Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Kimi ni Todoke - Episode 9

By the end of the last episode of Kimi ni Todoke, Kazehaya was teaching Sawako some of the finer points of football (that's right, football, not soccer) - Come this ninth instalment, it looks as if his training has paid off, as Sawako gets to show off her skills in the latest practice session for the upcoming tournament. Come to think of it, she could probably get a spot in Arsenal's starting eleven at the moment...

Anyway, things don't just seem to be going well for Sawako on the football field, as she continues to enjoy her "new life" around school as well, with the highlight of her day after football practice being a meeting with Kurumi which ends in being complimented as she's told that she "looks like a doll". At least, it was a compliment to Sawako's ears, although Kurumi's true meaning was clearly aimed elsewhere.

Indeed, Kurumi's influence seems to have gripped Sawako somewhat, as she becomes something of a role model for our naive heroine, even to the point where she considers changing her hairstyle to something close to Kurumi's own - A thought which, when shared with Yano and Yoshida, brings about some hilarious (and occasionally disturbing) imaginings of how Sawako would look with basically any hairstyle other than her current one. There is a bit of a flip side to Sawako's admiration of Kurumi however, and of course that comes when she seems Kurumi hanging out with Kazehaya, or even hearing him talk about her, bringing about feelings of jealousy that she's still unable to comprehend. Of course, we could see this love rivalry coming a mile off, but it's certainly building apace here.

You're probably bored of seeing me write this every week about Kimi ni Todoke these days, but I really can't help it seeing as it's the truth - Once again, I found myself smiling manically throughout this ninth episode, as it sprinkled this show's usual blend of humour, love and downright adorable naivety upon everything it touches. Sawako's reactions and conversations seem to become funnier and sweeter by the week, and watching her spacing out over Kazehaya, or indeed Kazehaya blushing and stumbling over words like an idiot in front of Sawako, is certainly becoming one of my guilty pleasures each week. Even when it's arguably trying to skimp on the animation quality with all of the stylised characterisations, it still manages to work really well to keep Kimi ni Todoke ticking over as one of the sweetest and most genuinely enjoyable shows that I've watched not just this season, but over 2009 as a whole. Right now, I don't think there's any part of this series that I don't love utterly and completely, and I'm not ashamed to say so.


Anonymous said...

cool that youre reviewing and not just summarizing like other blogs...

im from germany and i fuckin love this show, thank god for the internet

JW said...

I think they poured all their animation efforts into Kazehaya's sexy lips. :) Rrrrowr.

Anyone know what happened the Haruhi? Did they kill it because of the endless eight nonsense?

DoctorG said...

Hmm. Interesting episode, but not quite as engaging as some have been. There’s some good comedy – the fufu- fluffy hair part was amusing, and Ayane teasing Kazehaya is always made of win. In the friendship and popularity stakes, Sawako seems to be forging ahead, and in that business with Kazehaya, which is clearly something more than friendship (although she’s not sure what), there is progress as well. And yet, there’s an undercurrent of sadness in this episode.

The friendship business is going to blow up in Sawako’s face when Kurumi turns on her. Kurumi is socially very skilled, and wants her own way. Sawako is not skilled at all, and isn’t sure what she wants anyway. She is going to learn the hard way that just because someone speaks nicely to you, it doesn’t mean that they are really your friend.

The Kazehaya business has reached an awkward stage. The poor girl is definitely smitten (when she puts her hand to her face while watching Kazehaya play football, that was off the moe-ometer), but along with that have come some negative emotions. The first is insecurity – “I want to be cuter” – well, we’ve all been there, wishing we were cuter / stronger / richer or whatever so someone else would think better of us. Surprisingly, she seemed to get over that one pretty easily – but the second negative emotion, jealousy, hit a bit harder, and she took damage. Is that the button Kurumi is going to press?

If there is a criticism of this anime, it’s that Kazehaya’s character just hasn’t been developed at all. We know no more about him now than we did in Episode 1. He’s the alpha male of the class – no, probably of his year – why is he so lacking in confidence when trying to raise romantic intentions with Sawako? He shouldn’t be nervous around girls, even around ones he likes – surely, he has had a girlfriend before? Or hasn’t he – and given the opportunities, wouldn’t that be really odd? He’s a bit of a blank slate, besides being a really nice person. Or are we just seeing him through Sawako’s eyes – and she has lacked the necessary social skills that would enable her to understand him better?

I hope this anime isn’t just going to run for 12 episodes, as currently listed. It has so much more potential.