Kimi ni Todoke 2 Episode 7 – Assigning Blame
Last review I was perhaps a little hard on Sawako, putting the blame for her disastrous conversation with Kazehaya squarely on her shoulders. However much she might have an excuse for it, given her natural inability to accept other people might like her, her mixed signals have led Kazehaya to the inescapable conclusion that she just doesn’t like him that way.
But Kazehaya also hasn’t been as straightforward as he needs to be. He too is in uncharted territory, trying to confess to a girl he likes, and after years of being the popular one who all the girls fawned over, he has to face the fear of rejection himself, for the first time. So his confession was far more abbreviated, and far more vague, than it should have been—ultimately leading to the entire school being confused about who was rejected by whom.
For that matter, there was also the mess made by Miura, whose good intentioned attempt to woo Sawako wound up sowing more seeds of doubt in her mind about Kazehaya’s intentions. Watching the ensuing fallout from their last conversation, he’s begun to consider that Kazehaya might have feelings for her.
Of course, he blurts out his correction to her in the middle of a crowded school hallway, where the entire student body can hear, leading to another hasty denial from Sawako about how she and Kazehaya aren’t together, just as Kazehaya walks into earshot. It’s horrible timing all around, and probably goes a long way toward discouraging Kazehaya from trying to clarify things.
The point, however, is that Kazehaya is getting prodded by Pin, and very subtly guided by Sanada, to think about expressing himself more directly. Certainly, his initial confession to her came with enough qualifications that given its context there’s going to be some confusion involved.
The most crucial context is that of Sawako herself, who needs to be constantly reminded at every turn that she is valued, and worth being valued. Ayane and Chizuru’s pep talk at the end of last episode was all about encouraging those feelings, but this episode makes clear she hasn’t taken those lessons fully to heart.
But if Sawako is unused to praise, she is naturally accepting of blame, which Kurumi—whose attempts to win Kazehaya away from Sawako took up most of the first season—is perfectly willing to dish out. Kurumi hasn’t been a major presence this season; having been officially rejected by Kazehaya and aware that he loves Sawako, she’s left the couple to their own devices. But she is enraged by the prospect of Sawako just giving up, without having properly admitted her feelings to Kazehaya, as Kurumi did.
It’s hard to tell how much of this is coming from a genuine regard for Kazehaya’s feelings, and how much from frustration at losing in love to a girl who can’t even be honest with herself. Regardless, her complaint with Sawako again reinforces the advice the latter received from her friends last time: Nothing will be resolved as long as she stays silent.
Honestly, it feels like nothing has been resolved for a bit too long, even though the core conflict of the last three episodes have covered a period of barely 24 hours. The bright spot is that I can’t think it will last much longer—all the key figures have had their say now, and it only remains for Sawako to take their advice to heart.
And despite my annoyance at the slow pacing, Kimi ni Todoke at least refuses to let things remain completely static. Unlike many successful romance series, this show never settles for just maintaining the status quo; the purpose to to tell a story, not preserve a cash cow. Relationships are always changing and dynamic, even if sometimes they wind up marching backward. One gets the feeling like a show like Maid Sama or Ookami-san could go forever, if the authors were so inclined.
Not so here. Here a relationship either moves forward or falls behind; either an effort is made to support and develop it, or it slowly comes apart. Since the beginning of her junior year Sawako has been unable to advance her relationship with Kazehaya, and now it threatens to unravel. She knows it, and knows only she can stop it.
Since this is a romance series, and not real life, we know that she will; a happy ending is guaranteed here. (In fact, a happy ending is basically guaranteed in all the series I am now covering, something my co-bloggers cannot say with confidence.) The only uncertainty is if Kimi ni Todoke will get to that happy ending with the same care, craftsmanship, and respect for human emotion at its best and worst that have characterized the series. And I honestly don’t have much doubt there, either.