Read Nah bei dir - Kimi ni todoke 11 by Karuho Shiina Free Online
Book Title: Nah bei dir - Kimi ni todoke 11|
The author of the book: Karuho Shiina
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Reader ratings: 5.3
Date of issue: June 2012
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 2.80 MB
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I love how the typical "girl vs. girl" scenario (where two girls compete over a guy) wasn't found in this series. Even though Kurumi and Sawako consider each other rivals, it's in a respectful way, not a scathing "I hate that bitch for liking/eyeing my crush" way. They respect one another's feelings for Kazehaya. Even though Kurumi *did* at first manipulate other girls to try and tarnish Sawako's reputation, once she realized Sawako's feelings towards Kazehaya were "serious," she backed off (for the most part). Basically, Kurumi doesn't fall into the typical (and, in my opinion, reviled) "mean girl" stereotype. Kurumi has flaws, depth, quirks, and charm. She is not just a one-dimensional character whose character arc is "over" once she doesn't get the guy. Kurumi is a foil for Sawako (they both are girls who have felt alienated from their peers for different reasons), but she has her own issues with which to contend. Anyway, even though the manga is (currently) focusing on Chizu and Ayane (as of volume fourteen onward), I have hopes that Shiina will give Kurumi her own resolution and "happy ending."
One line from Ayane to Kurumi really interested me: "Don't you wish I was a boy? I mean, then I could understand all of your bad parts." Even with the tricky wording (it's all about the context of the scene), I think Ayane is saying that, as a girl, she can understand and empathize with Kurumi's flaws; however, Kazehaya (as a nice/"good" boy) would not be able to like Kurumi romantically because of the flaws she has sought to hide from him. (All this time Kurumi has been hiding behind a nice/polite/cheerful facade -- trying to act the girl version of Kazehaya, basically -- while smothering her true/real self. Of course, Kazehaya didn't react with romantic interest to this female version of himself, so Kurumi has had to come to terms with that.) I think this line alone has interesting implications: girls try to "alter" themselves for the sake of boys (or love interests/crushes) while girls in general may not always like each other but they do understand one another (most of the time). It's also interesting that Ayane goes so far as to imply, "If I were to turn into a boy tomorrow, then maybe I would be the kind of boy you would want: someone who could understand and accept your flaws and love you in spite of them." (But maybe I'm just looking too far into the text with this...)
I love Chapter 44 from Kazehaya's POV: we get to see his first-hand thoughts about Sawako from the very first time Kazehaya met her leading up to the night of the Haunted Trail event (from the first chapter of the manga). I love the innocence of how he gets flustered around her yet how he doesn't let his self-consciousness get in the way of interacting with her. Although Kazehaya is very much an "ideal" boy (despite being popular, he never once took into account how he would look interacting with the alienated "scary loner" Sawako), there are definitely still shades of realism to his character, I think.
Favorite dialogue from this volume:
Sawako: I - I don't know...what the role of a girlfriend is, but...
Kazehaya: Kuronuma...it's not a role. It's not a job. Just be who you are.
I think this is such a refreshing thing that Shiina allows her male character to get across to the heroine: that he doesn't think of her being his girlfriend as coming with a list of "criteria" she must fulfill. So often in various media (movies, TV shows, books, etc.), boyfriends have a nasty tendency to spout, "You're my girlfriend, so you should want to kiss me/have sex with me/do things for me." And I think that stereotype helps to spur on girls doing things they aren't ready for simply to "please/placate" their significant others (because the girls are afraid of losing those they love). It's nice that Kazehaya took the time to get this point across: "What will push me away is not what you do/don't do for me but when you're not being honest with me."
Of course, this idea -- of Kazehaya allowing Sawako to set the pace for their relationship -- has some (regrettable) repercussions in later volumes. Kazehaya goes overboard with his stance on not pushing Sawako, to the point that their relationship becomes a bit strained and not so easy/comfortable as it had been. Both Kazehaya and Sawako want more of a physical relationship -- they almost kiss in a later chapter, only to be interrupted -- but Sawako is too embarrassed to take charge herself and Kazehaya doesn't want to push Sawako for things she isn't ready to do. What ends up putting distance between them is the a lack of communication and a slew of mixed signals. Here's hoping, though, that they'll resolve these issues without resorting to the old shoujo cliche of a break-up.
All my "looking too deeply into manga" aside, I really do recommend Kimi ni Todoke since -- despite some pacing issues (especially if you're reading chapter by chapter along with the Japanese releases) -- it really is one of the best shoujo manga out there right now.
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Read information about the authorSee also 椎名 軽穂
Karuho Shiina was born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan. Though Kimi ni Todoke is only her second series following many one-shot stories, it has already racked up accolades from various "Best Manga of the Year" lists. Winner of the 2008 Kodansha Manga Award for the shojo category, Kimi ni Todoke also placed fifth in the first-ever Manga Taisho (Cartoon Grand Prize) contest in 2008.
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