Roam If You Want To!

Aug 22, 2020, 9:47:02 PM


Roam around the city!

Roam around Asakusa!

I bet you're thinking, "man, that guy's good at perspective and put a lot of effort into that background."

You would be... half right.

I'm lazy and took a short cut.

Here's what I did.

I went to Google Maps and turned on street view and then I found a view I liked in Tokyo (in the Asakusa area where this story takes place), and I screencapped a view and traced over it. I don't really know what this place is -- I believe some kind of covered shopping street in Asakusa around Sensoji Temple. But... who knows. It looked really cool -- yes, that's my reasoning. That's what I'm going with.

Google Street View - Asakusa Tokyo

Google Street View - Asakusa Tokyo

Now even though I had the screen cap, it wasn't like I got this for free. I guess if I was more clever and just turned it grayscale I'd have achieved lazy enlightenment, but no... I only just thought of that right now. Instead I spent time and effort and traced the lines and built out the perspective that way.

Shopping Street Google Street View Sketch

Shopping Street Google Street View Sketch

Even further, I used relative proportions of elements and people in the screencap to place Kamiko and her big watery friend.

Then I painted it in grayscale, because I shun color.

Oh, and did an old trick I learned to make glowy bits because I like that.

So that's it.

If you're curious why today is just a giant image with no speech, I wanted to make a more pastoral slife-of-life thing where you follow Kamiko and her friend around. He's never really seen the human world, and she's not afraid to walk a yokai around human inhabited places.

Kimi ni Todoke Has Been My Life

So, at some point during the pandemic I recalled I owned a library card and that such a thing like Overdrive existed to borrow eBooks.

And I began to do that, because I believe I should read more.

I want to write books and comics. Ergo, I should be reading them too.

Now, a decade ago I watched and was really fond of anime called Kimi ni Todoke, a shoujo about a really awkward high school girl who tries to clear up misunderstandings. I had read some of the manga because Crunchyroll had it on their manga site -- they no longer do.

But then, I kinda forgot about it.

Every now and then I'd remember and look to see how much more of the manga there was. And there was a lot, but I never considered buying the books to keep up because I'm really bad about that. Also, I didn't have money for it. Or space.

So enter eBooks.

And Overdrive. And... learning that my local library has all 30 volumes of Kimi ni Todoke. I started reading them in June.

I finished reading all of them this past Tuesday. I have currently 14 volumes checked out (of 30). The reason it even took this long was, because I had to wait for the other volumes to become available.

The anime for Kimi ni Todoke came out around 2010 with a sequel season in 2011 (or something -- I don't remember). In any case, it was a decade ago. The manga finished serializing in 2018 -- pretty recent. And I can say, that I've read all 30 volumes and know the whole story of Sawako Kuronuma, Shouta Kazehaya and Sawako's friends Chizuru and Ayane. It's a wild ride.

If you only ever watched the anime, and if you thought the second season was too slow and emo, then the good news is that the manga picks up after that. The second season briefly gives an endcap to their budding relationship, but getting together isn't the end of their relationship.

Oh no, there's more. Much more.

Like, Sawako meets Kazehaya's family. He meets her family. There's a class trip where everyone deals with their own relationship crisis. There's more culture festivals, Christmas parties, and New Year temple visits -- there's a certain clockwork to Kimi ni Todoke. There's Jo. He's super annoying because he's always getting in the way of the good stuff. And he thinks he has a chance with Ayane (he doesn't). Then there's the big, long ending, that thing high schoolers dread: entrance exams and moving on towards the future, but it brings out the best in Sawako's story, and... surprisingly Ayane's.

When you meet Ayane, she's the cool, "mature" girl who knows about relationships and looks as if she's been in a few. But towards the end of Kimi ni Todoke, you get to see a much more vulnerable side of her. It starts around their class trip to Okinawa (volume 14 or so). There's a conversation between her and Sawako that I really like in volume 16 -- she admits some difficult truths about herself. Then in the last 10 books there's a lot of great episodes with her. Since her whole deal is that she doesn't fall in love, guess what happens?

I love Sawako as a character because I can relate to her awkwardness. I love her relationship with Kazahaya too. They get over their difficult parts but their relationship feels wholesome and good natured, and I'd want to see more of them past high school. Apart of me would love to see what their lives are like in university and beyond -- he promised her he'd put a ring on it after all.

In short, I really enjoyed the manga. I like that it deals with the nuance of communicating with people whereas most romance manga would brush over it.

That's my big recommendation, but I realize it's probably not a thing that everyone else would like.

It does make me wonder what happened to Kimi ni Todoke in the years after the anime ended.

It was popular.

There are light novels and DS games. There's rumor of a season 3 which I guess they could really do now since the story's complete, but we've heard nothing about it.

For the author, Karuho Shiina, it must feel good to have it done. It's a massive piece of work and seems to have taken the better part of 13 years. In her author sidebars she goes from talking about working on the comic, to having a child, to raising said child, and then to talking about growing older (and sleepier). I can relate (with some of that) -- especially the sleepy part. 13 years is a long time to spend on any one thing.

I would know, and I'm not even of a tenth as industrious as she was.

Well that's all for this week, more next Saturday.