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|Digital List Price:||CDN$ 7.99|
|Print List Price:||CDN$ 12.99|
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Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Vol. 1 Kindle Edition
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|Length: 216 pages|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Sawako Kuronuma is a shy, sweet girl who wants to make friends and get along with everyone. This might not so hard for her to accomplish were it not for her looks. But with her long, dark hair and pale skin, Sawako looks just like Sadako, the ghost from the classic J-horror film "Ringu". The association is so strong that her classmates think that her name really is Sadako. They're afraid of her, thinking that she can see ghosts and curse people with her gaze. Sawako tries to explain herself, but she's too shy to really speak up. And her quietness and isolation only make her seem more mysterious. But Sawako's classmate Kazehaya isn't afraid of her like everyone else. He's a kind person who reaches out to loners, and he's taken a special interest in Sawako. Kazehaya befriends her and encourages her to reach out to others. With his help, she slowly starts to make friends.
The story here is plenty entertaining. The basic premise is interesting, and it's well executed. It's sort of slice of life, so nothing really exciting happens, but it's sweet and funny. My favorite was the part when Sawako's class does a haunted trail. This is a typical shojo plot, but I really like the twist the Shiina put on it. The episodes move the story along at a good pace and develop the characters.
And they're such wonderful characters! Especially Sawako. Sawako is considerate and a bit old fashioned, and she's a very pure-hearted character. She's a hopeless optimist despite being lonely, and she looks for the best in people. She keeps trying to communicate no matter how discouraging things get. The phrase "Kimi ni Todoke" literally means "reaching for you", and it perfectly describes Sawako's desire to connect with others. She might have seemed a bit of a Pollyanna, but Shiina avoids this by gently poking fun at her naivety. You really can't help but love her. She's such a refreshing change from shojo heroines who mope, criticize themselves, and blame others over the same situation.
I also really liked Kazehaya. He's popular, but not in the typical shojo manga I'm-too-sexy-for-my-shirt kind of way. He's just a really nice guy, and his natural charisma attracts people to him. It's not so unbelievable that he's interested in Sawako, either. His feelings seem to start as curiosity, becoming something more as he learns more about her. Despite the difference in Sawako and Kazehaya's social skills, they're similar in spirit. I really like the romance between them. Sawako's admiration of Kazehaya is adorable, and so is his occasional shyness around her. There's an innocent awkwardness about their relationship that's really sweet. I also love the way Kazehaya encourages Sawako to speak up for herself. It's not one-sided, either, as he's moved by her earnestness and determination.
Two other characters worth mentioning are Yano and Yoshida, Sawako's first friends. Yano is a rather sarcastic beauty, and Yoshida is a little of a Yankee. Both are honest to the point of being blunt, but they're actually kind. They have distinct personalities and are both funny in their own way. I liked the fact that Shiina used two people who seem very different from Sawako as her friends. They don't think anything of their differences, and it shows the acceptance the characters have of each other.
The art, as I mentioned before, is very nice. Shiina has a distinct style, pretty and shojo-like but not too fancy. Her characters' faces are expressive, and they help give the manga a warm feel. The character designs fit their personalities to a T. It's interesting how Sawako can look (sorta) scary in one scene, but beautiful or cute in another. I also love the chibis Shiina draws; they're so cute and funny. There are stickers of them included in the manga (though it may just be in the first edition), which is a nice bonus.
"Kimi ni Todoke" is such a sweet, funny manga. It's impossible not to love the warm, earnest characters and their heartfelt relationships. The story is perfect for giving you a case of the warm fuzzies. I had this big, dopey grin on my face the whole way through. Plus, who doesn't love free stickers? Snatch up this wonderful title as fast as you can; it's sure to be popular!
Encouraged by two of her female classmates, Chizuru Yoshida and Ayane Yano, Sawako starts learning how to turn her scary appearance and reputation into a positive thing, first by secretly play the role of a ghost on a class outing, and then learning to tell ghost stories.
Naturally, many of the other girls in her school are angry and jealous of the time and attention Sawako gets from Kazehaya. An unnamed wavy haired girl puts in a few appearances, and I'm thinking she's going to turn out to be a significant antagonist in this story. The last two pages of vol. 1 show Yoshida and Yano hearing that Sawako is spreading ugly rumors about them. Of course to the reader, who has been privy to Sawako's thoughts and gotten to know her, this is preposterous, but it looks like vol. 2 will be concerned with further instances of Sawako trying to clear up misunderstandings about herself.
Sawako is prevented from being a pathetic, pitiable character by her endless optimism and willingness to help others. She doesn't spend time feeling sorry for herself, nor has her isolation and the often cruel treatment of her classmates made her bitter. She is unfailingly generous with her time and her understanding of their school work.
Sawako learns and grows from the difficulties she runs into. Watching as she develops her friendships (and what I'm sure will become more than a friendship where Kazehaya is concerned) is a good read. I'm looking forward to volume 2!
Let me say straight away that this isn't a serious manga at all and is a really light-hearted, fun read. Sawako's naïve personality and the various situations she finds herself in are really entertaining. I should maybe also add that her innocent, kind personality doesn't come across as being annoying at all- it's actually really endearing. The artwork is also very pretty. The characters are well developed, including Sawako as well as the various supporting characters that are gradually introduced. The plot is also well developed and the story doesn't feel cliché at all, despite what might seem like an overlap with some other series out there.
I definitely recommend picking this up if you're looking for a solid, entertaining shojo series!
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