Don’t look into her eyes…
Poor Sawako Kuronuma just can’t seem to make any friends, no matter how hard she tries. Her naturally creepy appearance has had kids calling her Sadako (the evil character from “The Ring”) for so long that she can’t even remember the last time someone called her by her real name. That is, till the most well-liked boy in her class, Shota Kazehaya, extends an olive branch. He alone sees how hard Sawako works as class rep to take on all the unsavory tasks to spare her classmates a hard time and how much she tries to be friendly and kind to people. Because of this, and some discreet meddling on his part, slowly Sawako’s classmates begin to open their eyes and look past her ghostly appearance and creepy smiles to the shy and kind girl she really is. And Kazehaya’s interest in her is more than more kindly friendship, but Sawako is a little slow on the up-take and idolizes his ability to charm people and his positivity. Misunderstandings are in the forecast in this budding shoujo story on both the part of our unlikely heroine and those around her.
From the author to you.
Like most shoujo manga, Kimi ni Todoke’s art focuses mainly on the characters rather than dramatic scenes and backgrounds. (This is generally because they’re more dialogue-heavy than shounen series.) Karuho Shiina’s art style also isn’t entirely unique in the world of popular shoujo titles, although it does have it’s own flavor when combined with the story. It’s reminiscent of The Wallflower, only minus Sunako’s brand of intentional creepy and host of beautiful guys. The author also includes little side panel blurbs and mini-comics within the volume about her life and the creation of the book, as well as a brief afterward at the end. And the good editors at Viz have added cultural clarifications at the end of the book and a nifty page of stickers of chibi versions of the characters.
From Me (the reviewer) to you.
As I mentioned before, Kimi ni Todoke distinctly reminds me of the Wallflower in that its heroine is not a wishy-washy school girl—though Sawako is a little thick when it comes to recognizing Kazehaya’s feelings—out to score a boyfriend or fall madly in love with the first boy introduced in the series. It starts out simple in that she merely wants to become a good person that people will want to be friends with (that’s the part where it differs from Wallflower). It’s a refreshing change of pace from other popular shoujo titles in that respect, though there will still be the obligatory jealousy and catty behavior on the part of other girls in the series. It’s a cute story and starts slow, which is good for readers who are tired from falling in love with a manga only to be given repetitive stress disorder from the onset of the first chapter. This also gives Kimi ni Todoke a higher chance of being read over and over. The artwork is good and the stickers are a nice added touch, but I could be biased. All in all, this initial volume is worth the time to read and will be the start of an enjoyable series to add to your collection.