Kimi ni Todoke, Vol. 21

By Karuho Shiina. Released in Japan by Shueisha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Bessatsu Margaret (“Betsuma”). Released in North America by Viz.

I’ve been reviewing this title in the ‘Bookshelf Briefs’ section for a long time. There’s been a lot going on since my last review, but one thing that amused me is that I was discussing Kento never shutting up, saying the wrong thing, and generally being extroverted all over the pages of what’s trying to be a quiet, peaceful manga. And hey, guess what’s still happening! After a brief period where I was beginning to like him and hoping he and Yano would work out, he’s back to being my least favorite. Meanwhile, another old villain makes a reappearance, and as she has in the past, spurs Sawako to try to apply herself and chase her dreams.

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Given how Kurumi was originally introduced to act as a contrast to Sawako’s purity and general niceness, it’s highly amusing to see that they both want to pursue similar careers – though only Kurumi really gets this, and she is properly annoyed by it. In fact, Kurumi spends most of the volume on a low boil, possibly as all the main characters have hooked up with each other and she’s watching them all be happy. But Sawako has bigger concerns – she’s finally found happiness with Kazehaya, and while she doesn’t want to leave the town, she does envision going to a college that would temporarily separate them. While Kazehaya knows this and decides to try to pull his grades up so that he can go to college as well, he makes it clear to Sawako that this is her choice and she should feel confident in it. As always, they’re both really sweet.

Yano has never been described as sweet, but she’s usually tried to be the most mature of the bunch, and the most level-headed. Now we’re starting to see that facade crumble, particularly around Pin, who is easily able to see through her facade to the anxious teenager beneath it. And it’s fairly clear that, while Yano is happy with what she currently has with Kento, he’s not really factoring in what she really wants – college in Tokyo, a much farther distance away than the others are talking. It’s also far more difficult, and Pin admits she needs to pull her grades even higher if she wants sure success. (Pin is pure awesome in this volume, by the way, and while teacher/student romances are iffy, I totally get why this is also a ship.)

So while Yano frets, Kento is there… to propose to her, saying he wants to spend the rest of his life waking up next to her. Kento has always been forward and blunt, but my jaw actually dropped at this moment, and I wondered if it was a setup for something more. I got my answer later in the volume, where Pin has a disastrous meeting with him, where Kento admits he’d like to study interior design, but going to the same college as Yano is more important. His face in this scene is a sort of goofy, happy-go-lucky type that makes me want to hit it, as he’s not thinking about Yano here at all. To make things worse, she actually hears this outside the teacher’s office. Kento wants Yano as his girlfriend/wife, but seems to take it as read that she’ll be OK with this. And she isn’t.

A cliffhanger seems to show Kento starting to realize that something is wrong, but we’ll have to wait for a bit to see if it sinks in, or if things continue to go south. In the meantime, this remains must-read shoujo, and if you dislike angst, there’s always Sawako and Kazehaya, whose stressful situations are resolved through honest communication. Funny, that.

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Comments

  1. Michelle Smith says

    Nice review! One of the things I thought about this volume was how it portrays the anxieties of this “final year of high school” time so well that I actually got kind of stressed reading it. Now I anticipate a beautifully written/executed Yano/Kento breakup that is nonetheless simultaneously awful.


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