Sawako Kuronuma's current social standing is the result of a slip of the tongue that happened over ten years prior. While at school, a friend accidentally called her "Sadako" (the ghost from The Ring) due to Sawako's dark hair and default gloomy nature. Too quiet to correct anyone, the rumors grew. Now as a high school student, her classmates believe that Sadako is her real name and that she can summon spirits or that she is haunted in some way. Needless to say, everyone is afraid of her.
This is unfortunate because Sawako is actually a very sweet and earnest girl. Her life's dream is to be friends with everyone. While she knows her classmates fear her, she tries to reach out to them by taking any jobs or chores no one else wants to do, and she puts herself several levels below everyone else.
The only person who doesn't treat her this way is Shota Kazehaya, a boy in her class. Sawako admires him and sees him as a role model. He treats each person equally and seems to be on very good terms with everyone.
Sawako is telling this to a classmate when Kazehaya overhears her. He asks how he is supposed to take those words. Sawako tells him that it is a compliment. Kazehaya joins Sawako outside. Sawako proceeds to tell him how she feels about him. She wishes she were more outgoing like him. She tells Kazehaya how she has always looked up to him and she admires him for his social skills. A slightly surprised Kazehaya encourages Sawako to follow her dreams.
The idea of making friends terrifies Sawako, but before long, the two girls who are in her class, named Ayane and Chizuru, begin talking to her regularly. Sawako is overly apologetic and socially awkward to a fault, but it is hard for the audience to dislike her because she is so sincere in everything she does. Chizuru often cries when she witnesses how pure of heart Sawako is. For example, Chizuru lends Sawako a sweaty warm up suit to wear after her clothes are drenched in the rain. Sawako returns the next day with the suit laundered and folded neatly and gives Chizuru a thank you gift. Sawako gives people gifts for simply talking to her like an equal.
The mood of this show is often lighthearted and funny. For example, Kazehaya adopts a stray puppy and asks Sawako what he should name it. The substitute teacher quickly suggests Pedro Martinez, after a famous baseball pitcher. Sawako immediately is smitten with the name, thinking "Maru-chan" is the cutest name for a puppy. The funny thing is, they actually keep the name. Another source of humor in the show is that while Sawako loves cute things, when she tries to act in a cute manner, her expressions often look more sinister than cute.
My complaints on the show are that it can be a little slow-paced at times. For example, it took Sawako forever to realize that she was considered a friend by Chizuru and Ayane. She repeatedly credits her successes in friendship to Kazehaya, so often that it starts to sound like a joke.
However, if you are looking for a show that's romantic without being overly sappy, this is a good one for you. It also focuses on friendship a lot, so the romance isn't overbearing. Kimi Ni Todoke is a feel-good show with a bit of drama that will keep you watching.
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