17 (Chapter 37)
|School||Toumei High School|
|Occupation||2nd year High School Student
3rd year High School Student (Chapter 43)
Yamato Kurosawa (Love Interest/Boyfriend)
|Manga Debut||Chapter 1|
|Anime Debut||Episode 1|
Mei Tachibana (橘 めい Tachibana Mei) is the main character and female protagonist of "Say I love you." and is currently Yamato Kurosawa's girlfriend, as well as his love interest throughout the entirety of the anime and manga series thus far.
Mei is a teenage girl with fair skin, brown hair, and brown eyes. She is quite thin and appears to slump over slightly. She is also considered slightly cute. Mei rarely smiles, but she is frequently seen blushing or smiling when she is around Yamato or her close friends.
At the start of the series, Mei's hair is cut short into a bob with bangs that touch her eyebrows, but as the anime progresses, she allows her hair to grow out to her shoulders. In the manga, she allows her hair to grow even longer.
Like the rest of her classmates, Mei is commonly seen wearing her school uniform. However, when she is outside of school hanging out with her friends, or working at the bakery, she is typically seen wearing casual, comfortable clothing, such as sweatshirts or jeans.
Initially, Mei believed that people are quick to betray each other, and that you're better off not getting close to anyone. She maintained a stoic persona at school and held a reputation as a "gloomy girl," distancing herself from her classmates to avoid getting hurt.
However, as time goes on, Mei's personality began to change. Due to Yamato's friendship and faith in her, she becomes more accepting of the people around her, which helps her to make friends again. She gradually starts to become more social and grows closer to others. Despite these changes in her personality, Mei continues to be just as clumsy, observant, and honest as she was in the beginning of the series.
Mei is shown to get embarrassed easily, but starts to gain confidence thanks to Yamato, despite not having very much to begin with. With her newfound confidence and understanding, Mei starts to help people who are in situations similar to the ones she has experienced, and tries to offer advice every now and then. She has become more comfortable with herself, and willing to express what she has to say.
When Mei was little, she had many friends whom she trusted. However, when the class pet died, these so-called friends readily turned against her. When the teacher came in and asked what happened, they blamed Mei for the pet's death, even though she wasn't the one responsible, and they were the true culprits.
This experience greatly affected Mei's outlook on life. As she learned how easily people can and will betray the ones they call friends, she decided that it was better not to trust anyone at all. This outlook lasted well into her teens, and warped her perception of those around her considerably.
Mei, an extremely quiet girl who never socializes with anyone in her school, keeps up a great wall and is known for separating herself from others. Many of her classmates find her gloomy and unapproachable and, according to Yamato's friend Kenji Nakanishi, her voice has never been heard by anyone.
One day by a flight of stairs, Nakanishi knocks Mei to the floor by accident, and the force of the impact causes her hands to bleed slightly. (In the manga, he purposefully shoves her in the hallway in an attempt to make Yamato laugh.) Despite this provocation, Mei maintains her stoic front ― she stands up, silently brushes herself off, and continues walking. Mere moments later, Nakanishi notes how long Mei's skirt is compared to the other girls'. He decides to pull it up from behind as she walks, as he had been attempting to do before with his other female classmates, in a further attempt to entertain Yamato.
When Yamato tries to stop his friend, Mei whirls around and, in her annoyance, mistakenly delivers a roundhouse kick to Yamato that is forceful enough to send him falling backward. She then calls him a creep for everyone to hear, and orders him to stay away from her and leave her alone. The girls witnessing the scene yell back at her and demand that she apologize to Yamato, since Nakanishi was the one who pulled up her skirt and not him. However, as the irritated Mei is leaving, clearly not intending to deliver any kind of apology, Yamato himself simply laughs and remarks that Mei is interesting.
That same day, when Mei goes to put her shoes on after school, she finds some vulgar notes insulting her, once again demanding that she apologize to Yamato; meanwhile, several thumbtacks fall from within her locker. When Mei turns around, she sees Yamato already waiting on her with a now-darkened bruise on the palm of his hand where she kicked him. He asks her if she is okay, much to her surprise. She hastily apologizes to him for the kick and gives him several band-aids for his wound, instructing him to tell her if he needs more.
Yamato tells Mei that he finds her interesting. He says that he wants to get to know her better, and asks her for her phone number. She refuses to give it to him, a slight blush gracing her face shortly after. Despite Mei's reaction, Yamato writes his number down on a piece of paper and gives it to her, letting her know that she can contact him any time. Mei asks herself what she should do with his number, but ultimately, she decides not to do anything.
A few days pass and Mei doesn't call or text Yamato, which only serves to make her popular classmate increasingly curious and forward. He finds her at school and asks her why she hasn't contacted him yet, only to be given excuses in return. Mei says that she hates phones, and she also says that she doesn't need friends to talk to or to be in her life. She then shows him her phone's contact list, which consists only of the numbers of her home phone and her work place ― a grand total of two contacts.
When Mei finishes her part-time job at the Bakery Farm, she realizes that she is being stalked by one of the bakery's regular customers. Her walking pace quickens, trying to avoid a dangerous and troublesome situation. Despite her efforts, she is unable to shake the man off, and ends up using a nearby drugstore as temporary refuge. Pulling out her cell phone, Mei desperately calls home a few times, though much to her dismay, nobody answers. This sends Mei into a panic. She awaits the stalker's departure into the night but to no avail; he has no intentions of leaving. Now at a dead end, Mei knows she has no other option at this point but to call on Mr. Popular.
She dials up the number Yamato provided her on the torn piece of paper, and fearfully informs him of her situation and where she currently is. He rushes to Mei, cancelling his karaoke date with his circle of friends. Once he arrives, he swiftly and gallantly solves Mei's problem by playing the part of the perfect boyfriend, sweeping a skeptical Mei off of her feet and kissing her as if they were experienced lovers. This causes the stalker to become a mixture of both shocked and jealous, and is fortunately enough to make him go away. Mei shrieks, as it was her first kiss, but Yamato just laughs, expressing his joy that she finally called him.
After letting the whole ordeal sink in, Mei accepts the kiss as one that helped her, even if she doesn't wish to admit it.
At school, Yamato and his friends, including Asami Oikawa, approach Mei and ask her to join them for a karaoke night, to which she agrees. Some of Yamato's friends, including Aiko Mutō, are shocked to hear that Mei is now speaking quite a bit more than she usually does. Asami asks Mei if she is falling in love with Yamato or sleeping with him, both allegations which Mei strongly denies. Mei says that she only kissed Yamato once, and it was in order to get rid of a stalker. Asami merely laughs and claims she has only kissed him once, too. She then says that he has kissed every girl in school except for Miki Arai, who is Yamato's first crush. Mei appears to be taken aback by this and begins to wonder if Yamato still has feelings for Miki. Soon after finding out about her, Mei sights Arai at school and is automatically transfixed by her cuteness. At the same time, Mei starts to persuade herself that she didn't enjoy Yamato's forceful kiss, dismissing it as rude.
Later, Yamato calls Mei and asks her to hang out. She refuses. She asks him if Arai will be joining them tomorrow, and he answers yes without hesitation, oblivious as to how discouraged the news makes Mei feel. She then presses Yamato further, asking of Arai being his first crush. Again, Yamato confirms her inquiry, but grows suspicious, and wants to know Mei's reason for the sudden personal interrogation. She goes on to explain that she heard about the rumor concerning the absence of Yamato's lips on Miki Arai's, and Yamato responds by telling her to think what she wants to think, claiming he only kisses a girl when he gets the desire to do so.
To satisfy her ever-growing curiosity, Mei decides to follow Yamato when he goes to the karaoke place. She attempts to disguise herself using a simple woolen beanie and a pair of reading glasses. During the "mission," Yamato is asked to meet Miki in the bathroom, which he refuses by leaving the karaoke place. Upon leaving, he encounters a spying Mei and asks her why she was there. She provides Yamato with an almost bashful response, saying that she thought he would end up coming out with Arai in tow. Yamato playfully asks her what would happen if he did. He also prods her about her questioning about Arai over the phone, which catches her off-guard and on the verge of making a fateful escape.
Just as Mei is about to run, Yamato's lips come crashing against her own again, setting her even more on-edge. Breaking away from his sudden suggestive gesture, Mei asks him why he kissed her again without her permission. Yamato simply shrugs it off and replies that he did it only because he wanted to.
Mei, eyes blurry with newly formed tears, tells the audacious boy in front of her that it hurts to be kissed when there aren't any real feelings behind it. Yamato appears shocked, but nevertheless kisses her again. He claims this kiss to be a sign of hello. The boy plants yet another kiss on Mei's lips, and says this kiss is for a person he thinks is cute. Instead of ending it there, Yamato kisses her yet again, and says it is a kiss dedicated to a person that he wants to know better. He kisses her once more, saying it is a kiss for the person that he has feelings for. With a certain passion in his eyes, he pulls away and asks Mei if she can sense the differences between those kisses, and asks her if she has feelings for him.
Mei, wide-eyed and flush-faced, tells him that whenever she thinks about him, her heart aches, to which Yamato responds that those feelings are, in fact, love. Finally, he kisses her for real, and Mei says in her thoughts that the kiss had a taste ― the taste of fried chicken.
At the very beginning, Mei didn't want anything at all to do with him. Even so, Yamato was the first person Mei learned to trust. Yamato gave Mei his number of his own accord, and insisted that she call him some time. Despite vowing that she would never call him, Mei ended up calling Yamato out of desperation when she was being stalked by a man one night after work. Solving the problem calmly, Yamato ended up being Mei's first kiss. He became Mei's first friend and, eventually, her boyfriend. Throughout both the anime and manga, Yamato and Mei continuously grow as individuals and as a couple. Yamato also introduced Mei to most of her current friends.
As of Chapter 39, the two are in a sexual relationship.
Mei and Kai first met at the bakery where Mei works. Mei later found out that Kai was Yamato's childhood friend, and that he was bullied in the past. As the two become friends and start to grow closer, Kai comes to the firm belief that he has more in common with Mei than Yamato does due to their similar histories, thus believing that he is able to understand her better. Although he eventually accepts her relationship with Yamato, Kai is still in love with Mei and is determined never to abandon her, even if he knows that she doesn't feel the same way.
Asami is Mei's first female friend, and the first female she learns to trust. Mei even went as far as to defend Asami from two girls who were verbally bullying her. Asami is also one of the few people Mei opens up to. When Megumi Kitagawa succeeds in her efforts to distance Asami away from Mei, Mei feels devastated. They are currently very close friends, so much so that they adorn their cell phones with matching accessories.
At first, Aiko felt Mei didn't deserve to be with Yamato, since she didn't work hard enough to get him. However, after she heard Mei talk about her own feelings for Yamato, Aiko accepted Mei and became her friend. Aiko always sees through Mei and can tell when she is hiding something. As soon as Aiko notices Megumi's plan to isolate Mei from her friends, she cuts Megumi off. Aiko remains close friends with Mei, and supports her in her relationship with Yamato.
Right off the bat, Megumi considers Mei her enemy and love rival, believing herself to be deserving of Yamato's affections due to her looks and persona rather than Mei. At first, Mei was fooled by Megumi's bubbly "good girl" act, but she later found out about her true character: cruel, manipulative, and superficial. As the story progresses, Megumi's feelings toward Yamato drive her to try and drive Mei and Yamato apart, using whatever means necessary. When Megumi's true personality is exposed, she and Mei appear to have a strained relationship, but she seems to have grown as a person and given up on trying to steal Yamato's attention from Mei for the time being.
Nagi is Yamato's younger sister. Nagi wasn't fond of Mei when the two first met, believing Mei to be just another girl who would "steal her brother away." However, when Mei told Nagi of her struggles with trusting and befriending others, she started to see Mei for who she really was, and understand how similar she and Mei actually were. Mei helped Nagi overcome her insecurities and encouraged her to try to trust people once again, motivating Nagi to try hard and return to school.
Mei and Ren first met when Ren left his little sister outside of a library, and Mei helped her find him. As thanks, Ren gives Mei some free passes to the gym where he works and gives her some diet advice, which Mei gladly takes.
When the Aoi twins begin attending Mei's school, Mei soon deduces that the quiet, standoffish male twin, Ren, might be just like she was in the past. She makes various efforts to talk to him and help him to open up, many of which he brushes off or responds stiffly to. In spite of his cold attitude and tendency to ignore people for video games, he seems to care about others to a certain degree, as seen when he aids Mei in getting a day-long pre-school teaching job in order to see if the position is right for her.
- Mei is surprisingly talented at bowling. In the manga, Mei is talented at most things (e.g. at the festival, she caught many goldfish).
- Mei finds herself in a state of trauma when cooking, due to her first cookies having broken her father's teeth.
- When angry or nervous, she tends to eat a lot.
- Mei adores cats, and owns a large white one named Marshmallow.
- Mei's name can mean "sprout, garment," "sprout, reliant," or "bright, reliant," all meanings which seem to fit her unique and odd, yet beautiful personality.
- "I do not want to worry about unnecessary things since I'll just be betrayed again. But that's just my opinion."
- "It's like a doll house.You hang out together and pretend to be good friends, but when it doesn't suit them, they just abandon you."
- "When you trust someone and get to know them, you eventually learn about their wounds, too."
- "Someday, maybe you'll find someone like you to share your pain with. I can't tell you when that will happen... but the important thing is not to reject them."
- "Kurosawa, when I think about you, my heart just keeps on pounding."
- "We all have scars from loving someone too much."