Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 06

Overcome by feelings for Haru, Shizuku finds it difficult to concentrate and her chest hurts when she’s near him. Distressed by her plummeting mock exam scores, she aims to jettison unwanted distractions. She refuses to participate in her friends’ attempts to solve the problem Ooshima’s lack of friends. As Ooshima falls harder for Haru, Shizuku tells Haru she’s no longer attracted to him, and wants to focus on her future and studying.

This week Shizuku gets a rival in the shy, quiet, but cute Ooshima, who is particularly prone to feverishly quick internal monologue and the occasional outburst when Haru misinterprets Shizuku’s words. Ooshima finds herself in the middle of what she thinks is a lovers’ quarrel. But Shizuku doesn’t care about the potential competition Ooshima offers. By episode’s end, she’s decided to regress a bit, in light of the negative effect her attraction to Haru is having on her studies.

Shizuku remembers a night she was going to go see fireworks with her family, but her mom was too busy, so they stayed home, and she studied. She never got any goldfish, and the pot in the yard stayed empty. She learned to enjoy studying. She wants to be busy and successful like her mom, and right now, she doesn’t think she can achieve that when she’s constantly thinking about Haru, so now she’s trying to convince herself that she’s not interested anymore. It’s logical, but it leaves us a little cold nearly halfway through the series.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 05

Yuzan asks Shizuku for an audience, and Shizuku agrees, curious about Haru. He tells her how Haru was kicked out of the house three years ago and went to live with Mitsuyoshi (where he studied in his spare time). Haru and Yuzan’s father wants him to return home so he can send Haru to a “school he can influence”, but Yuzan personally wants Haru to stay put, and asks Shizuku to make that happen. Haru arrives to “rescue” her, and she makes him hear Yuzan out. He agrees to Yuzan’s plan, but still doesn’t trust him. Shizuku tells Haru not to let her get in the way if he wants to really go home, but he tells her he wants to be with her. Ooshima thanks Haru for saving her and then falls for him right in front of Shizuku.

Shizuku is in love with the Haru she knows, but lurking somewhere out of sight are various jigsaw pieces that make up the complete picture of who he is. Frustrated with not knowing which pieces he’s willing to reveal to her and where he draws the line, she takes the opportunity to learn more when it presents itself in the form of Yuzan. But where Haru conceals those pieces out of worry they’ll threaten his relationship with Shizuku, we’re not sure why Yuzan is hiding things. He relays his father’s desire for Haru to come home, but he doesn’t want him home. He implies “they’ll end up killing each other” if he does and laughs a lot, but the laughing and cheerful small talk about sweets hides his true intentions vis-a-vis Haru. Haru likes directness and honesty, which is one of the reasons he likes Shizuku. Yuzan has neither, and so it’s impossible to trust him.

When he forbids Shizuku from talking to Yuzan again, he’s so caught up in tying her best interests with his that he doesn’t realize he’s giving Shizuku an order he has no authority to give. She stands firm in rejecting that order, and even his “I thought you loved me” card doesn’t sway her. In the end though, they grow closer, once they’re once again honest in what they want: Shizuku will be sad if he goes, and Haru doesn’t want to go home to the “den of evil”. Those positions would seem to align with Yuzan, but who knows. And then there’s a potential new love interest in the bespectacled Ooshima (Hanazawa Kana in Shy Mode), pefectly poised to misinterpret Haru’s general kindness with romantic feelings; the next wrench to be thrown into the gears of Shizuku and Haru’s courtship.

Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. It’s nominally fun to see the characters playing other roles, but the Edo-period omake “preview” is really neither here nor there.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 04

Haru ranks first and Shizuku ranks second in class rankings as Summer break approaches, but Shizuku manages to make up points by contesting an answer with her teacher. When Shizuku suggests Haru stop glaring at everyone, he stops, and every girl instantly falls for him. The constant posse around him makes Shizuku jealous. When he sees Ooshima Chizuru being bullied by an upperclassman, he gets into a fight which he easily wins, but Shizuku gets him out of there before he can do too much damage.

Haru wins a bet, and Shizuku goes with him on a mountain fishing trip along with Mi-chan, Sasayan and Natsume. When they get back, she meets his older brother Yuzan, whom Haru runs away from. He snaps when she tries to pry, but later apologizes. He asks Shizuku what to do for her since she’s always jumping in to save him; she tells him to take her on a date.

Shizuku decided to regard Haru’s remarks last week about the two of them “possibly not loving each other in the same way” to mean “initial rejection!”, and as such believes she needs to do more work in order to make Haru love her the way she wants him to…or something. Doing so proves elusive and matters aren’t helped when she inadvertently gives him sound advice and the slight adjustment in his behavior nets him swarms of comely admirers. Also notable: we were expecting Shizuku to deny being jealous, but instead she doesn’t. So honest!

His sudden popularity makes Haru more unapproachable, until he gets himself into trouble and Shizuku swoops in to put a leash on him, saving him from another possible suspension moments after Sasayan relayed his hopes that this time, this time Haru may be able to get through school. Haru had a brief and vicious stint in middle school, you see, but because Haru once helped Sasayan out, he’s pulling for him. Shizuku is too, clearly, because she acts in his best interests not merely to protect others from the brute, but because she’s in love with him, and believes he’s kind at heart.

Their little post-fight scene when he starts rubbing the bruise on her forehead is brimming with excellent romantic tension, and Sasayan executes a brutal shutdown when he turns the corner to interrupt. Then there’s the Yuzan Problem. Haru “hates” him and goes to great lengths to avoid contact. He won’t say why, but Shizuku thinks there’s something off about the big bro, and we tend to agree. There has to be a reason Haru used to be so short-tempered and vicious, and still has difficulty controlling himself. Yuzan may have something to do with that.

Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. Advice for Haru on the upcoming date: make it one-on-one. Don’t let it suddenly turn into a double date with a former conquest of yours who’ll corner Shizuku when you’re not looking, berate her, and brag to her about doing erotic stuff with you in the past.