Tachibana Mei presents: 101 ways how NOT to make a good first impression
|I needed some honest to god shoujo in my life. The mature relationships of Josei are all well and good, but there is something about storybook romances that get to me. Honestly, don’t we all want to be the girl that’s swept off her feet by a guy she meets unexpectedly one day. I know that I do!|
|More shoujo? Heck yeah! This fall has definitely brought out my inner shoujo fangirl with Tonari’s premiere and now Sukitte Ii na yo’s premiere.|
|This season is really one full of many shoujo manga adaptations, and Sukitte Ii Na Yo just happens to be of the most highly anticipated! I enjoyed the premise and characters but not really the pace in the manga, so I’m looking for the anime to give a refreshing take on things~|
*miyu – production studio/animation: ZEXCS is one of the less well-known production studios out there, and it mainly animates shoujo titles like My-HiMe/Sister Princess, although some may know them for animating Rental Magica. Sukitte’s drawing style is certainly not the prettiest, and it keeps things simple and clean while maintaining that distinct shoujo appearance – rounded faces, big eyes and shiny hair – yup, that’s definitely shoujo alright. The background illustrations are kept simple as well, and although not beautifully detailed, are still sufficient to present the right atmospheres for specific scenes (such as the classic deserted-school sunset scene for the exchanging of phone numbers xD). Shoujo anime usually require a certain degree of animation quality for characters and backgrounds, and I believe that Sukitte has met that level at the very least – all in all, the animation isn’t anything to shout about, but it certainly isn’t an eyesore either.
*miyu – seiyuu cast: Undoubtedly, Sukitte has a seiyuu cast full of ear candy. The first time I heard Mei’s voice in the anime I was rather surprised as I had originally imagined her to have one similar to that of Sawako’s (Kimi ni Todoke), but what greeted me was a pleasantly sweet voice – Ai Kayano! You’ll probably associate her as the tear-jerking Menma from AnoHana or more recently, Mayaka from Hyouka. Yamato’s seiyuu, Takahiro Sakurai, has also previously voiced many sexy characters like Claude from Kuroshitsuji2 and Suzaku from Code Geass, so there’s no doubt that he’s rocking the whole bishie of the school thing. 8) Our supporting cast also include Nobunaga Shimazaki as Nakanishi the perv (Tari Tari’s Taichi) and Risa Taneda, a rather new seiyuu with a… girly, high-pitched voice as
Ms. Watermelons Asami.
*hoshi – from manga to anime: I honestly assumed that the anime would follow the manga diligently with maybe only a few scene changes since typically that’s how it would be done, but I was caught off guard this time around! From my perception of the manga, it had a rushed and hyped up feeling to it, but the anime is almost the complete opposite of that. The anime is so much more calming and light with an innocent, first-love feel to it. There is only a tad bit of heaviness to the episode when it comes to Mei’s past, her explanation of the reasons why she doesn’t have friends, and the stalker scene.
As for actual scene changes, Yamato’s friend is more of a…jackass in the first chapter. He pushes Mei on purpose and teases her, instead of doing it accidentally. The anime has even made him more perverted, in my opinion. They also showed Mei’s family situation right from the start, which was never fully introduced in the beginning of the manga. The setup to the creepy, old stalker guy was done a tad bit differently as well; the anime giving space to set in some really creepy vibes.
My favorite change from the manga, however, was actually the start of the episode. The manga rushes through everything so quickly in the beginning, while the anime starts off quite calmly. They took the time to establish the atmosphere around Mei and show in a somber tone that she really is alone. The flashback to her childhood was also done in an interesting way that left more of an impact on me than the manga’s version had. Overall, the manga seems very rushed, giving you little time to focus on the characters. The anime has slowed it down for us in a lovely way that gives us time to study Mei and Yamato’s personalities and see just how different they are. It’s the first time in a long time where I’ll admit that I like a series’ anime adaption better than its original manga.
Our Unlikely Couple
Their Seemingly Unlikely Romance
*hoshi – their relationship: So the most popular boy at school suddenly wants to be friends with you after you kicked him in the face thinking he lifted up your skirt; who believes that? Mei certainly doesn’t (at least at first) and acts completely opposite of what a typical shoujo female lead would do to the attractive male lead: ignoring him and refusing to call him, even after he willingly gave her his number. Being somewhat similar to Mei, I can understand her feelings of doubt; throughout the episode I couldn’t help but think there was something more sinister planned. I mean, considering how high school life in shoujo is, why would popular and outgoing Yamato like her? Saying she’s ‘interesting’ certainly isn’t enough. He is at one end of the high school social spectrum while Mei as at the opposite end. What kind of shoujo drama trick is this? As the episode progressed however, the sincerity in Yamato’s feelings for Mei became more apparent. From his countless friendly attempts to the grand cherry on top where he rescued her from a stalker by walking with her outside and kissing her in front of the stalker, Yamatao is certainly determined to change Mei’s mind about not having any friends. But why? There must be something more to the popular Yamato that we haven’t seen yet. He could be a significantly different person when he isn’t around his friends, or he could have been similar to Mei in the past. These two may have more in common than what we can see on the outside that’s prompting Yamato’s sudden interest in Mei. Unfortunately, this is the first episode, and the only in-depth info we have gotten is on Mei, so there’s definitely going to be a wait for the final answer, but hopefully it’s an interesting one.~
*miyu – the different romantic relationships in anime: Most anime nowadays seem to portray romantic relationships in Japan as a flimsy, temporary thing – insta!love happens way too often, and in a day or two the couple is madly in love, kissing and making out and what not. This is followed by a bunch of dates at the amusement park/cinema/insert-standard-date-place-here, which tends lead 1. a terrible break-up or 2. a 3rd party entering the picture and ruining everything. The occasional exception would tend to be those featuring shy, pure main characters (like SawaKaze from Kimi ni Todoke) where a slower pace is adapted, or something like Sukitte, which features characters who have a misconception of friendship/love/human relationships. This often allows for more character development and many, many more realistic lovey dovey characters, and in today’s world of rapidly increasing shoujo titles, is what differentiates a substantial shoujo manga/anime from the rest.
I’m hooked, honestly. Though it doesn’t have as much quirky pizazz as Tonari does (in my opinion), I love the light atmosphere and the idea that someone unexpected can come along with sincere feelings and sweep you off your feet. It’s a lovely thought. Anyway, as for the story, I have a feeling this is going to get dramatic fast, especially if Yamato manages to have Mei hang around him. There are a lot of potential jealous bitches ready to pounce on the poor girl and ruin any good feelings she may have developed for Yamato. I do hope the anime continues to pace this slowly since the manga’s rushed vibe ruined the story for me early on. I like seeing relationships develop slowly over time and the growing romantic feelings two people start to have for each other. That’s probably the only aspect of a shoujo, especially in Sukitte Ii na yo, that I don’t want to change.~
End thoughts: Yay for more shoujo goodness! In my opinion, that was a lot more enjoyable than the manga. Not only because yknow, it’s in color and it’s moving (uhhh although I confess that plays a part too), but also because I think the pace is a lot more bearable and that the different elements (BGM, awesome seiyuu etc) greatly contribute to the overall feel of the anime. As a first episode, it did a fine job of introducing Mei as the lonely, disillusioned girl, showing us the background story that made her into what she is today. She’s not the type of female lead that would make me cringe at how annoyingly powerless/ignorant she is, and in a way has her own unique charm to herself – that of course, Yamato will be uncovering as he slowly falls in love with her hehe. Yamato still falls in the stereotype of your typical most-popular-guy, but there’s actually a lot more to him that we’ll find out as he begins to interact more with Mei. I’m looking forward to seeing their relationship progress from here and if I’m not wrong, there will be many more awkward, humorous moments to come. It’s the little silly moments (like the “exchanging phone (numbers)” scene) that lighten up the mood of a shoujo anime and allow us to fully immerse in the fuwa fuwa mode. All in all, I enjoyed that first episode and out of the many shoujo anime this season, this is my personal favorite and I do hope that they will do a good job with the adaptation.