As Valentines Day approaches Kurumi Ume looks back on the events of the first season.
“Soufuu” by Tomofumi Tanizawa, download.
While she was in middle school she didn’t exactly like anyone but other girls still saw her as someone in her way, and this changed when she was on the verge of tears and one of her classmates, Kazehaya Shota asked her whether she was really all right. She kept her feelings hidden at first but due to this she attended the same high school as him, where people started to think that they would look nice together and kept in contact with him. When the Sports Festival arrived she sought to become her classes representative in order to match him, however at this time another girl was rumoured to be moving closer to him, Kuronuma Sawako.
Kurumi then attempted to befriend her while still doing things in order to separate Sawako from Kazehaya, like when she had left her and Sanada Ryu notes from the other asking if they could meet each other, however she wasn’t expecting Kazehaya to go and get her. Because of this she wonders why it had to be her and what would have happened if she had confessed her feelings to him before he met Sawako, yet has somehow come to accept it in the present. After she had tried to separate them Kurumi then tried to use befriending Sawako to her advantage in order to get her to support her, something she couldn’t really do. During the Sports Festival she had told Sawako about how she had a complex about being called Ume and how much she liked Kazehaya, the latter being something that moved her to tears.
Despite told how much Kurumi hated her and how she believed she liked him more, Sawako still told her how she thought she was cuter than when they first met and how she thought they could understand each other, the former being something that she didn’t care about if Kazehaya believe. This had then lead to Sawako wondering if he actually liked her and as she tells her about what she likes about him they find themselves agreeing with each other, at this point she had even considered giving up but Sawako managed to convince her to clear up things with him.
Which led to her confessing how much she liked him to him and could already see that he liked Sawako, for the time being she was also content with how she had at least made him a little happier and getting him to call her by her first name, Ume. It then skips ahead to her shopping for Valentine Chocolates as she wonders about whether Sawako will be making them herself while Yano Ayane and Yoshida Chizuru will be going for store bought ones.
“Kimi ni Todoke…” by MAY’S, download.
To be honest I wasn’t exactly expecting the ‘first’ episode to be a recap covering the events of the first season from Kurumi’s standpoint, and while I thought that it wasn’t exactly the best way to kick the season off there were still a few things that I liked about it. As considering that the first season aired around a year ago it was kind of nice to see something thrown in to remind us of some of the things that had happened back then, and reacquaint us with some of the characters.
On the other hand though how it tried to make us sympathise with Sawako’s ‘rival’ Kurumi, voiced by Aya Hirano was something that was kind of questionable if anything. As even though she had genuine feelings for Kazehaya, at the same time the rumours that she had spread about Sawako while still acting like they were good friends wasn’t exactly the nicest thing to do. In fact it was somewhat interesting to see the part about her spreading rumours being omitted for the most part. With her attempts to separate her from Kazehaya that were shown coming down to things like how she had tried to make Kazehaya think that she liked Ryu and tried to use that friendship that she had built with her in order to get her to support her. In some way went to show that there was another side to it from Kurumi’s standpoint and served to justify her actions back then a little better, as back then she wasn’t exactly as likable however her choice of actions weren’t exactly the kindest either.
If it weren’t for the first season it also may have been possible to actually mistake Kurumi for the protagonist instead of Sawako, voiced by Mamiko Noto as most of the focus was placed around her. If anything this also served to reintroduce us to her in that we were able to see just how nice, kind, and sometimes clueless she is, as she was unable to see what Kurumi was really up to and still thought of her as a friend. While still providing that otherwise cute side to her when things like the misunderstanding that Kurumi hated being called by her first name, Ume came up. It goes without saying that due these sorts of things Kurumi’s cause became a lot less sympathisable as there wasn’t really that much that could really put us against her. But even though this may have detracted from the aspect of trying to get us to sympathise with Kurumi it wasn’t exactly something that I minded as it helped reintroduce Sawako to us.
The new opening and ending themes that accompanied this episode were also something that were nice to see, and it was great to see Tomofumi Tanizawa return to sing the opening theme again. The sequences themselves were also pretty good with there generally being a nice feeling to the opening theme as it went about showing all of the characters including the various ‘pairings‘ and rivals to the likes of Sawako and Kazehaya, in which this guy seemed to standout. On the other hand the ending theme wasn’t all that bad either and while it may have been kind of still in comparison to the opening, it made this up with the use of watercolours and how good it works as something to end an episode on.
Oddly enough despite how much I enjoyed the first season I still haven’t read the manga yet, so in some ways I’m not really sure to expect to see as I approach this. However if it’ll be anything like the first season I’m sure that I’ll like it a lot, as while I don’t exactly read much in the Shojo genre there was just a great atmosphere to it and it had some fairly good characters to match it. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that I found Sawako adorable as well, and she works nicely as the protagonist, in how she’s not only after Kazehaya in a romantic way but also in how she’s aiming to be someone ‘refreshing’ like him.