Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Karuho Shiina
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The heartbreaking story of a tomboy in love.
Don’t you love it when a manga-ka loves their characters enough that they dedicate more than enough time on fleshing them out to the point that they stop being merely bit players and become a big part of the main characters’ lives? Karuho Shiina has certainly made it clear that her characters, even the ones that normally end up being part of the background in other manga, should take the spotlight and one of them does in Volume 6 of Kimi ni Todoke.
Here is the case in point: Chizu, the rough tomboyish girl who favors jeans and a sporty jersey than a sexy skirt or cute dress. She’s been the-girl-next-door to Ryo since childhood and sees the tall guy as her brother but it’s a different story when it comes to Ryo’s older brother, Toru, who – at the end of Volume 5 – shows up late at night. Oh yeah, it starts off as a happy reunion but then the handsome Toru drops a bomb in the opening chapter of Volume 6.
You see, the older young man brings with him a charming and attractive young girl who he introduces to Ryo’s friends that include Sawako, Yano and Kazehaya. Toru then cheerfully tells them the other bit of news regarding said charming and attractive young girl that stuns Chizu and – hilariously – makes Yano and Sawako terribly uncomfortable.
In fact, the aftermath of this evening becomes one long and very uncomfortable turn of events that make both Sawako and Yano uncertain as to how to handle the situation. For starters, they know their friend is in pain despite the fact that she’s still acting like her old self. Yano isn’t the most comforting person and that’s because she isn’t use to situations like this. Meanwhile, Sawako has been socially awkward since grade school that she doesn’t even know where to begin in providing comfort to a friend who so badly needs it. It’s no wonder Sawako gets teary-eyed whenever she even thinks about Chizu.
In the meantime, Ryo approaches the situation another way. As we found out in the last volume, Ryo is in love with Chizu and he has even revealed his feelings for her to Sawako but those feelings – it seems – don’t mean much when the other person is oblivious of the fact. He awkwardly tells Chizu that he’s glad his brother came and dropped that bit of news on them for hopes that Chizu would forget about Toru once and for all. She responds by slamming into him and ignoring the big guy while totally missing Ryo’s reasons for having said that to her.
As it turns out, Sawako – in her own comical way – gets Chizu to finally let it all out. This helps the girl out but it’s clear that it will take a lot more than that to make her forget Toru. Her early memories are that of Toru who has always seen her as a cute little sister and always had time to comfort her or offer a warm smile. He was always dating but his girlfriends never lasted very long and Chizu saw this as a sign that he was destined for her.
In a tender moment, Toru takes Chizu out for a walk as the older boy reminisces of the moments he played big brother and, in a strange way, that walks turns out to be the closure she really needed. As for Ryo, Toru tells him something he always wanted to hear from him since Ryo is the one who is really in love with Chizu. Ryo also goes out to find Chizu as they finally have a peaceful conversation.
In the final half of the volume, it’s Christmas time and Kazehaya has a good idea to hold a Christmas party for all the singles out there who don’t have a date. He invites Sawako, which the girl reacts as if she were getting an invitation to meet the President. She’s excited, confused and amazed as she starts making her own presents for each of her friends. She even knit’s a warm cap for Kazehaya, although she is conflicted about actually giving him a gift.
Unfortunately, she finds out that her father is excited about spending Christmas with her and it makes it difficult for Sawako to ask permission to go to the party. She mentions not going in class and it seems to make Kazehaya rather disappointed by her decision. However, when the night arrives, a phone call to her house changes things in a wonderfully surprising way.
Volume 6 of Kimi ni Todoke is charming, funny and even slightly heartbreaking volume in this series that has remained a fun read since the first volume. It’s taken a small dramatic step but it never loses the comical edge that makes us love the characters. If Shiina-Sensei can keep this up, we will be Kimi ni Todoke fans to the very end.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The arrival of Ryo’s older brother, Toru, turns from a happy event to an emotional rollercoaster for Chizu who has had a monster crush on him since her early childhood memories of him. Sadly, Toru did not come back home alone and this fact devastates the girl. Meanwhile, Christmas is here and Sawako gets a very surprising invitation from Kazehaya.
And here I thought one of the many funniest sights in this manga was Sawako’s hilarious confused expression, here she goes making me laugh by trying hard not to cry.
As one of Sawako’s friends gets the spotlight, Volume 6 of Kimi ni Todoke manages to remain refreshingly funny but also surprisingly emotional as we learn a lot more about Chizu. It’s clear that Shiina-Sensei has much love for her secondary characters as well as our main protagonist and this definitely shows in this still very delightful shoujo series.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media