Note: There are some spoilers for the series, so read with caution!
There are a lot of things I love about Kodocha. I love the way it blends comedy, drama and romance seamlessly. I love its cast of quirky characters, and I especially love the romance between Sana Kurata and Akito Hayama. But one of the things I’ve always respected about Kodocha is its use of foreshadowing. This may not seem like something extreme – most good film and television at least attempt a gradual buildup of the story. Yet I’ve always found that Kodocha excels at foreshadowing because of how engrained so many of the plot hints are in the comedy. Even the filler episodes of the anime foreshadow later events, such as in episode 28 when Sana decides to plan a middle-birthday party for herself and Akito and a sweet moment occurs between the two during the actual party in episode 38. While the comedic foreshadowing isn’t exactly ‘subtle,’ I think it really suits the series.
A minor example of foreshadowing is in episode eight of the anime, when Aya mentions on a field trip that she has a crush on someone but won’t say who. Sana teases her and says that she should tell the guy she likes him – or better yet, give him a big kiss. This, of course, serves as foreshadowing not only for Aya’s confession to Akito’s friend Tsuyoshi later on the series, but also for the kiss Akito gives Sana later on the episode. Another example of a joke being used as foreshadowing occurs in episode 18. In it, Sana is hiding out from the paparazzi at Akito’s house after her mother’s (a famous author named Misako Kurata) book hit stores and revealed that she was adopted. At Akito’s house, Sana takes a bath with his sister Natsumi, who mentions she has three moles on her butt. Natsumi and Sana tease Akito, saying they’ll never tell him where the moles are – to which Akito promptly guesses that they’re on her butt. In the next episode, Sana’s birth mother decides to meet her, and when Misako asks for proof that the woman is Sana’s mother, she says her baby had three moles in a line on her backside. Only Kodocha would use such a goofy moment to lead into something so serious – but that’s just the way it rolls.
But the best example of foreshadowing in the series has to do with the introduction of a major character. In the episode nine, after Akito kisses Sana in front of their entire class, the guys in their class comment on how cool Akito is, and mention that Akito’s first kiss was a bet in kindergarten. This piece of information pisses Sana off, but over the course of the series, Sana and Akito grow closer and she slowly begins to realize the nature of his feelings for her. In episode 52, the two enter middle school and meet a girl who moved from Osaka named Fuka Matsui, who quickly befriends Sana. But for some reason, she can’t stand Akito – which in episode 53 she reveals is because he stole her first kiss in kindergarten. Fuka held onto her grudge because the guy she liked mistakenly thought she already had a boyfriend when he found out she had been kissed. When Sana goes on a location shoot to film a movie, Fuka’s crush comes to town and she asks Akito to pretend to be her boyfriend in front of him. After he helps her out (for sushi), Fuka begins to see him in a new light, and becomes aware of Akito’s feelings for Sana. When magazines (falsely) print that Sana has started dating someone, Fuka feels bad for Akito and asks him out and he agrees (in his usual enthusiastic manner: “I guess it’s okay”). Sana finds out that Akito and Fuka are going out, causing her to realize that she loves him, and she is then torn between her friendship with Fuka and her feelings for Akito. One brief side comment came back 44 episodes later to become a major plot point – and I love it.
Kodocha’s also great for bringing back lines that seem trivial but end up being used in serious or important ways. In episode 10, Akito tries to tell Sana he loves her, but he can only tell her ‘he doesn’t hate her’ because of his cynical nature (not to mention his shyness). It doesn’t take long for Sana to decode his cryptic message, because she ends up coincidentally running into Akito’s father, who tells her that when Akito says he doesn’t hate something it means that he loves it. Much later on in the series, Tsuyoshi asks him why he’s dating Fuka and he responds that he ‘doesn’t hate’ her. While this may seem to suggest that Akito is developing feelings for Fuka, a few episodes later Akito finally tells Sana that he’s always loved her – and thus we see how much Akito has changed because of Sana. There are many wonderful things to love about Kodocha, but the strength of its use of dialogue in developing the major characters always struck a chord with me – and it’s why “I don’t hate” the series.