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Kimi ni todoke (From Me to You) Vol. 1 by Karuho Shiina (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

August 4, 2009 by  



kiminitodoke-1

If you are looking for a teenage high school romance story with quite a bit of drama but also humor, then I definitely recommend Karuho Shiina’s “Kimi ni todoke (From Me To You)” vol. 1!

© 2005 Karuho Shiina. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Kimi ni todoke (From me to You) Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Karuho Shiina (椎名軽穂)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: August 4, 2009

Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine… for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile, and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for Sadako, the haunting character from Ringu. Unbeknownst to but a few, behind her scary facade is a very misunderstood teenager. Shy and pure of heart, she just wants to make friends. But when Kazehaya, the most popular boy in class, befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that – she’s about to make some enemies, too!

From mangaka Karuho Shiina (“Crazy for You”), comes her award winning shojo manga titled “Kimi ni Todoke”.

The winner of the 32nd Kodansha Manga Award for “Best Shojo” and a series that has received an anime and film adaptation, the romance shojo manga “Kimi ni Todoke” will now be released in the United States.

Originally planned to be a one shot manga chapter for “Crazy For You”, a storyline that was supposed to be more lighthearted and fun as opposed to “Crazy For You”, “Kimi ni Todoke” ended up becoming a series that Karuho Shiina is now best known for.

The series revolves around Sawako Kuronuma.  Shy, introverted and often spooking people out, she has received the nickname “Sadako” (for those who are familiar with “The Ring” horror films), because of her dark black hair and people think she can communicate with ghosts and also if you look into her eyes for more than three seconds, one will receive some type of bad luck.

Everyone in school is spooked out by her, except Shota Kazehaya, the most popular guy in school.  No matter how things are, he tends to look at life positively and is always laughing and smiling.

For Sawako, she can’t understand how one person can be so happy all the time, but that is Shota’s nature.

And slowly, Shota wants to get closer to Sawako despite how other students see her, but for Sawako, she thinks it’s primarily his kindness and easy-going nature that allows him to be around her.  But in truth, Shota is attracted to Sawako.

But when the two befriend a puppy, both end up spending more time with each other and being friends.  But will this new friendship change the school’s negative perception of her?  And what happens when the popular girls at school start to notice Shota wanting to spend time with Sawako?

The first volume of “Kimi ni todoke (From Me to You)” was quite delightful and entertaining.

While it does have the banality of other romance drama series of unlikely or unpopular girl getting attention by the most popular guy at school, for fans of manga/anime series such as Tomoko Hayakawa’s “Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge” (a.k.a. in the US as “The Wallflower”) or Kanae Hazuki’s “Suki-tte Ii na you (Say I Love You)” will find similarities of those manga with “Kimi ni todoke”.

The protagonist Sawako Kuronuma is not popular, she’s not stylish and is always unsure about people because she never had any close friendships.  But the biggest difference with this character compared to others is the fact that she is seen as some type of monster or someone who communicates with ghosts.

Bad rumors of her have literally made people think she is like Sadako of “The Ring” and they are freaked out by her.

But of course, the popular guy, Shota Kazehaya, that all high school teenagers girls like, happens to be attracted to Sawako.

While the first volume is quite entertaining and is no doubt looking as if it will be a teenage romance series that will be full of high school drama (especially jealous girls who like Shota) but also Sawako trying to make friends, it does remind me a lot like “Suki-tte Ii na you (Say I Love You)”.  While “Say I Love You” has the main girl and guy bonding over a kitten, for “Kimi ni todoke”, the two are bonding over a puppy.

So, it’s very interesting to see the similarities but also this is only the first volume, so I hope to see a distinguishing storyline that makes this series different from other similar teenage high school romance manga series.

But for now, I am enjoying this series for its storyline and characters, so I look forward to reading vol. 2.

The artwork by Karuho Shiina is very well done.  Good character expressions and Karuho’s artwork is shojo but she also uses lines on the cheeks to distinguish her artwork from others work.
The characters are very interesting but it’s too early to see if Sawako’s classmates will play a major part in future volumes.Overall, if you are looking for a teenage high school romance story with quite a bit of drama but also humor, then I definitely recommend Karuho Shiina’s “Kimi ni todoke (From Me To You)” vol. 1!

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