Fun fact: Both series are serialized in the same magazine! Or is that just old news to some people?
|Hello everyone! Continuing on with these 12 Days of Anime posts, I’ve decided to pick a guilty pleasure of mine: shoujo. Fall season brought out some big shoujo anime, but since I’ve only been able to watch Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Sukitte Ii na yo, I decided I’ll only be writing about these two (Sorry, Kamisama Hajimemashite!).|
I think many of us can agree that a majority of the series placed in the shoujo genre have the same basic storyline, and that it’s all in the way they are executed that makes a manga, and its anime adaption, a memorable and enjoyable read/show. Both Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Sukitte Ii na yo have managed to stand out with their own distinct characteristics, which may not contain original ideas, but are refreshing to see being put on center stage.
Social outcasts literally took the lead as the socially inept Shizuku and Mei became the cold female leads to their respective shoujos. Tonari takes on more of the social outcasts with its main cast ranging from delinquents, like Yamaken and his goons, to socially awkward students trying their best to make friends, like Oshima. It felt good to see the social outcasts being put on center stage, dealing not only with romantic problems (which mostly seemed to be put on the backburner anyway), but with their social problems as well. It was also nice to see them band together (reluctantly for some) and grow together, finding the help they needed in their new friendships. The same goes for Mei of Sukitte, who’s been bullied for so long and has closed herself from others, until her relationship with Yamato begins to help her open up to others again and make new friends.
Another refreshing aspect I liked, specifically for Sukitte, is that the series focuses more on the progression of the main relationship and how they handle all the trials that come along. From jealous girls trying to get Mei away from Yamato by throwing insults and being ridiculously persistent, to unfortunate misunderstandings, to Mei’s inability to express her feelings to Yamato, to the internal problems that stem from their pasts, and more, these problems make for some entertaining episodes with the high school drama that goes down. Though personally it made me feel iffy to see their relationship formed so quickly, I’ve grown to, well, get over it and enjoy the two together. Meanwhile, Tonari goes for the more traditional route by focusing on the formation of the relationship in an almost painfully slow manner as Shizuku and Haru are constantly at odds on a lot of aspects of their potential relationship. I say ‘almost’ because I actually enjoy the time taken to develop their relationship. There’s so much to Shizuku and Haru, who are almost completely different from each other, that it’s interesting to see them attempt to come together romantically. Plus, the comedy that comes from these two makes it even more worthwhile to put up with.
All in all, I enjoy both series, but as you can tell, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun has become my absolute favorite. I like the easy going, bright feel of the show and the variety of characters that create such fun, chaotic moments. Overall Tonari is just this great mix of comedy and romance, though sometimes I feel it doesn’t focus on the romance as much as it should. The romantic parts are usually saved for the end of the episode, with only a few snippets in the middle of a couple-focused episode. While Sukitte gives a significant weekly dose of romance (and drama it seems) to keep me satisfied, I still can’t get into the show as much as do with Tonari. It’s mostly due to the fact I feel a personal connection with Tonari’s characters, but it’s also because I’m not that comfortable with the mature drama in Sukitte. Personally, I favor more innocent stories and the sex that happens in Sukitte (ironically?) turns me off. Not to mention Yamato’s lines are so cheesy sometimes that I can’t take it…
Anyway, that’s all from me! I apologize in advanced for any missed details, and if you feel I left out something important or got a detail wrong, leave a comment! Thank you for reading what turned out to be more of a compare and contrast of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Sukitte Ii na yo. Look forward to more of the 12 Days of Anime posts coming quite soon! Until the next Tonari post, Hoshi is out~.