kimi ni todoke: From Me to You Volume 2 Premium Edition
Studio: Production I.G
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Release Date: 04/10/2012
Back in January I had the opportunity to review the first volume of kimi ni todoke. Even though I’m not really into the romantic dramas unless they are comedy heavy (like Toradora!), I found myself charmed by the cast and characters of this animated series. The anime was cute, if a little slow burning and the characters all made me care about them, even though I found them all a bit dim-witted. By the time I was done with the first volume, I was looking forward to the second, even though Volume One’s Premium Edition paled compared to most Nippon Ichi offerings. Now Volume Two has made it stateside and it’s time to see how it fared.
First up, like all Nippon Ichi anime releases, both volumes of kimi ni todoke are in Japanese with English subtitles ONLY. So for those of you that prefer/need English dubs, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. I totally understand that some people want to watch TV rather than read it, so if you’re that type of person but are still interested in the series premise and its characters, I suggest picking up the manga version, which has been translated by Viz and can be found in most manga-friendly bookstores.
Like a lot of Nippon Ichi’s recent anime releases, this premium edition comes with two DVDs and two Blu-Ray discs. That way you can watch the anime regardless of what series you have. This makes the overall package pricier than the average anime series, but it also means anyone can watch kimi ni todoke and if you don’t have a Blu-Ray player, you can always watch the series again in high definition once you do. Trust me when I say the Blu-Ray discs are the way to go. The series looks so much brighter, crisper and clearer on blu-ray.
As for the series itself, you’re getting thirteen episodes, starting with Episode Thirteen and ending with the series finale, which is Episode Twenty Five. What’s that, you say? That should add up to thirteen episodes? Well, you’re right. There SHOULD be thirteen episodes, but for some reason, Episode Sixteen is not in this collection. I have no idea whj and I was equal parts annoyed and disappointed when I learned this. There’s no reason given for this and there is merely a note on the back of the first case that “The recap Episode (Sixteenth Entry) has been omitted.” I get that it is “just” a recap episode, but fans of the series are going to still want to watch that. Besides, lots of anime series has recap episodes that don’t get cut from the series, so why here? As well, the first episode (technically Episode 0) of the second season is a recap episode. Will that be cut as well when Nippon Ichi brings that over? No, it’s not. So why do it with this one, but not that one? This makes no sense. While the episode may not be necessary to the overall story, it still should have been left in.
Then there are the episodes themselves. This second set of episodes starts of strongly, but then things go downhill quickly. If you haven’t seen Season One and want a summary of what has happened so far in kimi ni todoke, here’s a bit from my review of Volume One:
” The main character is Sawako Kuronuma is a very shy, reserved girl who keeps to herself a lot. She’s not a hikikomori – she’s just not very adept in the social skills department. This, coupled with the fact she looks a lot like Sadako from Ringu has not only earned her the nickname of her horror movie counterpart, but also has made Sawako into a figure who is both teased and slightly feared. The good news is that Sawako is a bit blind to all this. She’s not able to understand sarcasm, ribbing, or even jokes very well, so she takes this as people actually thinking she has the ability to communicate with spirits, so instead of having hurt feelings, she’s continually trying to correct their “misunderstanding.”
Sawako’s passive shell begins to crack when she befriends Shota Kazehaya, the most popular boy in school. The two become fast friends and both quickly develop romantic feelings for each other, but are unable to express their emotions outwardly. This develops really early on in the series and so a lot of the series can feel like padding as it builds to the inevitable conclusion. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen in this volume so I wasn’t honestly thinking, “GET ON WITH IT” at points. The good news is that the inevitable relationship may be the central focus of the series, but it is not the SOLE focus. Otherwise you’d have an extremely dull series. “
The first three episodes are a lot of fun. I laughed and enjoyed seeing Kurumi get her comeuppance, along with Sawako’s forgiveness. It was a great way to end the main storyline from the first set of episodes. Episode 17 was a nice one shot comedy episode playing up Sawako’s similarity to Sadako from Ringu in both name and appearance. From Episodes Eighteen on, the series just gets even slower (which I didn’t think was possible) and honestly, nothing really happens. Episodes Eighteen through twenty-one all revolve around the Ryu/Chizuru/Ryu’s older brother unrequited love triangle. This whole storyline could have been done in a single episode, maybe two tops, but instead, it’s drawn out like Dragon Ball Z. It’s a nice storyline, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so padded that by the time you get to the climax/twist, you don’t care anymore.
The last four episodes are about Christmas and New Years and finally, you start to think that the series will get to crux of the entire storyline, which is that Sawako and Kazehaya will finally admit their feelings for each other and hook up. Well, SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t happen. The fumbling and lack of communication between the two continues right up until the very end of the series. They never admit their feelings, never become a couple and then the series just…ends. No resolution, no real ending, no viewer satisfaction – NOTHING. If I didn’t go into this knowing that the two don’t finally admit their feelings until the end of SEASON TWO, I would have been pissed as how much this anime series drags everything out to the point of madness. This series is like the Japanese equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown over and over again. I think this factoid, more than the missing episode, is going to be what ticks off viewers most. I don’t know how the writers of kimi ni todoke can make such interesting characters but then can’t actually make use of them or speed up the plot to a realistic level. I have such a love-hate relationship with this series it’s not even funny. I want to see the resolution of the main plotline, but I don’t have the patience for the crippled turtle covered in molasses pace at which it moves.
Now, let’s talk about the packaging. Like all Nippon Ichi anime releases, kimi ni todoke is part of a Premium Edition package. Of course, you might not know what’s in that package so let’s take a look.First of all, everything comes in a gorgeous hardcover slipcase. One side shows the main cast of the series in an awkward group pose, while the other side is a collage of scenes from the last few episodes in the series. Inside the slipcase you’ll find two slim-pack dvd cases. Each one has character art on the cover and inside you’ll find both a DVD and a Blu-Ray disc. Ryu and Chizuru are on the cover of case two, while Kazehaya and Ume are on the cover of case one. Unfortunately, there are no special features or anything like that on the dvds or blu-ray discs. It’s the episodes and nothing else.
Also inside the oversized hardcover case is the hardcover artbook that has become synonymous with Nippon Ichi anime releases. This twenty-eight page art book is written to be a diary of sorts for Sawako. Unlike most of the Nippon Ichi art books which contain interviews with cast and production team members, artwork from outside the series, factoids and all sorts of other neat things, this artbook is just a collection of cells from the series with the occasional bit of scenery. What’s here is pretty, but it feels really bare bones compared to all the other art books Nippon Ichi has put out. Like Volume One’s artbook, I found myself disappointed with the art book in this volume. It’s still cute for what it is and I liked the spin on things with having the diary angle, but I’ve seen Nippon Ichi do better and much like the series itself, I’m a bit underwhelmed and whishing there had been something more. Maybe we’ll see them do more with the Season Two art book in a few months.
The big question of course remains whether or not kimi ni todoke Volume Two is worth the fifty-six dollar price tag attached to it. Honestly, this particular set is a bit underwhelming with the barebones art book, lack of any special features and the missing episode, so it’s hard to recommend. Yet, there’s something about the characters that makes me keep watching in spite of how insipidly slow the storyline moves at. If you can stand the pacing of the series, there’s a fun, realistic story to be had here. While you won’t get an actual resolution until Volume Three comes out later this year, it’s great to see Nippon Ichi is bringing the second season over. Let’s call it a thumb’s in the middle. When the series is on, it’s hilarious and a lot of fun to watch, but when it’s off…oh, man is it a chore. If the storyline of a realistic romantic comedy drama about social awkwardness sounds up your alley, kimi ni todoke is probably worth the investment in terms of time and money.
You can purchase kimi ni todoke Volume Two Premum Edition from various anime stores or from websites like Amazon.com. I suggest purchasing the series directly from Nippon Ichi’s own website however will throw in a magnet, free art prints and free shipping to boot when you purchase directly from them. How can you say no to that.If you’d like to learn more about the series, you can visit its official website. For those that want to wait until the series is completely released in the North America before purchasing, I’ll be back around the beginning of July to give my review of Volume Three. See you then!