(There are some spoilers in this post, so please be cautious when reading). Sana and Akito were probably the first couple from an anime or manga I got really obsessed with. The fact that they are, alongside Tsukushi and Tsukasa in Boys Over Flowers, my favorite couple is probably why Kodocha is one of my all-time favorite series. Almost everyone I know who has seen or read Kodocha loves Sana and Akito, but I feel that many people love them for different reasons. Many people get caught up in the fact that they are children, and thus appeal to people because any romantic interaction between them is sweet and innocent not unlike Sakura and Shaoran in Cardcaptor Sakura. But the fact that Akito and Sana are eleven when they first start falling for each other isn’t why I love them so much, and I actually feel that by sweeping their relationship under the ‘child romance’ category doesn’t do them justice. This is especially because Sana and Akito are unlike so many children presented in anime and manga; they are far more complex than just being shy and innocent. While Sana can be a little naïve about love, she is very aware of other people’s feelings and often says things that are beyond her age. And Akito, due to his troubled family history, is very savvy about the world around him and his sullen nature makes him seem more mature than other boys his age.
In the beginning of the series, Akito and Sana start off as enemies because Akito is causing trouble in their classroom and eventually Sana gets so sick of his ‘monkey reign’ that she stands up to him. But when Sana finds out that Akito’s mom died giving birth to him, his sister blames him for their mother’s death, and his father is never at home because he’s working, she decides to help bring Akito’s family closer together. When she succeeds, Akito falls for Sana, and instead of telling her he gives her a kiss in front of their whole class when they’re on a school trip. Sana gets pissed, but when Akito helps her out later on in the series she begins to see him as her “worst enemy and best friend, all rolled into one,” which I absloutely love. One of the things I love about Sana and Akito is that not only are they a great couple – they’re also great friends who are always there for one another. Even better is that they are the only ones who understand each other. Because of his family life, Akito believes he can only see things negatively, and in the beginning of the series the only way he can tell Sana he loves her is by saying he “doesn’t hate” her. But Sana is the one who gets Akito to open up a bit more and stop being gloomy, and she could see that under his ‘Mr. Cool’ act he was lonely. Akito becomes more motivated because of her and eventually pursues his interest in karate because he wants to do something with his life just like Sana is with her acting. And Akito is the only person who sees the real Sana, which allows her to lower her guard around him. At one point in the series, Naozumi wonders when he sees Sana crying what could have happened to her because she’s the strongest person he knows, and Rei similarly ponders how Sana could be so weak when it comes to matters of the heart when she’s normally so fearless. But Sana feels that she’s not really as strong as everyone thinks she is. Probably the best example of this occurs when Sana was worried about her mother’s book being published, which revealed that she was actually adopted, and she kept her worries hidden from everyone by pretending to be her typical hyperactive and cheerful self. Akito, however, was able to tell that something was wrong, and he becomes the person she can confide in. And in many ways, Sana is at her strongest when she’s with Akito – he brings out both her kind, loving side as well as her determined fiestiness. Thus, they both bring out the best in each other.
And unlike many other shojo series that feature the typical ‘cheerful girl/mysterious guy’ as the main couple, Sana and Akito suit each other really well. Usually, female shojo protagonists are kind of dumb and not particularly good-looking or interesting, so it’s hard to see why she has guys fawning all over her, especially in cases where her main love interest is the most popular, good-looking guy in school. But Sana is pretty, very kind, funny and a talented actress, so it’s easy to see why so many guys would be attracted to her. And Akito comes across as a rebel because he doesn’t listen to adults and does what he wants to do, but still cares a lot for the people who are close to him. Not to mention, he’s very cute: I know I would have liked Akito at eleven-years-old. Thus, the two of them balance each other out very well. As a couple, I don’t feel as though there is any sort of power struggle between the two of them: she’s far from passive and always pulls Akito back in when he’s going wild, and in turn he is extremely protective of her. Because they are opposites they sometimes bicker: Akito is sarcastic and sometimes jokingly calls Sana an idiot when she does or says something goofy, which causes Sana to overreact – but you can still feel their love for each other. The best example of this occurs in volume seven of the manga, in scene when Akito and Sana are arguing about the other one being rude yet their hugging at the same time and won’t let go of each other. Very fun. Another thing I love about Akito and Sana is how much they touch each other. I know that sounds strange, but little things like Sana holding Akito’s hand when his father is in the hospital or he protectively hugs her when she’s worried about her mother’s book goes public, displays how close they are.
A think a major appeal of the couple is the level of tension that’s present before they get together. Akito and Sana’s friends believe that Sana must be completely dense to not realize that Akito is in love with her. In volume five of the manga, Tsuyoshi, Akito’s best friend, asks Sana if she’s aware of Akito’s feelings, and she admits that the reason she hasn’t accepted Akito’s love is because she doesn’t understand romance. Sana once had a crush on her much-older manager Rei and she genuinely believed he felt the same way, but when she found out he didn’t she felt really hurt and embarassed. Thus, she became unconfident in being able to tell guy’s feelings for her, and said that she won’t believe Akito is in love with her until he tells her himself. Many people believe that Akito and Sana are dating because they are so close, and Sana consistently denies it. While Akito believes the reason Sana is so nice to him is because he’s like a stray dog and she’s too kind to ignore him, Naozumi, another child-actor who also has a crush on Sana realizes how much Akito means to her when she decides to throw him a birthday party. Furthermore, she also denies that she has feelings for him, and when asked why she thinks she doesn’t like him she names the traits she’s looking for in a guy (such as being tall and kind) and protests that Akito doesn’t have any of these things. But when Sana is away on a location shoot, Akito believes rumors that Sana is dating Naozumi, he begins going out with her best friend Fuka. When Sana finds out that Akito and Fuka are dating, she is so depressed that she is unable to shoot the film. Sana eventually confides in Rei’s girlfriend Asako, who asks if she likes Akito, and when Asako tells Sana that her reasons for not liking Akito don’t matter because you don’t need a reason to fall in love, she realizes that she loves him. I love that when Sana returns from filming the movie, Akito grew two inches – and is thus the tall guy she always wanted.
Most importantly, some of my favorite romantic moments in anime and manga happen between Sana and Akito. I basically gush over any scene of the two of them alone together, but the first one that stands out is the Christmas party they had to celebrate their middle birthdays (Christmas Eve just happens to be the middle date between Sana and Akito’s birthday parties). Most of the time Akito is nonchalant about everything (especially Sana’s wackiness), but Akito begins to stress over what he should give Sana as a present and considers buying her a bra. Akito had only ever recieved one present in his entire life (a toy dinosaur his father gave him), and when Sana’s present turns out to be a toy dinosaur that he “doesn’t hate,” he realizes he needs to tell her he loves her. Instead he kisses her, and after the shock wears off Sana begins to wonder why she didn’t push him away. This incident also includes what is probably the girliest line in all of Kodocha when Sana compares their first kiss to their second: “The first time we kissed tasted like lemons. But that was because I had spilled lemonade all over him. This time was different. This time…I could taste his lips.” I half cringed when I heard that line, but the other part of me squealed with joy like a fangirl.
Another favorite moment of mine is after the two of them have started dating. In volume nine of the manga, Akito and Sana go on their first date. It’s their middle birthday again, and after the two of them visit Akito’s mother in the cemetary, they go ice-skating. The date is a bit rocky at first because Sana is still jealous that Akito and Fuka had dated, but when when Akito tells Sana that she’s the only one for him she realizes how much he means to her and calms down. Their date turns extremely fun when Sana goes back to Akito’s house and sees that her failed attempt at knitting has become a scarf for the toy dinosaur she gave him the year before. And before Sana goes home, they have a very sweet kiss which is probably my favorite in the entire series. There are so many great scenes between the two of them because they have such good chemistry (not to mention, I also think they’re a very good-looking couple), and I love the progression of their relationship. I could probably write so much more on Akito and Sana (and I’ve already written way too much), but what stands out most about them is how sweet and fun they are – just like Kodocha itself.