Shojo and Tell Podcast: Kimi ni Todoke Part 3 (with Caitlin Moore)
This is a transcription of the Shojo and Tell podcast episode covering volumes 21–30 of Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina. You can listen to the original podcast and find the show notes here.
Ashley: Welcome to Shojo & Tell, where we discuss shojo manga and tell who’s hot and who’s not, talk about themes, and just generally geek out. Today, December 9, 2018, we’ll be shojo and telling about Kimi ni Todoke, volumes 21 to 30, by Karuho Shiina. That’s the last third of this series, it’s a very long series there, 30 volumes, whew! I’m your host, Ashley McDonnell, and I’m joined by Caitlin Moore.
Ashley: Yeah, I feel like people should know who you are, Caitlin. You write a lot about anime, you write particularly about shojo manga a lot.
Caitlin: Yeah, I need to get back into that.
Ashley: Yeah, you need to get back into that, but for now, you can podcast about it. That’s fine. So, immediate spoiler warning, ’cause again, this is about the very end of a very long series, so if you have not read all of Kimi ni Todoke, I do not advise listening to this. And if you would like to read all of Kimi ni Todoke, it is available from Viz Media in North America in English and the anime is also available on Crunchyroll and I believe maybe Hulu. But if you’ve only watched the anime, you definitely cannot listen to this episode because it does not get this far. And for anybody who has maybe not read Kimi ni Todoke, like the earlier volumes that are being covered in this podcast for a hot second, just a brief overall recap of what goes on in these volumes.
Ashley: This is definitely the ‘oh my god we’re graduating high school and have to go to college or get a job’ arc, that’s the running theme throughout all of it. And big things that happen, Ayane breaks up with Kento, RIP that relationship. She confesses her feelings to Pin, okay, cool, le gasp. Sawako and Kurumi decide to become besties and go to the same school as each other, that’s fun. They’re gonna go be teachers. Sawako and Kazehaya have their first fight, but then they’re good. They may or may not have had sexy times in the final volume, whoa.
Caitlin: I’m pretty sure they did.
Ashley: Real teen sexy times, we’ll get there. And everybody graduates from high school, yay. They did it.
Caitlin: They did it.
Ashley: They did it.
Caitlin: And they did it.
Ashley: They did a lot of things. Okay.
Ashley: So, first we’re gonna answer … We will probably touch on all of those things in larger topics of discussion. But the first one was actually from a listener that we got for the last episode, but I saved it for this episode. So, this is from @femslashfatale on Twitter, and it was, “What are your thoughts on Sawako/Umi,” Kurumi, “the secret slow-burn gal pals of romance in this series?” Caitlin, what are your thoughts?
Caitlin: I think that it is very good that Kurumi had her arc, and I think that, you know, if they got to college and Sawako realized the distance was a lot to deal with, then I don’t think Kurumi would be averse to it. She definitely, when she calls Kazehaya her real rival in that last volume, it was a little bit like, “Wait, wait a second.”
Ashley: See, not having read the last volume when we got this question, I was like, “I mean, there are hints of that, but mostly they’re just friends.” And then reading the last volume, I was like, “Oh, damn, it went there.” It went real hard implying that. And I liked it, I liked it.
Caitlin: Yeah. I could definitely see it.
Ashley: Yeah, no, especially the way that the series then ends, nobody gets married or anything, and I’m like, “It’s there, it’s open.” I don’t know, I think it happens.
Caitlin: You know how many high school couples go off to college, promising that they will always love each other forever, and then they start having all the new experiences that college entails, and they’re like, “Actually, I think we’ve outgrown each other.”
Ashley: Yes. And I would love for that to happen. I really, really would love for that to happen. That’d be so funny. But also, Kurumi, I think, it was nice to also see her apologize, even though it was like, “Kurumi, everybody got over this. Nobody’s dwelling on this but you.” But that’s nice.
Caitlin: Sure. But it’s good that she made amends. I don’t know, apologies are important and recognizing that you messed up is important, so … I liked her whole arc, it was really satisfying.
Ashley: Yeah. Kurumi’s good. Kurumi starts off real bad, and then ends up real good. It’s so nice.
Caitlin: She matures realistically. She goes from the kind of 15-year-old who would do that garbage to an 18-year-old who realizes that it was a terrible thing to do.
Ashley: Yeah. And to be fair, she gets to sleep over with Sawako first, is that true? Yes, that’s a fact. So, good job Kurumi. She does it even before Ayane and Chizu, and they were all jealous. Everybody’s jealous. I love it, it’s good. And I love in her apology, she does apologize first to Sawako, but then she does also apologize to Chizu and Ayane. She could’ve just been like, “Oh, Sawako already told you, it’s fine.” But I was like, “Oh, she does it twice, that’s even better.”
Caitlin: Yeah, it’s good. She honestly, probably, is the best part of the ending, the last couple volumes.
Ashley: Interesting. I also love Sawako’s dad’s reaction to her when she came to sleep over, being like, “Is she a celebrity? Where did you find this girl?” And Kurumi’s just like, “Uh … no.”
Caitlin: I was like, “Don’t creep, don’t creep on your daughter’s friend. Don’t make it weird.”
Ashley: I think if it was anybody but Sawako’s dad, it would’ve been creepy, but because he’s so out of touch with everything, it’s like, oh, you mean well. You’re so innocent, this means nothing. Anybody else though, it’d be like, that’s weird and creepy, stop it. I don’t know, I feel like the Ayane stuff is the strongest part of this last bit for me. But we’re getting there.
Caitlin: That stuff, that was really good too. Well, yeah, we’ll get there.
Ashley: That has to wait til the end, even though we’ve been like, “Oh my god we wanna talk about it so bad!” on all the podcasts. We have to keep torturing ourselves. Yeah, so I mean, I think Kurumi was also really good for Sawako in making her realize that she wants to go to the School of Education even though she’s like, “I also like Kazehaya,” and I’m like, “No, don’t make choices based on where Kazehaya’s going. Don’t do it!”
Caitlin: Yeah, I loved that. It kind of made me remember … I mean, I didn’t have a boyfriend in high school, but it did make me think about the time when I was trying to decide where to go to college and my friends were trying to decide where to go to college, and most of it was motivated by … It was a very academically intense program, so most of it was, “What is the best school I’ve gotten into?” But thinking about where I would be, where people would be happiest going. Do they want to stay close to their family and their friends? A lot of my friends in high school stayed in California while I went to New York, and sort of all the different considerations. And I really like that the characters in Kimi ni Todoke, their decisions were all based on what they wanted to do with themselves and who they wanted to be, rather than just choosing to go where their significant other goes or where what is the most convenient location. Everything they decided was based on who they wanted to be, what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives.
Ashley: Yeah, I mean, they definitely have the considerations of being like, “Oh, I could just go to where Kazehaya goes, I could just go hang out in Sapporo with Kento,” and I’m like, “Don’t do it! This is the one thing I will never forgive you for if you do this.”
Caitlin: Yeah, and I think those thought processes are natural, and they’re sympathetic. I mean, I didn’t like all the boys being like, “I wanna tell her not to go.”
Ashley: That’s true, it was all the boys, right?
Caitlin: It was only the boys.
Ashley: Oh, that’s true, yeah.
Caitlin: Well, the boys were also staying closer to home. But all of the boys, I was like, “Don’t do that, don’t say that, don’t say ‘don’t go because I want you to stay and be my girlfriend’, that would be the worst thing is to try to hold her back from her actual dreams and goals.” Well, no, Chizu also wanted to say ‘don’t go’.
Ashley: But Chizu is the masculine girl here.
Caitlin: True, true. But I also like that the girls were so goal-oriented, right? And it did end up being that, like I said, everyone was pursuing their dreams. No one was held back by their relationship or by their partner asking them to stay with them. And I think that’s so rare in shojo manga. In a lot of stuff, they end up deciding to become, “Oh, I’m going to marry them right out of high school,” or, “I’m going to drop out of high school to marry them.”
Ashley: Oh, no.
Caitlin: So, yeah, this was just really nice to see. Very satisfying.
Ashley: Very nice to see no weddings, open to my interpretation. Yeah, no, and the feelings are very relatable, and I guess from my own personal life experience, I did have a boyfriend in high school, and I guess I briefly considered breaking up with him, but then we were like, “No, we won’t break up.” We did have a long-distance relationship, we did go to different colleges. I think we applied to one school the same, and we both did get in, and we were like, “Nope. That’s not the best school that we applied to and got into. So, nope. Bye.” So yeah, I felt like that was … I’m like, “You can do long distance, it’s possible. Don’t not go to a good school over that.” Yay, Kimi ni Todoke, you did it correctly.
Caitlin: You did good!
Ashley: You did a good!
Caitlin: You did a good.
Ashley: Yeah. I think what shocks me about Kimi ni Todoke is, it definitely is probably so popular because it certainly has fairly conservative views on … It has this idyllic, small-town setting in Hokkaido. I noticed there’s never a car anywhere in this thing. The one time a car is severely mentioned, it kills somebody. Cars are no good. They take the train, they walk even though it’s literally below freezing half the time, I think, in this manga. We talked about last time how even though we really love the female friendships and everything in it, there is kind of also a, ‘Oh, girls and boys can’t really be friends unless you’re romantically interested in each other’ sort of conservatism to it. So, it has fairly conservative undertones, but then I’m like, “But it does little things well.” I don’t know.
Caitlin: Yeah, listen, a thing can be good in some ways and bad in some ways, which is an argument I’ve been seeing going on on Twitter a lot recently.
Ashley: Yeah. So, I love taking the very good with the less … I don’t think it does anything terribly, terribly bad except that one Kazehaya bit in the middle. Everyone’s like, alright.
Caitlin: Kazehaya just being a stupid idiot.
Ashley: Yeah. Out of character, Kazehaya was like, “What’s happening?” But otherwise I think its lows are not really that low, and then the highs are like, “Whoa! You kind of surprised me and blew my mind a little.” Yay. So, now I think we have to talk about your obviously favorite character, Kazehaya’s dad.
Caitlin: Oh, yeah.
Ashley: Because I think that there tried to be a little redemption arc in this that tried to be like a Serious McSeriouspants little episode where his mom was in the hospital for some seemingly minor thing …
Caitlin: Vague bad health.
Ashley: Yeah. And then Kazehaya’s like, “Oh, I finally told my dad I wanna go to college, and I tried to listen to him and not cut him off for once, and so we had this little heart-to-heart.” And then Kazehaya’s mom’s like, “You know, I think you just misunderstand him,” as everybody in this manga will tell you at some point or another about somebody else.
Caitlin: Your words aren’t reaching him.
Ashley: Yeah, your words aren’t reaching him. Probably ’cause you didn’t let him say half of the words, but that’s fine. Yeah, so then it is revealed that Kazehaya’s dad has been hoarding all of the presents that Kazehaya has ever given him for Father’s Day and other holidays, even when they were food items. And really, what Kazehaya wanted was for his dad to eat them. So, he’s hid them in this drawer, and basically never showed Kazehaya that he kept them and treasured them in any way. And his mom is like, “Hey, go check out that drawer, it might change your mind.” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” Should that change his mind, Caitlin?
Caitlin: It’s such a weird thing to do, if you give someone a present, you want them to enjoy it and use it, and not just sit in a drawer as a trinket until it goes bad. That’s strange, that’s weird. Kazehaya’s dad is a weird guy.
Ashley: Yeah. Oh, and I guess the other part of the redemption arc was that he thought so hard about what to name you and stuff, and I’m like, “Alright, at what point did he become a hard-ass though?” At what point did he stop being like, “Oh my god, look Shota walked a little for a hot second,” into becoming this like, “Shota never lives up to my expectations.”
Caitlin: It’s because … I get it, I get that he’s like that because he doesn’t … He wants Kazehaya to be an achiever, and so he pushes him so hard that Kazehaya’s like, “This isn’t fun anymore, and so I wanna quit.” You know, this is one of those cases where it’s like, “Well, someone can be good and bad at the same time,” right? The damage he did was real, he still made Kazehaya want to quit baseball, made him think that he did not care for him. He still punched him in the face.
Ashley: Oh, yes. That was also the low point in the series, punching children in the face is not good.
Caitlin: You know, but it’s still good to know that he wanted good things for Kazehaya, that he wasn’t just an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.
Ashley: That’s true.
Caitlin: But yeah, I don’t think that it totally redeems him because I think most parents, even the worst parents, have generally good intentions. It’s the effect they have on their kids that matters most.
Ashley: Yeah, and it’s kind of like … Kazehaya’s mom, I’m like, “Alright, mom, you knew this, you see the dynamic all the time, what are you doing, mom? Why are you letting this happen? What are you doing about this? I don’t understand.” His family’s weird, is basically my conclusion.
Ashley: And then his little brother is running free because Shota takes on all the hard burdens, I feel, being the older one.
Caitlin: Yeah. It’s hard being the older sibling.
Ashley: This I know nothing about as an only child. I’m like, “Tell me, explain siblings to me. How does that work? I don’t know.”
Caitlin: Well, you see, when a mommy and daddy love each other very much …
Ashley: Okay, that actually is relevant. I think the best moment with Kazehaya’s dad was actually when Sawako sleeps over and was supposed to sleep in a different room with the futon, but then the mom opens the door and it’s like, “She’s not in here, oh no! I told them not to have sex.” And then they’re just at the kotatsu and the dad opens the door and is like, “I’ma believe you just this once. Just one time, I trust you.”
Caitlin: They should’ve had sex, though.
Ashley: Yeah, they might as well have done it. But I don’t know if they were saving that for the last volume.
Caitlin: Yup, I was like, “Oh, it’s only volume 29, we have to save that for the next volume ’cause that’s the kind of shojo manga this is.”
Ashley: I feel like a lot of typical shojo things that … I don’t know, they went to an amusement park, and I was like, “Volume 27, finally went to an amusement park.”
Caitlin: I know, it was like, come on guys!
Ashley: I was like, where has this manga been? I don’t understand.
Caitlin: All the time you wasted in the middle stretch being miserable and not talking to each other, you could’ve been doing normal relationship things.
Ashley: You could’ve been going to this damn amusement park! Are you kidding me? Gosh. Everybody needs a good Ferris wheel talking it out. Don’t you know anything?
Caitlin: Ferris wheel talking it out and making out.
Ashley: Yes. I definitely like how they slowly make out more. So good. They kiss three times, and I’m like, “Oh, that’s too many!” But we have to talk about the best thing.
Caitlin: What’s the best thing?
Ashley: I think the best thing is still Ayane’s everything in this arc.
Caitlin: Yeah, no, Ayane has a really great arc. When I was first reading this stretch, I totally thought that Ayane and Pin were gonna get together. So, I was just reading it the first time, I was like, “I hate it, I hate this,” saw the cover of volume 29 with Ayane and Pin together, I’m like, “I hate it, I’m not okay with this. Teacher/student romance is never good. Don’t do it.” So upset, so ready to be so mad, and then she confesses to him, and he just turns to her and is like, “I don’t like kids. You’re 10 years too young for me.” I was just like, “Oh my god.”
Ashley: Thank you Pin.
Caitlin: You can look up the tweets where I’m just crying with relief.
Ashley: Yeah, I remember those tweets. I was like, “Oh, Caitlin’s in for a whirlwind here.”
Caitlin: I was so mad.
Ashley: I know. It was so fun to watch you be so, so mad at that cover, and then be like, “This actually didn’t go how I thought it would go.” I was like, “Yes!” So good. Okay, what I like about Pin’s reaction is not only that he’s obviously like, “No, we can’t do this,” but he is very respectful in that he … Ayane has bought him Valentine’s Day chocolates, and she gives them to him, and he eats all of them, and then is like, “No.” It was kind of like, ‘I accept your feelings, it is nice that you like me, but also no.’ I was like, “Thank you.” So, so good.
Caitlin: And I mean, in retrospect, going back and reading it knowing how it turns out, all the stuff that I thought was like, “Oh, Pin’s being awkward ’cause he likes her back, ew!” Was just like, no, he’s awkward because this student who he’s mentoring, who he wants to see successful, obviously has a huge crush on him, and that is weird and awkward for him, ’cause I don’t think he’s a guy who people get crushes on a lot.
Ashley: Yeah, we’ve gotten a bit of hints that that might be true.
Caitlin: His perpetual howling about how he wants a girlfriend. So, what I thought was him being awkward about liking this girl was like, no, he’s awkward because this student is very blatantly hitting on him.
Ashley: Yeah, and he tries to be like, “I don’t want to be weird around you because I want you to succeed as a student, but also …”
Caitlin: Yeah. And he’s actually a super-good teacher. I don’t know if he’s an actual good teacher, but he’s a very good mentor to them in the last few volumes.
Ashley: Yeah, we have no idea about whether he teaches math in a logical way, but he’s very good at motivating people.
Caitlin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And he does mature between being 24 at the start of the series and 27 at the end of the series, and going from being a new teacher to being a little bit more experienced. Pin has actually some pretty good low-key character development even if he is still kind of an idiot.
Ashley: Yeah. Well, I think realizing that a student has a crush on him definitely makes him be like, “Hm, I should reflect on this a little bit. I should think about my life, and decide.” I really love that he does give Ayane an eraser, that’s very nice.
Caitlin: Yeah. Pin’s a good dude.
Caitlin: He’s a good boy. Even if he is an idiot.
Ashley: Yeah. I’ve always been baffled about this mildly, in that all of his students see him a lot outside of school, and I get that it’s a small town, so that’s probably part of why, but Ayane going to his apartment, knowing where he lives, that seems a little strange. And I know it’s because Kazehaya and Ryu have this other relationship with him, so it spun out from that, but it’s still weird.
Caitlin: It was a little weird. I think in his position, I would really want to avoid having her in his apartment just because she very clearly likes him, and other students have picked up on that. But I’m a teacher, my dad’s a teacher, and he’s a drama teacher, so he spends a lot of time with his students and he sees them outside of class a lot. And he’s had a party at our house for his drama students, so I can sort of see … But her being alone at his apartment was a little crossing boundaries.
Ashley: Yeah, I was like, “Should’ve just gone to school like you were supposed to to tell him.”
Caitlin: Yeah. And I’ve also been to my teachers’ homes in the past, especially if it is a small community situation. When I was in Academic Decathlon, we would have study sessions at our teacher’s house a couple of times. Or when I was doing my linguistics major in college, it was a really small department. So instead of a final, the teacher had a dinner party at his house.
Caitlin: I know, Rest in Peace Scott Powe. Yeah, so it’s not totally weird, but it’s weird that she’s there by herself. And in his position, I would not want her there alone to avoid any sort of rumors.
Ashley: Avoid misunderstandings? Legal liabilities? Yeah. I was like, “Pin, you’re a good dude, but maybe a little too trusting in this situation. Calm down.” Yeah, it was really interesting rereading this series knowing how that plays out, and just seeing how it was seeded since volume two.
Caitlin: Yeah, when he looks at Kurumi and goes, “I don’t like kids.”
Ashley: Yeah, I was like, “Whoa, it’s always been here! He’s always been like this.” And then I don’t know, he was always just … There was some impactful scene that he had with Ayane in volume four where he gives her some advice, and she seems really emotional about it, and even throughout her whole relationship with Kento, he was always there in every background scene as, “Oh, he’s the alternative.” I really like the shot where Ayane keeps the cough drop that Pin has given them as a White Day present, since they always give him Valentine’s Day chocolates. And Kento had given her this very large jar of other candy, and there’s a shot where it’s both of them next to each other, and I’m like, “I see you. I see what you’ve done, manga.” It was very cute. But yeah, it was very interesting to be like, “Oh, yeah. Kento never had a chance, poor boy.”
Caitlin: Poor Kento.
Ashley: We should talk about how Ayane handled Kento as well.
Ashley: In the end I was like, “Was Kento a good boy?” ’Cause he definitely didn’t know how to listen, and it made me very annoyed.
Caitlin: I think he was overall a good boy. He tried, he wasn’t a creep, he didn’t push her for sex or anything like previous boyfriends had. It was just immaturity. I think it was more immaturity than anything else, which luckily people can grow out of. So, you know.
Ashley: It was a growing experience for both of them.
Caitlin: Yeah, Ayane learns what it’s like to have a boyfriend who doesn’t hit her.
Ashley: Hit her in the face, good things.
Caitlin: And Kento learns what it’s like to actually like someone, and what it’s to get his heart broken.
Ashley: Which he definitely needed a lesson in. He just needed that lesson very badly. Yeah, I guess I really liked it because it seems like Kento should be so lovable, and Ayane admits it’s so pleasant to hang out with him, but she just doesn’t love him, and I’m like, “Yes, thank you. Thank you, manga.”
Caitlin: Yeah, you can’t force it.
Ashley: Can’t force the love feelings, you can’t do it. Kento did try. There is that weird scene where he does seemingly try to force himself on her though, right? When they’re at her house?
Caitlin: I don’t remember that.
Ashley: Oh, it’s when Ayane … I can’t remember the full context of what’s happening in it. Because admittedly, anytime they get into fights, I’m always kind of like, “Why exactly are you fighting?” I feel like it’s never clearly explained until really late in the fight, and I’m like, “Oh, okay. Cool.” But yeah, they were in Ayane’s house alone ’cause her parents weren’t there, and I think she might’ve been trying to tell him about the college thing again, and then they end up on her bed, and she’s like, “No.”
Caitlin: Oh, and he’s trying to be like, “Don’t leave.”
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Caitlin: Yeah. No, yeah, that definitely did kind of push the line.
Ashley: Kento, be a good boy!
Ashley: That’s all this manga …
Caitlin: Kento, bad!
Ashley: Kento, Kento!
Caitlin: Smack him on the nose with a slipper.
Ashley: We can’t just have a podcast without being like, “Kento! Why are you like this?”
Caitlin: “Why can’t you be a good, like Pin?”
Ashley: Yeah, why can’t you be good like Pin? Oh, boy. Pin being good, what a reality. Excellent. But I don’t know, so we should discuss the other main couples and how we felt about them in the end, I suppose, as well. I feel like Chizu and Ryu, I don’t really know what to say about them, other than they’re your cool high school people who are like, “Yeah, we’re just hot and doing our own thing over here.” And what?
Caitlin: They were definitely doing it, by the way.
Ashley: Totally, one hundred percent.
Caitlin: I just … Another thing I didn’t pick up on the first time, that they were definitely … After they hit a point whenever she was up hanging out in his room unsupervised …
Caitlin: His parents were so used to it, but they were banging.
Ashley: They were totally banging. That’s how Chizu knows that Kazehaya and Sawako banged, she’s like, “I know what’s up.”
Caitlin: Because usually she’s so dumb about that stuff, but now she’s the one that has banged.
Ashley: Yeah, she’s like, “Oh, I see.”
Caitlin: So, she can tell.
Ashley: “I see you. I see you fools.” So good. Yeah, I don’t know, Chizu and Ryu, I’m just like, “Alright, they’re gonna have a baseball team full of kids, I don’t know, they’re just gonna make it work somehow.” Cool.
Caitlin: They’re gonna be a happy, small-town, business-owning couple.
Ashley: Yeah, and I’m like, “That’s fine, that seems fine. I accept your reality now.”
Caitlin: Unless Ryu gets scouted to a baseball team and then they go wherever, and then he gets scouted to the MLB, and then they have to move to the US and Chizu is …
Ashley: I would love to see Chizu in the US.
Caitlin: Oh, she would love it honestly. I think she would do great in the US. She might have some trouble with English at first, but people say what they mean here, you don’t have to guess at what people are trying to say, everything’s out on the table.
Ashley: She can say the word ‘schmuck’ and will love it.
Caitlin: So, yeah. Now that’s my head canon future for them, Ryu gets into baseball and they move to America and they live happily in America.
Ashley: Interesting. I like it, I’m down.
Caitlin: Ryu never really learns English very well.
Ashley: That’s alright, he’s the strong, silent type.
Caitlin: Yeah. Or he can understand it, but he can’t really speak it very much. But that’s fine.
Ashley: Yeah, that’s fine. They play somewhere where there’s a strong Japanese community. He’s on the San Francisco Giants or whatever.
Caitlin: Yeah, or the Mariners, actually the Seattle Mariners.
Ashley: Yeah, we’ll just stick him here, that’s fine. West Coast.
Caitlin: We’re gonna fight over who gets to have him for a team.
Ashley: That’s fine, I’ll cede to you.
Caitlin: But I have read a lot of articles about how, when Japanese couples moved to the US for work or whatever, usually the husband is miserable and doesn’t learn how to speak English and just wants to go back, and meanwhile the wife is out meeting people, learning English, getting involved in their communities, and the husband’s just like, “I hate it, I wanna go home.”
Ashley: Interesting. But Ryu would just be like, “Whatever, I don’t talk to anybody anyway.”
Ashley: “It’s fine.”
Caitlin: They find a really good ramen shop.
Ashley: Yeah, no definitely.
Caitlin: Ryu just goes over there and hangs out.
Ashley: Yeah, he doesn’t need to learn English when he just has a strong Japanese community. He’s fine.
Caitlin: Anyway, now that we’ve built this elaborate head canon.
Ashley: Yeah, no I love it, it’s so good. But what do Kazehaya and Sawako do?
Caitlin: Well, we’ve already established it. They break up, and Sawako dates Kurumi instead.
Ashley: And Sawako and Kurumi is the real OTP here. But as far as we know, at the end of the manga, they’re still together at some undisclosed time lapse, sort of. Might be a year, might be four, who knows? I don’t know.
Caitlin: Yeah. I mean, I don’t have strong feelings about them in the end. Honestly, weirdly, it’s one of those couples where it could go either way. They could end up staying together forever, or they could end up breaking up and they were happy together for their time, and now they’re moving on with their lives. I don’t necessarily think they were a hundred percent soulmates, but I also think that they could work together in the long run, too.
Ashley: Yeah, they try really hard to be a hundred percent soulmates. I really hated the middle volumes of this, I guess when they were fighting, and they just have endless loops of apologizing to each other. I was like, “Stop, I’ma hit you. What are you doing? Y’all killing me right now.”
Caitlin: Yeah, as long as Kazehaya doesn’t lapse back into that really garbage, controlling sort of mindset that he had for a little while there.
Ashley: Yeah, don’t be garbage Kazehaya. I think I was really surprised that it ended on them having sex, though. I was mildly shocked.
Caitlin: No, they always end with … They always have sex in the last volume. That’s just how pure shojo manga goes. Even if they get together in volume two, they don’t have sex until the last volume. That’s what they did in My Love Story!! too. Oh, sorry. Spoilers.
Ashley: That’s fine, I can be spoiled about all the things. Huh, interesting. I don’t know, so weird. It’s just so weird, ’cause they’re just so frickin’ innocent. I’m like, “It took you 25 volumes for you to learn how to hold hands properly? Dammit, come on.” Yeah, Kazehaya gave her a promise ring. I did have to really laugh at his, “I measured your fingers so many times.” I’m like, “No you didn’t.” You can’t just feel a finger and be like, “Oh, I got it.” Kazehaya.
Caitlin: Grab the ring, “This feels like the right …”
Ashley: Yeah, “This feels right.” What are you talking about, Kazehaya? Shut up.
Caitlin: No, shopping for rings is horrible though, ’cause it is totally guesswork. And there are all these tips online that are like, “Secretly break out the measuring tape and measure your significant other’s finger while they’re sleeping.”
Ashley: Yeah, I think I’ve definitely heard …
Caitlin: “Pretend that it’s part of a game.”
Ashley: Yeah. I’ve definitely heard of all the elaborate ways that you can try to measure your partner’s finger, “Get a string, and then tie it around it while they’re sleeping, and then measure.” I’m like, alright. Woo boy.
Caitlin: It’s really silly. Just get a cheap one, and then if the cheap one doesn’t fit right, get them sized.
Ashley: Yeah. Actually, Kazehaya should’ve just bought eight different sized 10 dollar rings and been like, “Alright, one of these is gonna work. It’s gonna happen.”
Caitlin: No, so what you do is you get a cheap one, and if the cheap one doesn’t fit, say, “Oh, we’ll have to get you sized, and then we’ll get you a ring that fits.”
Caitlin: And then that’s when you can get the real one. That’s my tip, speaking as someone who is engaged. That’s my tip.
Ashley: That’s your tip. Life tips here, yes. I definitely was like, “Kazehaya, don’t do this promise ring thing though. Don’t do it.” Okay, fine, we did it, that’s alright.
Caitlin: Yeah. Engaged to be engaged.
Ashley: I mean, that’s alright. Chizu and Ryu also proposed to each other immediately.
Ashley: I guess, oh boy. But those two are your silly, weird high school couple who’s gonna make it work no matter what. So, that’s fine.
Caitlin: Yeah, as long as it’s not everyone marrying their high school sweethearts, babies ever after …
Ashley: Yeah, it’s nice that Ayane and Kurumi do not have peoples.
Caitlin: Yeah, they’re free women. They can go off and do what they want.
Ashley: Maybe they become a couple. JK, that doesn’t happen.
Caitlin: Yeah. I gotta say though, I don’t think Kurumi’s reason for becoming a teacher is very good.
Ashley: No. Oh god no.
Caitlin: Like, “Oh, everyone in my family is a teacher, and it was just kind of expected for me, so I guess I’m gonna be a teacher.” No! You have to feel the calling in your soul or you’re not gonna be a good teacher.
Caitlin: I’m pretty sure teachers in Japan are paid better than they are here, so it’s not like you’re being poor so that you can do something that you love, which isn’t right here either. Teachers are vastly underpaid. Public school teachers, preschool teachers are even worse. Lobby for better pay for preschool teachers. Anyway …
Ashley: You think that would be important to have a good foundation for how kids learn, preschool.
Caitlin: You’d think, right?
Caitlin: Listen, I’ll tell you my wage later and you’ll cry for me.
Ashley: Oh, no.
Caitlin: But yeah, that’s not a good reason. You’ll never be a teacher if you go in with, “Well, it was just kind of what was expected for me.”
Caitlin: So, Sawako will be a good teacher. She’ll be a good teacher, but I don’t know about Kurumi. I don’t know if she has the right temperament for it either.
Ashley: God, no. I kind of assumed that Kurumi is … I admired Kurumi for being like, “I don’t want to do this, but it’s a challenge, and I want to meet it.” And I feel like she’s gonna go through this whole thing and then realize it’s not what she wants, and then go just be a model or something. She’s gonna go be somebody on Terrace House and whatever. That’s my head canon.
Caitlin: Go on Terrace House, meet a man.
Ashley: Yeah, exactly.
Caitlin: Or meet a girl.
Caitlin: Don’t they have same-sex attracted people on Terrace House now?
Ashley: Do they? I was gonna say, I’ve never seen that.
Caitlin: I think I read a story about that, that they actually have a couple of people on it who are either gay or bisexual.
Ashley: Ooh, Terrace House stepping it up. I admittedly only really watch the season … Yeah, I only watched the season that had the hockey player, and I was like, “Yes, that’s all I want, watch a female hockey player.” Yeah, no, Kurumi is definitely gonna not be a teacher, is my conclusion of all that. But I think that she will still have learned an important thing from it, that she can do things that are difficult and not necessarily … She can rise to that challenge no matter what she wants the challenge to be in the future. She can choose the challenge better in the future. I believe in you, Kurumi.
Ashley: So, now I wanted to do a very silly segment because we get some characters that have some very different, drastic looks. Mostly Pin, but I really want to know your opinions on best Pin hairstyle.
Caitlin: Hair down.
Ashley: Definitely hair down. Thank you.
Caitlin: He’s cute with his hair down. He’s genuinely attractive with his hair down.
Ashley: I know, I’m like, “He’s a hot dude this way, why does he keep messing this up?”
Caitlin: Yeah, he’s got those strong eyebrows to make it work. He’s good-looking with his hair down.
Ashley: I know, there were definitely panels where I was like, “I don’t know, Pin, you would get hit on a lot more like this. Toru gave you good advice, you just don’t follow it. What are you doing?” Obviously, hair combed, worst Pin, correct? Definitely.
Caitlin: He looks like a dorkier version of Jim Halpert from The Office after he starts combing his hair to look respectable.
Ashley: And then his children got him in trouble anyway. He could’ve just spiked his hair as always. I assume he only spikes his hair because he just wants to be even more tall.
Caitlin: Yeah, terrifying six-foot seven.
Ashley: Yeah. He also had a vampire look, when they were doing the haunted house.
Caitlin: I don’t remember that.
Ashley: Oh, you don’t remember?
Caitlin: I’m not into vampires.
Ashley: Oh, I think that’s when Ayane started to be like, “Ooh, you’re way too close, and I’m touching your face, and this is no good.” ’Cause she was doing his vampire makeup.
Caitlin: Oh, no, my heart went Doki Doki.
Ashley: My heart definitely went Doki Doki, this is no good. I’m pretty sure he has his hair down, it’s all the things that were real dangerous in that situation. I do also have to say that Sawako, when they were preparing for the parade where they’re supposed to dress up as what they’re gonna be in the future, and she’s like, “Look at me, I’m super-conservative teacher,” and then Ayane’s like, “No,” and then goes and redoes her clothes and everything. I was like, “Damn, you’ve made Sawako so hot!”
Caitlin: Sexy teacher Sawako.
Ashley: Oh, snaps! It blew my mind. I was like, “Damn, alright. Yeah.” Now I’m attracted to Sawako, what’s happening? What have you done? Oh, man. It was pretty good. I could see why … Kazehaya didn’t have that strong of a reaction, he was like, “Alright.” Stupid Kazehaya.
Caitlin: I feel like Shiina just doesn’t really have a great understanding of how to write healthy, established couples. We’ve been over this before. I still feel that way.
Ashley: She’s much better at the buildup than the cruising along. Yeah, ooh. And dads in Hawaiian shirts, how are we …
Caitlin: Looks good, it looks great.
Ashley: It looks great. With Kazehaya being like, “You look good in it,” I was like, “Does he? Okay.”
Caitlin: I’ll take your word for it.
Ashley: If you say so, Kazehaya. He’s your dad, I don’t know what is up. Yeah, I guess the real ending question is, overall, did we think this was a good ending? It’s a very long shojo series. Most shojo series do not get to be 30 volumes long, so did it end well? Was it worth the ride?
Caitlin: I think the best part was still the first 10 volumes.
Caitlin: Because I feel like after that it started becoming more focused on the couples, and you saw less of the friendship element of it, which I thought was always one of the best parts.
Caitlin: So, it definitely has never been … It never got that good again, but I do think it mostly pulled itself together in the end. But the last few volumes, three volumes, were really slow.
Ashley: It definitely is super slow.
Caitlin: It probably could’ve covered all of that ground in half of what it took, especially for those last few volumes. The last volume was a hundred percent just them saying their goodbyes. That was all it was, and that did not need to be that long.
Ashley: Well, we discussed last time how the dialogue also becomes really halting because it’ll be like, “I … was …” And you’re like, “No, why are we doing this?”
Caitlin: “I was …” Why are you talking like William Shatner?
Ashley: Why? Just put more words on the page, dammit.
Caitlin: But not too many words, or else you get Bakuman.
Ashley: Yeah. It definitely could use a lot more words than this to convey … I don’t know, yeah, definitely just draws everything out.
Caitlin: Yeah, no, overall I think, pacing issues aside, I am satisfied with how it ended. I can sort of project forward what the future would hold for them, which is always a good sign for the ending of a series. Their main story is told, but you can still sort of see things lying ahead for them, their life continuing. Like we said, it doesn’t just end with everyone marrying their high school sweethearts. It only ends with one actual engagement. Yeah, no, it was a pretty good ending.
Ashley: Yeah, I would agree. I definitely think the earliest bits of Kimi ni Todoke are the best bits of Kimi ni Todoke. Basically, what the anime covered is the best bits of Kimi ni Todoke. That said, I definitely can understand, again, why this series was so popular. I think its definitely one of the most popular shojo series of the past years in Japan, in terms of … It had a live-action movie too, it has a lot of things. It achieved a lot of things that most shojo things don’t. So, it was used by political parties to try to motivate people to vote, it has a lot of cultural cache, and I can kind of see why. And I definitely think everybody should read Kimi ni Todoke.
Caitlin: I think, definitely read the first 10 volumes. I cannot say whether the ending is worth muddling through that middle part, though. I don’t know, I don’t know.
Ashley: Depends how much you care about these characters.
Caitlin: If you’re really not enjoying the middle …
Ashley: If you read the first 10 volumes and are like, “I gotta know,” then keep going. But just know that it’s never gonna reach that high again. I don’t know, I don’t know. Maybe people really like Kurumi and it reaches a high again for them. But yeah, I have very minor final thoughts. Just really wanted to mention that my favorite gag in this happened at least twice in these volumes, where Kazehaya is giving, for White Day or whatever, has to give a present to Sawako. And he always kisses her first, and then Sawako’s like, “Oh my god, thank you!” And then he’s always like, “Wait, no! That wasn’t the present, the kiss is not the present!” I’m like, “God, I love this so much because I’m a fool.”
Caitlin: But they kiss so rarely that she thinks the kiss is the present.
Ashley: I know.
Caitlin: It’s like, “No, kiss more! You’re supposed to be horny, you goddamned teens!”
Ashley: I know. Kazehaya, you told us in volume one that you were a typical horny high school boy. I never saw it, what are you talking about? Get it together, Kazehaya. But no, anytime it happened I was like, “This is so funny.” I love the second time it happens, he then is like … He kisses her, and he’s like, “No, that wasn’t the present.” And then he’s like, “Close your eyes,” and then he’s like, “No, I still wasn’t gonna kiss you again!” And then he’s like, “Whatever,” and then does it again. But then he’s like, “No, seriously, the present is a thing. The present is this promise ring, god!” They’re so silly.
Caitlin: By the way, Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san had a Kimi ni Todoke reference this week.
Ashley: Oh, really? Ooh.
Caitlin: Yeah, it showed Shueisha manga and it had My Hero Academia and Kimi ni Todoke with pumpkin heads, to be clear.
Ashley: Of course.
Caitlin: They have pumpkin heads because that’s the kind of series that Honda-san is. Also, a very good series. Highly recommend it.
Ashley: Oh my gosh, I have to catch up with it just for this now. See, that’s what I’m saying.
Caitlin: Well, catch up with it because it’s so good!
Ashley: It’s also really good, I know. I’ve been very bad. But yeah, see, no. Look at that, it’s getting equated with My Hero Academia, that’s what I’m saying. Kimi ni Todoke is a big deal, y’all. God, okay. I also really just loved Kazehaya giving Sawako his tie after graduation when everybody else had been asking for it, and I was like … I really love girls wearing ties, first of all, and then I love that he gave it to Sawako, yes. I mean, obviously, but also yes. And I still want to go live in a small town in Hokkaido because of this. Thanks, Kimi ni Todoke.
Caitlin: I mean listen, you could always just pack up, go there on tourist visa and see if you can get a job at an Eikaiwa, that’s always an option.
Ashley: Yeah, alright. I’m just gonna uproot my life.
Caitlin: Hey, I’ve done it!
Ashley: Yeah. So, that’s Kimi ni Todoke.
Caitlin: You know, I just wanna say I have been reading Kimi ni Todoke on and off since it first came out in the US, and it is kind of weird thinking that that’s it and it’s over.
Ashley: Yeah. Do you feel like an end of an era has happened?
Caitlin: A little bit. A little bit.
Ashley: Yeah. I mean, that obviously is how it feels, is that I’m like, “Yeah, Kimi ni Todoke was a big deal, and now it’s over.” And it’s like, “Oh my god, what happens now?”
Caitlin: So, what year did it start? Just thinking about when a long-running series finishes, you kind of think about what your life has been in the time that it’s been running. What year did it start? It was when I was in college or something. It started in 2006, yeah.
Ashley: Yeah, I was gonna say, it had to start at least 2006.
Caitlin: It ran for 11 and a half years.
Ashley: That’s so long. Is there anything now that’s … What is the next Kimi ni Todoke? What is currently being published in America that is …
Caitlin: Let’s see.
Ashley: I don’t know.
Caitlin: I don’t know, I don’t know if there are any …
Ashley: Maybe Skip Beat! is still the one that’s never gonna end that’s being published.
Caitlin: Yeah. I don’t know if there are any real spiritual successors.
Caitlin: But yeah, that’s it.
Ashley: I don’t know, we have Kimi ni Todoke’d …
Ashley: Goodbye, Kimi ni Todoke.
Caitlin: Did they reach you?
Ashley: I think they did. It reached my heart, and I cried like a schmuck, like a schmuck. Them saying goodbye to each other, I don’t know, it was also because I’ve had those feelings with my boyfriend when we went off to college and stuff. And I was like, “I feel this, stop. I already lived this, why are you doing this to me? My heart can’t take this.” So good. So, you win, Kimi ni Todoke. You win. That’s all I’m saying.
Caitlin: You had an emotion.
Ashley: I had an emotion. Salty water poured from my eyes. Yeah, but everybody, thanks for listening to this trilogy of podcasts about Kimi ni Todoke. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, or you just wanna tell us how you feel about Kimi ni Todoke ending and how it’s the end of an era, you can email email@example.com, or leave a comment on shojoandtell.com/kiminitodoke3. We’re also @shojoandtell on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, social medias, I don’t know. Caitlin, where can people find you and your work on the internet?
Caitlin: You can find my Twitter @alltsun_nodere. I am also a writer and editor for Anime Feminist, and my own blog I Have a Heroin Problem, and I also review anime for the Daily Dot.
Ashley: So much anime.
Caitlin: So much anime.
Ashley: All the shojos, yay! Yeah, and if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while or you just found us ’cause you loved Kimi ni Todoke so much, it would be very nice if you could leave a rating/review in iTunes because this would help the podcast reach more hearts, or at least ears. And thanks again for listening to these episodes. Next time, we’ll be back for volumes one to seven of House of the Sun by Taamo with special guest, Kelly Quinn Chiu, who co-hosts the podcast One Panel Later. She is the manga person, and she debates Western comics and manga with the person who reviews Western comics things. They just go through the differences and fight about which one’s better and, obviously, manga’s better. But you should listen to that podcast. And until then, bye.