Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun" (Anime) Episodes 2-9 Thoughts

At the beginning of this current anime season, one of the two shows that I ended up choosing to follow was Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. I had read the first couple chapters of the manga and formulated the opinion that it was not going to be a generic high school romance. In fact, little did I realize that the female lead in this show would soon become one of my all-time favorites.

So I’m not going to spend a lot of time going over what happens in the first couple episodes. A quick rundown is that the story revolves around Shizuku who unknowingly becomes attached to Haru who is a delinquent on the outside but actually a very intelligent and caring person on the inside. Shizuku has spent almost her entire life only worrying about results and grades. She spends almost all of her free time either studying or helping out in her father’s shop. What surprised me initially was how strong of a female lead Shizuku is. Most people are going to come to the conclusion that she is a heartless b!#ch that plays with Haru’s heart but in reality there is much more going on in her inner struggle. When you are placed into a situation with no bearings or knowledge of how to proceed, you make mistakes and in this show you will see both Haru and Shizuki make many mistakes. What the premise of the show has provided is Shizuku’s inner struggle to deal with her feelings towards Haru. In the beginning she thinks of Haru as being a bother and a nuisance but as the two become closer, she starts to realize her true feelings for him and ends up struggling to deal with them especially since they start to get in the way of her studies. You might think that this is a completely ludicrous and stupid thing to struggle over but to Shizuku she has never dealt with such a situation. She is used to having control and strategic planning in her life. As soon as Haru came into the picture, everything changed. She made new friends such as the internet dweller Asako, the calm and collective Souhei, and the smart yet mischievous Kenji. These characters offer up some pretty enjoyable character interactions that help show how both Shizuku and Haru mature.
Shizuku is not the only character in this anime that is having trouble with his/her inner self. Haru has a troubled past and he has almost no hold on his aggressiveness. He is constantly getting into confrontations over meaningless issues. Between Haru’s temper and Shizuku’s inability to think properly, these two are perfect for each other. The chemistry between the two is a little too hard to overlook even if you don’t want to see it. Haru is madly in love with Shizuku and while she wants to believe that she has control of the situation, she is also hopelessly head over heels for Haru. To see how things progress between the two, for better or worse is very fun to watch. This is not Kimi ni Todoke; everything does not seem happy and perfect all the time for the two lovers. There are fights (both vocal and physical) and misunderstandings at very key points that make you think that the relationship won’t last. This makes the romance seem real and not part of some fantasy world where everything is always positive and works out in the end.

Over on the animation and sound side, it works. It's nothing over the top for a 2012 anime but it isn't hindering or lacking either. The character models are drawn very well and the moving shots flow nicely. Also during the comedic scenes, the animation switches to a very basic style with plain faces and models to show the silliness and humor. It is done fairly well and usually adds to the overall enjoyment of those particular scenes. Sound wise the voice actors are very good at driving the emotional scenes making them very believable. The background music is nothing fancy but it does an adequate job setting the mood for each scene. 
Overall, this anime feels like a real world situation between two very dysfunctional members of society. The characters are the furthest thing from generic especially Haru and Shizuku. There are some very tense moments along with some “Oh my god I cannot believe he did that. How is he not embarrassed?” lovey dovey moments. If you are looking for a well written show about a realistic romance, I recommend you pick this up. I completely dread having to wait each week for the new episode to come out; the wait absolutely kills me -___-.
Cutest couple ever :D

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