Well, it’s time to get back to writing after a week off from the grind. Can’t say I miss the looming deadlines I set for myself (and break most of the time…like now XD), but the weekly episode analysis is a welcome break from a barrage of studying. With that said, here’s a first look at the much-hyped rom-com of the season-Tonari no Kaibutsu Kun!

Summary: After meeting a strange (and alarmingly violent) delinquent named Haru Yoshida, Shizuku Mizutani starts a budding friendship with him. Hilarity ensues.

What Went Right

-A Humourous Start

-Shizuku’s Personality

-Coulourful Backgrounds

What Went Wrong

-Ambiguous ‘Rape’ Scene

-Faster-than-Light Pacing in 2nd Half

-Lack of More Character Intros (I did spot a few though)

First Impression

That’s one hell of an impression, alright.

Overall, I felt that it was quite a fast-paced start to the series, sorta like starting a marathon with the brakes off! Although I did laugh at some of the short skits in the second half, I think that they squeezed way too many scenes in there. When I haven’t even started digested one scene, the next barges in and then leaves just as fast. It’s dizzying… Perhaps I need to wean myself off slow-paced shows like Hyouka and adopt a new fast and furious policy for Kaibutsu? In any case, I do hope that Tonari finds a steady rhytm for the rest of the season…just not a super-fast one.

Haru and Hyde?

“Yeah…does tackling count as an introduction?”

Throughout the show, it’s obvious that Haru has a much softer side to his violent demeanor. What’s bugging me though, is how fast and sudden the switches happen. One moment he’s hostile and suspicious of Shizuku, the next, he’s all smiles and calling her a friend. Yikes, I like tsunderes, but that’s just weird. And even with classic tsunderes, it takes an obvious trigger to set a shift between tsun or dere. Here in Kaibutsu, we have neither of those-which makes for a hilarious, but ultimately confusing and creepy impression of Haru. Still, I’m entertaining the notion that he’s either socially impaired or mentally ill. The former sounds more plausible (and romantic) though.

Anyway, it seems that Haru is also a genius. I’ve heard it’s a cliché, but I honestly laughed when he revealed that other side of him.  All in all, Haru’s lousy with relationships and emotions, but I think he has a nice heart. But, it seems, a certain word he said to Shizuku might be his undoing. More on that later…

2D Girl with a 3D Mind

Confirming what I guessed at in the Preview, Shizuku is not your run-of-the-mill ditzy heroine. Sure, she does seem to display minor anti-social behavior while pursuing a 1 million yen annual income (I call that ambitious), but she’s a breath of grumpy fresh air. On the other hand, her total lack of friends does seem worrying. Would a 1 million yen be worth that much without memories or friends to rely on? Well, we’ll have to see if she changes course by the last episode. As for Haruka Tomatsu’s (SAO’s Asuna) performance as Shizuku, it was quite impressive-she captured Shizuku’s general apathy.

Animation Consternation

Watching Tonari Kaibutsu, I did notice that they gave a slight Tsuritama feel to the backgrounds, making it colourful and vibrant. A nice touch, I think. When it gets to the animation though, things get a little shaky. I’m satisfied with the overall animation quality, but it seems like it has the worst animation according to some folks.  Being curious, I started scanning the anime and did find a few weak parts, but nothing that horrendous. Which part? Well, there was the dislocated hand when Shizuku was writing in the upperclassmen’s classroom but other than that, nadda. It won’t win any awards, but it could use some improvement imo.

The ‘R’ Word (Hint: It’s not ‘romance’)

In a particular scene, Haru grabs Shizuku and threatens her with rape if she doesn’t keep quiet. Eventually, he lets her go.

Now, what did you think of that scene? Was Haru really serious about his threat? Or was he just following his misguided notions about friendships? We may never know, since the scene lasts only a few seconds and is left at that. But I want to dig a bit deeper into this and lay it out as fairly as possible.

Haru says “Make one peep and I rape you” or in Japanese “Sawarudo(?) okasu

Now, the word in question is okasu, which can be tied to three words: 犯す, 冒す and侵す. All are pronounced ‘okasu’ and they undoubtedly have a negative meaning.  From ‘invade’ to ‘harm’ to the obvious ‘rape’ (for犯す only), we can safely say that Haru’s threat was loaded. But the problem, I think, lies in whether he would have actually carried out the threat.

From a layperson’s view, what Haru said was a threat to be taken seriously. He’s gagging a girl and threatening rape, for Pete’s sake. With Haru’s aggressive and unpredictable mindset, I wouldn’t put it past him. I mean, if he’s willing to kiss Shizuku without consent, why wouldn’t he go further? Plus, his impulsiveness later on gave Shizuku a bloody nose!

Still, looking similar incidents in the show (see ‘Gym Class Flasher’), I can’t help but think that Haru may not be the only one at fault here. Whether it’s from the romance novel given by his lousy teacher or someone else in his life, Haru has learned the most cliché untruths about life and friendships. And why was he grabbing Shizuku in the first place? To get her attention, right? Although I do agree he should have done it more respectfully, I think he meant no harm to Shizuku in the end. He’s just clueless when it comes to expressing his intent.

Haru crossed the line with that remark and should’ve apologized for it, but I think it’s important to see why he said that in the first place too.

For some further reading, head on to GAR GAR Stegosaurus (slightly strong language) and Moe Sucks.

Think About-!

What made Haru into what he is? Was it the batting cage dude or his parents?

Where do you think the pair are heading? A fiery romance, or a slow and steady relationship?

What’s your take on the ‘rape’ scene?


 P.S. Apologies for the lateness, I’ll try to keep it early next week. ^_^”