Anime Review: YagaKimi

What does it mean to love someone for the first time? The experience is different for everybody, but the sensation of falling in love is unlike any other.

For Yuu Koito, love is explosive and overpowering. At least, that’s how the stories she reads depict it. Yuu has never been in love before, never been swept off her feet. Not even when her best friend in middle school asked her out after graduation. She felt nothing. It was lonely, so imagine her jubilation when she ran into Touko Nanami. She was the pride of the student council who was subject to countless confessions from guys and girls alike. Nevertheless, Touko turned them all down because she too never felt anything. Yuu is ecstatic to find someone like her and a bond is formed, but their relationship is immediately put into question when Touko herself confesses to Yuu.

“Yagate Kimi ni Naru” (YagaKimi) is the story of the two’s relationship development, mostly from Yuu’s perspective. While Yuu again didn’t feel any passion when Touko confessed, she eventually finds that her thoughts drift more towards Touko than anybody else. Yuu becomes increasingly happy when they spend time together and sad when they don’t, but Yuu is convinced that’s just normal behavior. Meanwhile, she holds her own questions about Touko. Why would Touko choose her, the person who couldn’t love?

“YagaKimi” is a show about growth that doesn’t hesitate to tackle deep emotional issues. The characters are so flawed that it’s almost hard to slip yourself into their situation at times. The main plot is of course Yuu awakening to her newfound homosexuality. On the other hand, Touko’s love for Yuu stems from knowing that Yuu won’t fall into the same enamor that everyone else did in the past. After Yuu accepts that she’s in love, is she even allowed to love Touko back?

While “YagaKimi” focuses on these two, the side characters are all equally important, no matter how small a role they play. Seiji Maki is a stellar example of aromantic representation in anime, attempting to get Yuu to realize that the feelings inside her are indeed romantic attraction. Sayaka Saeki is Touko’s closest friend, but Sayaka is worried that confessing herself would ruin their current relationship. Koyomi Kanou the writer, Riko Hakozaki the teacher, Akari Hyuuga the basketball star. There are countless passing faces that come and go in an instant, but all of them play a crucial part of “YagaKimi.” The show would not be the same without them.

It’s a tear-jerker of a story with beautiful animation by TROYCA Studio that carries itself with a delicate hand that provides a genuine feel that not many other romances accomplish. With exceptional characters (with Yuu as one of my all-time favorites), beautiful art direction and a stellar soundtrack, “YagaKimi” is a reminder of what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. It’s truly a unique experience in today’s anime landscape. I strongly recommend it to anybody young or old, regardless of orientation or any other factors. It’s a story worth being told.