Ugh the biggest cliche in many shojos. Shy and quiet girl dates the popular and hot guy, she makes new friends and gets a rival character who is popular and hot. That is what this anime has. But don’t get a bad impression on this anime, it is not bad. I am a fangirl over shojo anime/manga. Don’t get me wrong, I love shonen/seinen but shojo is fantastic as well. Say “I love you” is one of the shojo’s I’m referring to.
So our main character, Mei Tachibana is an anti-social and gloomy girl who refuses to get close to people. She believes friends will only come to leave you. However the most popular guy in school, Yamato Kurosawa becomes interested in Mei and when Yamato’s perverted friend (of course their is a perverted friend) pulls Mei’s skirt up, Mei tries to kick him but ends up kicking Yamato. Yamato is more interested in Mei after this incident and he gives her his number which of course she refuses but he insist she keeps it with her. One day after going home from her work, Mei notices she is being stalked by one of her customers and with her mother not picking up the phone, Mei has no choice but to call Yamato. Yamato rushes to Mei’s rescue and how does he get rid of the stalker? He kisses her in front of the stalker.
I’ll admit, this anime’s story is cliche but I really admire some of it’s more unique qualities. What’s great about this anime is it only took 2-3 episodes and they are already dating! For a shojo that is amazing, for most shojo’s it takes 20 episodes and the main character realizes she is in love, then it takes another season for them to go out but just 2-3 episodes is quite impressive.And what’s even better is the pacing. The problem with anime’s with only 12-13 episodes is that the episodes are always rushed especially when they try to accomplish sooooo much in a short amount of time *cough cough* Angel Beat *cough cough*. However Say “I Love You” only tries to accomplish as much as they can in this short amount of time and they did it well though at times the pacing was slow. Say “I Love You” also spends so much of it’s plot time giving all of it’s characters a back story, except for a few, but almost everyone had their own problems.
Don’t get me wrong I love all of the characters but the problem is you can find these characters in any anime, however Say “I love you” puts a unique quality in all these characters. Mei is the shy girl archetype however most anime shy girls always have that whole, “I want to make friends but I’m too nervous” Mei however never wanted to make friends she just liked being alone of course this character archetype becomes more recognizable as the series goes by but then kind of tones down. Yamato is the love interest who of course would be popular, but unlike the cliche popular guy in anime, Yamato has so much more to his character only being popular because of his looks and kindness and according to his back story, I don’t think he’d be popular without his looks. Finally our supporting cast, Asami who has big boobs but is so sweet and is the character I most relate to. Nakanishi who is Yamato’s best friend and a pervert (of course) but this is the first time I’ve seen this type of character gets a girlfriend. Then their is Aiko, who starts of as a rival character and was a bitch but the became Mei’s friend and likable. Aiko’s boyfriend, Masashi who doesn’t really have much to his character. Megu who is a model I have a complicated feeling towards her. And lastly Kai who is Yamato’s former best friend and is really sweet. Mei and Yamato are definitely my relationship goals despite the cliche and are my favourite couple of all time.
The problem with the characters is they all have an episode to them self but then after those episodes are done, they are kind of swept to the side. The anime clearly tries to develop and making these characters stand out but it they just couldn’t do it because they need to discuss a new character and keep the main characters interesting. The anime would work better if it had less characters and tried to keep these characters involved and very interesting and unforgettable but because these characters have copy+past personalities it is difficult to do that even if you added a very interesting back story.
This anime has really gorgeous animations. The change of tone is very well done depending on the moments and the characters are all designed very well all having a unique quality in their appearance. The animation is never too bright or to dark keeping it calm and nice.
Their is nothing spectacular about the OST and are no standouts. The opening, “Friendship” by Ritsuko Okazaki is a calm and slow opening and I do like it however it is not anything special. The ending however is decent but tends to ruin the mood sometimes when a sweet moment comes up.
First off let’s talk about this anime’s Japanese dub. When I started watching this anime in mid-2013 I watched it in Japanese of course because their wasn’t a dub at the time. The voice actors will always surprise me and I’ll never get over the thought:
Yeah these guy have the same voices! Anyway, Ai Kayano (Meiko “Menma” Honma) does a great job as Mei sounding shy and is able to raise her voice too. Takahiro Sakurai does a soothing job as Yamato and makes him have the charm that Yamato is suppose to give out. Honestly all of the Japanese voices do so well in this anime and I would give it an A+… if it weren’t for the English dub.
I’m not too fond of Sentai Filmworks, I like the majority of their English dubs and I LOVE InuxBoku’s dub. However Say “I Love You” was done not too well. I give credit to Monica Rial (Renge Houshakuji) as Asami, Greg Ayres (Kaoru Hitachiin) as Nakanishi, Emily Neves (Minene Uryuu) as Megu, Tiffany Grant (Aunty from the Wallflower) as Mei’s mother and David Matranga (Tomoya Okazaki) as Yamato’s older brother. Everyone else was either disappointing or just really bad. Andrew Love (Akio Furukawa) as Kai disappointed me but I don’t blame him, I blame whoever chose the cast since it was obvious his voice is too mature for a teenage character, unless the character is extremely mature looking (like Sen from Kids on the Slope). Brittney Karbowski (Yuri Nakamura) as Nagi, Brittney cannot voice kids or even shy and cute girls, she really can’t! I loved her as Yuri though only because Yuri isn’t a kid or a shy and cute girl. And lastly Carli Mosier (Akira Yoshii from Baka and Test) as Aiko, I love Carli Mosier as Akira but she disappointed me as Aiko. And the worst of them all both our main characters! Caitlynn French as Mei and Leraldo Anzaldua (Noda from Angel Beats) as Yamato. Caitlynn French forces the soft- sound onto Mei and makes sound fake, and even worse ruins when she raises her voice, I really didn’t like this voice performance. And Leraldo Anzaldua, you are a good voice actor just don’t ever do Yamato or characters like him, this guy doesn’t do soothing at all and ruins Yamato’s charm.
So if you want a recommendation on whether you watch this anime sub or dub then definitely go sub, unlike my previous two reviews this is not really depending on preference, the Japanese is definitely better though if you like watching anime’s dub then go ahead they have a few rewarding voices.
Score (Songs): C+
Score (Voice Acting): C+
Overall Say “I Love You” is a very sweet anime with a great story. For the most part the characters are likable but cliche. The animation is gorgeous, the music is nice though forgettable and the Japanese voice acting is superb. If you like romance and shojo you will not regret watching this at all. If you hate romance though then you will be bored with this anime. Say “I Love You” gets a B-.
If you like Say “I Love You” I recommend:
Kimi ni Todoke: Both sharing the shy girl and popular boy cliche however Kimi ni Todoke makes this cliche stand out more. However this anime is very cute in both the romance and comedy genre. The characters are enjoyable and the animation is very soft.
My Little Monsters (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun): When I was looking up Say “I Love You” I heard this anime was similar. That is slightly true actually. My Little Monsters follows a unique love story between quiet, study-freak Shizuku and intimidating but popular and kind, Haru. Both Say “I Love You and My Little Monsters have similar styles.
If you like manga though I recommend:
Hiyokoi: There is one episode anime of this one actually. Like Say “I Love You” and Kimi ni Todoke it shares the shy girl and popular boy cliche. Like Say “I Love You” It doesn’t take forever for the characters to get together. It is a very cute manga and the comedy is fantastic.
Btw am I the only one who finds it funny how both Mei and Yamato have the same voice as Menma and Yukiatsu (Anohana) and not to mention, Yukiatsu likes Menma.