In Japan, or maybe just in anime, Valentine’s Day is a day of some serious business. It is a day to feel happy, a day to feel sad, a day to confess, and a day to experience rejection. Today is Sawako’s turn, and with her still inexperienced heart, she arrives at a tough decision.
The setup is simple, Valentine’s is coming up, and Sawako figures she should make some chocolates. Everything is easy, until she realizes that she wants to give Kazehaya some too, and through a series of events, she realizes the weight of chocolate giving, and the possible meaning behind it all. In the end, she decides her emotions are too strong, and backs out. My first response is, what? I had to think a bit on why she would do that, because if she liked him, then the obvious conclusion would be to give it to him as a confession, right? But then I reflected over the episode, and though Sawako believes she doesn’t want to give mixed feelings with chocolates, I think it’s more that she’s afraid of the rejection of her feelings, so she’s scared of putting her emotions into the chocolates where it could be stomped upon. My problem was that I had forgotten that neither of them know they even like each other, which is kind of hilarious on my part, but the episode did a good job at reminding me of where they are in their “relationship.”
Kimi ni Todoke is quite adept at not only conveying emotions, but throwing you in a pool of them, and having them seep into your brain, oozing slowly while it suddenly creeps up behind you with unforeseen shivers. I’d say that’s the show’s main strength, and is one of the biggest reasons why I like it so much. This episode was no different, and it reintroduced pretty much all the important characters, effortlessly showcasing their individual quirks with some cleverly written dialogue. Of course, the main protagonists, Sawako and Kazehaya, get the most screen time. As we left them last season, Kazehaya’s made a personal decision to take it slowly with Sawako, and let her grow at her own pace, even though he’s ready for a relationship. On the other hand, Sawako still believes they are just friends, but realizes she likes him more than one, yet is not so sure on where to go from there. This, of course, instills just enough doubt to refrain her from giving the chocolates, and Kurumi’s little test didn’t help. Kurumi’s appearance had that much more impact due to last week’s recap, and I felt a little sad from her words. Although, she definitely has something else up her sleeve, since she declared she would battle with expensive chocolates, but gave them as obligatory ones. Meanwhile, Sawako’s torn with her own purpose in the chocolates and decides there are way too many conflicting feelings to decide on obligatory or love chocolates. The emotions are simple, and while experienced daters out there are probably ripping their hair out over Sawako’s naivete, they must not forget about her character. She’s someone who has been ignored all her life, with no social relationships, and yet possesses an extremely positive optimistic approach that’s just absolutely charming. I’m pretty familiar with being an introvert from my younger years, and her decisions and worries at times hit really close to home. The sad ending here is that she succeeded where I failed. ;_;
But man, what a great episode to get back into the series. It had everything from laughs to drama, and it even introduced the new character shown in the opening, played by the fabulous Miyano Mamoru. I didn’t expect him to appear for another few episodes or so, but I guess the story works in a more gradual way, which is good, since it won’t seem formulaic. Looks like the new guy makes his moves on Sawako next week, just like a Miyano character would, so we’ll see how it goes. Also, wow, the ED transition was flawless at the end. Great song.