Say “I love you.” | Series Review, Valentine’s Week

Love At First Sight.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_08_[480p].mkv_snapshot_06.13_[2012.11.26_22.50.50]In 2012 I ended up religiously watching a certain shoujo anime adaptation about a girl and a guy falling in love. That show was Say “I love you.” and by me starting this review like this, you should know exactly what to expect from this review.

However, this will not only be me praising a show I love, this will also be me talking about the Sentai Filmworks dub released at the end of last year when the series hit DVD and Bluray. It’s my first review of localized anime in physical form, I’m so excited!

The story of Say “I love you.” is fairly simple. The plain and lonely Mei Tachibana is in high school. She holds the belief that things like friends and partners are only setting yourself up to being hurt in the future and lives her life in her own way and pace. One day the popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, ended up taking a liking to Mei, and when he later saved her from a stalker in the middle of the night with her very first kiss, her view of the world slowly begins changing.

Going into Say “I love you.” you need to understand that this is not a standard love-triangle story or a series that might end with a couple being together, the story takes itself seriously and doesn’t hold off for a second to start exploring Mei and Yamato’s relationship. While the show’s pacing is slow, it’s slow in a way that benefits character development and depth rather than simply stalling for time. If there’s one word I would use to describe this romance story to differentiate it from other shows of the genre, it’s the word “mature”. Why that word? Because it’s a show that isn’t scared at looking at how a new couple behaves and how it can feel falling in love for the first time from a realistic point of view.

sukitte1101There’s a potentially negative side to this however, one that might turn some people off from the show. Because of this slower and more focused look the show becomes far less dramatic and as a result can come off as boring if you’re not into long bits of monologue. Almost the entirety of the series is told from the perspective of Mei’s thoughts aside from certain specific scenes, and Mei is a person with a very negative and cynical mind, so those monologues might not be all that engaging to some. Personally, I loved all of these things and felt it made the show stronger.

My biggest problem with the show itself comes from the very last episode, which I will not spoil. The last episode, while being a good episode, feels very out of place and a weird way to close out the series. While it does end on one of the most important scene of the series, the lead-up to that scene feels goofy and awkward after you’ve seen the episode before it which felt like it was originally intended to be the final episode. This happened to my Anime of the Year 2013 as well, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, which just had a extra episode after what was clearly meant to be the ending, still a damn good episode, but weirdly placed in the series structure.

[HorribleSubs]_Sukitte_Ii_na_yo._-_11_[720p].mkv_snapshot_03.28_[2012.12.17_09.46.00]The acting in the Japanese version is absolutely amazing. Ai Kayano (Girls Und Panzer, Golden Time) plays Mei and pulls off the best performance I’ve heard from her to date despite being in the same season as she was playing Mashiro in The Pet Girl of Sakurasou.

Takahiro Sakurai (K, Last Order: FINAL FANTASY VII) as Yamato does a good job as well, though it’s not near as memorable as Kayano‘s performance.

The soundtrack is strong as well. Especially the opening theme “Friendship ~for 好きっていいなよ。” by Ritsuko Okazaki. The song is slow, emotional and really matches the mood of the show as a whole. The lyrics hit the nail right on the head and the beautiful vocals by Okazaki is beyond wonderful.

Say “I love you.” was my choice for Anime of the Year back in 2012, so it should come to no surprise that the show nails a full score from me in this review, it’s a show that I would recommend to anyone who likes watching a good love story. Because this is more than just a good love story, this is the gold standard that I will hold any love story to from this moment on.

Say “I love you.”
Series Rating: 10/10

Say “I love you.” is licensed by Sentai Filmworks for localized distribution.
Please support localized anime.

SayILoveYouCastLocalization Review: Say “I love you.” (Bluray)

Sentai Filmworks‘ release of Say “I love you.” comes with all thirteen episodes on two Bluray discs or three DVDs. The quality on the video is sharp and seemed to me flawless, there was no stuttering or other video issues that I experience when I was watching the show. The quality of the audio remained good as well with no complaints from me.

The dub for the show is somewhat of a mixed bag. Caitlynn French (Girls Und Panzer) does a good job as Mei for the most part, but does struggle at conveying Mei’s emotions at times, especially during monologues. Leraldo Anzaldua (Little Busters!, Angel Beats!) did a good job as Yamato and much like Sakurai in the Japanese original it doesn’t end up being anything special but good nonetheless.

Unfortunately, much of the supporting cast falls very flat and sometimes end up outright bad. While the main cast does a job well enough, they end up being dragged down by the work around them. Nothing bad enough to make you want to stop watching, but bad enough to be noticeable.

The special features include the original Japanese promo videos along with clean opening and ending animation. Sentai Filmworks also included the “Mei & Marshmallow Meow” shorts for viewing, which is a nice touch. It’s not much, but it’s enough to justify the price of $69.98 (DVD: $59.98).

At the time of this review you can also take part in RightStuff’s Valentine’s Sale to get the series at 40% off.

Say “I love you.”
Localization Rating: 9/10

Say “I love you.” is licensed by Sentai Filmworks for localized distribution.
Please support localized anime.

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