Some time ago, one of my friends expressed great surprise when I professed to have watched Kaichou wa Maid-sama and actually liked it. After all, most guys are not really into watching shoujo anime even if it uphold themes of patriarchical oppression where it’s always the girl who swoons over the guy, the male individual who saves the day and the guy who initiates all of the romance and the kissing. I really liked Kaichou wa Maid-sama because it attempts to portray a more egalitarian relationship where the female protagonist is actually not a pathetic, spineless weeping willow and in certain cases, rescued the male protagonist in certain instances.
I can’t say the same for shows such as Kimi ni Todoke and apparently, Sukitte ii na yo. It’s so pathetic. In shoujo manga such as these, the female character is always a classic reject, a sad bullied individual who needs the help of the **most popular guy in school** to raise the social status of the befallen girl. Sometimes, I wonder whether does the female protagonist actually fall in love with the character, or the social class elevation that he represents. It’s also no wonder that females portrayed in this manner are pathetic, ugly, downtrodden until the salvation in the form of a ultra popular boyfriend comes along. I hate it. It pervades this ridiculous fantasy for women (and some men) that somehow, being in love, or being in a romantic relationship somehow fixes your life in a spontaneous, natural fashion. It’s always about being broken and getting someone else to fix up your mess. Whereas in Kaichou wa Maid-sama, these two individuals started out having strong character, two complete individuals who just so happen to fall in love with each other.
But of course, I’m sure there are women out there who find such fantasies enjoyable and interesting, who are very comfortable with the idea of a man rescuing them on a white horse. Many women I know are very comfortable with the idea of patriarchal oppression so I’m not surprised at all to find out that Sukitte Ii Na Yo is a minor hit among many Western viewers.