A brother explains himself while a megane reveals herself. Meanwhile, Haru, Shizuku, Natsume and Sasahara serve up a delightful episode.
Striking a Balance
So far, Tonari has not been able to show a satisfying mix of humor and development. Too often, the humor either masks or overpowers the more important issues, like when Haru first re-enters school. That time, we didn’t get a serious look at Haru’s non-existent social skills. Tonari 4, however, finally manages to get into the rom-com groove by making humor a sideshow instead of the main attraction (that would be the plot).
From full set-ups like Haru’s Smile-ventures (my favourite) to little bits like Natsume’s ‘lonely women’ jab at Shizuku, the jokes this time round add to the show instead of dragging it down. They help lighten the tone of Tonari instead of dictating it, reminding you that it’s a rom-com at heart even though there’re some heavy issues waiting to be solved. Ramblings or not, that is what I felt about the episode in general.
As for the ‘main attractions’, we have a few in this week’s chapter.
First of all, Haru’s-a-changing! Other than the smile blitz, Haru is showing some growth in the empathy department. He even starts blushing when touching Shizuku on the forehead, something that wouldn’t have happened before (see impromptu kiss). Granted, he still needs to work on his anger issues even though his reasons for them are understandable. Man, why are there always jerks around to set him off?
Shizuku’s on the rebound as well. She looks unsure and floundering about with her feelings, but at least she’s taking the initiative to ask Haru out on a date. I wonder what the venue will be… Monja?
The new girl-let’s call her “Megane” for now-is a sure addition to the cast. I mean, she is in the OP, right? Less certain though, is what role she will be playing in the gang. Will she be a straight man/woman? Or will she be a rival with Shizuku for Haru’s love? Either way, I’m more interested in her shy and obsessively non-confrontational attitude. What made her that way, I wonder?
Finally, Yuzan reveals himself to the cast proper as Haru’s brother and gives his (very brief) side of the story. He seems friendly and believable enough, but I have a feeling that he’s hiding something behind that smug smile of his. Haru’s keeping a side of the story close to his chest too. Will it be some past misdeeds? Or will it be some uncontrollable family circumstances? Either way, with a title like “Yoshida Family Matters”, next week’s episode will hopefully explain the entire story.
All in all, this episode was a nice stepping stone into expected plot-heavy territory. Serving us humor while keeping us on our toes, I hope they repeat or improve on this wonderful formula.
What do you think of the balance between humor and plot for this week’s episode?
“Megane” a friend in love? Or a foe? Why?
Is Yuzan lying through his watermelon-stained teeth? If so, then about what?