January 13, 2011

Kimi ni Todoke Pilot Episode: Will You Be My Valentine?

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke tagged , , , at 12:16 am by meotwister5

As opposed to most Western Nations, in Japan Valentine’s Day is usually from the side of the girls.  For most of use we give flowers, chocolates and whatever else we think girls will like.  In Japan it’s the girls who give out chocolate to the guys they like.  In addition they also give obligatory chocolates to friends and close acquaintances, reserving of course the special stuff for the guys they like.

In a good way everyone gets chocolate, unless of course you’re really waiting for that special chocolate from that special someone.  If you don’t, sucks to be you I guess.

Duh.

A Valentine’s Day episode is never going to disappear from any Shoujo series.  As per usual, girls are making/buying the chocolate for people, obligatory ones and the special ones.  Sawako like any good girl does, is making them herself, and as a very good homemaker we all know they’re going to taste great.  She, of course, ends up making special ones for Shota before she even realizes it.  The nice girl that she is, she pretty much gives chocolate to friends and acquaintances alike.

Except for Shota of course.  Poor girl still has her self confidence issues, but personally it really has to do with more than her own confidence issues.  Thus the day is spent trying to give him the chocolate despite the constant intrusions of other girls and Pin’s cockblocking expertise.

Steel yourself woman!

Sawako certainly has grown a lot since the last time she was animated on-screen, but her self-confidence issues still manifest themselves from time to time.  It cannot be denied though that she’s shown a lot of spine and courage as the first season winded down, and I suspect that for this episode, it stems from things much more than the lack of self-confidence but also her abject lack of social skills.  For a story about someone who’s experiencing a lot of things for the first time in her life, these Valentine things are part of that list.

The biggest part of course would be with Shota.  It’s pretty obvious that this is the first time she ends up wanting to give something special to someone equally as special, yet at the same time she has to handle feelings she’s never experienced.  Furthermore is Shota’s reputation for turning down lots of girls and not really accepting any romantic approaches.  It’s easy for us viewers and their friends to say that he’s being so obvious with his feelings for the world to see, but for Sawako she simply cannot pick up on the signs she really has no idea of.  Part of season one, and yes of the early parts of the manga, was Sawako trying to figure out things she has never felt or experienced before.  This growing feeling in her heart is no exception.

Beats me.

Watching this episode, I think it really confirmed my initial impression in the manga that a big part of her reluctance to give him the chocolate isn’t just because she can’t figure out what to do with these feelings, but because of Ume’s words that “he doesn’t accept that kind of chocolate”. She does, perhaps, have this belief that she doesn’t know the exact reason why she’s giving him chocolate, and doesn’t want to alienate Shota by giving him that kind of chocolate when she herself is unsure of her own reasons.  Again, it’s so easy to say that she should give them because he will accept them, but we aren’t Sawako.  She doesn’t know what he feels because she’s incapable of picking up on his cues.  She doesn’t necessarily avoid giving him the chocolate just because she’s afraid, but because she thinks it is the right thing to do.

Why do bubbles always follow her around?

I could also use this part of this blog post to spout vitriol at Ume, but when you think about it and how she already knows she’ll never get Shota, she probably really did hold off until the end to give her chocolate to give Sawako the time and room to give hers.  It’s just obligatory chocolate on her part anyway and she’s clearly not trying to get in Sawako’s way, but at the same she might have been trying to see just what exactly Sawako is capable of.  Remember that Sawako pretty much won his heart by being herself, and Ume has been operating on almost the exact opposite principle.  Perhaps she wants to see the person she lost against, and how this person will act on an important day.  Suffice to say, I’m sure she knows that Sawako has a LONG way to go.

I didn't get any in high school either.

Shota’s day ends without getting chocolate despite his and Sawako’s efforts.  Karma demands repayment, but that’s a manga issue I won’t bring up here.  Suffice to say that is sucks to be Shota, and I can understand his feelings.  There’s more than just chocolate though, and the episodes should reveal if this emotional obstance can be overcome by both of them.

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