Few people, that is, except for Kazehaya, who is just as friendly as Sawako and never met someone he didn't like - including Sawako. It just so happens that Kazehaya is also one of the most popular guys in school and Sawako has a major crush on him. Although Sawako has it in her to be friends with Kazahaya, one can only take so much rejection before she begins to bottle up her emotions. But, Kazehaya has a way about him, and as the two get closer, Sawako begins to come out of her shell... slowly.
kimi ni todoke - From Me to You - Volume 1 Premium Edition is a fairly typical romance anime. It follows many of the same plotlines and tropes found in other romance-related stories, but the anime also manages to prove that, even while delving in cliché moments, a masterful storyteller can create something enjoyable and completely original. For the longest time I've held Toradora! as a high mark for anime (at least personally), but kimi ni todoke gives Toradora! serious competition.
kimi ni todoke presents a very simple set up. It's the typical girl-meets-boy affair, but here it's all about the characters and pacing. It's clear from the start that Sowako and Kazehaya make a good couple. You could almost argue they're the same person, only one is a girl and the other is a boy. However, the main plotline revolves not so much on if they'll get together in the end, but how will they finally break through and figure out there's a connection there. Neither really seems to know how to express their feelings, but it is clear from the start there is a connection. Midway through the first volume, you may even start to wonder if there was some spark earlier that never went anywhere.
As romances go, kimi ni todoke is probably one of the truer representations of romance to hit anime - or even film in general - in a really long time. Most of the show focuses on Sawako's development as a person, which is a lot of fun to watch. Most of the episodes deal with one first or another, such developing her first real friends in a pair of hyper-active girls. There's nothing over-the-top of unnatural about anything in the series. It's a simple, clean-cut affair.
While the storytelling is great, kimi ni todoke makes an even bigger impression when it comes to artistry. This is a fabulous looking series, which makes the inclusion of Blu-ray versions even more of a selling point. Although kimi ni todoke pulls from reality, characters stand out as their own distinct, visial beings. You'll never confuse someone for someone else (which is sometimes hard in high school focused shows) and you'll constantly find yourself staring into the beautifully rendered backgrounds. It's clear that every single element was carefully painted or drawn. To paraphrase John Hammond, the artists "...spared no visual expense."
Beyond Blu-ray and DVD offerings, kimi ni todoke doesn't offer much in the way of on-disc extras. You get "clean" versions of both the opening and closing, which are worth watching if you like the show.
As is the case with all of NIS's Premium Edition releases, kimi ni todoke ships with a full-color, hard-back book. Entitled "My Memories," the 28-page book offers a brief overview of the show's main characters, as well as scattered synopses of each of the episodes. Each episode is presented in a sort of storybook-meets-scrapbook fashion. Pages are filled with images from the show, with a short quotes representing the general feeling of the scene or episodes. If you decide to flip through the book before watching, it won't spoil anything major, but it does give an excellent image of what the show is about.
kimi ni todoke - From Me to You - Volume 1 Premium Edition is another of those shows that doesn't look like much from the outset, but somehow manages to hit all of the right buttons and become something more than it is. Fans looking for heavy action or "magical" elements might by turned off by kimi ni todoke, but even then its worth checking out.