Home > Episode Reviews, Kimi ni Todoke > Kimi ni Todoke 2 Episode 11 and 12 – All’s Well that Ends Well

Kimi ni Todoke 2 Episode 11 and 12 – All’s Well that Ends Well

Kimi ni Todoke aired its last two episodes back to back, and while the circumstances that led to this move are less than fortunate, it helps so far as the narrative is concerned. Neither of these two episodes are strong enough to stand on their own, but together they form a proper, if somewhat unusual coda to the show.

Given that last episode saw Kazehaya and Sawako finally come together, the audience might wonder what left the show has to do. The answer lies in the unique way in which the two lovebirds’ relationship has played out. The pair are not just any high school couple; both are campus celebrities whose names are known to everyone on campus. Their struggles to discern each other’s feelings have always occurred against the backdrop of student expectations—and no one save their closest friends expected this.

Sawako pasted notices around her room to remind herself that it wasn’t a dream when she woke up the next day. Even she needs convincing that it’s real

Accordingly, episode 11 is about first their class, and then their school, learning about and adjusting to the knowledge that two of the most untouchable students on campus (Kazehaya too far from every girl’s reach; Sawako too creepy for any boy to approach) are not just dating, but dating each other. The class’s after party for the cultural festival is already buzzing with rumors about them before they arrive.

Kazehaya, again, has to set the record straight, which doesn’t help the next day when the entire school, seemingly, has gotten wind of it and is convinced that Sawako has used her magic powers (note: Sawako is not really a witch) to charm Kazehaya to her side. Their’s is one of the most publicly announced and discussed romances in the history of high school.

Sawako’s reputation as a romantic miracle worker jumped leaps and bounds thanks to her “black magic cafe,” so an impression like this was probably inevitable

Episode 12, by contrast, recalled events from early in the previous season, when several girls with the hots for Kazehaya engaged in a game of rumor mongering to try to separate Sawako from her friends, and came close to succeeding. If they were mad about Sawako monopolizing Kazehaya’s time then, they’re infuriated now that she’s really dating him, and vow to put an end to it.

They don’t get far before Kurumi, who subtly backed and used them as proxies last season, tells them off and notes that anything they do will only make Kazehaya less happy with them. Unlike them, she’s already confessed (and been rejected) by Kazehaya. And as much as she used them, she still despised them for never taking that step themselves.

Kurumi’s mouth is probably the most dangerous weapon on campus, far more than any “magic” Sawako can muster

In many ways, episode 12 is really about watching Kurumi’s reaction to Kazehaya and Sawako play out, just as episode 11 is about Miura. The latter takes his defeat in stride; he acknowledges that the two do make a natural couple, and is happy for Sawako’s happiness. He still obviously has lingering feelings for her, but he’s willing concede gracefully and put concern for Sawako first.

Kurumi had a much less goodhearted approach to her romantic rival, but eventually came to respect Sawako for her earnestness and honesty—two traits Kurumi utterly lacked. Far more than Miura, she’s mourns for the final end of her dream relationship with Kazehaya, but she knows she hasn’t a chance.

Sawako is indebted to Kurumi for giving her the challenge of pushing forward. It’s only in their last conversation that Kurumi admits that Sawako made her stronger too

In a way, making episode 12 the final one provides something of a bittersweet end to the series. Yes, Kurumi is too important a character to ignore, and of course the girls willing to employ dirty tricks against Sawako would try to plan something over this. But some of the last moments of the series relate to the rejected, the losers in love, who had genuine feelings for Kazehaya. Sawako’s gain is their loss, and the show doesn’t sugarcoat that.

Of course, the sheer joy occasioned by Kazehaya and Sawako finding their love more than balances it out. The entire series has been building inexorably until this moment, so release by their coming together isn’t just cathartic for them, but for us. This show reminds me why I watch romances. Done right, the emotional payoff beats any other form of drama out there.

Miura’s lack of a negative reaction might have something to do with the fact he’s just a nicer person than the other romantic rivals. His actions were always taken with Sawako’s interest in mind, making him the most loving of those rejected

Series Review: I came to this series completely in love with the first season, so I have no doubt my overall impressions were colored by that. I know that many other bloggers out there were far more frustrated with the main conflict of this season, which relied almost entirely on subtle wordplay (Japanese can be a very subtle, indirect language) and false assumptions to keep the One True Pairing apart. For them, it came across as forced and stupid.

My only response to this is that it was “stupid” in that it reflected the stupidity and the immaturity of the characters themselves. Without the confusion, the two might have come together, but neither would have been ready for the relationship. Granted, that makes them like most high school students in love, but this show has always had higher ambitions than just romance.

Sawako stands up to her persecutors in defense of Kurumi. It would be nice if she were willing to defend herself, but the growing confidence she has can’t be ignored

Rather, this show is about Sawako coming in to her own as a person. It is about her growing realization that she has value, and that she deserves a voice. And it is about Kazehaya, learning in his own way how to overcome his reputation as the perfect one and acknowledge (and overcome) his own weaknesses. Kimi ni Todoke wasn’t interested in building up to an idealized high school romance. It was building up to something far rarer: a healthy one.

The odd, tear-stained finale was another example of the show’s fundamental respect for its characters. The romantic rivals for the couple don’t disappear or lose their feelings at the end of the series; how could they? But each had to cope with the events all the same. Life has to go on for them as well.

It’s not doom and gloom for all but the main couple. Ryuu finally—in his usual straightforward fashion—admits his feelings for Chizuru in the wake of the day’s events. Her response is … not discouraging

And that’s what makes Kimi ni Todoke better than the vast majority of entertainment in any genre and any medium. This show respects the integrity of its characters. It acknowledges the difference between healthy and unhealthy romantic affection. Despite stepping into all the character and plot cliches that these sorts of shows are plagued with, it is captured by none of them and controlled by none of them, because the people who populate those cliches are real people. Because of that, the work is far more fresh and original that a surface review would reveal.

My coblogger often expresses the opinion that the vast majority of anime and manga writers are worthless hacks. (In fairness, I believe he extends this opinion to most writers, period.) Karuho Shiina, the author of Kimi ni Todoke, is no hack. Rather, she’s one of the most sensitive and conscientious writers in the industry. I can’t wait to see what she’ll give us next.

Here’s a shot of the two of them blushing uncomfortably around each other, just for old time’s sake

You can watch these episodes here and here, or here and here.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: