「Say ”I love you”.」
All good things come to an end, and Sukitte is no exception. This finale was not really a necessary episode. To me it felt more like the “unaired episode that ended up being an OVA”. Last week’s episode felt more like a proper ending, but nevertheless, more Sukitte can’t be bad, right? Especially if we can have some more romance. This anime has not been very generous when it comes to Mei and Yamato’s relationship. Their love story has been a central theme that has been involved in everything but most of it has been very vague because of how much screen time the other characters were given, namely Megumi. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but as a romance fan, I felt that I wasn’t very satisfied, however, this episode gave me what I wanted, and now, I personally feel that this anime is now complete. Satisfying shoujo endings such as Sukitte Ii na yo.’s are rare.
In this wrap-up story, we were given a chance to see how the other characters have changed or developed. While there was an epilogue last week that did the exact same thing, this felt better because there was dialogues in it and Mei was more involved here. The epilogue from last week showed the characters’ development while today’s episode focused on their current relationships with Mei now after all they’ve been through, and that was really nice to see. While I do think it was good to show Mei’s friends’ importance and how they support her through most things, it was slightly frustrating for me to see her act insecure about visiting Yamato. Insecurity doesn’t go away easily, and I know how hard it can be to gather up courage to do something, but watching all these misunderstandings made me wonder why there was so much doubt in both Mei and Yamato. For an example, when Yamato worried that Hayakawa might be interested in Mei, I felt slightly annoyed. While Hayakawa’s description of his girlfriend fit Mei, there should be no reason for her to like him. Perhaps after Kai, Yamato has become more scared of having other men finding interest in Mei, and maybe I’m a bit too hard on him. I honestly don’t know if I should be as irked at his doubt as I am. Being a girl, it’s hard for me to imagine what’s going through his head, but I’m not angry at him. I still think Yamato is a good man for Mei. The two of them complete each other, and they’re both capable of overcoming flaws together. But seeing misunderstandings like these in a finale makes the love of the main couple quite questionable to me. And Mei is by no means less questionable. Nagi is a child, a very adorable one. It was easy to see that she was just being jealous, and even if that would be hard to understand, I think Mei should’ve gone anyway. Even her friends encouraged her, yet she ended up running away.
Anyway, the misunderstandings were very questionable because they took place in a finale, but that doesn’t mean that the episode wasn’t likeable because I must say, even though I was irked, I often found myself smiling at the screen. I must admit, the characters were very amusing, and perhaps that was the point in this episode – have some comedy. As a standalone episode, this was really entertaining and adorable, but I was hoping to see something stronger as a finale. Aside from that, the last few minutes were really great and finale worthy. It’s amazing to see that despite all misunderstandings, Mei and Yamato’s love made them forget all their doubts. Simply seeing each other was enough for things to feel good again. I thought the end was really sweet, but I felt so sorry for Yamato who had to run around like that while being sick. Hopefully Mei will nurse him now, unless she, true to shoujo style, catches Yamato’s cold through that kiss! Now that Mei has finally done what Yamato wanted – what the title implied – told him that she loves him, this love story has reached its end, and I definitely think this was a satisfying conclusion.
Sukitte Ii na yo. has been an interesting show. It definitely stands out in the world of shoujo despite having several reoccurring clichés here and there. So what makes it so outstanding? It’s your typical girl meets popular boy story, yet it’s unique. I think it’s because of its characters and their traits. This anime has been compared with Kimi ni Todoke several times. While the two of them might be similar, they’re very different in terms of story development and moods. Sukitte to me, felt more realistic than KnT. Both involve a social outcast falling in love with someone popular, but the latter felt more like a romantic fairy tale while Sukitte is more down to earth.
One of this show’s strong points is, as I’ve mentioned already, its characters. They’re mature, realistic, and believable. Few times have I seen a series and recognised its incident in my own life. I have never really been bullied, and simply saying “I can understand the characters’ pain” would be a lie. While one can feel sadness or sympathy towards a victim, I don’t believe that anyone can ever truly know what a victim goes through. But I have met several people who have gone through hardships through their childhoods, and seeing things I’ve heard about through them in Sukitte made me appreciate the show even more than I already do. This anime portrayed high school life in a very realistic way unlike many other shows in this category. It also showed how people can grow and get out of the loathsome thing called bullying. Perhaps this show was more about hardships than actual romance? Sometimes, I forgot that this was a love story. The focus on human nature is stronger than anything in this anime, and for that, I truly appreciate it. That doesn’t mean that it failed as a love story though.
Sukitte was not very strong in terms of romance. I felt that the character development in Mei and Yamato’s relationship was very underexposed. Perhaps this anime should have been longer? The side characters had a lot of screen time, a bit too much if you ask me, so whenever things came back to the actual romance, it felt rushed. But despite the “mess”, every time Mei and Yamato overcame a problem, their love felt stronger than ever and it felt truly believable. This episode is a great example of that. Despite all misunderstandings, Mei and Yamato’s love is unaffected. Things like that – trust – makes this love story such a great one, so even if things could’ve been better, I think this show was a satisfying one in terms of romance.
That being said, I feel like I, as someone who reads (and even scanlated) this manga, should say something about how different some things were there compared to the anime. While I did find myself slightly sad about how censored the anime was, it wasn’t much of an issue to me because as a solid story, the anime did very well. Some of the changes were understandable to me considering how short this anime is. If you’re wondering about what the differences are, it’s hard to pin-point them now, but the bullying is more cruel in the manga, and if I remember correctly, there are sex-scenes that have been removed. Hazuki Kanae is known for drawing dark themes in her manga. Several of them involve human sexuality. She has even made some oneshots about issues such as rape. I felt that the censoring in this anime was a bit unfair because of that, but ignoring the mangaka’s style, the anime delivered a solid story so the differences don’t affect my view on the anime too much.
Sukitte Ii na yo. is a poignant love story. It could’ve been better, especially the romance aspect, but what it lacked there, it made up with its character development. This anime has an outstanding protagonist who truly is a loveable girl, and her brilliance makes her such a respectable character. Her humble personality affected many characters, and she also affected me as a person. I was truly touched and inspired by Mei, and I am very happy that she found people who love her. It was nice to see how everyone returned her kindness by helping her or being there for her. Bonds between people are truly amazing and I believe Sukitte portrayed that in a great way. The friendship in this anime is what I’ll remember more than anything because that’s what I liked the most. I’m very happy with this love story, and I wish more mature shoujo manga got proper anime adaptations. I know there are many people who want to see more than an OVA for Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu (I’m one of them). Hopefully Sukitte has been appreciated so we’ll have more shoujo shows like it. So to answer this series’ title – I love you!