Kimi ni Todoke starts out with Sawako Kuronuma's school life. She is always alone; her school mates fear her and believe that she can curse others with her eyes. These rumors usually arise due to Sawako's "scary" appearance. She is called "Sadako" because she looks like the character with the respective name from the Japanese horror movie, The Ring. However, Sawako has no such powers and is actually a typical and gentle teenage girl. She highly respects fellow classmate, Shota Kazehaya. Shota is a very cheerful, sociable, and popular guy. Sawako first met him at the beginning of her high school years when he asked her directions to get to the school with a "brilliant smile." Since then, Sawako has always wanted to be more like Shota.
Shota Kazehaya has also been noticing Sawako. When the two sit next to each other, Shota starts talking to Sawako and encourages her try her best to open up to people. With Shota's constant support and Sawako's own bravery and effort, she starts to make new friends. She has always had an awkward smile, but learns to smile from her heart. In addition, Sawako learns how to stand up for her friends and herself against rumors. Always feared by others, Sawako earns their respect when people realize how good she is at teaching others and soon, fellow classmates come to her study sessions for extra help.
In addition, Sawako and Shota very slowly start to realize that their mutual respect and friendship may be a little stronger than they thought!