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Say “I Love You” Anime Review

Say "I Love You"Title:  Say “I Love You”

Director:

Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

U. S. Distributor:

U. S. Release Date: December 24, 2013

Format: DVD or Blu-ray (English subtitled or dubbed available), 13 episodes

Genre: Shojo, Romance

Age Rating: 14+

Overall Personal Rating: A-

Similar Series: kimi ni todoke

 

Synopsis:

Mei Tachibana is a high school girl, often picked on and friendless, having given up on them after being emotionally hurt. She usually acts awkward, surly and embarrassed. One day, a girl crazy guy accidentally knocked her down, leading his friend, Kurasawa Yamato, to notice her. Yamato is very popular and has plenty of girls flirting with him, but he is intrigued by Mei. Especially when they actually meet,  she kicks him in the face (that was intended for someone else).

Mei is confused by his forth coming attention and doesn’t trust it. Why is a guy like him talking to a guy like her? She can’t figure him out and she can’t get him out of her mind.

Mei and Yamato start dating. This is her first boyfriend ever. Other kids in school notice a difference in her. The couple become content for the gossip-vine. Even so, as Mei finds safety in her new relationship, she is more willing to risk making friends. Yamato is also changing in this new role.

There are other students around searching for their places in life and new relationships. One that stands out is a transfer student, Megu-tan, whose job is being a magazine model. She has her eye on Yamato, but Mei also has someone’s eye. Interference and jealously make a new relationship even harder, and added to that, a slightly eccentric and possessive little sister.

Commentary:

A friend told me that Say “I Love You” was one of the top viewed anime for a streaming site for a while, and I can see why. Turns out, a lot of people have seen it, male and female, and have enjoyed it. The series is unusual because as a romance, it isn’t all about getting into the relationship, but rather being in the relationship. Some stuff may be formulaic;  such as tripping and falling into someone, the popular guy looking for someone who is a little different, and communication difficulties (Getting your information from hearsay gossip isn’t very reliable). Still, I found it easy to get caught up in the story by the first episode.

Even though it is kind of short, only 13 episodes, there was a natural pace of introduction of the primary and secondary characters, who even have time for their own stories. This love story goes quickly, quicker than most anime moves and much faster than kimi ni todoke. They have a similar base stories with slightly different circumstances, but kimi ni todoke takes more than a season to get where Say “I Love You”  gets in two episodes. The age rating cover a some cussing and a touch of adult themes dealing with sex, but not actually happening in the show even though the first episode might lead you to think otherwise.

The characters and their relationships seemed natural, believable and multidimentional, really being a part of contemporary society. It is refreshing to see that everyday life can create an interesting story. Even with the bit about Megu-tan being a model, she was only in a minor magazine. Along side the romance were the elements of getting outside of your comfort zone and making friends. Even when people around seem to be pressuring them to fit together in a certain way. Finally, about how important it seems to fit in but longing for people to know the real you.

Say “I Love You” is nicely animated, great backgrounds with interesting perspectives, details and color. I watched it dubbed and think the American voices fit well. It all worked great to support the story and the characters.

I had a bit of a shock when it was over, I mean it seemed to just end. However, I knew that just couldn’t be it, so I went back and watched the closing song and video that I had skipped, so, make sure you watch it and stay until you hear the last words. It may be a bit of a weak ending, but it still finished satisfactorily.

Overall Grade: A-     I think this is one that could be enjoyed more than once.

 

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