Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: NIS America
MSRP: $69.99 US
Running Time: 273 minutes
Rating: E (Everyone)
Release Date: Available Now
Love has its positive and negative sides but we can all get by with a little help from your friends.
It’s hard to make friends when you look like you came straight out of a terrifying Japanese horror movie when you try to smile and it doesn’t help that the entire school has spread a rumor that you can curse anybody just by looking at them. This was Sawako Kuronuma life until a boy named Shota Kazehaya decided to talk to her and open up a new world for her as she discovers a number of “firsts” including friendship. Now, in Volume 2 of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Sawako is about to experience something else that will have her at odds with another girl.
In the last volume of the series, a number of awful rumors have spread across the school like wildfire and most of it was directed at Sawako and her two new closest friends, Ayane Yano and Chizuru Yoshida. Of course, since Ayane and Chizuru both found out how Sawako truly feels about the pair, the two girls decide to look into the matter themselves as their investigation leads them to only one prime suspect we knew all along … Ume Kurumizawa. Unfortunately, Sawako thinks the beautiful and seemingly sweet girl is her friend.
Having hatched a plan to make Sawako look bad in the eyes of Kazehaya who she is so obviously in love with since junior high, Ume leads Kazehaya to where Sawako and his closes friend, Ryu Sanda, are talking intimately. Kazehaya is completely unaware that Sawako is talking to Ryu about new feeling stirring within her concerning Kazehaya while Ryu confesses his true feelings towards Chizuru. Unexpectedly, Kazehaya grabs Sawako and leads her away so they can talk in private … an act that infuriates Ume. Oh yeah, her plan has practically blown up in her face!
It is in this private moment together that Sawako comes to realize that those mixed up feelings she was telling Ryu about are something else even more special. Since Sawako never really experience what it is like to fall in love with a boy, she didn’t know what to make of it until now as she explains to Kazehaya that she and Ryu are just friends. Meanwhile, a very angry Ume is humiliated when the hilarious physical education teacher, Mr. Arai, comes to the conclusion that Ume is in love with him. Now everyone in school believes the girl has a crush on the teacher they all call Pin.
All things come into the open when Chizuru and Ayane confront Ume about her plans and the girl finally reveals the truth behind her plan. Defeated and humiliated, Ume finds herself confessing to Sawako who just can’t believe the girl was capable of such a horrible and selfish plan. It is through her tears that Ume explains why she had fallen in love with Kazehaya and – in a strange way – they both share the same reason why they are so attracted to him. Oh yeah, Sawako not only loses a friend but gains a rival.
As Sawako continues to relish her friendship with Chizuru and Ayane, she finds herself getting closer to Kazehaya and looking forward to seeing him whenever she can, which – thanks to her two close friends who realize the truth about Sawako’s feelings – is becoming more frequent. As they hang out together one evening, a moment between Sawako and Kazehaya almost becomes a clumsy first attempt at both revealing their feelings.
While it’s still a blast to see how the relationship between Kazehaya and Sawako unfolds, Volume 2 focuses on another interesting relationship that practically steals the show. You see, in the first volume we find out that Chizuru has always considered Ryu to be something like a brother since they grew up together. Somewhere along the line, Ryu has developed feelings for the tomboyish girl but has not gotten around telling her for one major reason. You see, Chizuru is in love with Ryu’s older brother, Toru.
As it turns out, Toru shows up when Chizuru, Sawako and Ayane show up at Ryu’s place. The girl is excited to see him but the joy of seeing the boy she loves turns to disappointment when Toru drops a major bomb. Chizuru should be devastated by the news but – as Ayane and Sawako could see – the girl acts as if nothing happened. Hilariously, Ayane and Sawako want to comfort the girl who seems to be in a state of denial but just don’t know how to go about it. Instead, both girls cry and call themselves useless each time they see Chizuru.
However, both girls get good advice from Kazehaya that tells them sometimes the best thing to do is to just be there for a friend and nothing else. As it turns out, Toru shows up again as a flood of memories come crashing down on both of them and Ryu as we look into the relationship between the three. This is, quite possibly, one of the best parts of the series as it does not fail to convey genuine emotion and despite the heartbreak this part of the story even contains plenty of the humor we have come to expect from the series.
Finally, the series shifts back to Sawako and Kazehaya after the Chizuru story comes to a close as Christmas is here and Kazehaya suggest that they should hold a Christmas party for all the single students in their classroom, which is the majority of them. Sawako wants to go but she can’t quite bring herself to ask her parents since her father is excited about having a little family Christmas. However, Kazehaya wants to see her but will that alone be enough for Sawako to tell her parents she wants to spend the holiday with her friends and Kazehaya?
This second volume continues to be just as endearing as the first chapter in the series and that’s actually a very good thing. Once again, it is the characters that are part of what makes the series such a joy to watch and the humor that is never zany or over-the-top crazy. Yes, this is a shoujo series but it never shoves the romance elements in our faces but, rather, gradually has us realize how the characters feel about each another.
As a result, Volume 2 of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You deserves a place among your collection, romance-comedy fans, and for many reasons too. It certainly won’t change the way we look at this genre but there’s much to say about a series that puts characters and story first and adds plenty of humor to its sweet romantic theme. If the first volume didn’t convince you this is a great series then this one will certainly do the trick.
BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ume’s plans to make Sawako look bad in the eyes of Kazehaya blow up in her face as Ayane and Chizuru’s investigation into the matter turns up the truth behind the beautiful girl. Meanwhile, Sawako comes to a realization about her feelings for Kazehaya as her friend, Chizuru, becomes heartbroken when Ryu’s brother, Toru, drops a major bomb when he comes t visit. Also, with Christmas coming up, will Sawako get a chance to celebrate it with her new friends?
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Still a very visually pleasing series that looks absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray just as it does on DVD; the series captures the endearing artwork of the manga and that is a very good thing. If you have the means, this series deserves to be seen on an HD setup.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting in the series is still topnotch with Mamiko Noto, Miyuki Sawashiro and Yuko Sanpei being the voice actors that stand out among the great voice cast. The music is still perfect for a shoujo series and the opening and closing theme songs are not only sweet they’re downright catchy.
The Premium Edition, of course, comes in a lovely two-sided collectible packaging and both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the series. There are a few extras on the discs themselves such as a few NIS America trailers but the best extra continues to be the hardcover book containing character artwork, scenery collection and episode synopsis.
Volume 2 of Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You never once loses its charming and genuinely fun sense of humor and continues to be a series that never tries to be anything different. Instead, relies on its great story and delightful cast of characters that never come off as one-dimensional. Trust me when I say that this series is one fans of the genre will not be disappointed by in the very least.
Review copy provided by NIS America