[From July Issue 2015]
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Set in Hokkaido, this story depicts the journey into adulthood of its intimidating-looking heroine through her interaction with classmates. First published in Bessatsu Margaret magazine in 2005, it is still running to this day. Twenty three volumes in the book version have been published, with a total of over 26 million copies printed.
Although a few months have passed since she entered high school, first year KURONUMA Sawako hasn’t made any friends. Her classmates avoid her and, rather than addressing her by her real name, call her “Sadako” – the name of the main character in a horror movie. And it’s not just the students; even the teachers believe the rumor that Sawako possesses supernatural powers and can curse people simply by making eye contact.
But there is one exception, KAZEHAYA Shota. He treats Sawako just like his other classmates. He recognized Sawako’s kindness when she showed him the way to school on the morning of their school entrance ceremony and was impressed by how she took the initiative by taking on the unpopular role of class representative and by being responsible for class chores.
One day, a test of courage is planned. While chatting, YOSHIDA Chizuru and YANO Ayane say that the event would be more interesting if Sawako played the role of the ghost. On overhearing this, Sawako volunteers. Chizuru and Ayane recognize that Sawako has a pure and kind heart. Kazehaya is pleased to see Sawako getting along with these two and supports her attempt to make friends with the rest of her classmates.
Sawako’s circumstances change when the students switch seats. While most of the class is unwilling to sit next to Sawako, Kazehaya refuses to draw lots for seating and sits next to Sawako; Chizuru and Ayane do the same. The other students begin to view the high-achieving Sawako differently when they see her helping her friends with their studies.
At times spiteful rumors and misunderstandings make Sawako push Kazehaya away or make things awkward between her and Chizuru and Ayane. Overcoming this, her friendship with the three deepens and during various school events, she gradually blends into the class. Then, she realizes she has romantic feelings for Kazehaya.
Traditionally in girls’ manga, an ordinary girl meets an attractive boy and he falls in love with her for a happy ending. In this story, however, supported by those around her, the heroine finds love and friendship through her own strength of character.
Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko