Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is one of the shows I'm hoping to cover episodically this season, as this show is in my top three for list of shows to watch this season. I'm big on romance comedies, so this is a show I simply cannot miss out on. I've never had the chance to read the manga, however I have browsed through all the positive reviews on the manga. With that being said, I began watching this show with somewhat high expectations, and I'm glad to say that my expectations have been fully met after watching this first episode.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun focuses on the life of Mizutani Shizuku, a first-year in senior high who would be labelled as a nerd or a study-freak in today's modern society. Requested by her teacher to bring handouts to Yoshida Haru, a boy who was suspended after beating up a couple upperclassmen on the first day of school., Shizuku's quiet and studious demeanor was about to get a complete makeover. In a rather amusing turn of events, Haru now considers Shizuku a friend, and Shizuku discovers that Haru is actually a very nice, gentle guy. This in itself is a perfect integration of a frequently featured theme in shows like these, the overused and cliché "don't just a book by its cover" theme, with some added pizzazz and amusement.
The show starts off brilliantly, giving us a brief one-second glimpse at each of the characters which will play a significant role, then moves on right after onto the main development of the episode. I can't help but to comment on the pleasantly colourful art style. It's detailed when it needs to be, yet refreshingly simple when detail is not needed. This variation really helps highlight certain situations, changing up the mood in relation to the situation. Speaking of the mood of the show, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun really captures that effective blend of light-hearted romance and genuine comedy into one neat package that just simply works. With that in mind, the directing really delivers the story the characters want to tell and goes directly to the point, fast and fluidly, perhaps even a little too quickly for some. Nevertheless, the two protagonists are very likable at this point. With their very unique, individualistic personalities, I'd be hard-pressed to find two individuals who are at farther ends of the spectrum than they are.
It would be appropriate to use the phrase "opposites attract" when describing these two, and calling them different would be a huge understatement. Each character exhibits their own set of flaws, quirks and things that can either make someone love or hate them. Their love hate relationship has already developed a solid footing in which further development of their relationship will prove to be quite amusing to watch. Their already growing relationship is quite engaging to watch, which can be attributed to their believably excellent chemistry. Tomatsu Haruka and Suzuki Tatsuhisa also do a great job at voicing Shizuku and Haru, respectively, so that definitely also contributes in bringing the characters to life.
As far as shoujo romance plots go, there's nothing really groundbreaking or innovative about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. All the typical aspects one would expect in a shoujo romance plot is mostly, if not all present. Shizuku and Haru have a fated meeting, the two part, Haru threatens to rape Shizuku and punch her in the face if she didn't go with him (alright, that part is not exactly typical), and the devilishly violent delinquent suddenly becomes the witty, soft-spoken and lovable character which we know as Haru.
All in all, this is a terrific start for what I hope to be an equally terrific show. The pacing of the first episode was by all means confidence inspiring, moving forward with a sense of effortlessness. Just right the right amount of necessary information was provided to us, not too quickly, yet not too slowly. Not once was the humour over-the-top slapstick-esque, only refreshingly quick-paced, enough to deliver a genuine laugh nine times out of ten. I'm definitely looking forward to see which direction the show moves from this point on, but just to put it out there, I'm totally rooting for Shizuku x Haru.
Possibility of watching - 5/5
Possibility of blogging - 4.5/5
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