Kimi ni Todoke: From me to You (君に届け) is a romance manga written by Shiina Karuho and was first published in 2006. In 2008, it won the Best Shojo Manga award. The manga is ongoing, but in March 2009, the authoress took time off for her pregnancy, but resumed as of October 2009. This manga has since been adapted to anime on Oct. 6, 2009 with 25 episodes (which ended on March 30, 2010). The anime is televised every Tuesday in Japan. The manga has also produced a series of light novels and a video game for Nintendo was released in October 2009. A second season is due for Fall 2010.
The series is about a young girl, who is feared and misunderstood because of her appearance but finds an unlikely champion in the school’s most popular and outgoing boy. With this new attention, more people are drawn to her, and as the love grows between both of them, there are others who are jealous and, instead, throw a wrench in their new-found relationship.
The main protagonist, Kuronuma Sawako, who is called by her classmates as Sadako (from the Ring) is a painfully shy but honest person, who earnestly seeks friendship. In comes super popular and good-looking school idol, Kazehaya Shouta, who is not only well-liked, but is kind to Sawako. He takes her under his wing, teaching her to speak up for herself. With this, she earns two new friends: Yano Ayane and Yoshida Chizuru. After the seating arrangement in class is changed, where Kazehaya, Yano, Yoshida and a new boy Sanada Ryuu surround her, things begin to look up for her.
In truth, Kazehaya has long admired Sawako, since she first directed him to the school gate on his first day of school. Because Sawako is profusely thankful for Kazehaya’s actions, he doesn’t realize that she too has developed feelings for him. Since many girls are infatuated with Kazehaya, his being close to Sawako spark jealousy in one, who especially goes out of her way to spread false rumors just to “get him back to being single.” Kurumizawa Ume (Kurumi), a pretentiously “sweet” girl, spreads rumors about both Yano and Yoshida but put the blame on Sawako as the originator. When Sawako hears of this, and the fact that Kazehaya was getting “unpopular” because of her, she begins to distance herself from them, instead of clearing her name.
Her avoidance back fires when Kazehaya confronts her. He questions her if she has thought about HIS feelings, if HE really wants her to avoid him. In the end, he tells her that she is never permitted to avoid him ever again. With this, she once again gains courage from his words, and finally stands up for her friends against the school bullies. The girls finally reconcile after a tearful acceptance of each other and promising to always trust the other. With that, Kazehaya realizes in despair that he will not have that many opportunities to be alone with Sawako anymore, but lets her be because of the brilliant smile of gratitude she flashes him. Ryuu sees this and says nothing.
To make up for her mistrust of a innocent girl, Yoshida invites Sawako to join her and Yano for Ramen – at Ryuu’s family own store. After dinner, they all gather in Ryuu’s room, much too Sawako’s surprise, who then asks Ryuu if both him and Yoshida are dating. To that, he only smiles, but Yoshida vehemently denies it, forcing him to say that they are “brothers.” A much more attuned and matured Yano then asks Sawako to invite Kazehaya too, to their little gathering. Kazehaya, not realizing it is Sawako on Ryuu’s cellphone, almost choke when Sawako speaks. Without much invitation, he tells her that he will be right there. In the end, Yano and Yoshida easily see through Sawako and Kazehaya’s interest for the other. When the gathering come to an end, thanks to Pin sensei’s barging in, Kazehaya walks Sawako home, with the excuse that he has to get something from the convenience store. Everyone, but Sawako, knows that it is just an excuse to be near her a little longer.
Kurumi, still out to distant Kazehaya and Sawako, sets out to “befriend” Sawako and begins feeding her twisted truths. Sawako, being dense and naive, hears something completely different and infuriates Kurumi even more. Finally, the chance for Kurumi arrives during sports day, when Ryuu saves Sawako from a fly ball. Kurumi begins telling Sawako that maybe both Sawako and Ryuu have a chance as a couple and even sets them both up for a meeting, which she “accidentally” brings Kazehaya to. Unfortunately for Kurumi, things go the exact opposite way of her menacing plot. In the end, after Kurumi confesses her love to Kazehaya, she gets turned down for the reason that he already has someone in sight.
Sawako then sets out to befriends Kurumi and ends up being her “rival” in love – a worthy adversary.
During a stint where Pin sensei catches a cold (but he mistakes it for Sawako placing voodoo on him), the gang goes to visit him, cares for him and even cleans up his place for him. At the end of the night, before they leave, Pin tells Sawako a secret. Kazehaya is “helped” by the friends by telling him that he should walk Sawako home that night. Being really thankful for the company home, Sawako finally tugs on Kazehaya’s shirt, and stands there quietly with her eyes closed (as told by Pin, who said that THAT would be the way to thank Kazehaya, if she ever wanted to say “Thank You” to him). Seeing the opening, Kazehaya closes in and almost kisses her, until she opens her eyes in shock. Sawako then repeats what Pin told her to do, and Kazehaya, infuriated by the meddling ways of Pin, says, “Don’t ever do that again, unless you want something to happen. Because I cannot guarantee that I can control myself the next time.”
Meanwhile, Yoshida Chizuru puts the spotlight on Ryuu by asking him what type of girl he likes, if he doesn’t like someone like Kurumi who’s sweet and adorable. He says that his type is someone simple-minded and dense, indirectly pointing to Chizuru. Ryuu has long had a crush on long time, tom-boyish friend Chizuru. Chizuru, however, has a crush on Ryuu’s older brother, Tooru, who is eight years older. Ryuu later confesses his love of Chizuru to Sawako. Tooru finally returns home, with a fiancee in tow. Chizuru did not expect this, and worst for Ryuu, who has been trying to find a way to confess his feelings. Secretly, I think Chizuru likes Ryuu as she spends her entire savings on Ryuu’s birthday present, but doesn’t want to show it to him until the day of. This she does, instead of buying a mini skirt to show off in front of Tooru. Watching these two can be quite heartbreaking.
After Tooru leaves, Chizuru finally gets up the nerve to face Ryuu, only to have him tell her that he’s glad that she’s “heartbroken.” Not too glib there. Immediately her pent up emotions explode towards him. She didn’t visit Ryuu because of Tooru, but because she wanted to give him his birthday present. In anger, she hurls his mitt bag to him and calls him a baseball freak. In school she ignores him, but as he seeks an explanation, things get out of hand, and words are misconstrued. Instead, the girls, Sawako and Yano, come to Chizuru’s rescue.
Knowing that he really made a mess of things, Ryuu calls up Tooru and asks for him to come back to have a final chat with Chizuru. Tooru willingly drives the 3 hours back – for his younger brother and a dear sister. After their talk, Chizuru confesses her feeling, to which Tooru replies that he loves her too – like a sister. Chizuru, although satisfied with the response, is heartbroken. Ryuu becomes her shoulder to cry on after that, and hopefully her feelings for him finally emerges as the first snow falls.
Christmas is around the corner for the kids and Kazehaya plans a party for everyone in class. He blurts out to Sawako that he wants her to be there, and she responds that she wants to be there too. However, Sawako doesn’t get up the nerve to ask her parents, especially her father if she can spend the holiday with her friends instead being home. Her parents think of her as a miracle baby. She was supposed to be born on Christmas day, but she never made it out until New Year’s Eve. This is why Christmas is so special to the Kuronama family. After that, she couldn’t bring herself to ask to spend the day with friends.
However, Sawako makes gifts for Yano (crocheted coasters), Chizuru (hand-made apron for when she helps out at Ryuu’s store) and even for Kazehaya – a hat (instead of a scarf, which she thinks is too personal). Instead, Papa Kuronama mistakes the hat as his gift. Sawako doesn’t have the heart to tell him that the hat is actually for another boy, so her dad has the gift. Towards the end of the night, her friends call her from the party to wish her a Merry Christmas. Yano tells her, “I have a gift for you,” and promptly passes the phone to Kazehaya.
Choke up in tears, as Kazehaya speaks to Sawako, he tells her he wishes her to be there with them. Mama Kuronama takes the phone away from a crying Sawako and speaks to Kazehaya instead. In the meantime, Papa Kuronama presents Sawako his gift – a cell phone. As she runs out of the door, Papa Kuronama cries that this day came too soon for him to relinquish his daughter. Sawako reaches the location too late. The party disbanded. However, Kazehaya awaits for her alone. “I had a feeling you may show up.”
He then gives her a gift, which he thinks she has no use for, a cellphone trinket. How apt. As she shows him her new phone, Kazehaya’s name and number is the first to adorn Sawako new present. Sawako too pulls out a gift for him. Kazehaya thinks it’s a neck wrap. Sawako knows it’s a stomach band. Meant for her father. He still takes it.
A few days later, Yano and Chizuru realizes that it’s Sawako’s birthday on New Year’s Eve as they set up her email address on her new phone: sawako.not. sadako1231. The two girls decide to set Sawako on a date with Kazehaya, unbeknown to both the unsuspecting victims. It became an outing for the group, Yano, Chizuru, Ryuu, Sawako and Kazehaya before the New Year’s to visit the temple. The girls get to Sawako’s place to beautify her and prepare her for her “big date.” When they near the meeting spot, the girls ditch Sawako and tell her to have a great time with Kazehaya.
At first, the two are very aware of each other’s presence and keep their distance from each other. However, things start heating up when Sawako almost falls from the snowy and icy steps of the temple, only to be rescued by Kazehaya who fearfully utters, “Abunai!” (It’s dangerous). The girls and Ryuu stalk the intended couple from afar, but decide to give them a final push by calling Kazehaya. After that, it seems the ice is melted between the two as they start warming up to each other while sharing childhood stories. Kazehaya then gets up the nerve to let Sawako know that he is wearing her Christmas gift – the stomach band. And this night, is a first of many firsts for the duo.
Poor Ryuu, though, spends the entire night looking forward to having a sip of amazake but the girls keep pulling him in different directions to clear the path for the two love birds. Finally, Ryuu breaks free from the girls, but Chizuru is told to go after him. At least Ryuu gets to spend some time with Chizuru. Yano, though, is forced to spend the night with Joe to stop him from being the third wheel and crashing the Kazehaya-Sawako party, but is later rescued by Joe’s parents who came looking for the klutz.
Kazehaya later reveals that he was thoroughly surprised by Sawako’s new look. But he doesn’t say, to this very literal girl, that it was a good surprise, that he never realized that she can be even more breathtaking than she already is. They part on a good note after he walks her home and shares with her his good fortune (after she received a bad one). Although all is not lost, as her “bad fortune” reads that the one that she is with right now is the one she loves. And, love him, she does.
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