Why Kimi ni Todoke should be over


It's not at all difficult to surmise that Kimi ni Todoke has become quite a favorite here at Japanator. Not only do we bring it up often, even when talking about other shows, but we discuss it in the cblogs (and recently, the forums) more than any other show currently airing. You might think that, due to the show's favored status, it's highly unlikely that KnT would be the subject of today's installment of "Why Series X should be over". And it was highly unlikely- but as it turns out, not impossible.

At first, investigating KnT was merely necessary for my journalistic integrity- if I'm evaluating shows to see which ones should die, I should consider everything. The fact that the show has been well-received should not render it ineligible for this dark contest. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not only should KnT be over, but that the show represents a threat to our psychological well-being, and even worse, the future of anime as a medium.

It may be hard to believe that everyone's favorite high school drama featuring girls fighting in the bathroom could be guilty of such crimes against humanity, however, after the jump, I will reveal to you the show's insidiously adorable agenda in all it's maleficent glory.


Kimi ni Todoke

Okay, I know the animation budget is like, twelve dollars, but they could still draw some freakin' chairs.

1. The character designs aren't detailed enough

We don't like to talk about it, but everybody knows the truth; animators are poor souls who have sinned in a past life, and now face eternal punishment in the form of drawing the same ridiculously complex character designs over and over again, day in and day out. It may be cruel, but it's certainly effective- I was tempted to murder someone once, then I thought about the possibility of spending an eternity drawing the girls from Shin Kohime Musuo, and then I just did some glaring in their general direction.

KnT uses a minimalistic art style with the expectation that the audience is smart enough to define the characters by their personalities and not their outfits, or shining bubblegum-colored hair. It assumes that viewers are smart enough to appreciate the unsaturated, earth-toned color palette, and it's correlation to the themes of the show, rather than demand bright and flashy effects all of the time. I vehemently disagree with this approach- in fact, I resent the very implication that viewers are that smart. Are you that smart? I'm not. They have some nerve to expect me to pay attention without abundant shiny things, and spectacularly animated blue/green hair fluttering in the wind constantly. More importantly, the animators can't possibly be suffering enough- and remember, they deserve it.

2. It creates unrealistic expectations about high school

Those of us who have already endured the banal circle of hell that is high school can at least watch the show with a kind of wistful incredulity, but I shudder to think of the consequences for those who are not so lucky. Think of the kids who are watching this show; they'll be led to believe that people have substance, social stereotypes can be transcended, and the most popular guy in school really might fall head over heels in love with the resident social outcast with no reservations. KnT wants you to believe that, though it won't be easy, you can cut through all of the pretenses and labels and make connections with people, even those with whom you would never expect to do so. That social barriers are not impregnable, and people can prove be better than you thought they were if you only give them the right opportunity. I think we can all agree that allowing the perpetuation of lies of this magnitude to continue would be to do cruel injury to our youth.

What KnT does is like taking a kid for a ride, telling them that they're going to a magical land where unicorns frolic and frosted donuts grow on trees, and then dropping them off at a Siberian prison camp instead. That's how kids are going to feel when they get to high school and discover that, instead of sensitive souls with beautiful smiles like Sawako and Kazehaya, they are surrounded by sundry packs of unmitigated assholes who would literally rather die than give up their social labels. Just thinking about that level of disappointment has just ruined my day. How can we, as a society, condone this?

3. Lack of action scenes, and poor action choreography

Even the most diehard fans of this show have to admit that the action is poorly choreographed. There's no excuse for the fact that all people ever do on this show is sit on their asses and gab, or stand up and gab. I thought we were going to finally see one of Sawako's special attacks last episode, and then it turned out that she was just kicking a rock because it was there.

This show really needs to stop messing around and get to the fights we've been promised, like Pin vs. Kurumi, Kazehaya vs. Sawako's Inferiority Complex (it's become corporeal), and Sawako vs. The Real Chick From The Ring. Clearly, the only way to resolve the myriad issues on this show is via fight scenes that last multiple episodes, and feature someone commentating so we don't get confused. I know they want us to think that resolving conflict through patience and understanding is heartwarming, but you know what? "Heartwarming" is just animation lingo for "We're too cheap to animate proper fight scenes." 

4. Unfair to Anime women

I cannot reveal my sources, but I have it on good authority that some Japanator editors have created shrines to Sawako Kuronoma in their bedrooms, quite possibly displacing their existing anime shrines- oh, and Brad, close your windows.

Plenty of male otaku are head-over-heels in love with the raven haired, painfully socially inept school girl, and this represents a huge problem for the women of anime. Look at Sawako: she wouldn't know what a sexy attitude was if it bit her on one of her penny loafer-clad feet, she dresses like a nun, and she doesn't have the tiniest bit of cleavage to show even if she were so inclined. I mean, this is a girl who would have to stuff her training bra in order to create the appearance of possessing any curves whatsoever (not that she would), and she's taking all of the attention away from the women of Ikkitousen and Queen's Blade?

Hundreds, thousands of female anime characters have been parading around in stupidly revealing outfits for decades now, and after all their toil, this is how they're rewarded? They get to watch otaku fall inexplicably in love with a girl with a hopelessly flat chest and the feminine wiles of, um, something with no feminine wiles? The shame must be unbearable. I've no doubt we'll start seeing mass suicides of buxom lasses (although most of them have identical personalities, so we might not notice who's missing for a while), and animators might start getting the idea that males respond better to female characters with charming idiosyncrasies and a sense of genuine kindness, as opposed to an endless parade of T&A. More female characters will start actually having character, and that means there will be more for me to remember. The part of my brain that stores anime character information has already begun to expand into the part that helps me remember the names of rock songs and kinds of fruit, and it's very scary. Can't anime girls just stay inter-changeable, and not make such demands on my limited supply of gray matter??

5. Too relaxing

The opening and ending animations for this show are just too relaxing. In fact, I was going to write a great article for Japanator that would have won us some kind of journalism award or something, but then I watched Kimi ni Todoke and fell asleep in a field of flowers, and now I can't even remember what I was going to write. I've realized that I need the mispronounced English words in most Jpop-styled anime themes to keep me paying attention- when the song is this smooth, it's like an invitation to sloth. If they could only add a few lyrics like "Sekushi Lady!" or "I find breakthrough!", this wouldn't be happening. This is yet another egregious example of the animators chronic disregard for the needs of their viewers.

This article almost didn't get finished, because I had to watch Kimi ni Todoke again in order to take screenshots, and then I just wanted to put on a white dress and go lay on a hammock for several hours. Fortunately, drinking a ton of coffee seems to have helped. Also: need to buy a hammock.

6. Giving animators the wrong idea

If KnT continues to air and wins more and more fans, think of the consequences; animators will be led to believe that sound writing and memorable characters are more important to a show than superfluous details and shiny things. As an anime fan, the thought of the next generation of anime emulating KnT fills me with dread; how will I retain my attitude of smug condescension when nothing stupid is happening? How will I show off my love of anime to people who don't know anything about it, when it's become clear that the medium is so flexible that 'anime' doesn't have to adhere to any particular stylistic rules? How will I appreciate the artwork when the character designs no longer represent a kind of artistic pissing contest? Unless this show is canceled right quick, my tastes will mature, and I will come to have a more optimistic view of human nature, and perhaps even life itself. I'm terrified I won't even recognize myself by the end of the series. 

It turns out that the characters on this show were right about one thing: Sawako is one scary little lady.

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Karen Mead
Karen MeadContributor   gamer profile

Hi, I'm a former newspaper journalist who got tired of having a front row seat to the death of print. There probably could be some interesting story there about a disenchanted reporter moving on ... more + disclosures



Filed under... #anime #Fall 09 season #Japanator Original #shoujo #top stories



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