Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Karuho Shiina
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Beware of girls with fake smiles.
There was a time that everyone in her class thought Sawako Kuronuma was a walking curse but, thanks to Kazehaya and his small group of friends, the girl who looked like she stepped out of a Japanese horror flick has learned to open up and trust those around her. All seemed to be going well until she met a popular girl who – in Volume 4 of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You – is forcing our girl to reveal her true feeling for the boy who made her life so much better.
In the final chapter of Volume 3, a pretty girl named Kurumi who happens to not only be popular but also seen as the nicest girl in school “befriends” and asks Sawako to help her win the heart of Kazehaya who this girl had a major crush on since Junior High. While she likes the girl well enough, Sawako refuses to help her and things quickly turn sour as the seemingly sweet Kurumi shows her dark side. While she wants to come off as menacing, Kurumi becomes enraged when Sawako just doesn’t get that she’s angry with the oblivious girl.
So begins a most unusual rivalry with one party trying hard to get her way and the other still believing the other is a good friend. With the sports festival underway, Sawako surprises everyone including Kazehaya during girls soccer game. In a hilarious turn of events, Sawako loses a shoe during the match and as Kurumi is about to explode with anger that Sawako is speaking comfortably wit Kazehaya the shoe drops from the sky and smacks Kurumi over the head.
During her break, Sawako hangs out with Kurumi who has come to watch Kazehaya play baseball and is quick to insult Sawako and tells her to learn her place. Kurumi makes it clear that she feels she is the right person for Kazehaya and asks Sawako what he really means to her. Of course, Sawako isn’t able to give her an answer. What does Kazehaya mean to her? Is it more than just respect and gratitude for all he has done for her? Kurumi uses Sawako’s confusion against her and even more so when a wild pitch nearly hits Sawako but is grabbed by Ryo …. Kazehaya’s friend.
Pushing Sawako to thank Ryo for having saved her, Sawako learns a lot from the silent young man who tells her about feeling as well as a secret about the girl he has always loved. Meanwhile, Kurumi takes advantage of Sawako’s little meeting with Ryo by leading Kazehaya to the spot where the two are talking. Kazehaya had wanted to be the one that saved Sawako from the stray pitch and now she is talking to Ryo. This is too much for the young man as he grabs Sawako by the arm and runs away with her to Kurumi’s horror. There’s a nice little scene between Kazehaya and Sawako that makes it clear that Kazehaya is getting serious in what he wants out of his relationship with Sawako. It’s just too bad that our girl doesn’t get his meaning.
Meanwhile, after Yano confronted Kurumi and asked her about the person who spread rumors about her and Yoshida as well as some ugly rumors about Sawako, Yano and Yoshida begin their own little investigation to find proof that it was Kurumi behind the vicious lies that gave them all such bad reputations. Once again, Yano and Yoshida prove to be not only fascinating characters but also the highlight of this series. You just can’t help loving these two girls.
In the final chapter, the truth behind Kurumi is revealed. It’s certainly no secret at this point that she is a dastardly girl who has manipulated people and situations to obtain her ultimate goal of getting Kazehaya to like her. While she was successful in starting a campaign to keep all other girls away, she fails miserably (and comically) with Sawako who finally realizes something about her feeling towards Kazehaya. At one point, Kurumi’s attempt to get closer to Kazehaya is spoiled by the hilarious teacher the students call Pin who thinks Kurumi has a crush on him.
When Sawako joins Yano and Yoshida who reveals Kurumi’s plot, our girl still isn’t capable of hating the girl even though Kurumi isn’t going to let this go. While she loses this round, it looks like Kurumi will be around as Sawako’s enemy. Oh yeah, this is some great drama.
Volume 4 of Kimi ni Todoke finally injects some drama into this lighthearted story and the fact that it doesn’t lose its great sense of humor in the process makes this an even more endearing manga series. A rival capable of deceit and a hatred for Sawako adds something new to this series that continues to be way too much fun to read.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Sawako refuses to help the attractive and very popular Kurumi win the heart of Kazehaya who she has been longing for since Junior High. Unfortunately, Kurumi sees Sawako as an obstacle as she sets up a plan to try to get the clueless girl out of her way by any means necessary. Meanwhile, Yoshida and Yano think that Kurumi isn’t as sweet as she seems.
The expressions on Sawako’s face still kill me every time and even more so when she fails to understand what’s going on and watching her rival seething with anger because of it will not fail to put a smile on your face.
Sawako has come a long way in this series and even more so now in Volume 4 as she comes to terms with her feelings for the boy that changed her life. Kimi ni Todoke is just getting very interesting as the girl nobody wanted to talk to stands up for her true feeling against a rival who is actually quite devious in her attempt to get Kazehaya’s attention.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media