Kimi Ni Todoke: Volume One Premium Edition
by Amber Burnham
Now available from NIS America
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Kimi Ni Todoke (From Me to You) is a slice of life high school drama so full of dramatic emotions and sappy dialogue that it is great! Watching it as an adult, you remember what it was like to be a teenager. If you are a teenager then you will be able to relate to the events, no matter what culture you are. The nature of the themes can speak to anyone in any culture; making friends, finding happiness, and budding romance. While there are situations that deal with Japanese etiquette specifically, like calling people by their given names, even if you are not aware of the societal implications you will still understand the scene. This is not to say that the themes of the anime are completely superficial. If that were the case, while watching Kimi Ni Todoke you would not feel a great connection to the characters. Through all the drama and romance there are deeper themes such as bullying, loneliness, and what it means to truly accept someone as your friend.
Kimi Ni Todoke is the story of a high school girl, Sawako Kuronuma, who is misunderstood by her peers and this causes rumors to be spread about her. Sawako has been given the nickname of “Sadako” due to her close appearance to the character in The Ring. Along with the nickname come more rumors. Rumors like Sawako can see ghosts or if you look into her eyes for longer than seven seconds something terrible will happen to you. The truth is that Sawako is a shy naive girl who has been lonely for so long she doesn’t know how to make friends.
This first part of the series sees Sawako slowly learning to make friends and become accepted by her classmates. Much of this change is due to one of Sawako’s classmates, Shota Kazehaya. Kazehaya is a popular boy who also happens to be really kind and sees something in Sawako that others don’t. He befriends her and this leads to others doing the same. Now Sawako has another problem; how is she supposed to act with friends?
The four-disc, Blu-ray/DVD Premium Edition of Kimi Ni Todoke comes in an 8”x11”x1” beautifully simple cardboard cover-box along with a 28-page, full-color, hard cover book. The book is entitled “My Memories” and is set up much like a scrapbook. It contains gorgeous snapshots from the show, both scenery and character. The writing in the book comes straight from the dialogue in each episode. The book is split into small sections that pertain to each episode. Although they use pictures and dialogue from each episode, they do not give away the plot. It feels as if you are looking at a scrapbook Sawako put together herself. After reading this you feel even closer to her as a character. The book is not just supplemental material for the anime but to your emotions.
Amber Burnham has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Kendall College. She is also a regular panelist on Kichicast, the all-girl, Chicago-based podcast devoted to anime, manga, and Japanese culture. You can listen to Kichicast at kichigi.com.
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