TV Review | From Me To You: Kimi Ni Todoke (君に届け)
“From Me To You: Kimi Ni Todoke is an heartfelt and touching story that takes you through the pain and joy of high school life.”
After an anime adaptation and a live-action film, the popular manga Kimi Ni Todoke (君に届け) is now getting a live-action TV series adaptation on Netflix. The series is composed of 12 episodes of approximately 30 minutes each.
HIGH SCHOOL LIFE
From Me To You tells the story of Sawako Kuronuma (played by Sara Minami), a high school student. People in her class call her “Sadako” like the ghost from the Ring. As she is harassed, she doesn’t have friends. However, there is one boy who notices her and protects her – Shota Kazehaya (played by Oji Suzuka). He is popular and nice with everyone. Thanks to his friendship, Sawako opens herself up to others and befriends Chizuru Yoshida (played by Riho Nakamura) and Ayane Yano (played by Rinka Kumada). Slowly, the class finally sees her for who she is and she finds her place.
But that is not where the story ends. This is an uplifting and touching series about high school life. And when I say high school life, I mean the entirety of high school life. Indeed, the story takes place over the course of three years, from the moment the characters arrive in high school to their graduation. Thus, this series is able to cover a variety of themes. It talks about harassment, love, friendship, family, making difficult choices… This is a slice of life. As Sawano opens herself up, the story also expands to her friends. So, we see different experiences, different point of views of high school life. It truly feels earnest.
Love is an important of this story for each of the characters and they all live things differently. Sawako and Shota’s story is a slowburn but it is true love. It is their first love so they are clumsy as all teenagers are at that time. That means there is a lot of pain along the way. Their first love confession is a mess and it even leads them to a misunderstanding. Though, they do get together by the end of episode 7. And there is even more story to tell once they become a couple.
For Yano and Chizuru, things are not the same. Yano ends up with Kento Miura (played by Jin Suzuki). Kento is a kind character, he is someone who wants to be loved. He truly loves Yano but it is unrequited. Thus, their relationship doesn’t last. Besides, Yano also has her own unrequited love. In fact, she is in love with her teacher Mr. Arai (played by Shohei Miura). He doesn’t love her for obvious reasons.
As for Chizuru, it is quite a headache but that is also the beauty of her story. Ryu Sanada (played by Kaito Sakurai) is like a brother for her, though he is actually in love with her. There is another catch, she is in love with Ryu’s brother (played by Atsuhiro Inukai). Through heartbreaks, arguments and patience, Ryu and Chizuru do find each other in the end. It is the kind of story that makes you think they were meant to be together.
Moreover, there is always a difficult moment at the end of high school when you have to make a choice. “What do you want to do next?” And that choice is made even more difficult when you grow up in a small town. Indeed, you have to make the decision whether you want to stay there or leave everything behind and go to study in a big city. It is a real conundrum. As someone who grew up in a small town, I remember having the same struggles as the characters. Watching the final episodes sent me back to that time. Thus it definitely was more emotional for me.
The characters have a lot on their mind in the last episodes. They are all friend there and leaving this small town means being away from each other. It is hard because they have all been together for so long and now, they won’t see each other as much. But, it also means going into the unknown. Whether it is Sapporo (for Sawako and Kurumi (played by Kanon)) or Tokyo (for Yano), these are different worlds from what they were used to.
Additionally, there is also the question of love. Can relationships survive the distance? For some yes, for others no. Kento and Yano go separate ways but Ryu and Chizuru stay together. Obviously, Sawako and Shota truly love each other so their relationship can survive the distance and it does. The series ends in the most poetic way. It starts with the two characters meeting in front of a sakura and it ends with them reuniting after some time in front of this same tree. Japanese series really have the best happy endings. They know how to warm your heart.
Because it is an high school slice of life and romance, we do need the presence of sakura at some point. After all, it does create a stunning scenery that evokes love. And putting these cherry blossoms right in the opening scene really signals what you should expect from this series.
The rest of the series also has beautiful visuals. It takes place in a small town and features a limited amount of places. So, it creates an intimate setting. There is definitely something heartwarming about this. And as the series takes place over several years, we get to witness the town on a different light throughout the seasons. This means a different atmosphere every couple of episodes – lighting, scenery, clothing. It is an impressive work that the crew did here.
Furthermore, Sara Minami leads a brilliant cast. She delivers a multi-layered performance. We see the character evolve through her performance. She makes us feel the pain and the joy of Sawako. Oji Suzuka is sweet as Shota. On top of that, Shohei Miura is excellent as the inspiring and friendly teacher. Finally, I have to mention Kosuke Suzuki who was the co-lead in Jack o’ Frost. He appears as Joe, a secondary character. He delivers a fun and adorable performance. However, he doesn’t get enough screen time. I wish his character was more present in the story.
SOUNDTRACK & END CREDITS
Moreover, there is a nice and lighthearted score to accompany the story. That is fitting for a slice of life/romance. Even though, there is no opening theme (there is only a title card), we do get an end theme. It is ‘Ainouta’ by Takaya Kawasaki. And this is a wonderful song. Depending on the episodes, we can hear the pop version or the acoustic version. Obviously, the acoustic version has a more moving touch. The end credits feature stills of the episodes. Thus, each episode has a different end credits which feels refreshing.
From Me To You: Kimi Ni Todoke is an heartfelt and touching story that takes you through the pain and joy of high school life. It is a series showcasing the beauty of a small town, creating an intimate setting. And Sara Minami leads a brilliant cast.
All the episodes of From Me To You: Kimi Ni Todoke are now streaming on Netflix.
Collectables Editor at Future Of The Force.
Star Wars and Marvel specialist, anime expert