Aya HiranoMiyuki SawashiroYuichi NakamuraMayuki Makiguchi
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You (2009 anime)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2009
Director: Hiro Kaburagi
Writer: Tomoko Konparu
Original creator: Karuho Shiina
Actor: Aya Hirano, Daisuke Namikawa, Mamiko Noto, Masahiro Yamanaka, Mayuki Makiguchi, Miho Miyagawa, Miyuki Sawashiro, Takuma Suzuki, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuki Ono, Yuko Sanpei
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 38 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=10625
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 19 May 2022
A schoolgirl, Sawako, looks like the J-horror movie character Sadako from Ringu. Even animals fear her. She's grown up thinking she's some kind of weird scary freak, but this hasn't made her a bitter loner. On the contrary, she's probably the most adorable heroine in anime. She'll be ecstatic about pretty much any human interaction, even if the other person intended it as bullying. She can misunderstand anything. Her self-esteem is in the toilet and she'll apologise for anything she did, on the assumption that it must have been offensive.
She's not stupid. She's good at schoolwork and will turn out to be really good at teaching. She is, though, in many ways (social skills, perception, reading the room, etc.) about ten years behind her age. Pretty much any conversation will have left her behind before it's started and she has hilarious reactions to almost everything.
I adore this show, but it also drove me crazy. I love Sawako. You will too. You'll be terrified on her behalf when catastrophes loom due to communications failures that are entirely her thick-headed, self-deprecating fault. There's a brief one in eps.4-5 and a Godzilla-sized one that's basically the entire second season. It takes ten episodes to get cleared up properly. (Kazehaya needed throttling too, though.) I found Season 2 hard to watch and I took the best part of a month to make a start on its second episode. It works out okay in the end, thank goodness, but that would have probably been the end for most couples. If you give someone the wrong idea like that, of course they'll react. Sawako caused me agony, but at least she has the excuse of being Sawako. Kazehaya... well, in fairness, he made a heroic effort to communicate halfway through the season, but he underestimated the idiocy of Sawako. (This episode might make you hate the Japanese language. Why do they use "suki" for both "like" and "love"? Gyaaaaaah. That's hardly a new observation, but it takes genius to misunderstand apparently unambiguous sentences as brilliantly as Sawako and Kazehaya manage here.)
He learns his lesson at the end, though. If you want someone to know something, tell them in words. If that someone is Sawako, it's probably safest to write them in ten-foot-tall letters of fire.
Also, I can't complain because it's in the title. Ignore the official English title. A better translation might be "Reaching You". "Todoku" means "to reach, to be delivered, to arrive, to be realised (of a desire), to get through (to someone)". That's what the story's about. Sawako-Kazehaya aren't even the only couple separated by their mutual misapprehensions, with another being Chizu-Ryuu.
That said, those misunderstandings comprise under a third of the episodes. Most of the show is lovely and a joy to watch. You could broadcast a loop of Sawako reaction shots and still have a funnier, better TV show than 99% of what's out there. She made me laugh in ep.7 when she witnessed someone take a phone call on their mobile, for instance. ("SHE'S POPULAR!!!") I love her way of calling people "good person". She's got a ton of life skills to learn and romance is only part of them.
I also love the supporting cast (although her dad needs to calm down). Yano and Chizu are the best friends she could have made, although Chizu's an athletic idiot and Yano can be scary. Pin, oddly, gives some of the best advice in the show... while also being a crass knob and a disgrace as a homeroom teacher. Sawako's rival (I won't say who) is capable of being evil, but also the show's most complicated, interesting character. I love her relationship with Sawako. She saved Sawako, ultimately, in her own mean way. She's the best thing about the last episode. And what the universe does to her in ep.13 had me in tears of laughter.
Mind you, the original manga ran from 2006-2017, with far more story than there is in this 2009-2011 anime adaptation. There's also a 2010 live-action film that I'll be watching soon.
It's brilliant. Sawako is one of the all-time anime greats. It's also, though, capable of making you want to headbutt walls. (Apparently, the manga kept playing the same misunderstanding trick, so I'll be giving that a miss.) Sawako is probably the sweetest, kindest person imaginable and the show would probably make you want to vomit if she weren't also a disaster area and endlessly funny.
"No, it's fine! I'll try to walk home without scaring anyone!"