Ah, to see a new planet rise out of the darkness like countless others….To watch it die out in a span of 13 weeks….
Tonari no Kaibutsu started out immediately with a confession and ended in one. Is that a good thing? Well, I went back and forth with the series. Much like how Shizuku and Haru go back and forth with their feelings, I had mixed feelings about the series as a whole. While it was certainly entertaining, entertainment value is different from whether or not the series is recieved with praise or disdain.
The last episode didn’t really hit home the feeling too well, at least for me it didn’t. Haru goes off on a wild chase across the neighborhood searching for god knows what. Everyone in the series at least shows up for the finale after seeing Haru’s chicken just walking around. The series ends with the pair of Shizuku and Haru who reveals that he was hunting for was not his chicken, but for fireflies in the dead cold middle of winter.
Alright, quick summary and let’s get the actual review on. The series focuses on the studious Mizutani Shizuku who has focused on studying for her entire life. She doesn’t care for something someone did or something that has happened. She is given a task by a teacher to give some handouts to a student who hasn’t shown up for school. She takes the papers to the student named Yoshida Haru and finds that he’s a complete monster in terms of physical strength, but also a genius in academics. When Shizuku stands up for him against a few of his “friends” Haru develops an infatuation to this girl he just met, and he agrees to return to school because she’s there.
What a crappy summary
- Shizuku: The completely antisocial, academic genius who after having a one sided relationship with Haru, falls in love with him. Ironically, the relationship flips to the other side when Shizuku is the one trying to win over Haru. This happens around 3-4 times around the series. Shizuku started out nicely but just fell into the regular shoujo-style girl fighting over her feelings, although she does it a lot more assertively than others. Other than that, no complaints, she was an entertaining lead. Actually wait, her smiles kind of creeped me out.
- Haru: Haru was funny, but my dislike for delusional/idiotic characters (even when played for the comedy role) didn’t help him out too well. I also don’t like him too much because he went back and forth on the entire relationship. I’ll repeat myself because I don’t have anything else to say on Haru: He WAS funny but he just got old on me
- Natsume: I liked Natsume for a while, but she got the same treatment as Haru from me. She doesn’t seem to make newer friends than the ones she has. She also cries a lot and gets in the way of the best character in the series from getting what he wants. Simply, I liked her for her looks and funny situations but her appeal died out when Oshima got introduced.
- Sasahara/Sasayan: Nothing to say on Sasayan’s case here. He’s the friendly guy who acts like glue to keep the 3 crazies in his group together for social events, although they picked up that skill on their own now.
- Yamaken: Best character in the show, they should rename it Tonari no Blondie-kun. Anyways, Yamaken is the less stronger and academically weaker version of Haru. In exchange however, he has better hair, social skills, and just…shines a bit better. He’s kind of like the straight man of the show like Sasayan only he has emotional attachments to Shizuku and that mixes him in the chaos.
- Oshima: When she first spoke, I paused the video smiled for like 4 seconds, and continued to watch the episode. Oshima is voiced by “you should know who by now” and just skyrocketed up the character ladder. She provides another one-sided love to the already growing love square with the main cast. She kinda gets less screentime because of Natsume’s own one-sided love plans.
- Haru’s Uncle and Yuzan: Both cool guys with little f*cks to give about on the younger kids. Haru’s Uncle who I rarely refer to by name is just living his life with his abnormally powerful nephew while Yuzan had some issues with said nephew/brother. Yuzan is Haru’s cryponite (Shizuku is one to a lesser extent) exemplified when Haru runs at the mere sight/mention of his brother. While he puts on the guise of a happy guy, Yuzan seemed to have rejected Haru a fews years ago which crippled their relationship. The anime hasn’t revealed too much but I might read the manga later on.
I have around 2-3 more series to talk about after this and time for Winter 2013’s series.
Tonari no Kaibutsu started out pretty nicely but as I have said many many times before, it just died out in a wimper. I’ll invoke this once more: Entertainment Value vs. Quality of the series. Entertainment is absolutely there, it’s a funny series with loud and awkward characters that involves love. It’s almost School Rumble style of social retardation Shizuku and Haru both experience; albeit not as hopeless as Tenma and Harima’s but still: They’re pretty bad at this.
Criticizing a love series is kind of…repetitive and tough. There are just so many cliches done…right or wrong I don’t even know. Comedies I can do because this had a bunch of those moments but as a love series, it just goes back and forth like a executive desk-toy only once stopping for one of the seven to eight confessions in the series.
To close it off prematurely to attend to yet another love-comedy series to review, I’ll say it’s a funny series but it didn’t tie up any loose ends in the end. It’s still a love story, but we’ve seen a confession from these two around 5 times. I’m not saying it’s bad here but from how it started out, I expected a bit more than that. Then again, I gave a shot to a shoujo series which I haven’t done.