Kimi ni Todoke Part 2 (with Caitlin Moore)

This is a transcription of the Shojo and Tell podcast episode covering volumes 11–20 of Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina. You can listen to the original podcast and find the show notes here.

Ashley: Welcome to Shojo and Tell, where we discuss shojo manga and tell who’s hot and who’s not, talk abut themes, and just generally geek out. Today, November 25th, 2018, we’ll be shojo and telling about “Kimi ni Todoke,” volumes 11 through 20, by Karuho Shiina. I’m your host, Ashley McDonnell, and I’m joined by Caitlin Moore.

Caitlin: Hello.

Ashley: All right. So, we’re just gonna assume that you listened to part one of this, because I don’t know why you would listen to the middle third of the podcast without listening to part one. I could understand listening to part one and three, actually, skipping this middle bit. But, whatever.

Caitlin: Just like with the manga.

Ashley: Yeah, right? Just like definitely five volumes of this probably didn’t really need to happen, but we’ll get there.

Ashley: So, I’m gonna give you the immediate spoiler warning. This is about some deeper volumes of “Kimi ni Todoke.” The anime definitely did not cover these volumes, so, if you only watched the anime, I would not advise listening to this. And, if you’re behind on “Kimi ni Todoke,” maybe you should go catch up. Although, it is 30 volumes, so maybe you’re like 10 volumes behind. I don’t know. I don’t live your life. Maybe you wanna see what happens, if you’ve only watched the anime. See if it’s interesting enough to read the manga. I don’t control you.

Ashley: But, yeah, “Kimi ni Todoke,” if you want to go read it, is available from Viz Media in North America, and there is an anime. It has two seasons. I believe it is available on Crunchyroll, so you can go watch that. It’s good stuff. I really liked it. And then, just to jog anybody who has read “Kimi ni Todoke,” you wanna remember sort of roughly what happens in these volumes. I’ll give a brief breakdown of what happens.

Ashley: So, we ended, last podcast, Kazehaya and Sawako have officially become a couple. That’s literally the end. So, the beginning of this is, they get to go on their first date and meet each other’s parents. Fun, fun. Then —

Caitlin: So grown up.

Ashley: So grown up. It escalates real quick, that’s all I’m saying. It’s just such an escalation. Then, they go on a class trip to Okinawa, which, okay, real talk, Caitlin, that’s a pretty serious trip, right? Like, they’re —

Caitlin: No, no, it’s very common.

Ashley: Really? Even from Hokkaido?

Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah. I also took a class trip to Okinawa when I was doing study abroad in college. There was definitely a class full of high school students that shrieked when the plane took off and when it landed.

Ashley: I’m very baffled by this …

Caitlin: It was very cute. They all went, very stereotypically …

Ashley: Oh, man. Manga is real life. Okay. Japan baffles me sometimes. I’m like, they just fly all these people all the way …

Caitlin: It’s cheap to fly domestically in Japan.

Ashley: Okay.

Caitlin: It’s really inexpensive.

Ashley: Fair enough. These kids, they’re living a great life. That’s all I’m saying.

Ashley: So, they get to go for five days and four nights to Okinawa, and I really think that this class trip is what messes everything up. Screw you, class trip. That’s really my lasting feelings about that. Then, it’s the awful three volumes where Kazehaya has things bothering him, and you’re like, shut up, Kazehaya, get over it. Ayane and Chizu are grappling with feelings for Kento and Ryu, respectively. And then, these volumes that we read end with the second go-around of Christmas and second Valentine’s Day. They are still full of drama. They might’ve overcorrected their mistakes from the first time around. That’s basically what’s happened.

Ashley: Yeah, so, now, we will talk more about just … There’s a lot of characters. This is a very character-, drama-filled manga. So, we’ll just check in with them. And we’ll start with our boy …

Caitlin: Oh.

Ashley: … Kazehaya. Because, Caitlin, you have feelings.

Caitlin: He’s just the worst in these volumes.

Ashley: That’s a real shame, because, otherwise, he’s normally pretty good.

Caitlin: He’s really good, normally. Okay, so, my guess is that Shiina was super good at the lead-up, and then, once they actually got together, she was like, “Oh. What now? Well, can’t have them be happy together. That’s …”

Ashley: That’s too easy.

Caitlin: “That’s not interesting.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: “So, instead, Kazehaya is just gonna be a butt, just a real butthole.” Listen, I can’t curse. I have to …

Ashley: I know. You have to think of creative slangs for him.

Caitlin: But, yeah, he is … I still don’t totally understand what the issue was.

Ashley: Right? Okay, thank you.

Caitlin: Basically, once he and … They almost kiss in Okinawa, but they get caught, and then, all of the sudden, he starts acting super distant.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: And poor Sawako is just sad and confused, and she thinks that he’s breaking up with her because he’s not spending time with her, he’s not trying to touch her or hold hands with her, and it lasts for a while. It lasts for a couple of months, in the timeline of the series.

Ashley: Yeah. I guess, Pin confronts him and is like, “You’ve been dating for six months.” They have that joking thing at the Christmas party, and Pin’s like, “Oh, you haven’t touched her for six months? Congrats.” Like, using reverse psychology on him. So, assuming that all the good things did happen within the first month or two, yeah, it was several months that he’s just like, “We’re not holding hands.”

Caitlin: I’m sorry, teen relationships, they would’ve ended. I mean, any relationship, any new relationship, that stuff should’ve ended months before it did.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Sawako should’ve kicked Kazehaya’s ass to the curb, because …

Ashley: But he’s the only one for her.

Caitlin: Because he’s making her miserable. The relationship is making her miserable. And then, the whole talk that he gave her when they made up. And she does eventually confront him, which is good.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Because Christmas is supposed to be a romantic holiday in Japan, and he just spent the whole time planning that party, as opposed to, last time, when she couldn’t make it to the party, but there was that very sweet, romantic moment afterwards where he gives her the cell phone charm, and it was very cute and sweet. But, instead, he just ignores her the whole time, and, eventually, she has to chase him down and yell at him, which is so unlike her. But she just gets pushed to that point.

Ashley: So, I also don’t really understand what his problem was. I think that their talk about how he’s the only one who can hurt her and stuff, because they’re so close and everything, it’s like, that —

Caitlin: Dude, that conversation raised so many red flags.

Ashley: Oh, yeah?

Caitlin: Oh my god. If a guy said all that to me, I would be like, “You need to leave.”

Ashley: Just right now.

Caitlin: Like, “I need to never talk to you again.” I’ve never had a boyfriend say stuff like that to me, but I’ve had guy friends say stuff like that to me, and I literally said, “I don’t want to talk to you ever again.”

Ashley: Whoa. Escalation.

Caitlin: No, just, it’s so creepy how he’s talking about how he doesn’t trust himself around her, and he wants her all for himself, and he’s jealous that she has other people that she’s close to. That’s creepy. That’s possessive.

Ashley: Oh, yeah.

Caitlin: That’s not okay. If I had a boyfriend who said stuff like that to me, like, “Oh, I’m jealous of you spending time with your friends,” I’d be like, “No. No. No.”

Ashley: No.

Caitlin: Like, “You need to respect that I am a person and that I am not just someone for you.” And, “I’m afraid of what I might do to you,” it’s like, so, either you’re saying that you’re afraid that you might want to have sex, and then that’s saying that, oh, she must not want to have sex, or you’re saying that you are holding yourself back from sexually assaulting her.

Ashley: Yeah. It’s just so weird when Kazehaya says it, because he is such a nice boy, and it just seems so out of character for him, and you’re just like, what is your deal, bro? I guess, he did say, all the way back in volume one, he’s like, “I’m just a normal, horny high school boy,” and I’m like, yeah, but did we have to go here with that? Why?

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: It’s baffling.

Caitlin: No. And, so, all of the lead-up to that conversation just made me really unhappy, and it kinda soured me on the series for a while.

Ashley: Yeah. I would have to agree. Definitely. Because I think that this is the point … I think I looked at volume 20, and it was published in America on December 2014, or something. So, at this point, I’ve definitely caught up to reading it as it comes out. And I definitely remember reaching this point in the manga and being like, this is awful to read, just one volume with gaps in between each month, or for several months, and whatever. I’m like, because I really hate where this is right now, and I don’t even know what Kazehaya’s problem is.

Caitlin: Yeah. It wasn’t nice to read. The whole thing with “Kimi ni Todoke” before was, it was nice. It was so satisfying watching these two nice kids sort of get closer, and seeing Sawako open up and get to know Kazehaya, and Kazehaya supporting her. So, it’s just … I don’t know. I didn’t enjoy reading it.

Ashley: Yeah. This is the definite low point of the series. This Kazehaya bit is the worst of the series. And, yeah, I don’t know, it just doesn’t make any sense, because they were about to kiss, and they both clearly wanted it, and then he’s like, “Oh, JK, I can’t control myself around you,” and I’m like, I think that you can, though, Kazehaya. You’re not that type of boy.

Caitlin: Right.

Ashley: Kazehaya …

Caitlin: It’s just sort of buying into the belief that all boys are potential rapists who can’t control their hormones. It’s like, no, teach dudes to control themselves. Don’t act like asking them to control themselves is such an unreasonable thing to ask, that they’ll go wild the moment their lips touch someone else’s.

Ashley: And then, as far as I remember it, this is not an issue again. From here, they’re fine, and they’re always …

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: It never goes to a place that Sawako doesn’t want it to go. So, it’s fine, right?

Caitlin: Right.

Ashley: And I’m like, what was this little strange period in Kazehaya’s life where he didn’t act like a teenager, but also did? I don’t know. It’s just so weird.

Caitlin: I feel like that is also the period in the manga … this is such a weird thing to complain about … where all the dialogue got broken up into these little, tiny speech bubbles. So, everything was like, “…”.

Ashley: Yeah, so much “…”.

Caitlin: Periods and “…”. And it made everything read really haltingly. Like, “I can’t … help but … feel like …”, like everything was being read by William Shatner.

Ashley: No, I agree. And I think that that was my lasting impression of how “Kimi ni Todoke”’s dialogue went when I was planning it. I was like, yeah, there’s only ever three words in a speech bubble.

Caitlin: Yeah, it was all just really rough going for a while. Everything about it, including, oh, hey, segue opportunity, Chizu and Ryu.

Ashley: Oh, yeah. Those two, they’re not awkward at all. They’re fine.

Caitlin: I didn’t really care for how that was handled, either, which was kind of going concurrently with the Kazehaya/Sawako thing.

Ashley: Did it bother you that Chizu didn’t want it, and then almost immediately does? Is that …?

Caitlin: Right. Well, there’s that. There’s the whole, “Oh, I never thought of him this way, but, oh, now I am thinking of him this way.”

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: And it’s so obvious and boring, like, the childhood friends getting together. And just, I don’t know, the way everyone talked about it. She’s like, “I just wanted to stay friends with him forever. I just wanted to be as close as we are for our whole lives,” and people are like, “Well, you can’t have that if you’re just gonna be friends.”

Ashley: Yeah, that was pretty rude. I was like, excuse me? You can have best friends your whole life.

Caitlin: Well, the implication is that … And this implication has come up in a couple of other places, too, that guys and girls can’t be close friends. It’s like, oh, well, you can’t stay friends with Ryu forever unless you start dating, because, eventually, you’re gonna have romantic partners, and those romantic partners will not be chill with you being so close to someone of another sex.

Ashley: Yeah, I guess we get that implication even with Chizu and Ayane, just as friends. Their friendship basis is kind of, oh, well, we don’t fit in with other girls, but now we’ve found the two of us together. So, that’s an acceptable relationship to have. And Ayane looking down, confused by the Kento girls, being like, “How can Kento have all these girls who just don’t want to date him, but just think he’s a nice guy?”

Caitlin: Yeah, and, eventually, Kento is like, “Sorry, guys, I can’t hang out with you now that I’m dating Ayane.”

Ashley: Yeah. Suddenly, we can’t be friends anymore, so, bye. And I’m like, no, “Kimi ni Todoke,” don’t do this.

Caitlin: Once again, if someone tried to tell me that I couldn’t have friends of another sex, I would kick their ass to the curb so fast.

Ashley: Yeah. Again, it just seemed like such an escalation that didn’t need to happen, because Kento could’ve just been like, “Hey, I can’t hang out with you right now. It’s a romantic holiday, so I’m gonna hang out with Ayane,” or whatever. It was New Year’s by then, but it’s still like, “Hey, I’m just gonna hang out with my girlfriend for this time. We can hang out later. Cool, see you.” That could’ve happened, Kento, but you didn’t do that.

Caitlin: Yeah. No, it was … There was a lot of stuff that was happening in this stretch. It just felt like, well, we have Kazehaya and Sawako together, now we have to pair everyone else up.

Ashley: Yeah. Yeah, and Chizu and Ryu is … I definitely also agree that I don’t like the, oh, Chizu didn’t look at him like that at all, but then, he suddenly does it, so she’s like, “Maybe?” Cool.

Caitlin: Ryu is surprisingly smooth, though.

Ashley: Right? I don’t disagree with Ryu. I like that he was like, y’know, I’ve kept this inside me this whole time, and now I kinda need to let it go, one way or the other, it just needs to come out, and, so, I’m gonna try for a second, and you can determine how that goes.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Ryu buys her a nice pink rose and says that it reminds him of her. And I think that’s the bit that I do kind of like about their … I like the overall sentiment that “Kimi ni Todoke” seems to have about other people see through the stereotypes of you to this core, real you. Which I’m not saying is right or wrong, because, I don’t know, what’s a “real you”? It’s always changing with whoever you’re with, and things like that. But I was like, that’s kind of a cute sentiment, I guess.

Caitlin: Yeah. I thought it seemed kinda like a generic, girly gift. Y’know what I mean?

Ashley: Yeah. Because that’s the whole point of Chizu, even with Ayane. Chizu’s like, the other girls always treated me like a boy, like how they would treat a boy who is a friend, even though that’s not allowed in the “Kimi ni Todoke” universe once you hit 17.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: But Ayane’s like, but Chizu is a girl. So, Ayane treats her as a girl, and Ryu has the same reaction, where he’s like, yeah, Chizu and I arm-wrestle, and I always beat her at it, but she is a girl and I like her like that.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: But it’s troublesome that it’s … I guess Chizu has shown, sometimes, that she likes being a girl. She was all about wearing a miniskirt for Toru before.

Caitlin: Yeah. She wants to be seen as more girly by certain people.

Ashley: Yeah. So, I was like, that’s cute. But everything else about their relationship, I’m like, okay, you’re gonna get together, childhood friends. Okay. I think the other thing that bothered me was the backstory about Ryu’s mom, and with Chizu, and with everything. It’s like, this should be emotionally impactful, but it’s just kind of not, because it seems so weird and random to me. I don’t know if it felt that way for you at all, how Ryu’s mom just dies in a car crash trying to pick him up from school. That should be way more traumatic than I feel that it was handled in this manga, but, all right.

Caitlin: I mean, I feel like it was shown as pretty traumatic. Ryu had his own way of dealing with it, but … I mean, it was from Chizu’s point of view. There was still a lot of stuff that she didn’t see. She didn’t see Ryu’s sort of internal emotions, as much as she could infer them. And we don’t see that much of the aftermath. We just sort of see the point where they can cry about … them reaching the point where they can cry about it. We don’t see the years of coping with the afterwards.

Caitlin: So, I don’t think it’s … as sort of a major, showing sort of a snapshot, it makes sense.

Ashley: Fair. I guess it just coupled with the feeling that it was like, oh, now I have to show everybody’s parents, even though I really only care about Kazehaya and Sawako’s parents. It’s like, I’m just gonna shove everybody else’s parents in here, see how that works out.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: I’m like, okay. Cool.

Caitlin: Yeah. A lot of this stretch, it really felt like, well, now what?

Ashley: Now what? Yeah. Maybe Ayane and Kento is pretty good, though.

Caitlin: Yeah. They’re probably the strongest part of these volumes. Yeah. Ayane’s sort of dealing with feeling like she’s not a nice girl, she doesn’t deserve having a nice guy who actually cares about her. It seems like most of the guys she’s dated in the past have been just absolute garbage.

Ashley: Yeah, which is really tragic. I’m like, no. I wanna give you a hug.

Caitlin: I know. She’s so good.

Ashley: I know. Why are you like this, Ayane? You deserve all the hugs.

Caitlin: Yeah. And it’s sad, I mean, because she has a reputation as being easy.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: I believe Mogi saying, “Yeah, I really do like you, but, also, I really expected us to be able to do it …” But he’s like, “Yeah, I thought that we would get to banging a lot faster than we have been, so …”

Ashley: He’s like, “Why did we not bang on day two? I don’t get it.”

Caitlin: Right. And, before Mogi, she was with that college guy who hit her.

Ashley: Yeah. Awful. Boo.

Caitlin: At least she was able to kick him to the curb the moment … It seems like she broke up with him right when that happened. Like, no, we’re not doing this.

Ashley: Yeah. So, that’s good. So, we get the redemption of Kento, basically …

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: … in this arc, as well.

Caitlin: Because he was really annoying in the last few volumes.

Ashley: Yeah. So, Kento gets to be one of the strongest points of this arc, but he was definitely the weakest of the last arc. So, y’know, it’s —

Caitlin: Kento …

Ashley: Kento.

Caitlin: It’s complicated. Kento contains multitudes.

Ashley: He does. He does. So, in this arc, I’m still but mildly confused that he was like, “I genuinely liked Sawako.” And I’m like, what? Where did you come from?

Caitlin: No, I believe that. He did seem like he really did like her. He was attracted to her. He just completely misread the situation.

Ashley: Okay.

Caitlin: I do believe that.

Ashley: Interesting. I’m just like, on the basis of what? Why? Who? Okay, Kento, you’re confusing. But I like him. His kindness to Ayane is A++, and I like the acknowledgment that he’s like, “Ayane doesn’t like me right now, but I’m just gonna keep being nice, and maybe she’ll win me over.” Because I feel like that’s a reasonable … Mogi comes and is like, “Hey, Ayane, can we date?” And Chizu and Sawako have this view, that they’re like, “But do you like Mogi? You guys should like each other first.” And I’m like, it’s reasonable to date and see if you like each other before figuring all the other things out. So, that’s fine. And, so, Mogi comes and does it terribly, because he sucks.

Caitlin: Because he’s a garbage man.

Ashley: Yeah, because he’s a garbage, garbage high school boy.

Caitlin: Yeah, no, his approach seemed like … He didn’t seem like a predator, or a bad person, just sort of normal high school boy garbage.

Ashley: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Caitlin: Y’know, too horny for his own good. Thinking with his groin.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: But has potential to grow up to be a decent person.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: And maybe Kento knocked some sense into him.

Ashley: Yeah, Kento punches him, so that’s a highlight here. Kento punching Mogi, fighting over girls. It was good. I liked it. He gave her a bouquet of roses, because he’s a special type of high school boy.

Ashley: Yeah, and just, overall, knowing what happens with them is kind of sad, but I’m like, Kento’s a good boy. He deserves …

Caitlin: Spoilers.

Ashley: I know, spoilers, but … It’s so hard not to, because …

Caitlin: Yeah, because that is one of the parts where it went in a direction I didn’t expect.

Ashley: Oh, yeah? Yeah.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Well, but, you also see in these volumes how well-seated the …

Caitlin: It is.

Ashley: … thing is. Yeah.

Caitlin: Absolutely.

Ashley: And I’m like, damn. But, yeah. So, poor Kento. Kento got to be the highlight of this arc. And Ayane’s struggles made me … Genuinely, I was like, I’m so sad right now.

Caitlin: I know. She’s so good and she doesn’t even know it.

Ashley: I know. It was such a tragedy, even though everybody else is like, “No, we love you, and you are kind,” and she’s like, “No,” and I’m like, “I relate to you, Ayane, on this level. Nothing else, but this one thing.”

Caitlin: Yeah. I like Ayane. I think she’s easily the most complicated of sort of the main three.

Ashley: Definitely.

Caitlin: Which I like about her. She is genuinely loving, but she’s also a little manipulative. She’s a little bit like, oh, I’m gonna sit back and sorta see how this whole situation plays out.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: This should be fun. She has the mean girl instincts, and she uses her powers for good.

Ashley: Yeah. I think manipulation always gets a bad rap, but I’m like, no, manipulation can be used for good if you do it right. So, Ayane is one of the few people who gives manipulation a good name. Thank you, Ayane. Fighting the good fight here. I actually also really loved … I know we both really relate to Chizu, so I also really loved the moment …

Caitlin: Yes.

Ashley: … when Ayane comes and says that she’s dating Kento, and Chizu has a whole line about, “Don’t worry. When Kento returns you, we’ll still be here,” or whatever. And she calls Kento a shmuck. She’s like, “I dunno, I don’t really know that much about Kento. He seems like a shmuck.”

Caitlin: I know, it was so good.

Ashley: “But I’m proud of you.” And I was like, yes. Chizu. So good.

Caitlin: How many times do you see the word “shmuck” in manga?

Ashley: Not enough.

Caitlin: “Kimi ni Todoke,” I don’t always agree with some of the translation decisions. I think, sometimes, the translation gets a little bit clunky, a little bit too … It’s almost like a dialect of its own, the Japanese translated into English. Y’know what I mean?

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Sort of the manga English. The scans use a more extreme version of it a lot of the time, but a lot of professional manga translation and anime translation, you’ll still see some of that sort of clunkiness and unnatural phrasing that doesn’t sound like natural English. If you’ve been reading manga for a long time, you sort of stop noticing it, unless you’re really paying attention.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: But I do pay attention. Because I like language, in general, and I like seeing how different translation decisions are made. Yeah, so, sometimes, “Kimi ni Todoke” has kinda the more clunky translations. But “shmuck” was a great choice.

Ashley: I know. I was like, I can see Chizu saying the word “shmuck.” Even though I’m sure that’s not at all what she said in Japanese, but it’s so good in English.

Caitlin: I don’t think Japanese uses a lot of Yiddish.

Ashley: Yeah, right? But it totally made sense.

Caitlin: I love Yiddish. I grew up in a pretty heavily Jewish neighborhood, and my mom, despite not being Jewish, she used a lot of Yiddish words. So, it’s really fun seeing that in a manga.

Ashley: I know. And, again, I thought it read perfectly fine.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: It was like, yeah, Chizu, it makes sense. She would totally say “shmuck.” If she knew Yiddish words. So good. What other Chizu moments did I really relate to? I guess it was a similar thing with Sawako, when Chizu is like, “You guys went on a date. You went on a date with Kazehaya. You were my Sawako. No, you weren’t, but …” And she’s crying, and I’m like, yes, this is exactly how I respond to my friends, mildly possessive but also happy and just crying in a corner, being like, I don’t know what these complicated feelings are inside of me. I guess I also really related to Chizu’s anger, initially, at Ryu confessing his feelings.

Caitlin: Yes.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Yeah, that has been my immediate response to when people tell me they like me, has generally been like, are you kidding me?

Ashley: Yeah. Yeah, right?

Caitlin: What?

Ashley: Just immediate anger. Why would you say that? This is why Chizu’s great.

Caitlin: She’s so good.

Ashley: So, so good. She knows how to do all the things.

Caitlin: Yeah, her anger and her complete confusion about, what is going on?

Ashley: Yeah. I really loved, also, when she asked, “What month is it in Okinawa in November in Hokkaido?” That is such a great way to be confused about seasons. And Sawako’s like, “It’s November everywhere.” Or, Ayane’s like, “It’s November everywhere. What are you talking about?”

Caitlin: Different climates.

Ashley: Yeah. Different season. Same month. Same months.

Caitlin: Hokkaido’s very far north, and Okinawa’s … it’s, like, subtropical. Very different places.

Ashley: Yeah. But it was just a delightful way for her to be confused. It’s like, this is amazing. And I do feel that much of the way that she has complicated feelings about femininity, I’m like, yeah, I relate. That’s cool.

Caitlin: Absolutely.

Ashley: 100%.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: See, that’s where I’m like, I don’t get Ayane at all. Ayane’s pretty and puts makeup on. I don’t understand that stuff.

Caitlin: Yeah. No. Chizu sort of being confused by femininity is very relatable.

Ashley: Supes relatable.

Caitlin: Always wears jeans. You don’t see a lot of anime and manga characters who wear pants on a regular basis. Think about it. I once went on Twitter and was like, “Hey, guys, how many female characters can you think of that wear pants?” And a lot of people were like … “Wait, why is this so difficult?”

Ashley: Yeah. I guess that’s true. Even when they do wear casual clothes, it’s always like, we have to wear short shorts and whatever. I’m like, all right.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Or dresses. Yeah. Sawako’s definitely a dress and skirt person. And, obviously, Ayane is, as well.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Chizu …

Caitlin: Oh, she’s so good.

Ashley: So good. I like to think that I’m not as dumb as Chizu, but I still relate to that.

Caitlin: Yeah. I’m kind of bummed out, because she was like, “Yeah, I’ve always had a lot of friends who were guys. It’s never been a big deal.” I’m kind of sad that that got taken away from her.

Ashley: Yeah, “Kimi ni Todoke” can’t let you have that.

Caitlin: After puberty, guys and girls, they just can’t be friends.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Shut up.

Ashley: Shut up.

Caitlin: That’s garbage. That’s garbage.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Screw off.

Ashley: I know.

Caitlin: A lot of my best friends have always been guys.

Ashley: Same. Yeah. It’s so hard, because it’s like …

Caitlin: We’re not like other girls, Ashley.

Ashley: Oh no. I don’t wanna say that. Can’t say that. Oh no. It’s sad, because the best part of “Kimi ni Todoke” is the female friendships, but it’s like, oh, but you did it at the sacrifice of the male … They get to all be friends with dudes, but only because they’re paired up that way, right?

Caitlin: Right.

Ashley: It’s like, oh, it’s acceptable for Sawako to be friends with Kento, but only by way of him dating Ayane, basically.

Caitlin: Right. Because, before, Kazehaya was like, “I’m really jealous of you talking to Kento. I get mad when I see you talking to Kento.” And I’m just like, F off.

Ashley: See, I’m like, okay, you need to learn that that’s wrong, and I feel that they did. So, I’m like, okay.

Caitlin: Okay. Yeah, no. I didn’t date in high school. I didn’t have a boyfriend until college. So, I don’t know. I guess I can’t really relate to the high school immaturity.

Ashley: Yeah, the pettiness of high school relationships.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: I feel it. It’s true. It rings true to me. I’m like, yeah, you gotta learn that BS the hard way. You need to be at least 18 years or older to know that you’re wrong in high school. But, yeah, I guess the only other characters to really talk about are actually the adults. I do have to say that Pin … Any time there is a chapter solely dedicated to him, in a way, it always ends up weird.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: The New Year’s one, in particular. I was like, what is happening? Why is this happening? What’s going on?

Caitlin: I think, since the series sort of went more into melodrama than rom-com.

Ashley: But he’s a holdover from rom-comy …

Caitlin: Yeah. Well, it’s hard for him to sorta be that comic relief.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: And he does start stepping more into the role of mentor and teacher, but it seems a little awkward about how … like, him coming and hollering while Sawako and Kazehaya are having this very serious conflict. And, meanwhile, Pin is in Ryu’s ramen restaurant, yelling about something.

Ashley: Yeah, something or other. Whatever. Oh, about how he hates nurses, probably, or something, because they all snub their nose at him, or whatever. They found better guys to be with on New Year’s, and stuff. Yeah. Those chapters were like, what is this? So, it’s basically, in the last two volumes that we read here, it’s starting to get more into what the final arc is with debating their future. Will they go to college? Will they get a job? What are they gonna do? So, Pin has definitely stepped up in those volumes, being like, “Hey, you all need to think seriously. We’ve been together for two years, now we’ve only got one more year left. What’s up? Whatcha gonna do? Aim higher.”

Caitlin: I mean, I think the whole conflict of Pin not becoming a professional baseball player was interesting.

Ashley: Yeah, because he had been inspired by high school baseball mentor, and he was like, “I wanna be that instead.” That’s nice.

Caitlin: Yeah. Not to toot my own horn, or anything, but I’m … How do I phrase this in a way that doesn’t sound snobby? So, I’m a teacher. I’m a preschool teacher, toddler teacher, early childhood, however you wanna phrase it. I take care of one-year-olds to four-year-olds, and I don’t get paid enough for it. It’s not a job that requires a bachelor’s degree. It’s a job that requires a certain kind of intelligence and a certain kind of knowledge base, but I am also the sorta smart where I could easily have gone into a field that paid much better, that had a lot more prestige. But I chose to become a teacher because that’s what made me happy. So, that was sort of very relatable for me, with Pin, when he’s talking about, “No, I wanted to work with high school baseball.” I wanted to be a teacher.

Ashley: Yeah. Pin is a good dude like that.

Caitlin: Yeah. He’s a good guy.

Ashley: In the end.

Caitlin: He’s loud and brash, and an idiot, but he is, in the end, a good teacher.

Ashley: He says good things.

Caitlin: And it seems like these poor kids need a mentor like that, because Kazehaya’s dad is awful.

Ashley: Oh, yeah. Parents.

Caitlin: I’m sorry, punching your child is child abuse. Don’t punch your child so hard in the face … Well, don’t punch your child at all, ever.

Ashley: Yeah, right? First of all, don’t punch your child.

Caitlin: But especially not in the hall of their high school, so hard that it knocks them down and leaves a bruise.

Ashley: Yeah. I remember reading that the first time in the manga and just being like, whoa, what has happened here? And it does not feel like there was enough … Pin doesn’t get mad at his dad, or anything.

Caitlin: Right.

Ashley: Nobody seems to get reasonably mad about this.

Caitlin: Right. Well, because it’s like, when Pin thinks a girl has a crush on him, he’s like, “I’m not into children.” So, it’s like, why aren’t you defending Kazehaya? Like, “Why are you punching a child?”

Ashley: Yeah. Because Kazehaya is boy.

Caitlin: Kazehaya is boy and is son.

Ashley: Yeah. So, it’s fine.

Caitlin: Don’t hit your children. Don’t. Don’t hit your children. Period. Ever.

Ashley: Yeah. Definitely, this manga’s way of trying to redeem Kazehaya’s dad all the time, I’m kinda like, no, he just sucks.

Caitlin: Yeah. He’s just not a very good dad. Let’s be real. He is a jerk and he picks fights with Kazehaya about nothing.

Ashley: It’s true.

Caitlin: Kazehaya quit baseball because his dad was way too intense about it, and he wasn’t enjoying it.

Ashley: He’s like, “I wanted to choose to quit it before he made me resent baseball and then quit it,” basically. He’s like, “I wanted to choose that for myself.” Even though that wasn’t a choice.

Caitlin: He’s just awful.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: You’re ruining the things that your child loves. So, yeah, no. Kazehaya’s dad sucks. Although, I do wanna say that “Kimi ni Todoke” is a lot more realistic than a lot of shojo manga with how parents are involved in their children’s lives.

Ashley: That’s true. No absentee parents here. They’re very much around. I actually really love that, too. Even just the scenes of them going over to Sawako’s house for New Year’s Eve, or Christmas, or whatever, and having a party. I’m like, that was me and my friend. That’s so nice.

Caitlin: I actually got a text while I was talking to you about … from a friend, being like, “Hey, we’re having a little Christmas friend get-together.” Or the moment where Sawako’s … calls her dad, and she’s like, “I just need to talk to him for an hour.” And her dad’s like, “45 minutes.” That was very real. Because I feel like you read a lot of manga, a lot of series with teenage characters, and you’re like, where are their parents?

Ashley: Yeah. No, totally. They don’t have parents. It’s fine.

Caitlin: Reading a lot of the more dramatic, dangerous shojo manga, like, what are your parents doing? How are your parents letting this happen in your life? Why are your parents chill with you getting kidnapped by a demon?

Ashley: That’s fine. Yeah.

Caitlin: Yeah. And Sawako’s dad’s sort of … I like Sawako’s dad. I don’t agree with him, necessarily, a lot of the time, but I think he is a very good balance between protective and loving, without being smothering.

Ashley: Yeah. He’s trying.

Caitlin: He’s sort of having a hard time with his daughter growing up, and he’s jealous that she’s got another guy in her life, because … I don’t know why that’s a thing. It’s weird, but, oh well. Dudes are weird.

Ashley: Yeah, dudes are weird. That’s basically what we’ve learned from this.

Caitlin: Dudes are weird. So, he doesn’t totally trust Kazehaya as a guy who is dating his daughter, but he also recognizes that Sawako needs to be able to have her social life and be able to blossom.

Ashley: Yeah. And that’s why it’s so nice when they go to parties at her house, because I’m like, that’s a safe way for him to be like, “See? You know them now,” and all these things.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: I don’t know. I guess, my parents, in particular, always tried to be those cool parents were like, “Yeah, everybody can come hang out over here, and then at least we know what you’re doing.”

Caitlin: Yeah. No, that was totally my mom.

Ashley: Sawako’s mom is also pretty good. She’s what keeps the dad in check, basically.

Caitlin: Yeah. It’s sort of a very classic ways of parents playing off of each other, where the dad wants to be protective, and the mom wants to let her child go out into the world and experiment. I feel like that’s sort of the very classic depiction. But it works really well in “Kimi no Todoke,” partly, I think, because the dad isn’t … not that you could do this in Japan, but sitting there polishing his shotgun when the boyfriend comes over. I could see him doing that. Mostly just suspicious glares, and, what is this young man about? What is he trying to get from my daughter?

Ashley: Yeah. Why now? Why are you here? How does she have all these friends suddenly? It’s reasonable. Nothing in “Kimi ni Todoke” is groundbreaking, right? But I just think it’s really, really good at distilling moments and feelings in those moments, in the little moments that make up everyday life. The first time that Kazehaya and Sawako hold hands, and they run into her mom afterwards, the lead-up to them actually holding hands is 17 pages of very, very minimum to no dialogue. And I’m like, “This is a perfect moment. You did it.” Sort of deal. Amazing. Oh, “Kimi ni Todoke.”

Caitlin: Oh, “Kimi ni Todoke.”

Ashley: But, yeah, I just really hate Kazehaya’s dad, and I don’t know why his mom is there, and I guess I’m glad that Kazehaya maybe shields his little brother. But then, I still feel bad for him. I don’t know.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Poor Kazehaya.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: He had four volumes where he sucked. But, overall, he’s good.

Caitlin: Well, in the grand scheme of things, Kazehaya is good. It just … there were some very serious missteps in these volumes.

Ashley: Just don’t read volumes 15 to 18. You don’t need those.

Caitlin: Well, or do read them, but also think, it’s gonna get better.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Maybe don’t pay money for them. Check them out of your library.

Ashley: Yeah. Yeah. Don’t add them to your collection. Just be like, those are the dark volumes that we don’t speak of.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Everything else is blissful and great, but those ones, no. Just keep those over there. Thematic-wise, I was really, really struck by Kento, Kento boy. At one point, he said something like, “I’ve never had trouble getting anybody that I’ve liked to like me back,” or whatever. But then, he describes with Ayane as … He’s like, “So, this is really strange. I’ve never been in this situation before.” But then, he re-contextualizes how I thought about it, and he says something like, “Or maybe it’s that I’ve never tried to reach out so far to someone so far away.” And I’m like, deep, Kento. I love it. Which, this whole manga is about the distance between you and somebody else. And, with Sawako and Kazehaya, it becomes a lot about, they’re so close that every little, minuscule bit of distance change sets them into this tailspin, sort of deal, where they’re like, “What are we doing? Everything’s changed now.” And you’re like, okay, calm down, y’all. So, it’s really nice to have Kento be like, “We are so far apart. It’s easier to close larger gaps of distance, but, at the same time, we are gonna …” Sorry, spoilers, but Kento and Ayane don’t work out. It’s so sad. But I get it.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: It’s sad, but also probably really good. Again, Ayane’s probably the most actual, rounded depiction of how things should go. You probably shouldn’t stay with the person that you first loved forever. Especially when you were childhood friends. That’s kinda weird.

Caitlin: Yeah, no. I’ve said before, shojo really romanticizes staying with your high school sweetheart forever, and that was not a healthy … And not just shojo. A lot of stuff does. But that is not a healthy sort of frame of mind to go into relationships with, your first relationship with. But, yeah, I mean, the title, “Kimi ni Todoke,” it means, “Reaching towards you,” right? That’s sorta the whole overarching theme of the series, is people closing the distance between each other. And I think that can make it kind of melodramatic.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: I don’t know. Because there’s a lot of monologuing about stuff that I never really think about. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a cultural thing.

Ashley: No, Kazehaya, definitely, whenever we go into his perspective, I’m like, you are not a high school boy. This is not at all what they’re thinking. What are you talking about?

Caitlin: Whenever I see the monologuing, I don’t even really think of it as being in the character’s voice. I think of it more as Shiina sort of writing out her own thoughts about the distance between people.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: Or, it’s like … I don’t know if you ever read or wrote fanfic that was introspection-fic, that was sorta what the character’s sort of conscious or unconscious frame of mind was at this particular moment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the introspection, but it’s definitely … High school students are not that …

Ashley: They’re not that deep.

Caitlin: No. I don’t wanna say they’re deep. I just don’t think they’re that AWARE. High school students are very interesting in that they are extremely self-aware but also not. Does that make sense?

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: They’re always … inner turmoil, and thinking about stuff, and thinking deep thoughts, but they’re also wrong a lot of the time.

Ashley: They’re also wrong, and don’t … I think that the problem is that they don’t often extend it to other people.

Caitlin: Right.

Ashley: Right? Yeah.

Caitlin: Yeah. They’re very self-centered. No one else understands me.

Ashley: Right.

Caitlin: If there’s any high school students listening to this, sorry.

Ashley: Sorry.

Caitlin: Sorry.

Ashley: We’ve all been there. It’s fine.

Caitlin: We’ve all been there. It’s a natural, normal stage.

Ashley: Just remember that people probably do understand you. You just have to say it, and then people will be like, “I feel that all the time, too.” And then, you won’t have to be lonely. It’s nice, okay?

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting, because Shiina definitely, as an adult, is kind of projecting too many adult things onto stuff. But then, I think that she’s one of the few shojo manga authors, or manga authors, who talks about, in the sidebar, having a young child, and all these things. So, clearly, she is older, and I think that gives her a good perspective to write the scenes that are more, like, Sawako’s friends coming over and hanging out with her parents, and having the parents more involved in their manga, generally. It comes with good and bad.

Caitlin: She projects her parental feelings …

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: … onto the characters.

Ashley: Yeah. So, it comes with good, it comes with bad. It’s good. Overall, it’s good. Just, again, burn those four or five middle volumes, and you’re fine. Yeah. I just wanted to get into more silly things, as we round out here. I had some favorite lines that I really liked, that I lol’d at, or I relate so much. I really liked, after the first date that Kazehaya and Sawako have, and then Sawako’s trying to describe what they did to Ayane and Chizu. She’s just like, “We planeted, all gifted, bentoed.” And I was like, this is hilarious …

Caitlin: Oh, Sawako.

Ashley: They’re liked, “Planteded? What does ‘planeted’ mean? What are you talking about, Sawako?”

Caitlin: I want to go to a planetarium.

Ashley: Oh, yeah, because the conflict of the first date was that she had missed Kazehaya’s birthday, and she had all that drama with the first Valentine’s Day. She wasn’t able to give him chocolates, so, she’s like, “I have to make up for it and give him a gift, and whatever.”

Caitlin: I feel like planetariums are a very classic shojo manga first date.

Ashley: Yeah. I was like, is this a normal thing that the childrens in Japan do? Is that, like, what …?

Caitlin: No, I wanna go to planetarium on a date.

Ashley: I was like, that’s not a thing I’ve ever done. Damn, am I doing it wrong? Probably. It was good. They ate homemade bentos and went to a planetarium, and Sawako gave him a present, yay.

Caitlin: Yay.

Ashley: I wanna redeem Kazehaya a little bit. I think this is a good line. So, I guess, also on the first date, Sawako’s like, “I don’t know how to be your girlfriend,” and Kazehaya says, “It’s not a role. It’s not a job. Just be yourself.” And I was like, thank you, Kazehaya.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Thank you. Sweet boy Kazehaya, right there.

Caitlin: Yeah. There’s our boy.

Ashley: There’s the Kazehaya we all know and love.

Caitlin: It’s like, “I’m dating you because I like you. So, you just need to be you.”

Ashley: Yes. And I was like, thank you, sweet high school boy. I don’t think any of you would say that, but thank you, anyway.

Caitlin: Yeah. Actually, I don’t 100% agree with him, because there are definitely parts of playing the role of being a partner. But, I mean, Sawako is … that all seems to sorta come to her naturally, anyway.

Ashley: Yeah, her natural state is caretaker, so …

Caitlin: He’s the one who fails to beat that role.

Ashley: Kazehaya.

Caitlin: Kazehaya.

Ashley: Get it together.

Caitlin: No, but I just think of “The Office,” when Pam and Roy break up and then get back together, and she’s like, “Hey, do you wanna do this thing?” He’s like, “I don’t know.” She’s like, “No, no, we have to do boyfriend things. You can’t just blow me off all the time anymore.” So, that’s sort of what I think of. Yeah, sometimes, you do have to play a role, but that’s just being particularly considerate of your partner in certain ways, like taking care of each other …

Ashley: Holding hands, Kazehaya.

Caitlin: Holding hands.

Ashley: Get it together.

Caitlin: Get it together. But, yeah, no, I did think that was sweet.

Ashley: I also just loved when he was a sweet boy in one of his retrospective chapters, where he’s like, “I’m the one who likes you more every time we meet,” and I was like, you’re so cute. Stop.

Caitlin: Yeah. I really like that he liked her from the start, in a not-creepy way. He was attracted to her, her smile, and wanted to get to know her better, and thought she was cute, and I really like that.

Ashley: Yes.

Caitlin: So, yeah, no, Kazehaya’s a good boy. He just has some idiot moments.

Ashley: He just had a brain fart for a little bit, there.

Caitlin: For a few months.

Ashley: For a few months.

Caitlin: I still think Sawako should’ve broken up with him in that time, because, what the hell? He was emotionally neglectful.

Ashley: Yeah. They should’ve separated. I mean, she essentially shocks him out of his system by being angry, which is also a great moment that I love.

Caitlin: It all just took too long.

Ashley: It’s true. It did take too long. But I did really love when Sawako and Kurumi … So, we did get a question about how we feel about Kurumi, but I’m gonna save that for the third one, since Kurumi has not yet reappeared.

Caitlin: Yes.

Ashley: She basically book-ends what we have read. In the beginning of these volumes, she ended her rivalry arc. Which, also, I really loved when they walked past each other, and then, she’s like, “I’m glad you were my rival.” I was like, this is such a shonen thing right now. This is really great.

Caitlin: I mean, it’s very shojo, too, the romantic rival turned to friend sorta thing. To frenemy.

Ashley: I know. But it was really fun to think of it as a really dramatic shonen moment for a good second, there. I was like, this is fun. Yes, but she will reappear more in the next part, but she does appear briefly at the very end, here. Has a brief chat with Sawako, and she’s like, “What are you fools doing? God. Why are you making Kazehaya unhappy? You didn’t give him your Valentine’s Day chocolates? Did you learn nothing from least year?”, and all these things. And Sawako’s genuinely angry, and Kurumi’s like, that’s nice. Shocking. It was a good moment. Not worth all the BS that y’all have been doing, but …

Caitlin: Yeah. Yeah.

Ashley: Yeah. So, I don’t know if you wanna take this quiz. I kind of do. I’m so curious —

Caitlin: Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s go for it.

Ashley: I’m gonna do the love languages one. So, what character do we wanna take this? Whose love languages do we wanna know?

Caitlin: Ayane.

Ashley: Oh, Ayane, that’s a good one. Okay, let’s do it. Okay, let me try to explain what love languages are to people. So, there is this book. It’s a very popular book. It’s called “The Five Love Languages.” It’s by Gary Chapman, I believe. I don’t even remember what all the languages are, but it’s like, do you respond better to touch than … whatever the four other ones are? We’ll find out eventually. So, it’s just basically like, how should you speak to your romantic partner in a way that reaches them the most so that they understand that you care for them? And all those things. I’ve not actually read this book, but I know a decent bit about it. So, I was like, oh, why have I not been using this quiz more? Because it’s a pretty big deal. I’m serious. It’s a really big book. So, we will take this as Ayane. There are 30 statements, I guess, that we are supposed to complete. And, okay, I guess I can just read what the languages are. Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch are the five love languages. So, statement one is: “It’s more meaningful to me when: 1. I receive a loving note, text, email for no special reason from my loved one, or my partner and I hug.” Ayane.

Caitlin: I kinda wanna say A. That’s what my instincts are saying, just because she has had physical relationships with people who she didn’t have that kind of emotional attachment to, but she has never had the kind of relationship … I think that would definitely sorta shake her more, is A.

Ashley: Yeah. I agree. 100%. So, two: “It’s more meaningful to me when: I can spend time alone with my partner, just the two of us; or my partner does something practical to help me out.” I want to go with the second one, “My partner does something practical to help me out.” Because, again, I just feel like she’s been in such garbage relationships, where she —

Caitlin: Well, like, when Kento punched Mogi in the face.

Ashley: Yeah.

Caitlin: That was a practical thing to help her out, right?

Ashley: That really did. And then, they got to spend time alone. See, the second one just leads into the first one. So, we were go with D. They are lettered by the love languages, which we’ll get back to. So, I’m keeping track of these things. So, three: “It’s more meaningful to me when: 1. My partner gives me a little gift as a token of our love for each other, or I get to spend uninterrupted …” Reading is such a challenge. “I get to spend uninterrupted leisure time with my partner.” She was pretty into those roses from Kento.

Caitlin: Yeah. All right, yeah, we’ll go with C.

Ashley: C. Ayane, we’re gonna fix your love problems. Okay, four: “It’s more meaningful to me when: my partner unexpectedly does something for me, like filling my car or doing the laundry; or my partner and I touch.”

Caitlin: Here, I kinda wanna say E. Just because she’s so pragmatic, in general. I feel like she would be the one who’s the kind who’s like, “No, you’re doing it wrong.”

Ashley: Yeah. “You didn’t wash my clothes correctly.”

Caitlin: “You washed my dress in hot water, and now it shrank, and now it doesn’t fit over my boobs.”

Ashley: Yeah. Okay, I agree. E, when they touch. I think she does like touching. That’s obvious. It’s just that she goes out with garbage men. That’s the problem.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: So, five: “It’s more meaningful to me when: my partner puts his/her arm around me when we’re in public; or my partner surprises me with a gift.” I don’t know. I would go with public displays of affection. I think Ayane’s into public displays of affection.

Caitlin: Mild ones.

Ashley: Yeah, not like making out with Mogi, but …

Caitlin: Oh, that would be very rude.

Ashley: Rude. I don’t know. Yeah. I think she enjoys people knowing when she’s in a relationship. I’m gonna go with E. Okay. So, six is: “… more meaningful when: I’m around my partner, even if we’re not really doing anything; or I hold hands with my partner.”

Caitlin: This one’s a hard one, because we don’t really get to see having a lot of alone time with a partner. Well, with a partner she cares about.

Ashley: Yeah. With a non-garbage partner. With Kento, basically.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: We have not seen that yet. I want to say that she would enjoy not doing anything, but just being around them, though. We’re gonna go with that.

Caitlin: Okay.

Ashley: We’re gonna see how this shakes out for Ayane. Seven: “It’s more meaningful when: my partner gives me a gift; or I hear ‘I love you’ from my partner.” This is getting hardcore now.

Caitlin: I wanna say A, “I hear ‘I love you.’”

Ashley: I just keep thinking of the manga “Say, ‘I Love You’” now. Damn it.

Caitlin: I thought that was bad.

Ashley: I only watched the anime, and it was okay. It’s not “Kimi ni Todoke,” I can tell you that. Yeah, all right, we can go with that. My only hesitancy with that is that I think Ayane is scared of deep things.

Caitlin: Well, that’s what makes it meaningful, right?

Ashley: That’s true.

Caitlin: Is it scares her.

Ashley: Yeah. Deep. Okay. “It’s more meaningful to me when: I sit close to my partner; or-”

Caitlin: “Partnor.”

Ashley: I don’t know how to say words anymore. “… I am complimented by my loved one for no apparent reason.”

Ashley: That one, right? A?

Caitlin: Yeah. A.

Ashley: Complimented for no reason. That’s always fun. I don’t know why anybody would pick otherwise. “It’s more meaningful to me when: I get the chance to just hang out with my partner, or, C. I unexpectedly get small gifts from my partner.” I don’t know why I keep wanting … I guess it’s the, Ayane seems like she wants to be more in control of her appearance, even though she clearly likes things. But, again, she would just be like, “You’re doing this wrong. This gift sucks.”

Caitlin: Points for trying, but no.

Ashley: Yeah. So, I feel like hanging out is the better …

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: So: “It’s more meaningful when: I hear my partner tell me ‘I’m proud of you’; or, D. My partner helps me with a task.” No, A, right? A.

Caitlin: A. Yeah, A.

Ashley: Easy peasy. “It’s more meaningful to me when: B. I get to do things with my partner; or, A. I hear supportive words from my partner.”

Caitlin: I wanna say B, just because … I mean, I said “I love you” earlier, but, also, words are only so much. I think Ayane needs to see that the person enjoys spending time with her.

Ashley: Yeah. Her hanging out with Chizu and Sawako is the only thing that convinces her that they … She would start to doubt, even though they do affirm it in both ways very frequently.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: Fair enough. “It’s more meaningful to me when: my partner …” This is D. “D. My partner does things for me, instead of just talking about doing nice things; or, E. I feel connected to my partner through a hug.” First one just seems mean. Right? It’s like, “For once, they did a thing,” it’s sad.

Caitlin: I don’t know. It’s kind of a relatable feel sometimes.

Ashley: True.

Caitlin: I mean, for everyone. I’m definitely guilty of that, too.

Ashley: Yeah. I don’t know. Ayane and Kento had that good hug, though. Maybe I wanna go with E. Y’know what? YOLO, Ayane. You’re going with E for now.

Caitlin: That’s right.

Ashley: That’s right. “It’s more meaningful to me when: A. I hear praise from my partner; or, C. My partner gives me something that shows he/she was really thinking about me.”

Caitlin: Oh, definitely C.

Ashley: Yeah. Ayane’s over this praise stuff. She needs something else at this point. “It’s more meaningful to me when: B. I’m able to just be around my partner; or, E. I get a back rub or massage from my partner.” Escalation. No, I still think she would say the back rub is wrong and hate it.

Caitlin: Yeah. I think B.

Ashley: B.

Caitlin: Just spending time together is more … Because it is enjoying each other’s company instead of just being in it for the physical relationship.

Ashley: Yeah. Which she definitely needs assurance about at this moment. So: “It’s more meaningful to me when: A. My partner reacts positively to something I’ve accomplished; or, D. My partner does something for me that I know they don’t particularly enjoy.”

Caitlin: I think A.

Ashley: A.

Caitlin: I mean, because, also, future developments. People who are more invested …

Ashley: Oh, yeah.

Caitlin: … in encouraging Ayane are the people who she tends to be attracted to. The people who are like, “No, you are capable of more. You’re smart and you’re perceptive.” And she responds to that, for sure.

Ashley: Yeah. Oh my gosh, can’t wait for next podcast, when we get to talk about that, finally. Oh boy. All right. “It’s more meaningful to me when: E. My partner and I kiss frequently; or, B. I sense my partner is showing interest in the things I care about.”

Ashley: B, right?

Caitlin: Definitely B.

Ashley: 17: “It’s more meaningful to me when: D. My partner works on special projects with me that I have to complete; or, C. My partner gives me an exciting gift.” What’s a special project? What does this mean in regular terms?

Caitlin: Well, I guess, if Jared and I worked together to build a Gunpla, that would be a special project.

Ashley: Oh. Nice. What would Ayane do, though? I don’t know. I’m leaning towards C.

Caitlin: I wanna say C, just because, like I said, Ayane always wants to do things herself.

Ashley: Yeah. “It’s more meaningful to me when: A. I’m complimented by my partner on my appearance; or, B. My partner takes the time to listen to me and really understands my feelings.”

Caitlin: Definitely B.

Ashley: B? I don’t know. A seemed possible. She does like her appearance. But, yeah, okay.

Caitlin: Yeah, she takes pride in her appearance, but she’s also used to guys judging her on her appearance.

Ashley: Fair enough. So, 19 is: “It’s more meaningful when: E. My partner and I share nonsexual touch in public; or, D. My partner offers to run errands for me.”

Ashley: E.

Caitlin: E. She doesn’t want anyone running errands for her.

Ashley: They’re gonna mess it up.

Caitlin: She takes care of that all herself.

Ashley: “It’s more meaningful when — “

Caitlin: They’re gonna get the wrong brand.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So: “It’s more meaningful to me when: D. My partner does a bit more than his/her normal share of the responsibilities we share around the house, work-related, et cetera; or, C. I get a gift that I know my partner put thought into choosing.” No, C.

Caitlin: Yeah. C.

Ashley: “It’s more meaningful to me when: B. My partner doesn’t check his/her phone while we’re talking …” Oh, such a pet peeve. “… D. My partner goes out of their way to do something that relieves pressure on me.” B?

Caitlin: B.

Ashley: B.

Caitlin: Yeah, B.

Ashley: I feel like B should be what everybody picks, but that’s … I don’t wanna project on everybody. “It’s more meaningful to me when: C. I can look forward to a holiday because of a gift I anticipate receiving; A. I hear the words ‘I appreciate you’ from my partner.” A?

Caitlin: A? You wanna say A? Okay.

Ashley: I wanna say A. I don’t lean strongly one way or the other, though.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: So: “It’s more meaningful to me when: C. My partner brings me a little gift after he/she has been traveling without me; or, D. My partner takes care of something I’m responsible to do but I feel too stressed to do at the time.” C.

Caitlin: C.

Ashley: Ayane’s got everything together. She’s fine. “It’s more meaningful to me when: B. My partner doesn’t interrupt me while I’m talking …” Jesus, so negative. “… C. Gift-giving is an important part of our relationship.” No, B. B all the way.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: “It’s more meaningful to me when: D. My partner helps me out when he/she knows I’m already tired; or, B. I get to go somewhere while spending time with my partner.” B.

Caitlin: B. I think we’re starting to see a real pattern here.

Ashley: Yeah. Now, we’re figuring out her love language. “It’s more meaningful to me when: E. My partner and I are physically intimate; or, C. My partner gives me a little gift that he/she picked up in the course of a normal day.” No, E. Ayane doesn’t give a crap about gifts. That’s basically what we’re saying.

Caitlin: Yeah.

Ashley: That’s not her love language. “It’s more meaningful to me when: A. My partner says something encouraging to me; or, B. I get to spend time in a shared activity or hobbido with my partner.” Hobbidy.

Caitlin: Definitely A.

Ashley: A.

Caitlin: A. I feel like Ayane’s the kind of person who doesn’t really care about having too many shared interests with her partner.

Ashley: Yeah, and we see that she’s had this fraught relationship. She describes at some point how she used to play volleyball, or something. And then, she quit because there were all these girls. And now, yeah, it’s weird, because all these high school students that we’ve been following, none of them are in clubs, except Ryu, I guess. Because he plays baseball.

Caitlin: Yeah. Very serious about baseball.

Ashley: He’s very serious about baseball, and all the others are lacksidaisical about nothing. So, there’s that.

Caitlin: They’re in the going home club.

Ashley: Yeah. Go home and hang out.

Caitlin: They’re in the get Sawako and Kazehaya together club.

Ashley: Yeah, that definitely was a club for a while, there. First year, that was the only club. Yeah, so, 28: “It’s more meaningful to me when: C. My partner surprises me with a small token of their appreciation; or, E. My partner and I touch a lot during the normal course of a day.” E.

Caitlin: Yeah. Casual intimate touch …

Ashley: Keeping it cas.

Caitlin: … I think, is … You know what I mean.

Ashley: Yeah. Not sexytimes.

Caitlin: Yeah, just leaning against each other.

Ashley: Not walking with two feet between them, like Kazehaya and Sawako. “It’s more meaningful to me when: D. My partner helps me out, especially if I know they’re already busy; or, A. I hear my partner specifically tell me ‘I appreciate you.’” A.

Caitlin: A.

Ashley: Last one: “It’s more meaningful to me when: E. My partner and I embrace after we’ve been apart for a while; or, A. I hear my partner say how much I appreciate … how much I mean to him/her.” I’m just making up words now. E. It’s definitely E. Okay, now I have to do math.

Caitlin: Oh no.

Ashley: Fun. Okay. So, the primary love language of Ayane is quality time. Ayane loves some quality, quality time. But, also, she really does like some words of affirmation. That’s second. She definitely does not like acts of service.

Caitlin: No.

Ashley: Screw that crap. Physical touch and receiving gifts are also pretty good. And, if you want to know what your love language is so you can make your partners love you in the right ways, you should go figure that out. But, yeah, so, this has been an episode, Caitlin.

Caitlin: All right.

Ashley: I am really excited for the next episode, because we finally get to talk about things that we can’t …

Caitlin: Yeah, some stuff that was weighing very heavily on us …

Ashley: Yeah, it’s really hurting.

Caitlin: … as the volumes came out.

Ashley: I know. It’s really hard, because I wanna say how well it’s seeded, but then it gives away what it is.

Caitlin: Yeah. No, listen. Listen. We’ll get there soon.

Ashley: We’ll get there soon. It’s gonna be epic. Oh, we’re gonna have an epic shipping corner, too.

Caitlin: Oh, god, yeah.

Ashley: Oh, god.

Caitlin: Just, like, half the episode.

Ashley: It’s gonna be great. Okay. But, until then, everybody, thanks for listening to this episode of Shojo and Tell. If you have any comments or questions, or concerns, or you just wanna say something random, I don’t know, you can email shojoandtell@gmail.com, or leave a comment on shojoandtell.com/kiminitodoke2. We’re also @shojoandtell on Twitter, Instagram … I don’t even remember … Tumblr. There is a Facebook, but who does Facebook anymore? I don’t know. Caitlin, where can people find you and your work on the internet?

Caitlin: Oh, y’know, around.

Ashley: Just search for your name.

Caitlin: No, don’t just search my name, because my name is so common. I’m on Twitter as @alltsun_nodere. I am the writer and editor for Anime Feminist. I review anime for The Daily Dot. I have my own blog that I have been neglecting terribly for months, called …

Ashley: Oh, yes, Caitlin, I missed your blog. What’s up?

Caitlin: … “I Have a Heroine Problem.” I haven’t had time. And I am now very … considering doing just a “King of the Hill” watch-along guide.

Ashley: Okay.

Caitlin: So, keep an eye out for that, if you’re interested.

Ashley: Yeah. You’re right. You can’t just search your name on the internet. You have to search “Caitlin Moore,” but with “anime” or “manga,” then. I’m sure that will narrow down the results.

Caitlin: Maybe.

Ashley: Maybe. Well, we’ll find out. Yeah, so, are you excited every time you see a new episode from us? If so, please leave a rating in iTunes or Stitcher This will help the podcast reach more hearts, or at least ears. Thanks again for listening. Again, we’ll be back next time for the end of “Kimi ni Todoke,” which is another 10 volumes. It is volumes 21 through 30. Volume 30 still has not come out as of the time of this recording, so we don’t definitively know how it ends. It’s a mystery. It’s also kind of the end of an era. When I went to Japan last year, when it ended in Japan, around that time, they were doing a special exhibition in Tokyo for it that I went to and bought some merch from, which I might give away. But it is the holidays, and I have some complicated life things, so I might have to do that later. But, anyway, yes, it’s the end of a shojo era, and we will cover that next time. And we definitely have a lot of feelings about things from there.

Caitlin: Yes.

Ashley: So, until then, bye.

Caitlin: Bye.