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Danielle Leigh’s Reading Diary — Kimi Ni Todoke vol 3

Today’s romance comic, Kimi Ni Todoke: From Me To You, features a simple but moving story about a group of young people getting to know and care for each other

Kimi 3

Although set in high school, it would be reductive to call this title “a high school romance.”   While yes, there is a charming and delightful romance budding between two characters, it is also incredibly rewarding to watch a character like Sawako — who has been alienated from her peers thanks to the perception that she is one weird little puppy — evolve and learn how to engage the people around her.

Volume 3 takes a tried and tired theme in shojo manga — the backstabbing “frenemy” (see Peach Girl for one of the most vicious examples) — and makes it shine.  The calculating rival in question is in reality just a girl who wants to get close to a handsome, popular boy who happens to be wild about our newly reformed heroine Sawako.  The girl isn’t evil incarnate, just a pretty normal example of a teenager who thinks she can work the insecurities of the people around her to get what she wants and by doing so only ends up revealing her own.

There are a few things that are absolutely refreshing about Karuho Shiina’s version of adolescence.  First, girls can be supportive of each other.  Revolutionary concept, right?  Well, sometimes it actually is in shojo manga. Second, Sawako is such an innocent she does not even know when she is being manipulated…which kind of makes her bullet-proof in shojo-manga-land.  She relies on that little voice inside of her that tells her what is right, even if others try to convince her otherwise.  In other words, Sawaka might be my emotional superhero!

If all of this sounds a little too perfect and free of conflict, I must stress how Sawako’s slow but sure journey is so damn inspiring.  You end up rooting for her all the way and while her obstacles may not be shojo-tastic, i.e. melodramatic and crazy-making, they are completely relatable.

Review copy provided by Viz.

6 Comments

I absolutely love Kimi ni Todoke. Hell, my friends may laugh at me when I do read it, but inside, they know that they’re missing out on something very lovely. You’re right in that it does sorta go over well-treaded ground in terms of story, but then again, I’ve read so little shoujo manga in general, that it doesn’t seem that old and cliched to me.

I will admit the art style isn’t perfect in my opinion, but I still like the clean and simple way it’s drawn. It’s like a blast of sunshine reading this; it’s such a treat.

Okman — as I tried to get across, I think this title makes shojo very “fresh” so that even if other titles engage in similar plots, there’s always the sense that those tropes are completely new here. And your friends really ARE missing out.

Yeah, this title is very much “a blast of sunshine”! :-)

An anime adaptation of this series is currently airing in Japan, and it’s just charming. It’s lost a bit of momentum after the “frenemy” arc is resolved, but I love the side characters (Yano, Yoshida, and even Pin).

JD — I’m pretty sure this will be licensed but who knows (I can’t believe the Skip Beat! anime hasn’t been licensed yet!) but I’m definitely on board if it ever is.

Pin is a wackadoodle for sure…

It depends on how it does overseas. Hopefully it’s DVD/BDs sales are high enough for it to catch the attention of someone on this side of the world.

[...] kind of thing is said over and over but – if you aren’t reading Kimi Ni Todoke yet, you should [...]

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