What They Say:
After ringing in the new year with her crush at their local shrine, things seem to be going well between Sawako and Kazehaya. However, a new year means new obstacles to overcome, and a young girl’s first love is no exception. When Sawako begins to doubt herself, her rival Kurumi senses it and makes a few comments that push Sawako’s confidence back to zero. When you add in Kazehaya’s misunderstandings as well as a new boy in class who seems to like Sawako the same way Kazehaya does, it sums up to equal another exciting school year!
Find out if Sawako and Kazehaya can overcome their own self-doubts and any outside forces in order to finally have their true feelings reach one another!
Please Note: The technical portions of this release covers the BD side of the DVD/BD combo release.
The audio presentation for this release is just in its original Japanese as no dub was created for ti and we get a Linear PCM stereo track for it encoded at 1.5mbps. It’s a solid track that captures the design of the show very well since it’s mostly dialogue based with some cute music cues and a few acting out moments to give it a bit of fun and life. The opening and closing sequences are the strongest parts of it simply because of the larger, full sound that comes from the design of it, but the show itself is no slouch either, especially with some great incidental music and all sorts of background sound effects to make it a lived in world at key times. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2009, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second and it generally has a bitrate that’s in the high twenties and low thirties. The transfer looks really great overall as it captures the soft look that a lot of scenes have and the overall beauty of the slice of life piece that it is while handling all the cute shoujo moments just right. The color design is really good and watching this on a large screen with the high bitrate just shows a whole lot of impressive looking work that creates such an engaging atmosphere. There’s nothing to see in the way of braekup or noise in the backgrounds as it has a wonderfully solid feel throughout.
The premium edition release of Kimi ni Todoke is another solid high quality presentation from NIS America. The heavy chipboard box is fantastic with its soft, pale colors for the background with the floating bubbles that go towards the indistinct green or pink backgrounds. The main focus is on the character artwork that has the full length shots of the two leads. And unlike what we’d get on a keepcase, having it this size really drives home the visual design all the more, making it richer and more engaging. The back cover uses the same background style but uses the entire main cast instead which looks great with their varied but generally happy expressions. Inside the box we get the long hardcover book, entitled “Their Memories” and it fills that role well. It gives each episode two pages through which there’s a lot of shots from the show done with text from Sawako’s perspective that’s really fun to read. There’s also a couple of good pages given to just the backgrounds which I really appreciated.
We also get a pair of clear thinpak keepcases that holds both the Blu-ary and DVD releases spread across them against the interior sides. The first volume has a great shot of the main cast similar to the back of the box but with them all in different positions. The second volume uses the same artwork as the front of the premium edition box with Sawako and Kazehaya together that’s just simple but effective. The back covers use different scenery shots to set the mood right while having a small piece of paper that lists the episodes and which discs they can be found in. The technical grid along the bottom is very nicely laid out with both the BD and DVD technical information in a clear and concise way that handles both formats just right. No show related inserts are included nor are there reversible covers.
The menu has a nice, simple and effective menu design as it goes with something that’s girlish but also a little generic as well, but playing to the strengths of the way Sawako wants to be. Done as a bit of a scrapbook page, the background has a mixture of paper designs to it that are appealing while over it there are multiple pictures that are taped. The pictures are various clips from the show that goes over different aspects of the characters and cast overall so it’s not all just focused on the two primary characters. The navigation strip along the bottom fits in well with some cute colors that matches the scrapbook pages and is easy and straightforward to navigate. The navigation strip also doubles as the pop-up menu so it blends in nicely with the show.
The extras again bring us the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences in high definition, but that’s not all we get this time around. In addition to that, there’s a pair of Mini Todo Theater sequences that are also in HD which play with the Snow White and Cinderella stories by doing mini and caricature stories with the characters and having a lot of fun with it. It’s simple but utterly adorable for both of them.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kimi ni Todoke had a very enjoyable first season, one that really won me over in general with the way the characters interacted and the tender approach to it all. While it may have been a little too much in some ways, I appreciated a show that played things simply and honestly in a restrained way that didn’t involve supernatural elements, aliens or childhood romances coming to light. So with the first season advancing things in a lot of ways but not going all the way, I had a lot of hopes for this second season. And with it being half the length of the first, I also had great hopes that it wouldn’t just take the lazy and slow approach to getting there. Thankfully, the show manages to do things mostly right.
With twelve episodes here plus the zero episode that recaps large chunks of the first season, getting back into things takes a little bit of time because of that. With the way things were left, there’s an air of disappointment about things since Kazehaya feels like he’s not being accepted in the way he intended, which makes sense since he wasn’t exactly clear. In a way, looking at this as a mating dance, they’re both very awkward people who just can’t seem to express themselves well. But there’s a real charm in it because they do seem so right for each other. For Sawako, she’s been awakened in a very good way through the way that Kazehaya has drawn her out. But she still sees herself as she always has. And for Kazehaya, he knows what he has in her and is being careful, especially to make sure nobody else sees how special she is until he can make sure she knows how he truly feels.
Because of the way events played out, the mild distance between everyone has things not tense at the start here but uncertain. What makes things more uncertain is the arrival of a new student named Kenta, an affable and friendly type who is instantly taken with Sawako and does what he can to get close to her. He doesn’t come across as a bad guy even as he inserts himself into things and spends time with her at school, much to the dismay of her friends and even Kurumi. What he proves to be is a mild catalyst for events to show Sawako that there are others that could be interested in her, though she’s kind of oblivious to it for awhile which makes it amusing. But it also gets under Kazehaya’s skin even as he feels threatened by him while knowing that Sawako doesn’t seem interesting in anyone, including him.
The season does a very good job of balancing all of these things and moving the interactions forward without forcing it. A good chunk of things is devoted to the culture festival which helps to push Sawako more out into the spotlight, not that she expected it. It also becomes a focal point for change within the primary relationship that needs to exist as the two of them manage to get closer in a way that seems like it can only happen during this kind of event. With the time leading up to the festival, the festival itself and then the late night prep for the costume parade side of it, it takes a few episodes but it really hits the right notes. And it all moves fast from there in a great way as the revelation of feelings is made clear. What kills me is that even when they say things plainly, it’s all very much couched as well, with a lot of variation on how much they “like” each other. It’s appropriate and fits but it’s still frustrating since both sides have so much fear from their owne xperiences.
After a very fun first season that ran for two sets, the second season brings everything to a proper and necessary conclusion. While some of the stuff with Sawako are forced with her whole Sadako nature, it’s about the same as the first season overall. When it works the two characters together and gives us all the internal dialogue of how they’re feeling, you get invested more and more in what they’re going through There’s some good fallout that’s dealt with at the end of the series as well, giving us not just the expected and needed resolution with the primary couple but also time spent with those that vied for Kazehaya’s attention as well. And not just a nod towards it but some quality time. Kimi ni Todoke hits a lot of very good notes here and is a solid follow-up to the first season, giving it the closure that it deserved.
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Mini Theater Episodes
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: a
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: NIS America
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Running Time: 294 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.