Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 12 (Fin) – Not Just a Dry Run

On a perfect, dazzling day, suddenly Naoto and Hayase are off on their first date together. When Senpai steals a glance, Hayase makes clear this is just “practice”, but I didn’t believe her for a second. Meanwhile, Gamou and Yoshi are following the couple close behind, while Hana and Sana are in hot pursuit, with Hana fanatically determined to protect Senpai’s love.

Gamou and Yoshi are worried it’s several centuries too early for Naoto’s cherry to pop, likening it to Kushana releasing a God Warrior prematurely. When there’s a dang Nausicaä reference in the first two minutes, you know it’s going to be a special episode!

Despite all the potential interference, Naoto and Hayase end up having a blast, even with Hayase constantly “docking points” for various demerits. At the same time, she takes an unironic selfie with her arm around her Senpai, and he accidentally does exactly what she wants him to do when she takes her hand in his and runs. He’s spotted her friends, but thankfully, Hana and Sana block them from following.

The dating bliss continues with Hayase messing around with tasting each other’s ice cream until their cones collide and they get the indirect kisses she was teasing about. At the dolphin show, Naoto acts super cool by keeping a splash of water from hitting Hayase, who thanks him by drying him off with a towel (she came prepared!). Also hilarious is the way Hayase mimics penguins and turtles messing with each other in how she messes with Naoto.

Their date reaches its finish with a romantic sunset walk on the beach. Hayase tallies up all of Senpai’s point deductions and additions, and comes up with 50 (out of a thousand) points, which Naoto thinks is pretty harsh. That’s when he asks what she thought of her role in this date, whereupon she says she considered it “the real thing” (as opposed to just practice).

Naoto says he never thought of it as a dry run either, phrasing that Hayase immediately jumps on, as it sounds like he wanted a “wet run”. At this point, Gamou and Yoshi are ready to stop Hayase before she “takes Paisen’s virginity”, but in a shock twist, Yoshi acts on her own for the first time in the series and stops Gamou, lest they become “cock-blockers.”

Hayase proposes one of two endings for their date, since it is for real after all: a hug or a kiss. Naoto goes the safer route, which is more than enough for Hayase as at the end of the day she’s as shy about this stuff as he is. They open their arms to each other and draw nearer, only to be interrupted by the Sunomiyas chasing her friends. Hayase then pretends she and Senpai are merely practicing judo. No one is fooled, but the moment is spoiled.

Back at school, Hayase avoids Gamou and Yoshi for a time, but at Sakura’s urging, makes up with them by inviting them to eat lunch in the clubroom with Senpai/Paisen. Hayase is mortified to find Hana feeding him a homemade lunch as an apology for following him on his date. It’s here we get perhaps Yoshi’s best one-liner: “Foie gras!”, in reference to Hana stuffing Naoto with food.

Hana offers to make his lunches all week, but Hayase puts a stop to that by declaring she’s got his lunch covered tomorrow. When she asks Senpai if that works, he brings up her morning practice and not wanting to be too much of a nuisance. This pisses Hayase off, but he’s not done: he’ll make lunch for her tomorrow, then she can make it for him the next day. Needless to say, it’s a deal!

That afternoon on their walk home, Hayase exploits the fact they’re alone again and proposes they finish the ending to their first real date. Naoto is flustered, but ultimately game. What follows is one of the warmest, most tender and heartwarming scenes I’ve seen in an anime in recent memory, which not only another utterance of “creepy” from Hayase can spoil.

Seeing the two gently come together and stay that way, and seeing how happy it makes both of them to finally be able to be this close without putting on excessive airs, is the perfect way to end the episode, and the season. It wasn’t a kiss, but it didn’t matter. I award full marks, no deductions!


Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 11 – Almost There

After art club, Hana gets a ride on her cousin Sana’s motorcycle, and tells Sana the situation with Naoto and Hayase. Sana’s advice to Naoto is to simply follow his heart. These Sunomiyas may be a bit kooky and intense, but they’re also good people looking out for Naoto’s happiness, and their encouragement is just the kick in the bum Naoto needs to take action.

After waiting for Hayase to be done judo, the two have a perfectly nice and relaxing walk home. Along the way, Naoto finally works up the courage to vaguely ask Hayase “where she’d want to go on her day off”. Hayase can see what Naoto is getting at, but since she misses messing with him, she messes with him here, telling him places like Everest, the Amazon, and the Mariana Trench.

This almost backfires spectacularly when Naoto drops the topic and the two part ways. Naoto’s problem is he isn’t sure where she’d want to go, but when he sees a construction sign with a penguin, he remembers she wanted to see them. The South Pole is out, so…how about the Aquarium? Naoto’s “Well?” isn’t quite direct enough for Hayase, who tells him if there’s something important to say, he should say it properly.

With this, Naoto remembers Sana telling him to follow his heart, and he comes right out and asks Hayase if she wants to go the aquarium on their next break. He fully expected her to mess with him, slap him down to size, and say the word “creepy” a lot, so he’s surprised when she doesn’t do any of those things, and instead says “sure” with one of the biggest grins she’s ever mustered.

Now it’s official: Naoto and Hayase are going to go out together. Even then, when announcing to an extremely ecstatic Hana of their plans, he says “it’s not really a date, we’re just hanging out.” Like hell! Hana knows better, and as someone who has never experienced love but is rooting for Naoto all the way, she pretty much gets him to accept it’s a date worthy of hearty congratulations.

Hayase is out of it too, and Gamou and Yoshi witnessing her being hyper and “freaking out” to just plain spacing out. When they ask her if she wants to visit Paisen in the club room since they’re done practice early, she says no; she’ll save seeing him for their date instead. Shocked, Gamou and Yoshi see her look in her eyes and believe that she is after Paisen’s virginity.

That night, we get twin scenes of Naoto and Hayase working out what they’ll want to wear. Naoto’s mom doesn’t bother him, but Anetoro can’t help but mess with Hayase, telling her to wear something sexier. All I could think is that after nearly two full seasons of circling one another, these two dopes are finally going to have an honest-to-God, no-holds-barred date.

The big day arrives, and the two have no trouble meeting up—Naoto in subdued but sufficiently un-dorky duds, and Hayase in an oversized tee, jean shorts and red kicks. Hayase starts messing with him almost immediately—not that he minds—but little do they know they’re being tailed by Gamou and Yoshi, who are determined to protect Paisen’s chastity.

Little to Gamou and Yoshi know that they’re being watched by Hana and Sana on the latter’s bike, determined to stop the two “demons” from ruining Naoto’s date. If this show knows what’s good for it, it had better deliver a lovely and adorable date with minimal problems that may or may not end with some kind of kiss. It has that one job next week. Don’t let me down!

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 10 – The New Challenger and the Demon Love Nest

Naoto’s third year has arrived, but it’s business as usual at the art club: his first oil painting of the year is of Nagatoro in her competition swimsuit, followed by him massaging her lower back. She then announces she’s joining the judo club, reiterating that her goal is to beat Orihara so he’ll give him a reward kiss, and she wasn’t messing around.

Nagatoro is pressing Naoto on whether he wants to kiss her or not (a simple question, but obviously difficult for someone like him to answer) when the club door slides open to reveal a mini-Sana. Turns out it’s Sana’s cousin and Naoto’s former middle school kohai, Sunomiya Hana. Her first question is regarding the talk of kissing she overheard in the hall: are Naoto and Nagatoro dating?

Both parties deny it, but Hana is clearly dubious. She also sees how Nagatoro has modeled in a swimsuit, and announces her willingness to be a nude model for Senpai (like her cousin, she’s an unabashed exhibitionist). When Gamou shows up to tell her they need to get to judo club, Hayase suddenly finds herself in a spot: she’s not willing to declare Naoto her boyfriend, but she’s extremely anxious about leaving him with the likes of Hana.

That anxiety distracts her in her first practice, and she gets tossed around as a result, with a lot of room for improvement. Orihara can tell she’s distracted, and Gamou takes the opportunity to mess with Hayacchi by laying out the unvarnished truth: she’s worried she might lose her boyfriend to a “new challenger”. I love how excited this makes Orihara, and that Nagatoro is getting a taste of her own medicine.

As for Hana, she doesn’t seem quick to steal Naoto away; in fact, she can tell just like Sana did that his art has actually become bolder and more colorful since Nagatoro-senpai started modeling for him. She can also see the love inherent in the paintings, and declares that Naoto must grab that love with both fists. If Nagatoro isn’t going to be around the club as much due to judo, well then, he’s just going to have to go on a date.

Between Gamou (and the other gals), Orihara, and Hana, I believe our two lovebirds have all the supporting crew they need to nudge them a few steps closer to the realization that they’ve long since ceased fooling anyone that they’re not an item, and that the time may soon come when they’ll stop fooling themselves as well. A date or two might just do the trick.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 09 – That Doesn’t Sound Like You

Who would have thought a four-eyed, fluffy-haired, creepy pervy bean sprout Senpai could rekindle Hayase’s long extinguished passion for judo? I did, because I could see it coming a mile away. But of course it’s not whether everything would work out for these two lovebirds at the judo tournament, but how it would work out.

Obviously Naoto feels he owes it to Hayase to try to snatch at least one win as thanks for her lessons. But he also wants to impress the girl he likes, and show her that he’s not a complete wimp (though she already knows this). On the other hand, while Hayase easily beats her first round opponent, her next opponent is Orihara, a candidate to represent Japan, who easily beats Gamou (who unlike Sakura is no slouch herself).

Not only that, Orihara is the very person who caused Hayase to walk away from judo altogether. Since she was a kid she loved judo, and was good at it. She regularly beat Orihara, who didn’t have as much raw talent, and Orihara bawled her eyes out every time. But she got better with every match, and the day she finally beat Hayase, she was just as elated in victory as she was distraught in defeat.

It wasn’t that Hayase was being a sore loser per se, just that she had never dealt with defeat before and tied the constant victories to her love of judo. When she leaves the dojo to sulk outside and Naoto checks in on her, she finally opens up to him about this, then walks in wanting to get the loss over with.

Naoto rightly says she doesn’t sound like that Nagatoro he knows. She shoots him a furious look, asking what the hell gives him the right to talk like she knows her. But he does know her, and knows she’s strong and skilled enough to make it a fight. And as he says during his match, he’s decided he does have the right to not want her to make that forlorn face.

Hayase decides to make things interesting: If he can walk the walk and win at least once, she’ll give Senpai an honest-to-God smooch. While flustered by the idea, it nevertheless motivates Naoto. Even when he’s up against a musclebound brute of an opponent in Sasai, he remembers her training, and how size and brute strength aren’t always what decide a judo match.

He fights so hard, Hayase’s friends start to cheer for him, and eventually even Hayase can’t help but cheer for him too. He doesn’t let Sasai get a full point, and while he loses by ref’s decision, he never gave up, and wins not only Hayase’s adoration, but Sasai’s genuine respect.

Next up is the title bout, and as soon as it gets started, it’s clear the two black belts are in a different league than everyone else assembled. But what’s also clear is that even if she’s a bit rusty from being out of the sport, Hayase can still hold her own against a national candidate. That’s not only due to the fact she knows Orihara’s fighting well, but because she too is fueled by the cheering on of the person who likes her.

Like Naoto, Hayase fights hard and with heart, and even gets to show off her signature throw against Orihara. Unfortunately, she’s out of bounds when she does it, and like Naoto, loses by ref’s decision. Finally, she and Orihara shake hands in mutual respect. Hayase promises she’ll beat her next time, and Orihara is looking forward to it. Just a couple of golden-hearted, tough-as-hell ladies throwing down…What else could you ask for?

A kiss, perhaps? A real one, not a peck on the cheek or forehead or with lips separated by something? Well, the deal was Naoto had to win, and he didn’t, so no kiss this week. But Hayase comes up with a new bet, with the kiss this time dependent on whether she beats Orihara next time. She wants to beat Orihara, ergo she wants Senpai to kiss her. She could technically just skip to the kiss, but that’s not how these things work in rom-coms!

When he gets all flustered and decides she’s just messing with him again, she tells him, with a straight face and neutral tone, that no,  despite the title of the show, she is not messing with him in this case. Then she sprints off before her face turns completely pink in front of him.

Thus a challenge has been leveled, and one of the more satisfying, sweet, and heartwarming episodes of Nagatoro-san comes to an end. But with Sana’s little sister(?) about to enter the mix, will our couple’s heretofore smooth sailing hit stormy waters?

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 08 – A Beautiful Throw

Naoto is sick of still-lifes, and wants to draw another portrait—Nagatoro specifically. She cycles through a number of martial arts poses until she gets to one specific one Naoto likes. It’s a judo pose, but Nagatoro seems self-conscious about it. Later, her friends come in, see the pose, and Nagatoro flees, not willing to tell Naoto what it means.

Gamou and Yoshi tell Naoto he should work out more; this is borne out during his judo club, when he’s annihilated in every match. Gamou gives him a flyer from her family gym, which features not only a photo of her, but also Nagatoro fighting. When Naoto sees that Nagatoro saw him “fight” and was thoroughly unimpressed, he decides to go for it.

Mind you, he arrives at the gym without telling Nagatoro, and ends up seeing her in the middle of MMA sparring with Gamou. For someone always barging into the art club room while he’s doing his thing, she’s awfully sensitive about him basically pulling the exact same thing on her!

When Naoto comes right out and tells Nagatoro he knows he sucks and judo but wants to get better, and asks if she’ll teach him, she runs off and returns with a white tunic for him. They get down to it, and Nagatoro relishes the opportunity to tussle around and pin her senpai—though her technique is so solid, he ends up committing a cardinal sin and calls her “heavy”. Not cool, Naoto!

Nagatoro is, as she says, “dainty”, which puts her at a disadvantage in MMA where mass and reach are more important. Naoto watches Gamou punch and kick her from great distance, before Nagatoro borrows a move from judo, draws in, and subjects Gamou to an epic throw. It’s notable that Nagatoro is also beaming from ear to ear when she does this.

On their way home, there’s little to no usual teasing. Instead, Naoto asks Nagatoro about judo again, and she actually opens up a bit, using her normal voice to talk about how she was once really into it but got frustrated with her physical limitations that kept her from beating the biggest and best.

Before they part ways, Naoto does her a solid at tells her the truth: her judo throw on Gamou was beautiful. He’s basically telling her she’s beautiful, so of course she runs of flustered to all heck!

A part of Nagatoro clearly still loves judo, so I wonder if Naoto will be able to convince her to participate in the same tournament he’s in and rekindle her passion. As for him, thanks to Gamou and Yoshi Sana finds out that he’s trying to get better at judo, and volunteers her services. She’s as pushy as Nagatoro, and isn’t wearing anything under her tunic to boot!

Nagatoro gets there just in time to see Sana burying Naoto’s face in her ample bosom, and briefly manifests the same powers of electricity as Lum, Uesaka Sumire’s Urusei Yatsura character. But it’s Naoto who tells Sana thanks but no thanks, he wants Nagatoro to teach him. That makes Nagatoro happy, and elicits a proud smile from Sana.

Then, Sana meets with a mini-Sana outside. Even with Naoto’s senpai done with exams and school, it looks like a new Sunomiya is about to enter his school life…and perhaps even give Nagatoro more healthy competition!

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 07 – Ski ga Kirei

Naoto has decided he wants to try ditching his frames for contacts, but after failing to get them in the previous night, he gives up. When Hayase spots the box, she immediately volunteers to put them in for him. A few “is it in yet?” double entendres later, and Naoto is seeing the world—and Hayase—clearly without frames for the first time. When Hayase puts on his frames and flusters him, we learn he’ll do his glasses-straightening tic regardless of whether he’s wearing them.

Ditching the frames means he’s able to do more energetic activities, like skiing. As luck would have it, he and his guy friends are at the same ski slope as Hayase and her friends. The difference is, Hayase and her friends are much better at skiing and snowboarding. That hardly matters to Hayase, who invites her senpai to join him, aweing his friends by being so friendly with one of the “popular girls”.

But again, Naoto is bad, even on the beginner slope Hayase normally wouldn’t bother with. That said, she relishes the opportunity to teach him, and when he steers himself into the sides, creating a sequence of Snow Naotos, she doesn’t laugh but shows genuine concern for his progress, which is slow and, at least to him, not very noticable despite her pointers.

That night, when Naoto and his friends expect to be done with skiing, they spot the popular girls (and guys) going out for night skiing. Again Hayase invites him to join her, but he passes, citing sore legs. Hayase is clearly disappointed but respects his choice and leaves. Gamou and Yoshi then gang up on him, asking him if he’s sure, and he explains he doesn’t want to slow Hayase down from having fun. The other girls assure him that Hayase going at her own pace is not the point.

Naoto suits up and heads out, surprised he’s suddenly gotten into something like skiing, which he wouldn’t expect of himself had he not met Hayase. As he’s practicing, a younger skiier loses control and careens towards a tree. Naoto forgets all his hang-ups and skis beautifully in order to catch the guy before he injures himself.

Hayase saw him do this, and I’m sure she thought it was pretty cool. She’s also surprised to hear him ask her upfront if she’ll keep teaching him, which is, of course, what she wants to do on that slope more than anything. When she notices he’s always looking down at his feet, she skis a bit ahead of him and tells him to keep his eyes on her.

A backlit Hayase, with her black hair shimmering and snow-dappled trees behind her, makes for an undoubtedly arresting sight. Unfortunately, Naoto is overconfident the next morning, and when Hayase tells her friends to watch how far he’s progressed, he faceplants into the side once more.

Back at school, Sana tells Naoto that she got into art school, which was totally expected but something for which Naoto congratulates her nonetheless. Sana then asks her kohai what he plans to do, and he says with a level of confidence that surprises her that he’s going to try for art school too. She chalks up this confidence to “the cat-eared girl’s” influence.

Naoto denies this, but in his head, he looks back at the year he’s known and hung out with Hayase, and concludes that she really has influenced him. But even after all this time, there’s still so much he doesn’t know about her, and wants to know, like what plans she might have for the future.

Maybe he can apply his newfound assertiveness to keep cutting through her teasing smokescreen and ask her about serious things like that. I think if he does, he’ll find she’ll be quite happy to tell him.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 06 – On the Same Wavelength

If like me you can’t get enough of watching Hayase and Naoto fumble their way through what is clear as day to everyone around them—that for all intents and purposes, they already are a couple—this was another episode for you (and me).

Christmas Eve is coming, and both are on the same wavelength: Hayase asks her sister what would make a good gift, while Naoto not only already has one bought and wrapped, but dreams of a perfect scenario in which he gives it to her under a Christmas tree.

Both bring their gifts for each other to the last day of school before the break, but they’re both pulled into a meeting of Hayase’s friends, who are split between those with guys and those who aren’t. Deny it all they want; the simple fact is Hayase does have a guy.

Naoto awkwardly excuses himself to get something from the art club room, giving Hayase cover to flee from having to admit she’d rather spend time with Senpai than go to singles karaoke night. Before they can exchange gifts, they’re interrupted by a buck-naked Sana “letting the room soak into her skin” as it’s the last time she’ll see it for a while. Such a delightful weirdo!

While running around the school hand-in-hand, avoiding necking classmates and strict faculty, Hayase and Naoto end up having what they usually have when hanging out together: a lot of fun. And even if their ultimate location of the rooftop is also populated by couples making out, when a cold wind sends a chill through Hayase, Naoto decides to give her her gift.

That’s because it’s a scarf! A tartan scarf, no less, that is indeed adorable on Hayase, in addition to being warm. So what’s her gift to him? Also a scarf! Of course these two crazy kids decided on the exact same gift for each other. It’s more than just a consumable like candy or soaps, because they wanted something that would last longer.

The day before New Years, Hayase calls Naoto and asks what he’s doing for tomorrow, then creating an elaborate mental picture of Naoto as a hairy caterpillar sleeping in. Instead, he says he might be making a shrine visit, and she recommends the Ishido Shrine. They don’t agree to meet there, but Naoto takes a leap of faith.

Not only is he not disappointed, as Hayase is there, but she’s also working there, and as such is dress like a dang shrine maiden. Since even passersby remark how cute she looks, Naoto has no choice but to concur. She shows him how to wash his hands and cleanse his mouth, then they get fortunes: hers is great; his is simply “bad”.

But there’s one aspect of his fortune Hayase doesn’t spot that concerns him: under “Romantic Matters”, it says “won’t happen unless you take action.” So after saying “later” to her awkwardly and shuffling off, which genuinely disappoints her, he surprises her by appearing in line to buy a good luck charm.

Not only that, he’s there to try to tell her in a normal way that he’ll wait up for her to be done so they can go to the shrine and pray together. He imagines himself too cool for school (a rare moment for Yamashita Daiki to do his suave voice) but what comes out (I’ll be waiting) just sounds creepy and stalkerish.

He realizes this after he leaves the line, and Hayase is totally in sync as she texts him that he sounded creepy and stalkerish. Even so, she says she’ll see him in twenty minutes. They meet at the sake barrels, and when he suggests go to the shrine and pray, Hayase grins and blushes profusely.

Naoto remembers too late that this is a matchmaking shrine, which means he and Hayase are in line with a bunch of lovey-dovey couples. Hayase uses this situation to mess with Naoto as usual, getting a rise out of him by asking if he’s going to wish for them to go out together.

To this, Naoto actually comes up with a cool-as-hell comeback that makes Hayase swoon: in a “hypothetical scenario” in which they’re going out, he doesn’t want to rely on the gods, but make it happen himself. When he later says he merely prayed for family health, Hayase tells him she wished to one day become his bride.

She says she’s kidding, and maybe it wasn’t that specifically, but I’ve no doubt her actual prayer was some form of “may Senpai and I continue to grow closer this year—and may it be full of more opportunities to toy with him!”

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 05 – Senpai Down!

Naoto and Hayase aren’t fooling anyone. Certainly not their friends, who catch them red-handed—or rather, holding hands with fingers intertwined. It doesn’t matter if it was technically an accident; it was the result of them messing around trying to grab one anothers’ sleeves. This isn’t one-sided teasing, it’s just plain PDA!

Last week portended a reversal of Naoto’s house visit to Nagatoro, and sure enough, Naoto wakes up one morning feeling like crap. His mom (whom we meet for the first time) has a work trip but offers to stay home for his sake, but he says he’s not a little kid anymore. Now we know where he gets his fuwafuwa hair!

When Hayase can’t find Naoto at school and texts then calls him, she learns that Naoto is home, having caught her cold. Two shakes of a black cat’s tail later, she’s ringing his doorbell. Then, worried he might’ve passed out (just like he was about her) she enters his yard and presses against the screen door. Once she’s in his room (which he notes is weird), she immediately begins searching for porn, as you do!

When he protests and starts coughing uncontrollably, Hayase calls of the search…for today. She’s here not just to return the favor, but because she wants to care for and pamper her senpai. This is the perfect scenario for her to get closer to him in any number of ways, including tenderly touching foreheads to check his temperature.

She cools him down with a cold compress, then makes him some rice porridge, which he allows her to feed to him without protest. At this point Naoto is very dizzy and out of it, and his dream of Hayase in a business suit acting as his doting wife bleeds into real life, to the point he thanks her and casually calls her by her first name, Hayase.

This obviously flusters Hayase to no end, but she’d probably been hoping he’d do it ever since he learned it from her sister. In fact, she wants to hear him call her Hayase again, but he’s fallen asleep again. This gives her the idea to kiss him, and she gives him every opportunity to stop her if he’s playing dead, drawing closer and closer…

until Naoto’s mom comes home. Hayase’s loafers are in the genkan, so even with her athletic ability, jumping out the window isn’t a viable option. So she heads down, encounters Senpai’s mom, and explains that she heard he was sick and came by to check on him. Like Hayase’s friends, Naoto’s mom wasn’t born yesterday! The next morning, Naoto is right as rain, and his mom asks about the flustered cutie.

When they meet up for the walk to school, Naoto and Hayase are uncharacteristically shy and awkward towards each other, and Hayase overcompensates by piling on the mock judo-kicking. Naoto grabs her leg to halt her attack, just when her upskirt is in full view. That’s the scene when Gamou, Yoshi, and Sakura approach, once again remarking how the lovebirds it again first thing in the morning.

I don’t ask much. I don’t need much. As long as Hayase and Naoto are being a delightfully sweet, playful, and adorable couple, I’m a happy camper! With the exchange of house visits, Don’t Toy with Me 2 continues to offer that in spades. I’m firmly ensconced in rom-com Laid Back Camp!

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 04 – Hayase

Once Nagatoro’s big sister, who Naoto calls “Anetoro”, realizes the famous “Senpai-kun” is here, she sees a perfect opportunity to toy with both him and her sister. It’s abundantly clear to her, an adult, that these two are absolutely a couple already, and are just been silly kids about it. Giving Naoto a glimpse of Nagatoro with bed head asking for pudding is a unique gift.

When Anetoro prods and lures her crankly little sister with a deluxe pudding bowl, it’s instructive to Naoto, because he’s able to witness Nagatoro with her defenses down. She can’t toy with him, because she’s being toyed with. The result is that Naoto gets to see a new side of the girl who, if he’s honest, he likes.

Indeed, once Nagatoro whisks him into her room to eat their pudding bowls without her sister’s interference, it’s clear that Naoto is not only ready and somewhat willing to slip back into his normal dynamic with Nagatoro, but can tell more than ever that her schtick is performative and not malicious. Toying with him has always been Nagatoro’s coping mechanism for showing affection.

She’s mortified when her sister sees her feeding Naoto, because she’d prefer to keep her thing with Naoto all to herself. It’s the same deal whenever her friends interfere or pry too much. She’s even willing to tell Senpai more about herself…if he can beat her at the video game they played before, and at which she’s been practicing.

While her improved play and ability to distract Senpai results in two straight wins, the decisive battle times out, and per their bet, the “secret” Naoto wants to learn is Nagatoro’s real first name. Not anything pervy. Nagatoro is caught off guard by the request, but realizes she’s never told him. But when she’s about to, he tells her he’d rather ask her fair and square than force her to by losing a bet. That ingratiates him with her even more.

And then, Anetoro goes and ruins their shit by bursting in and hollering her name—Hayase—and offering to show Naoto some albums of her when she was younger. She 1000% was eavesdropping, because this is surely the first and only boy Hayase has ever brought home, and she is also a Nagatoro, which means if someone can be messed with, you must mess with them!

Before departing, Hayase shows her genuine side first by thanking Naoto for checking on her and hanging out, then switches gears into Teasing Hayase by warning him that she’ll be back at school tomorrow to toy with him anew. Naoto’s comeback—”Have some mercy”, is delivered confidently, because he’s not loathing tomorrow; he’s looking forward to it. Also, now he knows her first name. If he ever needs to get her to simmer down with the aggressive teasing, he’s got that first-name bullet in the chamber.

We don’t have to wait till next week for Hayase to be back at school messing with Naoto, though when she strikes a Bruce Lee kicking pose and Naoto agrees they should go with that for his drawing, she has to hold that pose far longer than she had bargained for. Her thighs start barking at her, but she’s on pins and needles and can’t move. Then she stumbles and starts to fall.

Rather than hitting the ground, she lands on soft, fluffy Senpai. The two blush and scream and separate immediately, but it’s clear Hayase is impressed that he was able to move fast enough (and was bold enough) to break her fall. Of course, she covers that up with more teasing about whether he was trying to “get lucky”.

Then Naoto sneezes, and even before the preview confirmed it, I knew it would be Hayase’s turn to pay Naoto a house visit. After all, she just got over a cold, they just had a lot of contact with each other. It would be weird if he didn’t catch her cold!

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 03 – Tortoise and the Bunny Girl

This is a week of Naoto taking the initiative, which is progress! When Hayase heads to her homeroom for girl talk with her friends, she leaves her phone in the art clubroom. Rather than wait for her to come back, she heads down to the first-years’ hall and even asks one of them where Nagatoro’s classroom is.

It dawns on him he doesn’t know her first name beyond the “Hayacchi” nickname, but that’s enough for the girl to point him in the right direction. Unfortunately, when Hayase comes in with Sakura and two other friends, he panics, hides in the broom closet, and inadvertently eavesdrops.

It’s there where he hears Hayase reluctantly tell her friends that “her type” is someone she likes hanging out with. Someone…like Naoto? He ends up banging the side of the closet, and he’s lucky Hayase goes to check it out, distracts her friends, and gets him out of there.

Hayase thanks Naoto, but says he was being “actually creepy” in a very stern tone…and she’s right! Accident or not, Naoto shouldn’t be hiding in the broom closet of her classroom while she’s engaged in girl talk! This also pretty much confirms that when she says “creepy” and words like it, most of the time she doesn’t mean it.

Naoto wants to impress Hayase for once, so he actually practices running in preparation for the next school marathon. Unfortunately, he twists his ankle the night before, but it feels good enough to run the next day. That’s when Hayase and her friends catch up to him and challenge him to a race.

When the girls watch Sana running in bunny girl cosplay as performance art, they decide that they’ll help the tortoise (Naoto) beat the hare by giving him a boost. The train gets separated at a crosswalk, but Hayase and Naoto continue on their own.

When Naoto’s ankle barks at him again, Hayase can tell what’s up, and decides right then and there she’s not going to leave Senpai behind. She supports him and they walk in each others’ arms. When the pain gets worse, she insists he let her carry him on her back.

Naoto is impressed how far the tiny Hayase is able to carry him, but it becomes clear that even a “twiggy string bean” like him is a bit too much weight. Fortunately, Hayase’s pals meet back up, and propose a cavalry formation, with Paisen as the rider.

The combined strength of the four girls is enough to catch up to Sana. When she kicks into another gear, Yoshi takes point and makes herself big so the others are in her slipstream. They end up beating Sana to the finish, but are promptly disqualified for not running separately.

Nevertheless, it’s a wholesome and heartening exercise in which Hayase and her pals help Naoto out without any teasing, bullying, or insults. They’re just having fun out there!

Naoto’s final instance of taking the initiative is when Hayase doesn’t visit the club room for two straight days. Curious about her whereabouts (and apparently unable to message her) he asks Gamou and Yoshi, who are surprised he’s approaching them on his own for the first time.

They tell him Hayacchi has a cold, then do him a solid by handing him printouts to deliver. When no one answers the doorbell, Naoto worries Hayase is in dire straits and peeks in the window. As with delivering her phone to her classroom, good intentions lead to more “actually creepy” behavior.

This time he’s caught not by Hayase…but by her big sister! She snaps a photo and threatens to report him to the police, but he tells her he’s from Hayase’s school and has brought her printouts and a gift, the sister softens her stance, now that she’s finally in the presence of “the Senpai.” Clearly, she’s heard a bit about him!

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 02 – Her Favorite Animal

Sana-senpai pays Naoto a visit for the first time since the art festival, and suggests he go the zoo to reignite his passion for drawing, reminding him that love is the most important aspect of art. Hayase only catches the tail end of the conversation, in which Sana orders him to make Hayase “come with him.” She googles “zoo date” on her phone and gets super excited.

An awkward battle of wills ensues, in which Hayase blushes and eagerly awaits a proper invitation, and Naoto attempts the most roundabout, least propositional way to invite her. Eventually the right combination of words comes out of his mouth, enabling Hayase to say what she would have said no matter how he asked her: Yes.

When Hayase meets Naoto at the zoo, it looks every bit like the proper date, but she didn’t realize he invited her so they could draw animals. She’s initially grumpy, but when he offers to walk around with her instead, she decides to make lemonade. It’s also an opportunity to tease him into teaching her “hand-in-hand”, but she eventually get serious and has fun drawing.

Hayase’s drawings aren’t nearly as precise and realistic as Naoto’s, but they have an essential charm to them (like Hayase herself), and Naoto is honest when he tells her she’s getting much better, which brightens her up to no end. When she goes to the washroom, Naoto is approached by two annoying “it” people who start laughing at Hayase’s drawings. Naoto gets up and speaks up for Hayase, saying it’s wrong to laugh at people doing their best.

This only incurs the guy’s irritation, but before things get nasty Hayase comes to the rescue, asking what exactly the couple wants with his senpai. While she then tosses a flurry of insults at him for being such a wimpy wimp, the truth is she overheard him defending her, which truly touched her and led to her wanting to protect him that much more.

Before they leave for the day they agree to one more animal drawing. Naoto asks what Hayase’s favorite is, and she points to a sloth enclosure. But while Naoto draws the sloth up close, Hayase sketches further away, revealing that she was actually drawing him.

Naoto is sore about her teasing him once more, but on closer inspection he determines that while it’s not the best drawing, it’s drawn with care, further reinforcing Sana’s words about love being the most important element of art.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack – 01 – Sushi Violation

Whether you identify as a Hayase or Naoto, if you liked the first season of Don’t Toy with Me, you’re in luck: the “second attack” isn’t rocking any boats. It also thankfully doesn’t push any reset buttons. Hayase still teases Naoto and calls him names, but the two are a lot closer after all their experiences last season.

Both that comfort and their dynamic is reflected back at them in the meta stinger, in which Naoto is reading about an underclassman who makes her student council president senpai her slave after she catches him cheating. Naoto identifies with the put-upon four-eyes, while Hayase identifies with the conniving kohai.

Another key part of the dynamic is that the embarrassment is never a one-way street. Hayase gets her wish when water is accidentally spilled on her new loafer. When Naoto stoops over, she panics: is he actually going to lick it off like the prez in the manga? But no, he just wipes it off with a hanky.

Naoto has also grown to the point where he actually considers taking the initiative in terms of suggesting things they can do together. This is undermined when he hesitates to greet her and she accuses him of acting like a stalker. This leads to a lesson in high school girl greetings, all of which involve either violence or close contact.

Naturally, Naoto messes up and trips while contemplating how to greet Hayase, and ends up accidentally copping a feel. When she shoves him back, he’s caught by Hayase’s friend Gamou, and we know Hayase always prefers to have Naoto to herself.

In the next segment she gets just that, whipping out a pair of black tights since it’s getting cold out. When she senses Naoto is a little disappointed he won’t get to see her bare legs as usual, she asks him to put them on for her. This is where Hayase once again gets more than she bargained for, as Naoto isn’t he only one who gets a little too excited by the ensuing close contact.

The reason for the tights is the two are going out to an after-party at a conveyor sushi restaurant with Gamou, Yoshi and Sakura. Hayase doesn’t put on any airs in inviting Naoto even though it’ll be him and four girls, and Naoto doesn’t hesitate to accept the invite.

Once there, he worries they only got him so he could work for them getting the sushi they want off the conveyor. But then Hayase leans over him to grab his preferred fish, and announces that everyone should treat him with respect and dignity “just for today” in acknowledgment of his hard work at the festival. They also treat him with their profits selling straps.

When the other girls make special sushi combos just for Naoto, and he exclaims that they’re all delicious, Hayase’s jealous side comes out, and she overcompensates by making a “dirty joke sushi” that puts everyone off (combining cod roe and soft roe to make a “pregnant sushi”).

But while the others make faces and comments that make Hayase blush with embarrassment, Naoto knows just what to do. He tastes the sushi she made for him, and what do you know, it’s good too! Like him, Hayase doesn’t always react the best to being teased, so it’s nice to see him have her back here.

I’m definitely glad these lovable goofballs are back in my life, and looking forward to Hayase devising new methods to toy with Naoto, Naoto unveiling new reaction noises, and the two generally becoming closer as a couple.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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