For the past couple of weeks, Kimi ni Todoke has been my little retreat of mid-week happiness. But what's this? Sad times ahead for Sawako? Noooooooo.....
After the climax to the previous episode left us with allegations that Sawako was responsible for spreading rumours about Chizuru and Ayane, it looked as though Sawako's brief spell of being the centre of attention and affection was going to come to a sweeping end, but in fact this isn't the case, as the two girls point-blank refuse to believe that Sawako would do such a good thing, and with good reason of course.
So the pairs faith in their new friend continues, but alas so do the rumours, and as fresh doubts enter their minds a mixture of Sawako's naivety and her generally indirect nature give them the wrong idea about she views them both, setting up a vicious circle where Sawako distances herselves further from those close to her without explanation and ultimately hurting all and sundry, herself included.
I commented in an earlier post about Kimi ni Todoke how it seemed to have a better, more realistic angle on teasing and bullying than most anime which tends to go off at the deep end regaring such topics, and once again that lightness of touch comes to the fore in this episode when dealing with the day to day dramas of school life and friendships. Rather than some huge blow-up arguments or issues based around a single, major misunderstanding, this episode gives us a much more natural (albeit no less painful to watch) viewpoint of a friendship as it breaks down due to nothing more than mistakes and misinterpretations - There are no rows here, just sleepless nights of worry, private anguish and tears as confusion turns to hurt, and draws a wedge between the parties in question.
It's this approach that gives some real emotional strength to this series, just as the way Sawako's friendships were built up made for such delightful viewing - Perhaps it's just me, but it feels like something I can relate to, if only on a micro rather than macro level, and that only serves to accentuate both the happiness of previous episodes and the sadness throughout the second half of this one. This isn't teenage behaviour write large, it's teenage behaviour how (in my experience) it often actually happens, which makes it an effortlessly compelling viewing experience.