Translator: Tomo Kimura
Publisher: Shojo Beat
Pub. Date: 2005
Genres: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Romance, Shoujo Manga
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
I can’t remember where I heard about Kimi ni Todoke, by Karuho Shiima, but the concept of a shy girl who has been dubbed “Sadako,” the name of a horror movie character, by her classmates because of their eerie similarities sounded light but intriguing. I like that this is a light romance, featuring a girl finding friends and those friends choosing to fight hurtful comments about her.
The main character is Sawako, a.k.a. Sadako. She is shy doesn’t quite understand why she scares everyone, including her teachers. She works hard and generally keeps to herself, but she wants to make everyone happy.
Sawako’s face is something to watch in this manga. At one moment, she looks creepy when she’s nervous (a simple, angry two-tone chibi); at others, thoughtful (her eyes become stylized and delicate); and also, surprised (her irises are light). It’s watching simple creepiness go to more detailed, beautiful expressions that you expect to see of the protagonist of a shoujo manga. It really shows her moments of growth into a more social person.
Kazehaya is the one boy who notices her and tries to invite her in to class activities. He’s popular and nice, and he does what he can to bring her in and defend her from gossiping classmates. He is very clearly the romantic interest, and I hope to see more of this in future volumes. The other characters have such small roles that you don’t get to really know them in this volume.
The one thing that bothers me about this manga is that there doesn’t seem to be much meat to it. There isn’t much else going on plot-wise or character-wise. There’s nothing else going on with classmates or family, either. I am sure this has a lot to do with the volume once being a 50-page oneshot, but I won’t be able to continue pass Vol. 2 if the story continues this way.
If you’re looking for a bit of light reading or for a shy character coming out of her shell, Kimi ni Todoke is a good manga to read.