Bridging the Gap Moé and Authenticity – Kurumi ♥

kurumizawa ume kimi ni todoke nikerabi

This is yet another post on my biggest anime crush last season (and in a long while)—Kurimizawa Ume.

In the romantic drama anime, Kimi ni Todoke, Kurumi and the heroine Sawako vie for Kazehaya’s heart. While Sawako is an absolutely lovable, kind-hearted, innocent girl, Kurumi is…

Well, a quick screenshot storyboard should shed some light on Kurumi’s personality.

Kimi ni Todoke Kurumizawa Ume

This is the first time we meet Kurumi, looking so nonchalant and classy, sporting that gorgeous wavy hair.

Kimi ni Todoke Kurumi Sawako friends yuri goggles

She soon befriends Sawako with the warmest smile in perhaps one of the cutest moments of the season.

Kurumi KimiTodo evil

We later realize, however, that her kind demeanor belies a darker side—she is the one who has spread all those nasty, nasty rumors about Sawako and her friends. She also pulls several other very underhanded tricks to drive severe misunderstanding between Kazehaya and Sawako.

Kimi ni Todoke Kurumi lonely

Yet, all this “mean girls” business stems from a vulnerable place. A glimpse into Kurumi’s bitter past reveals that she is just a lonely girl in love. (It must be quite hard to make true friends for someone so beautiful and so perfect.)

Kurumi tongue

Even after her schemes have been thwarted, Kurumi  still retains her cleverness with that lovely touch of dishonesty.

Kurumi chokes Sawako

Her rivaling relationship with Sawako has changed into a sort of rough kindness.

Kurumi slap!

In place of her gentle, albeit dishonest smile, she exhibits much more clearly her charisma and harshness. (I so want to be slapped by her!)

Kimi ni Todoke Kurumi fake cry

And that is Kurumi with her complexities under that sweet manipulative facade.

kurumizawa ume kimi ni todoke horamame

These different layers of Kurumi represent a form of gap moé. Gap moé is an attractive quality based on an inconsistency between two characteristics of a person. For example, an exceptionally sophisticated loli, a meganekko who wears contacts one day, or a tough girl who feels embarrassed about her cutesy fascinations. Like most other moé types—tsundere, yandere, loli—gap moé in anime is often reduced to mere gimmicks forced upon characters. Indeed, many prominent examples of moé characters simply take the different archetypes and superimpose them to create a semblance of depth. It is rare to find character who authentically exhibits these moé forms without resorting to common signals—such as the classic tsundere lines, “I-it’s not like I like you or anything,” or in the case of gap moé, a strong level 5 esper’s frog print panties.

Kimi Toke Kurumi flowers

Rare, but not non-existent. Indeed, Kurumi is a lovely example of gap moé. There is a seeming contradiction between her gentle, smiling exterior and her deceitful personality, between her manipulations and her vulnerability, and again between that soft side and the tough, but warm girl we see at the end of the series. If the biggest draw of gap moé lies in discovering these layered inconsistencies, and continually being excited by fresh impressions, then Kurumi is the epitome of that.

Kurumi glasses

More importantly, the gap moé is incidental. It does not feel contrived, nor is it a mere quality written into her character to increase her moé values. Instead, it is a natural consequence as the story develops and reveals to us her depths.

It makes my little crush really quite lovely.


  1. This post was a forgotten, half-written entry rescued from the depth of drafts to fill in for this week, and thus the untimeliness.
  2. I am continually fascinated by those waves and that blossoming ball of hair. Kurumi’s large fluffy hair is just so pretty.
  3. I feel like I have been writing a post too many about Kurumi, especially since not everyone has watched or will watch Kimi ni Todoke. I promise I will stop talking about her… at least for a while.
  4. Instead, a budding new crush. Not exactly sure why, but it probably has lot to do with her cheerfulness and more importantly, those adorable gorgeous curls and her fashion sense. (I guess that makes me kind of shallow…)
    Hanairo Yuina suspenders
    I wish I could rock an outfit like that so easily. A fashion post may be coming, but I have to first get back to watching Hanasaku Iroha and anime.
Sorry for the delayed post. I took a minor break (being the moody drama kid I am). Updates will be more regular from now on, at least until my next emo phase.
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46 Responses to Bridging the Gap Moé and Authenticity – Kurumi ♥

  1. Pingback: Kimi ni Todoke Season One and Two Review – Confessions of a Shoujo-holic | Listless Ink

  2. Ashlotte says:

    Haha don’t worry Kurumi is awesome so you can talk about her all you want. :p

    It is funny that like Kurumi you had to pick one the character with the least amount of screen time in Iroha. It is a shame that the ED was so deceitful in making it look like she was going to show up just as much as the other three girls when that’s been pretty far from the truth thus far. >_<

    • Yi says:

      I know right? Such misleading OP and EDs. I really expected her to be one of the core cast.
      Of all the character designs, I like Yuina’s the best. Her personality is also something I find very charming as well. I like really really sweet girls. It’s too unfortunate that Hanasaku Iroha doesn’t quite show her that much, but hopefully, she’ll get her share later.

  3. 2DT says:

    Curly hair is so admired by those who don’t have it, and so hated by those who do. 😉

    For an example of gap moe that falls utterly flat: Christina the genius of Steins;Gate secretly being an internet troll. It’s not charming at all!

  4. Cyurio says:

    Seeing that first screenshot suddenly made me want to watch the second season. Haha, maybe when I have more time. Kurumi is my next favorite character after Sawako, though I never really thought about their characters too deeply before. Nice post, Yi. XD

    Also, Yuina is awesome! She deserves more screen time!

    • Yi says:

      You haven’t seen second season? I highly recommend it. It packs even more kyaah~ than the first. Sawako shines especially brilliantly. By the way, it just occurred to me that Kazehaya probably saw a lot of gap moè in Sawako between the drop-dead gorgeous beauty and the creepy “Sadako.”

  5. Knee House says:

    Gap moe . . . I hadn’t yet realized this was the name for the phenomenon. Another day, another moment of anime education. . . . I assume another quality example, in a similar vein, would be Ami Kawashima of Toradora?

    A nice character study of a well-written character, Yi!

    P.S. 12 episodes into Hanasaku Iroha and Yuina still has far too little screen time. . . .

    • Yi says:

      I only recently learned of the term too. The concept is nothing new though, and quite prevalent in anime (as well as other media), just like other moè types are. Of course, some are more “packaged” and blatantly thrown at us than others.

      I haven’t seen Toradora. (I really don’t watch enough anime.) But a quick research into her and I would say she is. Kirino from OreImo also fits as well, and a rather successful one I’d say.

      Yuina… Sigh. I need to stop falling for these minor characters based on their looks and smiles.

  6. Nopy says:

    More authentic characters are definitly more likeable than the unrealistic tsunderes that are slapped together inmany anime. I find the ones that resemble people I know in real life tend to make a lasting impression.

    I like Yuina too, it’s a combination of her fake accent, sense of style, and laid-back personality.

    • Yi says:

      As big of a fan of tsundere as I am, I could really do without another girl like Shana or the predictable “bakabaka!” I’d much rather watch characters who, while still fitting the archetypes, can actually really be someone you meet in real life.

      “I like Yuina too, it’s a combination of her fake accent, sense of style, and laid-back personality.”
      Yay! Another Yuina fan. ^ ^

  7. Tsuki says:

    “Gap moe” does seem to apply to a lot of anime characters that have much more realistic perspectives that have more complexity and depth to them. Someone mentioned it earlier in a comment, but Kawashima Ami seems to be one that fits the idea very well. I can’t really think of any others off the top of my head, but most of the gap moe characters seem to be side characters.

    I guess gap moe doesn’t quite fit in with the idealized nature of anime, where things are usually simplified and made easier to understand (thus the side character roles). More complex characters seem to be in the observation role in a large range of anime I’ve seen, though of course it’s not always the case.

    Yuina probabably doesn’t fit in with the “gap moe” idea though lol.

    • Yi says:

      The concept of gap moè is a little more complex than an archetype like “loli” or “oujo-sama,” but I don’t think it’s more realistic than tsundere if tsundere is done right. The problem with most tsundere characters in anime is that they have often been reduced so much to common tropes and blatant signals that they don’t feel realistic at all. But a character like Carrie from Sex and the City is most definitely a tsundere, and a personality I could see existing in real life.

      Anyway, back to gap moè, here are some examples of main characters with that trait: Victorique from Gosick, Mina Tepes from Vampire Bund, and Squid Girl. All are loli characters with occasional bouts of wisdom, knowledge, and maturity. I think squid girl heavily rides on that gap. Kirino also fits (gap between her hobbies and her successes) and Misaka from Railgun to a degree with her fascination with cute things. Among all those, however, only Kirino is someone I think feels a little more realistic than the others. (There are probably quite a few people who’d disagree with me on her, but yea…)

      “I guess gap moe doesn’t quite fit in with the idealized nature of anime, where things are usually simplified and made easier to understand (thus the side character roles). “
      I think that’s true to an extent. Most main characters from anime that target moè fans often feel quite simplified. They have very blatant signals, such that fans can easily say, I like her because she’s a so-and-so archetype. They’re sloppily-written. 😦 But luckily, there are also a decent number of complex characters around for us to discover.

      p.s. I just wanted to include Yuina because I like her. But yes, she hasn’t shown any gap moè just yet. Or much of anything except cute curly hair and a fun personality.

  8. feal87 says:

    Gap Moè may work depending on the situation, this one is an example of gap moè that works.
    Unfortunately we had many bad examples in the past as well…:P

    • Yi says:

      That probably holds true for most character archetypes. It makes the discovery of someone to fit a certain character type when it’s not all that obvious to be all the more rewarding, I think.

  9. Anya says:

    I like Kurumi, and it started because of her hair too ^^”

    I didn’t know there was a term like gap moe, I usually refer to it as personality contradictions. Well, I’m FULL of gap moe. Minus the moe part.

    • Yi says:

      Her luscious hair. (I must sound so shallow, being so obsessed with her looks, but that hair~)

      Anyway, I wasn’t familiar with gap moè before either, but now I see it everywhere! And you are totally gap moè. ^ ^

  10. Ryan says:

    The vulnerability, and maybe her romantic insecurity, is something that drove a stake through my heart. Sure she can be terrible, but I never felt that she wanted to be; it’s her frustration, her youth, and deep down there’s a sense of warmth, that she wants to be kind and loved… yet so afraid her chances are fleeting. And they almost did.

    I get that feeling. Her appeal is almost the moe of a puffy-cheek tsundere love pout, though more elegant with a natural texture. Merely phrasing. Disliked by many, held in disdain, but somewhere there’s a yearn for understanding, to be seen. That’s likely why I care about this character, because I hope to understand.

    Love to see Kurumi posts Yi. ^ ^

    • Yi says:

      Yea, the scared, lonely Kurumi–understandably distrusting of the other girls, but is, in fact, super kindhearted–who is so afraid to act on that warmth is adorable. I just want to give her a huge hug.

      “I get that feeling. Her appeal is almost the moe of a puffy-cheek tsundere love pout, though more elegant with a natural texture. Merely phrasing. Disliked by many, held in disdain, but somewhere there’s a yearn for understanding, to be seen. That’s likely why I care about this character, because I hope to understand.”

      So poetically spoken~ I love it!

  11. Gap moe, eh? I’m learning a new term everyday (just how many kinds of moe have there been?), ahaha. Although I have yet to even watch the first season of Kimi ni Todoke (but I read the manga!), I find Kurumi so charming and mischievous.

    • Yi says:

      Interesting how there is almost a term for everything huh? I only found out about gap moè fairly recently.

      Anyway, love Kurumi (obviously). I thought Aya Hirano’s performance of her is perfect. She’s a very talented seiyuu, and I thought her role as Kurumi really makes Kimi ni Todoke so colorful.

  12. Fabienne says:

    Moe gap is an interesting term, I haven’t payed attention to that so far, thx for the info.

    hehe as you eventually remember I don’t like Kurumi, but I could imagine that I liked her a bit more, If she would have been less mean to the worldly innocent Sawako ;D.
    The episode of the second season where she ruined Sawako’s Valentines day felt like Kurumi had taken away the blindman’s stick of a blind person, that was cruel,

    • Yi says:

      I think you’re definitely not alone in your dislike. I know quite a few who were fairly vocal about their negative impressions of Kurumi. To each her own I suppose. ^ ^

      “The episode of the second season where she ruined Sawako’s Valentines day felt like Kurumi had taken away the blindman’s stick of a blind person, that was cruel,”
      True. But I forgive for being so cute right afterwards. I love it when she sticks out her tongue. ^ ^

      p.s. Ryan A. above has a very poetically written comment that I think sums up Kurumi’s lovely traits really well.

  13. Hmm…moe gap is definitely new for me.

    Great post, and Kurumi definitely was one of the characters that was sort of on the edge for me. I didn’t know if I should be liking her or not.

  14. Blacksun88 says:

    not to mention her seiyuu Aya Hirano is almost in the same position as her

    • Yi says:

      Loll, true I suppose. I’ve always really liked Aya Hirano a lot despite all the drama/ hate she gets from a large number of anime fans. I think she’s really really talented, and as a seiyuu, that’s the most relevant thing. Her performance as Kurumi and as Haruhi in Disappearance are both impeccable.

  15. Overlord-G says:

    I so do enjoy reading about people praising heels. I would go and preach about how heels are usually better characters than faces but that would be unfair since faces can be cool as well. I still haven’t picked this show up but I swear, Yi-san, that it’s on my schedule. It would be shameful of me to pass this one up.

    Kudos to giving a shout out for Yuina. She hasn’t done much so far but DARN IT when she’s on screen, people…pay…attention to what she has to say or do.

    • Yi says:

      Heels and faces. ^ ^

      Don’t worry about picking up this show. It’s a very shoujo-ish series, and to be honest, I’m not sure if this will be something you enjoy. The pace is excruciatingly slow, and there isn’t that much on screen action at all. So if that’s not your thing, then I could see this series being quite a bore.

      Also, Yuina does totally steal the spotlight whenever she’s on!

  16. abscissa says:

    This is the first time I heard about gap moé, kind of sound like Dissociative identity disorder (DID). Anyway, I just recently finished the first season but there’s not that much Kurumi face time. I find her not that mean though, I even find her sensitive which is really a lovely characteristic.

    • Yi says:

      Oh no, I don’t think gap moé is anything close to dissociative identity disorder. It’s usually not referring to different identities. Rather, characteristics of one single person that you’d find surprising for that person. Something as simple as a person who usually wears glasses, but one day decided to switch to contact. That’s a gap. Or something who on the outside appears kind, but actually harbors malicious thoughts. That’s another gap. Dissociative identity disorder would be more like two (or more) completely different persons, and thus any difference in two exhibited characteristics from two different identities would not quite have the same effect, since they’re isn’t a “gap” in one person. (I’m not sure if I quite explained it clearly…)

      “I find her not that mean though, I even find her sensitive which is really a lovely characteristic.”

      Me too. And that’s the gap moé I was talking about. It’s her actions (spreading mean rumors) versus her kindness deep down inside.

  17. ahelo says:

    I like your passion for Kurumi even if I myself despise her.

  18. Krated-R says:

    Excelente pagina

  19. Ryo_kun says:

    Like everyone else, Gap moe is a new term for me ^ ^. And I love Kurumi-chan too. I notice you never stop mentioning how much you love her fluffy and voluminous hair. Haha. No worries, nothing wrong with expressing what you like.

    • Yi says:

      I’m so shallow when it comes to hair. Large fluffy hair is something I am so fond of, and may be the real reason I love Kurumi so much. Loll.

  20. hoshiko says:

    It’s the first time I heard of gap moe, and I’m glad you chose Kurumi as the perfect example to illustrate the term. It allows me to understand the term better since I’ve been watching her all these while! I always thought Kurumi as very real and unique among the characters I’ve seen so far (Does that mean I don’t watch a whole lot of anime? Hmm….). She’s mean, but then again kind. She doesn’t hide from others who she is and very true to her feelings. I like her. She’s not a bad girl! I’ll slap whoever that says that! Haha.

    Too bad I don’t see a whole lot of her in the latest few chapters of Kimi ni Todoke. T.T

    • Yi says:

      I thought Kurumi is both a very real, yet unique character in anime. (I probably don’t watch too many anime either…) Agreed that she’s definitely not a bad girl; her actions may be malicious at times, but they really stem from a vulnerable, and warm place. I love her!

      Anyway, it’s really unfortunate the loveliest characters (for me) tend to not get as much screen time.

  21. Pingback: The Dolls of Kimi ni Todoke | Listless Ink

  22. Pingback: Evolution of a Mean Girl – aloe, dream

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