Kimi ni Todoke – Chapter 61
Ayane was always something of an oddball in this series. I always thought she belonged in a manga like NANA, or some other josei, rather than here. Not that I’m complaining about her presence, but a girl who has such an easy time going out with people makes for an odd contrast to Sawako and Chizuru. It wasn’t until two chapters ago that she really started to make sense: having such an easy time finding someone makes it so much harder to care about them. But now that she’s admitted that, I have to wonder where, exactly, her story goes from here.
There seem to be two different people she’s being set up with: Kent and Pin. Now, I may be stepping on a few toes when I say this, but I really don’t see her developing feelings for Pin. She may have experience dating, but that doesn’t mean she’s the type to start going out with her teacher. It just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the story, where the relationships have been between more traditional couples. I’m not trying to say that they don’t have a lot in common, but it doesn’t feel like a path she would go down right now.
Kent feels more like the the sort of person she could eventually start going out with. She has experience with dating, and he likes to pretend he does. They also seem to be two of the more intelligent cast members, and the only ones who don’t have massive problems with communication. Currently, their relationship doesn’t feel like one where one of them might confess any minute, but that’s probably better for them. If Ayane is having trouble with relationships and falling in love, it isn’t going to be overcome quickly. And even if those problems weren’t there, it would take a while for the two of them to build up any sort of relationship, considering how Kent used to be. It’s going to take time, but I think I can see the two of them getting a lot closer.
The only real problem with this is Kent himself. I’ve started to understand how Ayane works, but Kent is still a big mystery. I understand that he found himself attracted to Sawako (can you blame him?), but after that I had trouble figuring out what his role in the story was. He seems to be the type of person who keeps his feelings to himself, and that makes it hard to get a reading on him. This is very close to how I originally saw Ayane, so it could be setting up for a scene similar to the one at the end of Chapter 59. They both have things they keep from other people, and I just hope Kent’s doesn’t drive her away.
I’ll admit that currently, Ayane’s romantic subplot has been the least interesting of the three, and it’s mainly because of all the unknowns. It’s harder to appreciate a relationship if you can only view it in the long run. I know that currently, the story has been more focused on Sawako and Chizuru (and yes, I’ll get to her after the next chapter), but it’s also preparing what I’m sure will be another good arc in the future. Of course if she does end up with Pin, I won’t be too disappointed, but I still think this way feels more natural.
Lastly, it’s a little off-topic, but the above image got me thinking a bit. If, for whatever reason, Ayane wanted to go out with one of the other girls, who would you rather it be? Chizuru seems like the logical choice, but somehow I could more easily picture her going out with Kurumi. Not Sawako, though, because that gets a little too Seme/Uke when I don’t think it should.