Up Close With Yamato Kurosawa (Say I Love You)


I’ve enjoyed February so far because it has given me a really good excuse to turn my attention to the male leads in so many romances. This week I’m looking straight at Yamato Kurosawa from Say I Love You but before I get into dissecting his character (okay, that might be a bit extreme), I’d probably better mention that I wasn’t a huge fan of Say I Love You initially. I like Mei, the female lead but the first time through I really didn’t like Yamato and it took a few viewings before I actually liked the two together. However, I still find Yamato a character I’ve just never clicked with.

In order to end on a positive I’ll start with some of my issues with Yamato and then I’ll look at his good points. He does have some good points and he does grow on you after watching the series more than once.


Yamato and Mei - Say I Love You

No matter how I want to look at it, Yamato originally comes on very strong toward Mei who clearly isn’t interested in his attention. While he doesn’t push it to a point where he is irredeemable, he intrudes into her space and more than once forces a kiss on her that she clearly isn’t asking for or giving permission for. He’s also very hands on particularly when she visited his house and he practically dragged her onto his lap. With a more out going female lead, Yamato’s advances probably wouldn’t have been a problem, but here it just felt like someone who was socially timid getting taken advantage of because her usual response was to freeze rather than get out of the situation. And even though she ended up falling in love with him and they all ended happily ever after, there’s still something just a bit off putting about this situation.

The second issue I have with Yamato is that he has so little actual personality, particularly early on. He very much goes with the flow of things and the people he hangs around and the things he does are very much just to stay in the crowd at times. We learn later that he started that behaviour in middle school to avoid being bullied and he even abandoned a friend because he didn’t want to stand out, but it makes him a hard character to really get a read on when he does some really nice things for Mei and then some really stupid things like when he agrees to join some other friends for bowling while out on a date with Mei. No matter how you look at it, that situation was never going to end well.

Say I Love You Yamato and Megumi

Finally, I really hated Yamato during the arc where he was modelling. His absolute lack of ability to read the situation with Mei just felt totally wrong. All the way along Mei was the one who wasn’t used to reading social cues, not Yamato, and yet suddenly he couldn’t tell that he was breaking his girlfriend’s heart? It just struck me as a really poor plot device and while it did lead to a touching reconciliation moment, it just felt kind of cheap.

However, Yamato does help Mei get out of her self-imposed shell and to actually reconnect with others. While his methods at times might be questionable, his overall desire is one of being helpful and supportive and Mei does find herself able to interact more easily with others because of Yamato.

Say I Love You Cast

Yamato also reflects on his actions and kind of learns from them. He really regretted the situation back in middle school and part of that is the reason he wanted to help Mei in the first place. He also learns after the modelling incident and becomes a lot more open with Mei. While that doesn’t solve everything, at least he doesn’t just keep repeating the same behaviour and expecting different results.

Lastly, he is a fantastic big brother. Okay, maybe he’s an overly doting and way too easily manipulated one. Doesn’t matter. Watching Yamato with Nagi is actually kind of adorable.

Yamato and Nagi - Say I Love You

For me Yamato is always going to be one of those characters I am on the fence about, but I’d love to know what you think of him so leave me a comment.

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10 thoughts on “Up Close With Yamato Kurosawa (Say I Love You)

  1. There’s a live action film of this title although it’s been so long since I saw it, I’ve forgotten everything about it, and won’t be able to compare the two. 😀

  2. I think he works well as a nice but not-quite-fully-mature guy. Like most teenagers, he doesn’t need to change his personality drastically, unlike a lot of jerk male romantic leads. However, Yamato hasn’t quite learned to consider things from different angles or point-of-views, and that’s something he has to work on quite a lot over the story.

    1. He does get better as the show goes on and I think that’s why on rewatches he becomes more tolerable because you know his full character journey and can appreciate those small moments of growth he has along the way.

  3. Time to speak my hate about this series (? I actually gave the series a 4/5, somehow. It wasn’t the series that was bad, after all. The animation was good and the premise was good, and Mei was such a wholesome character, tbh, she deserved better. I really liked her interactions with people and especially with her friend (ponytail one). Anyways, on Yamato, I totally agree. When I watched this, I just looked past the shortcomings because I wanted to enjoy it. That’s why I never gave the manga a chance after all. But looking retrospectively, I kinda hate Yamato’s character and how the plot was structured so that half the anime was spent on stupid, and really stupid, misunderstandings. Honestly, there was this one time one guy said Mei was with someone or something like that and instead of ASKING Mei he just literally assumed that and went on to lash out at her? It was awful. Well, it was probably something like that, from what I can remember. On Yamato, he could’ve been a much better character. I guess it’s the usual shojo trope of the boyfriend being possesive to… uncomfortable ends. But he was a really good brother, that I remember, it was pretty cute. I just, I think this show could’ve been better, and Yamato’s character could’ve been handled way better without making him flawless. I guess it was in how the fault was too, in how it was presented, too. And how little agency Mei seemed to have sometimes in the overall plot.

    1. I felt like that the first time I watched it and really didn’t like the anime that much. A friend of mine however loved it and so we ended up watching it together on more than one occasion and I will admit I started to dislike Yamato less (I guess I just accepted he was not a great love interest and went with it). But yeah, compared with some of my favourite male leads in romance (such as Zen from Snow White With The Red Hair), Yamato is definitely not one of my favs.

      1. Surely, I don’t think there’s as great a male character as Zen, he’s the best. And Shirayuki is so great, too. Snow White is best shojo, tbh. I haven’t given the manga a chance because I’ve read it beats around the bushes to much and hints at Obi-Shirayuki-Zen or something like that?

  4. Totally agree with your points. I found the modelling arc especially frustrating, because I just wanted to shake Yamato. The anime definitely hinged a lot on misunderstandings and miscommunication between Mei and Yamato. Overall, I still enjoyed watching it as a whole, even if Yamato’s character was frustrating and sometimes lacking depth.

    1. The series is still definitely worth trying and I really enjoy Mei’s character development. I also think Megumi undergoes an interesting transformation as a character. But yeah, when the male lead doesn’t quite hold up it makes the romance aspect a little less sparkly.

      1. Megumi’s character arc was really good, too. Although I couldn’t help but hate her as first too. But when she cute her hair, it was pretty rad. And I’d totally been on board for a Megumi x her friend ship, that moment where she’s the one that comes to help her and they are in her dark room is really suggestive. If I remember well, though, the anime did make her go try to ‘win Yamato over again’ which was made kind-of as a joke? But it still didn’t sit well to me, it wasn’t a good way to end her character if all her development is thrown overboard, so let’s just ignore that.

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