Title: Say I Love You (Sukitte Ii Na Yo)
Genre: Romance, Drama, Slice of Life
Original Creator: Kanae Hazuki
Director: Takuya Satou
Series Composition: Takuya Satou
Music Composer: Yuuji Nomi
Muse: To be honest, this was the shoujo series that I had the most concerns about before seeing it. The previous works by the mangaka and where they were serialized are questionable at best, and what I was hearing about the premise flat-out confused me; who would like someone after they kicked you? However, the first episode left me pleasantly surprised. There are some random parts that bug me here and there, but this has the potential to be a solid romance.
The premise reminds me a lot of another personal favorite of mine, Kimi ni Todoke, in how it’s about a girl who’s been ostracized by her classmates for no good reason and catches the attention of Nice Popular Guy. However, unlike Sawako, Mei isn’t blissfully unaware of the petty high school drama going on around her and has decided that if having friends means that they’ll double-cross you, she’d rather not have any friends at all. Nice Popular Guy comes into the picture when she accidentally kicks him instead of the guy who was trying to look up her skirt. The guy gets a lot of bonus points from me for calling out his friend on his creepy behavior and coming to help her out when she gets a stalker, but there’s a thin line here between “Wow, what a nice guy! So romantic!” and “That’s right girls! If you have no friends and low self-esteem, the one surefire way to validate your existence is to get a guy!” Right now this show is on the correct side of the line for me, and with any luck it won’t cross it.
As for the animation, there are a couple of really pretty shots, but since most of this takes place inside a generic-looking school, there aren’t a ton of opportunities to use them. The character designs are solid (although the half-short half-long hairstyle on the male lead perplexes me) and I didn’t catch any blatant mistakes or off-model moments. The only animation that I didn’t like was the CG effect at the very end, since the lip-sync looked weird because Mei never closed her mouth. Overall, I’m impressed since I went into it with low expectations. I hope it doesn’t give me any reason to lower them again.
Kuuki: And yet another shoujo, what is it with this season and shoujo to start with? I don’t think so many have been released at the same time ever before (or did they? I usually avoid shoujo like the plague)
Second question, what is it with the shoujo this season? Could I get one, just one, in which horrible things don’t happen to the heroine? And we’re only at the first episode, I don’t even want to imagine what they will be going through during the next episodes! Poor things.
That being said, I have mixed feelings about the main character in Say I Love You. While he didn’t actually say the R-word, you just don’t kiss someone who said she dislikes you, while she is having a breakdown because she was stalked. That my friends is called abusing someone’s trust. She called you to help her, goddamnit. The worse in that is that he did everything consciously and you can’t argue that he didn’t know what he was doing (Haru didn’t realize it, which doesn’t excuse his behavior I agree, but it at least explains it). I find it worse, and that’s why I have mixed feelings about him.
But then his voice really, really affected me…
As for the girl, she kinda reminds me of me, so I’m bit curious. As a character I really like her, I like her confidence despite everything, and I like how she can’t stand her ground most of the times but still sometimes show weakness. I’m really curious as to how she’ll develop. And as for the plot, well, if you say shoujo you obviously think love story and there is nothing really original in that. What I’m curious about is to how she’ll react to the kiss. I really want her to kick that guy’s ass but I somehow doubt she will.
Justin: I haven’t exactly been enamored by two of the shoujo that aired this season in My Little Monster and Kamisama Kiss. So I was not going into Say I Love You with the highest of expectations. So needless to say, I was surprised I even liked it as much as I did.
Mei’s a odd one, as thanks to a past incident, she doesn’t want anything to do with anyone, choosing to avoid friends and make sure she doesn’t get herself involved with any drama. However, drama comes to her in the form of Yamato, the most popular guy in school who she ends up kicking due to a misunderstanding. His continued interaction with her only leads her to continually be looked down upon by the girls in her school, and not surprisingly, she doesn’t like it. But as it turned out, thanks to his persistence in wanting to know her, she not only managed to avoid a pretty creepy situation, but may have managed to snag her someone who she can be with it.
I was pretty surprised that I liked this episode so much, but I can only give credit to it for doing two things: executing in a solid way and presenting us with a interesting main character. Nothing about this shoujo is going to blow you away, and Mei’s character has probably been done before, but I find her someone that makes the episode work well. She’s pretty much chosen to remain isolated from most of her people outside of her normal livelihood. We see the two sides to that decision: on the one hand, you can avoid the pain of getting hurt by friends or getting caught up in unnecessarily drama, but on the other hand, friends can be there when you need them, and being unable to contact her mom for help so she could get away from her misguided stalker really hit home the double side of the coin if luck is not on your side. Yes, it’s not that realistic, but that part I felt was executed well. All in all, this show could be the sleeper show of the season, and a better shoujo than given credit for.