12 Days of Anime #7 – Shoujo in Fall

STHUMBNAIL

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.

Suki-tteIinayofull1313447_zpsb217366f-1_zpsfb513370

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.

Tonari.no.Kaibutsu-kun.full.569108

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~.

About

A tired, over-dramatic 20 year old college student who likes manga and cheesy Korean boy bands. Prone to accidentally turning on her natural laziness and refusing to work for hours on end.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

16 Responses to “12 Days of Anime #7 – Shoujo in Fall”

  1. Highway says:

    I’m finding the opposite, that of the three Shoujo series this season, Sukitte ii na yo is my favorite. I greatly prefer the “make a couple and work through problems that way” aspect of the show (as I’ve commented, a lot like Nazo no Kanojo X, one of my favorite shows, although nobody would call that Shoujo) over the “Will they or won’t they?” setup that Tonari has. I had higher hopes for Tonari when they seemed to be coming together as a couple early in the series, but it’s been dancing around that (with many metaphors for and even outright stating that they’re unsynchronized) so much that even now that they are supposed to be a couple, they don’t really feel like one. It more feels like Shizuku is babysitting Haru most of the time.

    Something I do appreciate about all 3 Shoujo series (I’m watching Kamisama Hajimemashita also) is that they’re all completely different setups, and completely different takes on relationships. Kamisama really is more of a ‘crush’ show, and is very good at that angle, while throwing in a lot of fun other stuff.

    • Hoshi says:

      ~I don’t prefer the “Will they or won’t they?” setup either, but for Tonari, as I said, I’m willing to put up with it. I actually find the complications to their relationship, and the characters themselves, really interesting, so I’m managing to get by on that. But yes, I’m occasionally frustrated their relationship has been dangling for so long (especially after they did the flip-flop where Haru wanted to be closer to Shizuku, and Shizuku was trying to back away from him).

      Agreed~ My whole point of this post was to highlight the fact that the shoujo anime this fall season were different, but I ended up failing on that towards the end, hahaha.

  2. JPNIgor says:

    I will have to comment, since I’m watching both.

    I sincerely have to say that I’m also watching three romances, since I consider Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojou more romance than ecchi, and judging from the aspect that Kamisama Hajimemashita gives at first sight, I have to tell that I disagree that the romance animes this season have similar setups. They all seems to have a different take on romance, and what I think it’s nice is the atmosphere on each of them. They all feel so different and watching all of them every week never feels boring.

    But about Tonari and Sukitte, I have to say that I prefer Sukitte, with it’s serious and mature atmosphere, and everything that happens on Sukitte is more believable, more real. And I love the fact that it isn’t a tear-jerking anime… Otherwise I would be crying every week (Watched the two seasons of Clannad in two weeks, and DAMN how it is sad TT.TT). Meanwhile, Tonari is surreal, and sometimes it feels a little annoying. I can’t stand the number of stones they put on their own path to happiness e.e’ But I can understand since if it wasn’t those stones, we wouldn’t have a storyline for Tonari. And is nice to watch it too, because it balances the drama and serious atmosphere of Sukitte.

    Nice post. I can’t wait to see the next theme.

    • JPNIgor says:

      Oh, I forgot there is a fifth romance this season… Chuunibyou TT.TT I will miss it.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, I’m watching all 5 of those shows you classify as romances. And if I’m ranking them, I would put them:

      Sakurasou
      Sukitte
      Chuunibyou
      Tonari
      Kamisama

      And really, none of them are the same.

      From what I’ve seen, there’s almost nobody who doesn’t like Tonari. I’ve read quite a few people who don’t care for Sukitte and like Tonari, but haven’t really seen anyone who likes Sukitte and doesn’t like Tonari. It’s a very likable show, even if Haru is making it difficult to like him (he’s really my biggest problem with the show).

      • JPNIgor says:

        Well, it’s not like I dislike Tonari. It really is an enjoyable show, but some points of it make it a little annoying, and therefore, puts it behind Sukitte on my ranking of romance animes. Mine would be:

        Chuunibyou
        Sukitte
        Sakurasou
        Tonari

        And I don’t watch Kamisama.

      • Hoshi says:

        ~I think the reason Tonari is well-liked by many is because it has a good mix of comedy in it. I’ve seen comments where even people who usually don’t watch shoujo find themselves watching, and enjoying, Tonari.

        I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t have a problem with Haru? Can I ask why it’s difficult for you to like him? I’m curious.

  3. Amutofan123 says:

    You have no idea how elated I was when the three shoujo this season were announced. Especially since I knew the source material for two of them. Shoujo is the love of my life, man.

    Tonari is probably my favorite shoujo of the season. The characters are so loveable, especially my cute little sweetie Natsume. It’s a pretty good adaptation from the manga. I love “opposites attract” couples, so Shizuku x Haru is right up my alley. It’s just a really fun show!

    Kamisama Hajimemashita is my 2nd favorite shoujo of the season. Manga-wise, I liked it better than Tonari, but anime-wise… not so much. The problem is that the anime is 13 episodes and the manga has 80+ chapters. That means they end up leaving out some of my favorite arcs from the manga. I also have no clue how they are going to end it. Nonetheless, it’s still enjoyable.

    And then there is Sukitte. For me, this is probably the most relateable, but it’s also my least favorite. I just don’t care for the characters like I do in the other shoujo. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t really care for them. I do however, like the fact that Yamato and Mei started going out in the beginning and that the show focuses on their relationship with each other.

    • Highway says:

      I see Kamisama Hajimemashita ending just as an open-ended continuing thing. To me, that show is less about there being a couple between Tomoe and Nanami, and more about there being attraction and dealing with that while still living life in a weird situation. They’ve set it up just like that so well that even I, the guy who *always* wants couples and kissing and confessions and is disappointed when they don’t happen, will be plenty happy just to see them continuing the way they are.

      • Amutofan123 says:

        I don’t mind the couple part, I’ve seen so many open-ended shoujo that it doesn’t even phase me anymore. The problem is that we are just now getting into the main story good in the manga. I want them to touch on why Mikage left and more on Yukiji, but I don’t see that happening.

  4. Tofu says:

    Sukitte Ii na yo, Tonari Kaibutsu and Kamisama Kiss weren’t shows I knew of before the season came along. I didn’t know anything about shoujo and at first I didn’t really care about that genre because I wasn’t particularly interested in it. But one day a friend of mine was able to persuade me into reading the first 5 chapters of Lovely Complex which I indulged in during a family vacation and oh my GOD, I couldn’t stop reading! It was so entertaining watching the romantic struggles, misunderstandings, the development, the disappointment ALL OF IT! I love it so much! And THUS, I slowly became more and more interested in the shoujo genre.

    And what a great welcoming to the genre is it with these three awesome shoujo series. Each of them tackle romance in a different way but I have to say that Sukitte Ii na yo is my top favourite compared to the rest. Although I really like the other two, I think Sukitte does well in developing their characters relationships (not all of them, mainly Mei) whether it’s the romantic kind or the friendship/respect kind and considering it’s a serious romance, they have more time to focus on said romance and the development of their characters revolving around the romance compared to Tonari Kaibutsu which is a romcom.

    I do find the comedy enjoyable in Tonari, but I never find myself laughing. And like you said Hoshi, at times it doesn’t focus on the romance part enough but when it does… oh god… that background music! <3 It's beautiful~ *ahem* but then again I love both of these series very much ^^ Including Kamisama! Nanami is a really great female protagonist in my opinion :D

    • Highway says:

      I like the concept of Shoujo, and like some of the setups, but until this season, I don’t know if I’d ever really finished a shoujo series. I wouldn’t count something like Nagareboshi Lens as a whole series (which I did really like), and I tried Lovely Complex and Kimi ni Todoke, and while I got farther with Lovely Complex (I think I skipped through some episodes, but got through most of them), both of them left me tired of all the backwards steps and ultimately bored and frustrated.

      And that’s what I think all three of the series this season do really well. They don’t seem to have the overt backwards steps that are so frustrating. Even Tonari, with the way that Haru and Shizuku are not really in sync, avoids the overt backwards steps, because Shizuku won’t take them (even when I wonder if she should, after getting pegged on the noggin by the drink can, or elbowed in the face…).

    • Hoshi says:

      ~WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SHOUJO, TOFU! It’s frustrating and full of sparkles, but it’s so great. Anyway, hahaha, I’m so glad you decide to try shoujo! I’ve read Lovely Complex as well, and I love it (I actually have yet to finish it though lol).

      I agree that Sukitte does have great development when it comes to relationships among the characters; so much more happens, which makes it enjoyable to watch/read. I started reading Sukitte’s manga again and I honestly couldn’t stop for two hours. I guess for me I can only take some much of a serious atmosphere. I’m more of a…not-so serious person, and too much drama in shoujo (or any romantic show, movie, etc.) has me running because I get too nervous (silly, I know). Tonari was perfect me since it doesn’t have too much drama and has a lot of fun/comedic moments.

      Oh man, I LOVE the romantic parts. The atmosphere they create, the music, EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS SO LOVELY<3

      Hearing yet another person talk about Kamisama, I’m definitely going to check it out when I have the time for it~

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Nice post, Hoshi. I don’t watch many shoujos so I can’t place myself in agreement with the others you mentioned but I admit that I’m enjoying Tonari. Despite Shizuku’s cold demeanor, she’s very tolerant. She and Haru are the very definition of “opposites attract”.

    • Hoshi says:

      ~I’m finding that a lot of people who don’t normally watch Shoujo are liking Tonari.

      She definitely tolerates a lot; her cold demeanor probably helping in just not letting things get to her and for keeping her emotions in check, at least until it gets to be too much.

  6. starsamaria says:

    I generally prefer shojo series that highlight both the before and after of the main couple getting together. My biggest problem with Tonari, however, is the very element that is being praised by most fans: it’s pacing. The series’ fast pace has left me unconvinced by the development in both the individual characters and their relationships: when Shizuku says she felt as though Haru has changed her whole world, I was left wondering why. Another problem I have with Tonari is that I don’t care for Shizuku’s character because she feels very robotic to me. I haven’t been watching Kamisama Kiss but I am reading the manga, and while it’s perfectly funny and the characters are likable enough, there are far better shojo series out there, from Bokura ga Ita to Dengeki Daisy.

Leave a Reply