Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) Season 2
After Sawako Kuronuma and Shota Kazehaya took the first tentative steps toward romance in the second half of Season One, both (but particularly Sawako) are now feeling hesitant about how to proceed. Misunderstandings, along with the appearance of one new rival and the re-appearance of another, threaten to tear our couple apart before they even get properly started.
That last sentence of the synopsis is the basic plot of a lot of romantic comedy and drama - even the likes of Love Hina - and since the show currently under review has always aspired to be above conventional plot contrivances, that’s the first disappointment of Season Two.
Much worse is how the plot achieves the misunderstandings. It's mainly done by regressing Sawako to her infuriating, self-defeating pre-New Year's Eve timidity and lack of self-esteem. She's so afraid of saying the wrong words or making the wrong gestures that she says and does nothing at all; and naturally Kazehaya interprets her lack of response as rejection of him. This time I felt like grabbing her by the thro- ; no, I mean gently telling her that it's okay if your words aren't exactly right or your gestures maybe misinterpreted, because inaction is not a viable alternative in romance. (This one had me contemplating worse violence against Sawako than the first set did? That is not good. But wiping out all her progress from Season One for the sake of a contrived plot is not good, either.) To some degree Kazehaya also doesn't speak his mind clearly, so it's not all Sawako's fault (though it's mostly Sawako's fault), and we have a "breakup" here mainly due to a conversation from which both parties somehow manage to draw the wrong conclusions.
We've regressed to Season One in other ways as well. By the end of that season, Sawako seemed to be finally accepted as a normal girl by just about everyone (except Pin, but he's the show's idiot); but somehow in this one everyone's back to calling her "Sadako". Mainly plot contrivance here again; it is apparently so she can use the "spooky" persona in the obligatory School Festival.
Meanwhile, Kurumi is back to scheming to reclaim Kazehaya (she's more subtle about it this time though), while a new boy in class named Kento is trying to get Sawako's attention. Both the rivals say things to our heroes to try to induce them to break up- Kurumi works on Sawako, while Kento works on both Sawako and Kazehaya. Kurumi was exposed as untrustworthy last time- even to the point that Sawako realized it- but I can kind of understand how she can still have such an influence on a person who's still so naïve and so completely lacking in confidence. However, it’s much harder to understand why Kazehaya would even give a second's consideration to the words of someone like Kento whose agenda is so obvious.
And this summarizes just about everything that happens in the twelve episodes. The Chizuru storyline from last season ends in a rather perfunctory way, with an event that occupies maybe half an episode. (Chizuru "cleans up" rather nicely though. You wouldn't have thought she had it in her.) The relationship between Ryu and Chizuru, an important subplot in the manga, is almost completely neglected here; in fact, Ryu might as well have not shown up at all, since he is given so little to do.
To this season's further detriment, I thought the opening and closing songs and animation this time were inferior to the ones used in the first two seasons. But to this season's credit, the character animation is much "cleaner" this time, and the use of SD more restricted to places where it is appropriate instead of the rather random way it was used before.
So the Kimi ni Todoke saga finally closes with a very weak second season (and one that I nearly gave only two stars to). In the end, it's a painful set to watch, one where the audience is going to be shouting advice to the screen rather than being moved by their dilemma.
If you'd stopped with the first season, you might have better memories of Kimi Ni Todoke. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: No sex, no fan service, and this time no physical violence. Kids will be bored with it all, though.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You) Season 2 © 2011 Karuho Shiina / Shueisha, DNDP, VAP, Production I.G.
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