Joy Kim

Librarian. Book Reviewer. Coffee Addict.

Shiina, Karuho: Kimi ni Todoke, vol. 2

kiminitodoke2.jpgKimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, vol. 2
Story and Art by Karuho Shiina
Translated by JN Productions
Viz, 2009
Original Japanese edition: Shueisha, 2005
Paperback $9.99

Good news! Volume 2 of Kimi ni Todoke shows that the sweetness and charm of the first volume of the series was not just a flash in the pan; it was, in fact, a precursor of things to come. The story here continues a subplot that began at the very end of volume 1. Someone is spreading nasty gossip about Yano and Yoshida, and rumor says it is Sawako. Could it possibly be true?

Well, no–that’s obvious to anyone who read volume 1. It’s also fairly obvious to anyone who really knows Sawako in the story. Actually, my only complaint about this volume is how much that accusation stretches the bounds of plausibility; it’s difficult to believe as a reader that the rumor actually ever gains credence. But this isn’t a story that’s particularly concerned with strict realism, and the unfolding situation provides nice bits of insight in Sawako’s relationships with her classmates. So I’m willing to handwave the matter.

I especially like how much this volume focuses on the three girls: I love when shōjo stories pay as much attention to female friendship as they do to romance. Kazehaya’s a great character, and his feelings for Sawako are pretty adorable, but I’m glad Shiina acknowledges that romance alone won’t solve Sawako’s social problems. Even better, Kazehaya himself in the story also realizes this!

There are plenty of sweet and funny moments scattered throughout the book, despite the angst caused by the various misunderstandings. Shiina’s chibi drawings continue to do great job of highlighting the humor; I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud while reading. And even if Kazehaya is somewhat less in the forefront in this volume, he and Sawako still have some great scenes together.

All in all, Kimi ni Todoke continues to be a great comfort read. It’s not doing anything you wouldn’t find in half a dozen other high school romantic comedies, but it consistently manages to strike just the right balance between romance, comedy, and drama. I’m already looking forward to volume 3 in February. Few shōjo fans will want to miss this series, and public and school libraries should definitely snap it up for their collections. I have it in mine (though you might not know it, given how rarely it’s on the shelf).