First Impressions – Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Ms. Cold and studious meets Mr. Wild and childish. Crazy, shoujo shenanigans ensue.

I’m glad that this season has so much shoujo fluff as I’ve been in just the right mood for some lovey dovey right now~ (*≧▽≦) It’s been awhile since I’ve watched my last romance anime so let’s get started!
I must admit that I am a bit jaded by this series because of the horrible translation of the manga by Titania. Their terrible grammar, completely ruined the pacing and my enjoyment of the work itself. Regardless, I found the underlying characters fun, so I thought I’d give this series a try. My impressions couldn’t go anywhere but up.
I actually had no idea this was getting an anime adaption until two months ago, heh. I’m quite excited it happened though because this has turned out to be one of my favorite shoujo mangas after discovering it for a manga recommendation post. Now let’s see just how well Brains Base is handling this adaption.~

Production

Hoshi - Brains Base & Animation: Ah, my all-time animation studio love, Brains Base, is leading the series, which is more than what I could have asked for. They handle manga adaptions quite well as seen through a number of their series and so far I’m loving everything they’re doing with Tonari. Everything has been pretty on point with the manga, though I have some personal problems with the dialogue choosen, which may be just translation errors. As for the animation, it’s clean cut with a lot of bright colors that certainly make the series pop in visual terms. It also gives the show a unique look, befitting the quirky characters and events. Brains Base always has great animation however, so the outstanding quality was not that big of a surprise.

Sushi – Seiyuu Cast: Haruka Tomatsu shows off her unique versatility by voicing Shizuku Mizutani with a deadpan delivery tinged with just the slightest bit of emotion. You wouldn’t be able to tell that she’s the voice behind the caring and compassionate Asuna from Sword Art Online. Her acting here already shows a lot more maturity and growth than her performance in the summer’s smash hit. Her subtle inflections let her characters small betrayals of emotion that much more impactful. Tatsuhisa Suzuki bring his sexy deep voice for the role of Haru Yoshida. His acting isn’t anything spectacular but his ability to drench ever line seductive awkwardness is a special talent… Honestly, I dont know how Shizuku can resist a voice like that. Going forward, there are a few notable seiyuu involved with this project, including Atsushi Abe and Yuuichi Nakamura.

Miyu - Music: The OP is lovely. Q&A Recital by Haruka Tomatsu – the song is upbeat, catchy and most importantly its lyrics are in perfect harmony with the anime’s plot. Let me quote a line:「恋のいろはとかまだ わかってないんだ 何度も繰り返すけど 寸前でまた次回へ, which loosely translates into “I don’t know the ABCs of love yet, but I’ll keep going again and again, jumping from one to the next!” HOW CUTE IS THAT! Plus it exactly expresses the process Shizuku and Haru are going through. I love how the PV is done so colorfully it’s radiating happy vibes, and that’s always a good way to start off an episode. 8) The full version is also out, and I’ve embed it below! The original PV is really a bombardment of happy colors too. The ED, White Wishes by 9nine on the other hand, is adorable and although they didn’t have a PV this week, I felt that the ending scenes really suited the song too :3 All in all, I’m pleasantly surprised by TonaKai’s music, and these two singers were a good listen!

Our main characters

Miyu - Shizuku Mizutani: As long as you’ve read some shoujo manga before, you’ll have read similar female leads – girls who’ve spent their lives dedicated to some hardcore studying (funnily, usually for the motive of a high-paying jobs) and have never known the warmth of love. When I first saw her I immediately thought of Misaki from Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, dead set on getting 1st place and extremely inexperienced in the field of love. But Shizuku is not the female lead that is painfully inadept at expressing herself properly in social situations (actually, that job’s left for Haru), she is one who simply doesn’t see the point in making friends. After all, what could be more important than studying? At this point in time, I’d say that she’s still pretty much a blank canvas, but she’s slowly becoming colorful – dyed, by Haru. She’s starting to realize the fuzzy feelings that friendship (or even LOVE /gasps) can bring and that studying isn’t everything. It’s a pretty predictable start, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how she grows throughout the series! Fortunately, she’s definitely not an irritating female lead to watch, and she’s captured my attention already (what with crying at Haru crying) and I’m sure she has many deredere moments to come!

Hoshi - Haru Yoshida: I think Haru could be an easily misjudged character (or has already been misjudged) as easily as he is misjudged in the actual storyline. Haru, to me, is quite innocent and very much like a child who still doesn’t have a keen understanding of social limits. With his lack of experience with having friends, socializing at school with classmates, and so on, he ends up overreacting to some of the most normal social occurrences, as you see throughout the episode. He acts rashly and even gets violent, but mainly to those he feels are threatening him or innocent people around him. You could even say Haru is somewhat chivalrous as he beats down the bullies who were beating up a kid and tries taking out the guys who ‘kidnapped’ Shizuku. He’s definitely misguided, going with what he has heard from others, but all he needs is guidance and someone to protect him from the problems that will erupt between his transition from a social outcast to a friend accepted by all; the obvious candidate being Shizuku, even if she has her own social problems to deal with. Because of his innocence, I can’t help but feel this motherly kind of love for Haru. He’s such a cutie with a pure heart, which is what attracted me to his character when I first read the manga. I’ll be cheering him on from the sidelines, or rather from the other side of the computer screen, as the series progresses.~

Our main characters as a couple

Sushi - Suddenly Friends: The sudden friendship of the two isn’t that surprising. Both of them are isolated people that are forced to crash into one another. Haru is more receptive to the relationship than Mizuki and pushes the hardest for them to be closer together. Regardless of the stance, human beings are quite receptive to new experiences, especially new social experiences. She can’t help but appreciate his presence. He also has the single quality that makes him a very relatable person to her, the fact he understands loneliness. Whether or not she has been aware of the feeling before, he brings it to her consciousness and acts as a force to subdue that negative emotion, for both their sakes.

Hoshi - A beginning romance: What made me fall in love with this particular shoujo was the fact that the main characters are both, in a way, social outcasts. They aren’t the typical high school students with a normal social life that plague most shoujo stories; hell, neither of them even had friends until they meet each other. I think it’s sweet that these two odd people have found comfort in each other and are beginning to consciously and unconsciously help each other. Though so far there is more of a older sister-protecting-her-younger-brother feeling to these two, the romantic feelings will surely surface as they mature. I suspect that the road to becoming an actual romantic couple will be a long one (as it usually is), but I’m willing to go along for that ride because I think their relationship will bloom beautifully (and hilariously judging from their characters).~

Overall Thoughts

I liked it, that first episode! I suppose you could call me biased since I’ll read/watch any shoujo that you throw at me (although for how long is the question), but I get the FEELS that I’m going to be sticking through with this all the way! The relationship between Haru and Shizuku is just going to get more and more adorable from now onwards and I’m hyped for many DAWWW moments to come hehe. I’m just hoping hoping hoping that a love triangle isn’t introduced as it’s getting old and it’s also really not necessary (imo) in this case. I’d rather them simply focus on the development of these two characters themselves and their blossoming relationship. Also I’m guessing that they’ll make some new friends that will help them along this journey! Both of them are so clueless about certain subjects and it wouldn’t hurt for some advice from normal people with actual friends /coughs, right?

I’m also curious as to their background stories – how did they become what they are today? Is Shizuku’s family in a financial crisis, or did Haru have some traumatic experience when he was young that led him to his… violent tendencies? Anyhow, I would say that this was a rather normal, but cute first episode. Most shoujo anime start this way anyway, and it’s how they develop the characters and story from now onwards that counts! I might just be tempted to spoil myself by reading the manga…

This series could be a lot of fun if the characters are handled properly. The awkward romance and the comedy will only take the series so far. Right now we’ve been introduce to fantastic characters that break the typical mold for an anime couple. I am interested to see where this relationship goes, and if too such socially handicapped people can ever find love with one another. I’m already rooting for them from episode 1 so this is a feat in itself and a testament to the care this characters were created with.

I’m hoping a strong supporting cast is developed around them that is just as charming as them. I am not using the manga as a basis because honestly my impression of it was quite negative. The anime does so many things better in terms of writing (though this just might be the translation) and the pacing. It’s much snappier and keeps me engrossed. I have a good feeling about this show!

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a legit shoujo anime, so it feels good to have finally found one to follow. Overall, I enjoyed the first episode, which drew some laughs from me (even though I was watching it in the middle of my college campus during break). I’m not only curious about how Haru and Shizuku’s relationship will bloom, but also with the new characters who were briefly shown in the beginning of the episode. The snippets shown of them were certainly interesting and I wonder how they come to interact with our two main characters. I also noticed there was a significant focus on the blond hair guy that was part of the group taking money from Haru. Judging from promo photos and the beginning flashback scene, will he become a potential love rival? He seems interesting enough and I loved to see Haru and him face off in some kind of fist brawl, if it were possible~ I’m definitely looking forward to more episodes, as well to blogging Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun this Fall. It’s time to bring some shoujo back~!

Preview: No preview this time around, but I’m assuming we might possibly touch on that sudden kiss. Then again, they could just forget all about it and worry about exams. Until next week then~!!

About

We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

9 Responses to “First Impressions – Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun”

  1. Kyokai says:

    I’m an old Tatsuhisa fan so hearing him in a main role is a delight. What I like about this series is its awkwardness and everything NOT going smoothly. I mean, these two have been antisocial most of their lives and suddenly coming face to face; of course, they would take some time to get used to company. I’ll be following this for sure.

  2. Namika says:

    This looks so nice! Idk if I really want anything shoujo at this point, but still, I’m gonna try this out. Looks like the character development will be the main focus of this show. That’s something I like :3

  3. Highway says:

    I really liked this show, too, and agree / think that Haru’s biggest problem is that he has never really learned how to socialize with people, so he still acts like a kid, with the same large range of emotions that younger kids have. Maybe we’ll get an explanation why he’s like that, maybe we won’t, but I think that’s just how he is. Of course, it could just be more generalized that he’s never really grown up, given his mistaking someone else’s dog for a stray, being completely naive about other friends, etc.

    The characters were all pretty good for me, noone seems to have any debilitating character flaws that will turn me off, but a lot of that depends on how they move through the series.

  4. Joojoobees says:

    I’m really glad we have a shoujo match-up this season. The differences in style between this and Kamisama Hajimemashita are profound, and we still have one show coming.

  5. Amutofan123 says:

    There is so much shoujo this season and it’s beautiful! I love fangirling over fluffy romance and cute guys.

    I was really happy when I heard this was getting an adaptation because I love the manga so much. The first episode certainly didn’t disappoint. Haru’s voice is so much deeper than what I imagined though. Ah, I can’t wait to squeal over romance and friendship and all the other wonderful stuff that is to come! >.<

  6. BlackBriar says:

    I sense incoming femdom (female domination), a lot of it because of the OP. The fact a girl like that is able to tame a guy who’s considered the wild child of the school means she’s a piece of work herself. Mizutani has a kind of dark, obscure aura about her to boot to go with her cold, calculating and anti-social nature.

    Haruka Tomatsu sure knows how to bring out variety in her voice acting whether it’s Mizutani, Sword Art Online’s Asuna, Binbougami’s Ranmaru or Shiki’s Megumi. After comparison, Mizutani would be one side of the coin while Asuna is the other.

    The way the romance here is going to build up, it might be seen as the polar opposite of Nazo no Kanojo X. The formula is reversed in more ways than one.

    Since I haven’t read the manga, I’m gonna go on a guess and say Haru’s the way he is because he’s probably an orphan and didn’t have anyone to give him proper guidance or how to better approach people so that’s why he’d get into fights and hang around the wrong crowd. Especially that part about threatening to rape if what he says isn’t being followed.

  7. akagami says:

    Looking forward to this series, I read a bit of the manga a while back and it’s on my to-watch list. Good clean fun shoujo, nothing wrong with that.

  8. MikADo says:

    soooooooo muchhhhhhh sweeetnesssssss!
    and i like it :) honestly didnt expect to see a great anime like this heheehe another anime added to my list
    i am expecting lots of DAWWWWWWWWW moments :D

  9. skylion says:

    My goodness. I love this show. That face of hers is delicious. There is nothing I would change.

Leave a Reply