Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season - Episode 1

After what I suppose you could call a false start last week, Kimi ni Todokefinally kicks off its second season properly - and it's Valentine's Day too!  You can probably see where this one is headed without any further explanation...

...except of course I'm basically here to provide exactly that kind of unneeded explanation.  Before getting into the meat (or rather, the chocolate) of this big day, we get a brief review of what's changed since the last season of the series ended - namely a new term and school, and another set of seating plan changes that has seen Sawako make some more casual friends while also making things a little tougher when it comes to spending any time with Kazehaya as they find themselves separated.

Still, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to close any rifts that have appeared, right?  If only these things were so easy - despite even subconsciously loading her hand-made chocolates for Kazehaya with more goodies than those for her friends and the like, or perhaps you could say because of this very fact, Sawako spends the entire episode struggling with her nerves and emotions in the hope of overcoming them and giving him the gift of sweet stuff that he surely deserves.  The longer the day stretches on, the tougher her task becomes, but as the school day ends and Kazehaya gets held up in other things, it seems that an empty corridor finally presents the perfect opportunity for a romantic chocolate-giving moment.  At least, it does until Kurumi shows up, beats Sawako to the punch, and then lands her with some verbal food for thought with a topping of bitchiness into the bargain.  So, Sawako's mission has failed, and my heart has been rent asunder only one episode into this series.  Damn you, Production I.G!

Seriously, here I was expecting a sweet and cheerful opener to the series to fulfil my "fluffy mental cushion of love" quota for the week, yet instead Sawako's long, protracted internal monologues only led me down a road of loneliness and despair.  In truth, I'm not really complaining here - yes, some will hate the glacial pacing of a series that has an entire episode devoted to handing over some diabetes-inducing confectionery (and imagine if Kazehaya suffers from a nut allergy? Ye gads), but I largely lapped up the drama, the emotion, and the slight tinge of nostalgia that comes from those memories of teenage moments where you can't quite pluck up the courage to talk to the girl you really, really like.  Of course, these elements were offset by some nice touches of humour which all worked well, while the actual production of the episode was gorgeous - again, some will hate the frequent shifts to super-deformed character representations, but some of the shots and the "cold" lighting in places fit perfectly not just with the winter aesthetic, but also as a barometer of Sawako's own feelings.  Yes, I'm glad Kimi ni Todoke is back, and very much so; now, if you'll excuse me I think there are some pieces of my poor, shattered heart around here some place...

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