role reversal. When Mei sees her friends talking to Megumi, she decides not to join them despite they invited her. Plus, I think Megumi is giving her that “Get the f*ck off, b*tch” stare. She becomes disheartened to think that she is back to where she was. She feels lonely again and this time she is scared if everybody starts going away.

Kai passes by her and is shocked to see her crying. Initially she brushes it off as nothing but he isn’t going to let her go if she doesn’t speak up. She tells him about trying to distance herself from everyone so he advises her to take a step forward if she is determined not to lose somebody. Mei manages to speak to Yamato although he is reluctant to walk back with her, he eventually agrees. Another day, Kai walks together with Mei after her work. She thanks him for the advice as it gave her confidence. Kai hints there is a girl he likes. She changed him. Does the personality he described about her sound like Mei? Finally he lets her know that girl he likes is Mei. Yamato heard rumours in school about Kai giving Mei tickets to Nyako Sama Land. As Kai apologizes to Mei for doing that, Yamato confronts them and is upset that Mei is going to Nyako Sama Land with him. Kai explains Mei was feeling sad and wanted to cheer her up. How could Yamato not realize she is feeling sad? He thinks he has never changed at all. Though he is thankful for what he did but his hypocrisy drove him away. He was jealous of him. Like as though he fitted perfectly with the bullies and it pisses him off. Yamato wanted to punch him but Kai got a clean hit on his face instead. Kai says he is much stronger than before and although he is happy in a way Yamato didn’t change, he can now stand up to him. He understands what Mei went through and won’t expect him to know how it feels since he had never gone through any trouble. Yamato counters that if this is his goal to get better than him and getting close to Mei so that he could beat him, it is all the reason why he won’t hand Mei over to anybody. He might not know what Mei went through but he wants to show her the wonderful things she missed and share those experiences with her. Kai relents that if he loves her than he should just say so and not make her worry like that. He explains he likes Mei as a person and apologizes for punching him. If it had not been Yamato, he wouldn’t have returned. After Kai leaves, Yamato apologizes for making Mei feel lonely. She too does the same for hurting his feelings without realizing. Yamato invites her to go to Nyako Sama Land together as he pulls her hand to hug her. She can’t wait for that day.

Episode 11
Mei and Yamato are planning to spend a night at a hotel at Nyako Sama Land. Meanwhile Kai confronts Megumi and chides her for bullying Mei. She tells him off he is the one to say especially confessing to his friend’s girl. He would rather be honest than lie because if their friendship falls apart because of that, it wasn’t worth anything to begin with. He wonders if she really likes Yamato as she is doing things roundabout instead of straightforward. Maybe she doesn’t like him. Maybe she doesn’t like anyone. All she cares about is being popular. He doesn’t like people who use excuses to put others down and should put in this much effort into her job. Asami and Aiko are trying to decide what gift to give to Mei and Yamato for their trip. I guess Aiko was being practically. Just get them a condom! Megumi butts in to invite them to an after-fashion event party. Since Aiko turns her down, Asami follows. In Megumi’s mind, she’s narrating how she puts up a different mask all the time even if she doesn’t want to. Megumi is still persistent in asking them to come so Aiko tells her off they are not her pets. So when Megumi is in a karaoke party with some of her other friends, she spoils the mood when an uninvited girl turns up. Apparently one of the guys invited her. Everyone then leaves because she invited them and wanted to treat them. Yeah. They’re not even friends. While Megumi is in her backstage room, she reads spiteful comments from Dessert Magazine fans about her. She leaves without notice and goes to the convenience store to buy all the snacks. She wonders what it will take to be happy.

Megumi remembers a boy telling her how pretty she is even without makeup but she didn’t believe him. She thought it’s his ‘job’ to say how cute she is in this situation and bets he never thought so. So why is she working so hard to put on this act to make everyone happy and protect her image when everybody isn’t? Mei meets Yamato at the train station before they set off to Nyako Sama Land. Yamato seems to be enjoying the rides but Mei is terrified but holds it in. I wonder how many has she gone through. She wants to do things he enjoys with him. Halfway through, they come into Nagi. She is so happy to see Mei that she ditches her other older brother and tells him to go home! She’s got Mei and she’s happy with that. I’m sure she doesn’t want Yamato to hog Mei. Look who is talking? Mei is happy that someone looks forward to see her. The trio continue their outing. Megumi’s friend, Momoko Sasano is outside her home and tries to talk to her. But Megumi has shut herself in and tells her to go away. She’s in a mess. Yamato and Mei retire to their hotel room. Nagi is dead tired and a heavy sleeper so rest assured they can get a little naughty. To most they’ll go is hugging each other closely on the couch. I guess Mei was so tired that she knocked out soon after. Next morning she finds herself in bed and Yamato cheekily said he did something naughty to her. What was it? Hugging her tummy. Suddenly Yamato gets a call from the editorial department of Dessert Magazine. They can’t seem to contact Megumi who is missing.

Episode 12
After leaving Nagi in Mei’s care, Yamato rushes down to Megumi’s place. Not even he can change Megumi’s mind. Megumi lashes out that everyone wants to take advantage of her and not care about her. So stop acting like her friend if you’re going to betray her in the end. Doesn’t she sound like a certain person before? Yamato hints that certain person he knew was once like that and believes there are others who really want to help her. Nothing will change if she locks up herself. Finally Momoko’s words got through her. It doesn’t matter if nobody looks at her after putting so much effort, to her she is always the best and always looked up to her. Megumi remembers Momoko has always been by her side. She finally gets herself out and hugs her friend. All’s well, ends well. However it isn’t happy ending yet because Megumi becomes the target of indirect bullying. A price to pay for what she has done to others. Megumi makes up with Asami and apologizes for lying to her for her own benefit. Asami knew it all along and does not hate her because her invitations and all made her happy. Megumi promises to stop pretending to be someone else as she has learnt lying only hurts herself and others. She won’t try to make others happy and be herself. She cuts her hair to make a fresh start and stops reading comments on her fan’s website. She’ll ignore anyone who wants to stab her in the back and move forward. Mei and Yamato meet up with their friends early for the festival. Mei wonders if she should have worn her yukata but Yamato views her as cute enough as she is. Because Asami overate and has stomach discomfort, the friends disband and call it early for tonight. When Mei returns home, her mom is frantic because she had tried to contact her. Seems she has taken leave early so she can help Mei put on her yukata. But didn’t she come back from the festival? Then go again. I suppose putting on a yukata is tough because the fireworks are already starting. By the time the yukata is done, Mei texts Yamato to meet again and rushes to the festival grounds. Can she make it? Too bad everything is already over. But the good news is that Yamato is there waiting for her. Surprise to see her in that lovely yukata? I guess this was all worth it, eh? Better than the fireworks. They both hug and share a kiss.

Episode 13
Yamato is absent from school as he catches a cold. Mei starts feeling guilty that it is her fault for making him wait too long during the festival night. Nagi is giving Yamato lots of heavy stuffs to eat. It’s her way of letting him recover back his nutrition. Plus, after hogging Mei the other night, it’s now her turn to hog him. I guess she isn’t going to let go of big brother yet. Mei’s friends can see how gloomy she is and encourages her to go visit Yamato. Even her mom does the same. Nervous Mei texts to Yamato but Nagi confiscates his handphone and calls her. She tells Mei that Yamato doesn’t want to see her. Mei truly believes that and her guilt meter increases further thinking she is the cause of it. Whenever Yamato wanted to get closer to her, she shoved him away. Is it any wonder he is upset? Or so she thinks. She prepares to return home. Asami knows Mei has cold feet and calls her to check up on her. So when the friends learn what happen, each have their turn to say why she should go back and visit him. The stinging one is from Kai. Even though he doesn’t know what is going on, he tells her she should know well by now Yamato won’t really say that. Mei makes a u-turn. As Yamato laments what Nagi said to Mei, suddenly his handphone rings. He quickly snatches it from her hands but to his disappointment it is Hayakawa. He is calling him because he wants to tell Yamato something important. He is seriously in love and is done hopping from one girl to another. Wow. He really changed. And that girl he loves works at the bakery. Oh wait. Doesn’t Mei work at the bakery too? Yamato starts to panic that it makes this scene freaking hilarious! The suspense music only serves to enhance the funniness! Yamato is freaking out all the what ifs. Well, he even thought the girl Hayakawa liked is the bakery manager! Not possible, right? So it has to be Mei! He thinks she is done with him for being a pervert on several occasions. Calm down dude!

Mei is outside Yamato’s home and is still contemplating whether to push the button. She hides behind the pillar and sees a boy with flowers in his hand. Seems he is here to see Nagi and worried about her for skipping class. Just like Mei, he too is nervous and wonders if Nagi would consider him a bother. Mei tells him only he knows Nagi’s feelings. He gets the confidence to ring the bell and Nagi happily greets him. In that instance, Yamato takes this chance to sneak out to go see Mei. And they missed each other! She was hiding behind the pillar and he just rushed straight without looking anywhere else! So close… At the bakery, he is relieved to see Hayakawa with his girlfriend who works at the bakery and Mei’s colleague. I saw this coming. The bakery manager is fascinated to see Yamato since she recognizes him from the magazine. She wants to give him freebies and is told to wait. Then Kai comes into the picture and will help cover for him. Yamato is surprised he knows what is happening and thinks he is stalking Mei! Haha, very funny. The cold must be getting to his head. He heard everything from Asami lah. After Mei witnesses the beauty of love between Nagi and that kid, she calls Yamato. Unfortunately, his handphone ran out of batteries. Oh God. So precise timing. This causes Mei to think he really hates her. Feeling down, she goes away and happens to wander into town, the place where Yamato first met her on their first outing. And finally! The duo meet! They both emotionally hug each other and apologize. We see snippets of everyone’s successful love life and it ends with Yamato and Mei kissing at the bridge.

A Reason To Live, A Reason To Love
Seems like there is a happy ending for everyone in this show. Almost everybody we see ended up being a couple except for Kai and Megumi. Maybe these two should pair up too, eh? They even throw in a surprise for Nagi’s case too. I know. I won’t like it if it suddenly ends hanging or the couple splitting up. So the safest route is a happy ending despite being boring and plain. Overall I guess everything is pretty fine for a shoujo genre. The powerful and universal theme of love conquers it all. As seen how it changes everyone involved for the better. Mei who started out as anti-social quickly changes into someone who seeks the warmth and company of others especially in Yamato. Although she is still nervous about making new friends and new people, at least it is better off than before. She doesn’t seem to have much trauma about her past anymore. Just that she fears of slipping back into it. Otherwise, I could say that Mei is on the right track of fitting back into society. Although there will be lots of room for improvements. We can attribute Yamato in helping Mei come out of her shell but that is only half of the credit. The other credit goes to herself. For had she not summon her own courage and will to do it, she wouldn’t have experienced such new things as she did right now.

Yamato is an amazing guy. Despite his popularity, he doesn’t seem to drown in it and maintains a cool head. Falling for Mei not only changed her but it changed him as well. Even so, he wasn’t that all perfect. When Mei started to improve and open up, Yamato started getting a little insecure when Kai turned up in their lives. He too has his own scar of the past. He too makes mistakes. But he learns from them and grows stronger. You can say that Yamato and Mei perfectly fit each other and with each other’s support, they’ll grow stronger and love each other more and more as the days pass. Sometimes I find the pair of Yamato and Mei a little funny. Maybe it is because they are amateurs in love so it is amusing to see them interact. Especially Mei who is still shy and blushes whenever cool Yamato tries to get closer to her. But that’s good experience, right? And then the last episode shows us that Yamato too can be a joker when he somewhat goes crazy thinking that Mei doesn’t like him anymore. Real funny pair. But being amateurs in love there’s no need for them to rush into love. Take their time, one step at a time. That way, they’ll enjoy every bit of their romance.

I just thought that the flow of the story towards the end, especially the appearance of Kai and Megumi felt like little side distractions. Their arrival puts Mei and Yamato’s relationship to the test but somehow I just don’t feel the pressure and tension on it. Maybe for a while but after that it was like nothing. Kai’s confession to Mei was just admiring her as a person and nothing more. No love triangle ever formed in the first place. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Megumi has been using indirect tactics to break up Yamato and Mei so it doesn’t feel like she is obviously directly involved in plotting their breakup although she is the responsible one behind it. She realizes her wiles aren’t going to make her happy. She punishes herself. Friend comes to talk her out of it. She opens her eyes. Decides to live her own way. Indirect love triangle ends. Problem solved. Yamato and Mei’s relationship back on track. Asami and Aiko seem to be getting along with their respective boyfriends as well so nothing alarming happening from their side. In short, the side characters seem not to have a major impact on Yamato and Mei. Once their issue is over, they become friends and hang out. Besides, you can pretty much guess the typical shoujo pattern and outcome. Girl or boy enters into the main protagonists’ lives. Tries to win over his/her affections. They fail. The end. Seems stereotypical, eh?

Everyone has their own tragic past and problems of their own. I suppose this series is trying to highlight the fact that bullying still exists even as young as kids. That’s why when you get traumatized, discriminated or ostracized at such an early age, you tend to grow up with some sort of disturbing mentality. Good case as seen was in Mei. However even if everyone had their own issues, it felt like they were somewhat easily solved. Though I have said Mei doesn’t seem to be that traumatic of her past, it is yet to be certain whether she has overcome it totally. Besides, how can a guy she just met at school and interact a little more than others suddenly change her mentality about not wanting friends in her life? Yeah. Thank the power of love. Asami also had her own issues being teased by bullies but after Nakanishi steps up for her and everything, you won’t really hear her experiencing such problems again. It was like she wasn’t really that bothered with the teasing. Or maybe it’s a good thing she shouldn’t be at all and let the past get to her head. Aiko too did what it takes to get the guy she loves to love her back. After she realized Yamato won’t love her back the same way he does for Mei, it’s time to move on. After years of trying to make Yamato hers and she easily gives up after Mei’s arrival? Well, she already knows it is futile, right? There is also the issue of trying to impress others. In the case of Megumi, she had been lying to herself and acting what others would love to see in search for ultimate happiness. Did that work? She realized too late and somewhat exploded into meltdown mode. She suffered this long and it took a few minutes of her friends’ words to convince her to change? Too easy, don’t you think? Well, Megumi is a smart girl and she knows sulking won’t do anything but give her enemies more salvos to put her down. Why bother to listen to her haters in the first place?

Kai was bullied so bad that he had to transfer out and Yamato felt guilty he couldn’t do anything about it. Then Kai came back after so long just to get one stinking revenge on this big bully. In the end, the bully doesn’t even recognize him or at least acknowledge him. Heck, you don’t even see that bully anymore after that. Like he never mattered at all. Well, he never really did anyway. Whatever happened along the way to that bully to make him change doesn’t really matter but at least we know he wasn’t that big bully he was before. At least this shows he has a conscious. Back to Kai, when they bully ignored him, so where has all that preparations ended up as? Can he so easily forget the grudge by just remembering what Mei’s words? Too easy, no? Despite Kai playing it cool, the revenge has been building up inside his heart so when he’s got that chance, it doesn’t seem realistic that he would throw it away just like that. But it proves that Kai is a good guy and deep down, he perhaps doesn’t wish for revenge and just some sort of trial to overcome himself. Even Nagi had her own problems regarding friends and ended up not going to school. She relied so much on Yamato that if this was a love comedy, you can picture how extreme her brother complex will turn out. Even at the end despite accepting Mei, she still wants a piece of her onii-chan. So does that tell us she still has brother complex? You thought you had seen the last of Hayakawa and then suddenly that guy pops up in the final episode just to tell us he has changed over a new leaf. Wow. Truly the power of love working its magic. A guy who had been flirting around his entire life suddenly finds the true love of his life. So you see, whether it is bully victim or trying to put up a facade for others, it can lead to lots of problems. But do not fear because love will save the day. At least for this anime. Say, what happened to Arai? You know, Yamato’s supposed first love? I don’t remember seeing them break up. Wasn’t she trying so hard to get him to kiss her? After that karaoke outing, she’s never heard of again. Like she really does not matter anymore, huh? I thought girls like her wouldn’t give up so easily especially when you’ve got the most popular and good looking guy as your boyfriend. Boyfriend? Well, maybe those were just rumours. First love doesn’t necessarily translate into being lovers.

Just like in any other shoujo genres (or most of them), the drawing and art of the characters make them look really gorgeous. Beautiful people. Heck, almost everyone including the extra minor characters can be good enough to be models. However I just thought that the round doe-like eyes of some of the girls are slightly a little bigger. I know animes’ trademark have their characters with wide sparkling eyes but this one I feel is slightly larger than the average. Just short of that sparkling effect. This show isn’t for kiddies so you won’t see the chibi and cute drawing, thus the art of the characters are a little more realistic. I won’t say it really bothers me but it so happens that this is what I felt when I first glimpsed at the art and drawing. Zexcs is the studio production behind this anime and they also made several animes with good looking people in it such as Fortune Arterial, Da Capo, Chrome Shelled Regios, Legend Of The Legendary Heroes, Sister Princess Repure and Umi Monogatari.

Ai Kayano as Mei seems perfectly casted for her character. There is this shakiness in her voice which indicates to us that she is still vulnerable despite slowly getting her confidence back in society. Her soft spoken nature sounds a bit like her role as Kikaijima in Medaka Box and Inori in Guilty Crown. When she flusters or panics, she sounded like Mayaka from Hyouka. Other casts include Takahiro Sakurai as Yamato (Suzaku in Code Geass), Minako Kotobuki as Megumi (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Risa Taneda as Asami (Kaoru in OreShura), Yumi Uchiyama as Aiko (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Tomoaki Maeno as Kai (Fujimoto in Kobato), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Nakanishi (Taichi in Tari Tari) and Mariya Ise as Nagi (Levy in Fairy Tail). For a shoujo genre filled with drama, I noticed that there are a lot more other casts playing various minor roles or extra background characters throughout the series. Normally people won’t really notice if you used the same seiyuus for such multiple roles and though some of them do that, the rest I saw were just one off unimportant characters that probably had no significant impact on the show or the kind that are memorable. I mean, would you believe me that there are around 40 seiyuus just for this part?

At first I thought Mei’s seiyuu was the one who is singing the opening theme song, Friendship ~for Sukitte Iinayo. You know that soft spoken voice just like the protagonist. It turns out to be Ritsuko Okazaki instead. That was the same voice who sang the opening for the anime series Fruits Basket. Now I remember. Then by accident I stumbled upon something on her. Ritsuko Okazaki had already passed on a long time ago back in 2004! That’s almost a decade ago! How did they record this song then? As I found out, Friendship was one of the songs released under the anime Love Hina original soundtrack. Why do I suddenly feel so sad? Sure, the slow and calming ballad and her sweet voice may bring tears to anyone’s eyes upon hearing this piece but just knowing that the singer is no longer around perhaps enhanced that sadness effect despite I won’t consider the lyrics to be that sad. Similarly I thought the ending theme, Slow Dance was sung by Yamato’s seiyuu. Once again I am proven wrong as this pop rock outfit is sung by Suneohair. Their trademark drowsy voice somewhat reminds me of their ending theme they sung in Honey And Clover.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview isn’t exactly a next episode preview. Well, you can see a big red ‘X’ crossing out those words on the top. It feels like Mei’s personal space to rant about her feelings, worries and the issues she is facing currently. I guess it is that age where teenagers go through such teen troubling moments. This segment also serves as Marshmallow’s come back lines on Mei. Sometimes it sounds protective over Mei (not wanting to hand her over to Yamato), sometimes it sounds selfish (it wants its food! Now!) and sometimes it is just bumming around, lying here and there, walking across with nothing much ado. I suppose Mei can’t really hear the thoughts of her cat so you can consider Marshmallow’s wishes ignored. Mei and Marshmallow’s movements in this segment feels like computer generated so it is a little odd to see the way they move. A little stiff and unrealistic. Who cares about that as long as their feelings are real.

Watching this had me thinking if I would find someone like that who could change me from an otaku into a more responsible person. I’m still waiting… If only I had the guts to get out of my room and start living the real life. Looks like that isn’t going to happen any time soon. It would take a miracle for me to do that. Still prefer 2D girls over 3D ones. Haha! In the event if I do ever get my first girlfriend, I would definitely want to bring her to a candy store or chocolate station during one of the dates. Because if I am going to get my very first kiss, it will taste as sweet as honey or with that chocolaty flavour. Because I don’t want it to taste like chicken…

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