In a world full of strangers, full of people who hate you, no matter which way you turn, you can't trust anyone. Even if you reach out to someone, they will only end up using you or simply outright betray you.
Sukitte Il Na Yo, or Say I Love You, builds upon that premise with an added twist: what if the first person you begin to trust is your first love? This is quite a daunting situation because trust, as well as listening to each other, and spending time together, is an important element to a healthy relationship. It is similar to being forced to run before learning how to walk. You just can't do it without knowing the first steps.
This is the situation that our main female character, Tachibana Mei, is in. Having been bullied and excluded by friends during her childhood, Mei has withdrawn herself into her own cocoon as she enters high school. One day, the most popular guy's friend, named Kenji, pulls Mei's skirt, provoking her. Extremely pissed off, she ends up roundhouse kicking Yamato, who’s the most popular guy in school. It seems that her frisson struck a chord in Yamato and he ends up seeing Mei as love interest. I can't say for all guys but, to all girls out there, jerking us guys, if we don't know you, won’t perhaps make us fall in love with you. Anyway, "Say I Love You" follows a typical shoujo plot: girl has problems, girl meets prince, prince changes girl's life, girl falls in love with prince. But this is not an anime where they get cool and head off into the sunset showjumping on a white horse at the end. In fact, Mei and Yamato get together very early in the anime. What this anime displays is how they come to know each other while being in a relationship. The situations that the pair was placed in were very interesting, especially the first couple or so, because given Mei's lack of trust in overall, you get to experience her emotional disorder as she fights to understand what it takes to be in a relationship. However, as the anime approached the end, the situations were falling more into the general Shoujo states of mistakes and the like.
While the main storyline of the anime is the connection between Mei and Yamato, there are a few subplots running about, especially near the end. I had a little bit of a hard time figuring out how those plots tied into the main story but they tie into the bigger themes of bullying, trust, and friendship. I would say the anime does a good job of interlacing these small stories into the anime without having them end up feeling like fillers.
I love idealistic fiction, but I also have a very private beef with it. I distinguish there are young people out there who build their ideas about relations from fiction. The story of Romeo and Juliet is the perfect example of how retarded and self-destructive young adoration can be. I'm not saying individuals can't enjoy fantasies, but they need to recognize pandering bullshit. "Sukitte ii na yo" is smart because it avoids one of the serious sins of romantic fiction: As an alternative of incorrectly inferring that lack of social abilities makes you hot, the story really digs into the subject of difference in social build and its effect on a connection. The author clearly has a clue what she's doing and it´s too bad the story doesn't reach the statures it could have.
I really hope that someday there will be a second season for "Sukitte ii na yo", because I definitely feel thirsty for more.