Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 10

Shizuku is anxious to tell Haru how she feels, but he’s reverted to his previous feral state because Yamaken said he was in love with her. At a Christmas party organized by Natsume at the batting center, Yamaken says he was joking, but Haru only believes him briefly. When he learns Yamaken will be in Shizuku’s winter college prep course at cram school, he gets even more jealous. While walking home, Shizuku tells him she loves him and he can trust her – but when she goes to cram school he remains jealous and suspicious.

Shizuku’s made her choice about Haru, and when the perfect opportunity comes to talk to him, she finally does so, and it’s everything Haru should or could want: She loves him; he can trust her; Yamaken is of no concern. But it’s not enough for him: he shows a complete lack of understanding of what trust is, and demands she not go to cram school. Shizuku, being Shizuku, will do what she pleases. She may love him and he may love her, but she’s not his property and he won’t dictate her life. So she ends up a cram school, sitting next to Yamaken, who contrary to his self-denial, has fallen for her and now has his own chance, however slim – to convince Shizuku she loves the wrong guy – if he bothers to even try, that is.

While we’re not exactly thrilled with the prospect of continued tension between Haru, Shizuku, and Yamaken, we do like how Shizuku finally owned up to her feelings and stop trying to repress them for the sake of her studies. And her discourse with Haru on the story of Akutagawa’s Kumo no Ito – imagery from which Haru describes her hair and concepts from which they describe their relationship – is very well done; one of those moments when you remember Haru can be pretty sharp when he’s not a spastic braying jackass. Shizuku definitely has it easier here; Oshima is not nearly as great a threat to her as Yamaken is to Haru. But we’ll do what Haru can’t quite do and trust Shizuku for now, and not read too much into those occasional impressed stares she gives Yamaken.

Rating: 8 (Great)