For You’s birthday i decided to redraw her 2019 birthday card, but also share a bit about why I love her so much!
(this is like really long so fair warning)
For starters, I started mostly loving her with s1 ep 11 (which isn’t surprising, a lot of people did) but moreover for a different reason than the fact that she just got more development.
About two years ago I had a friend pretty similar to Chika (but way worse; Chika >> friend) in which they were pretty outgoing and wanted to help everyone. We’ve been friends for a really long time and were really close, and I had always found myself giving up a lot to make sure they were happy, similarly to how You joined the idol club with Chika not only to do something with her best friend, but also to make her happy. I did a lot for my friend because I loved them a lot and they had helped me so much!
Then Riko came in and I didn’t really mind all that much. They were nice, my friend loved them, and I thought we could get along too. But like You I felt myself missing a little of the chance to hang out with my friend, because we were growing a bit more distant at this point as we met new people. I didn’t hate them or anything, I knew I could get along with them, but like You I just wanted to hang out with that friend like we used to, even if it was for a day. I felt bad about getting jealous and kept most of it to myself, and I almost tried to change myself to be like the people my friend was hanging out with, like You trying to match Riko, just to make Chika happy. Unfortunately when I finally went to that person, it all went downhill, unlike for You and Chika.
However it still made me so much happier seeing that what I was feeling wasn’t inhumane, it didn’t make me the bad person in the situation. It was just me being me and that was okay. I didn’t hate anyone, I just had one wish like You did, and seeing her go through a similar experience made me feel like I wasn’t being a villain; I wasn’t the worst person on the planet for what I had felt during that time. Arguably while jealousy isn’t the most healthy of emotions, it doesn’t make us bad people either, and seeing You struggle and succeed to properly communicate with Chika always made me feel so much happier.
I strive a lot to become a better person every day and as cheesy as it sounds, You is always there to help me. Whenever I need a pick me up and I don’t have anyone to talk to, just reading her stories makes me happier. She’s such a caring and dedicated friend, and I absolutely cannot comprehend why anyone could hate her for just a silly ship.
You, in a sense, saved me. She was one of the only things I trusted during my time of need and god she might just be a 2d drawing but she’s done so much. I don’t know what I would do had she not been a part of Aqours.
She’s let me experience things I suddenly didn’t know I would enjoy until now— I’ve fallen in love with the ocean and sailing has never been cooler. I love pirates and all the like, and god I hope Aqours gets a pirate set with her as the UR. My first ever UR of her was her time travel one and it came home on Christmas, like it was just her Christmas gift to me. She was the first anime merch I had ever gotten; with my mom buying me a jumbo neso of her which I try to take with me everywhere if I can. (The funniest thing is that my mom constantly comments on how similar we look because I have about the same hair and eye color as her plus my hair is also short)
One of my favorite things about her aside from her personality is her simplistic design if I’m being honest. She’s really pretty with her short hair and blue eyes, and even if it might be the same color as Kotori or Kasumi, I think it’s always suited her very well. She has natural colors that fit with the sea; when she’s there, she both blends in and stands out and that’s incredible to me. Every card she has is honestly my favorite. You is gorgeous, no matter what she’s wearing. Even if it’s the stupidest outfit I swear to god... I also wish, wish, WISH she wore her glasses more; I can understand them getting in the way and either way she looks good, but she has them klab!!! Let her wear them!! (The same for Hanayo tbh cmon guys :[ )
I don’t even know what to say about her personality because I love every little bit of it. The fact that she does things without thinking has always been a huge highlight (mostly because I’m partially the same), for not only has she actually genuinely helped with this part of her personality, but she also has several funny moments with it. Her bond stories on LLAS have always been my favorite, and the fact that she just kept spending her money to get a chocolate milk carton only for it to keep falling was the best. I remember yelling “NO HER CHOCCY MILK” to my friends as I read it because I was smiling so much.
I can’t even express how incredible You’s voice is. Shuka has done such an amazing job bringing You to life and I wouldn’t imagine any other seiyuu voicing her. Shuka’s natural voice by itself is incredible, but even just singing with You’s voice and to me what amazing pitches she can reach while still singing strongly (although this is being written by someone who isn’t an expert in singing, so I wouldn’t take my word for it 100%) is just amazing. Whether You sings high pitched or low, it’s still incredible to me and her voice fits so well with the other girls and is so memorable. Plus I mean I’d love to get into why Koi ni naritai and Beginner’s sailing are two of my most favorite songs but I think that it’s obvious why at this point.
The best thing is that Beginner’s Sailing even encompasses You’s personality so well. She has such a strong determination to never give up and the entire song is just about the fact that you might not be good at something at first, but with hard work you’ll get better. You’re a beginner but you’ll be a pro through the work you put in. I’m sure the other solos have lyrics that mean just as much to their characters singing them, but You’s stuck out to me the most. It even more inspires me to just work harder and that it’s okay to make mistakes. The fact that she’s also indirectly teaching you how to be a good mentor as well, by constantly saying she won’t laugh, she won’t judge, she’ll just help you and let you improve yourself along the way together. It’s just an amazing message to me.
You has a lot of incredible skills as well. She’s one of the more fit girls of the group with her weight training and running routines, but also the fact that she swims so much. She swims so well too, qualifying for the national team, but she’d rather be in Aqours with all of her friends. Her cooking skill is also amazing, and it might just be drawn but god I would love to try her cooking some day if Hanamaru can eat several bowls of it without a sweat. The best part is the costumes!! Of course they were designed by klab and all that, but in the anime and game Aqours most of the outfits were designed and made by You and if you think about it, those costumes are really well made. A lot of Aqours costumes are just incredible and it’s why I like so many of their sets, and the fact that in their story it was You who designed and created most of them is just incredible. Imagine being that creative... it’s amazing, it really is.
You is just an amazing character. Her outgoing personality, her charismatic charm, her never failing to make me laugh with her funniest of moments; her dedication to her friends and craft, her determination to never give up... just everything. God I was even so happy when she got the steampunk UR, with steampunk being one of my favorite themes ever and best girl got the best theme.
You Watanabe by far is one of my favorite characters ever. I don’t think anyone can ever replace her, for what she has done for me is too much. I’m so happy that she’s apart of Aqours, I’m so happy she has an amazing person like Shuka voicing her, and I’m so happy to celebrate her birthday today and every year after this one, because she deserves every bit of love she gets.
Happy birthday, You!
Zensoku zenshin, Yousoro!