Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 13 (Fin)

Shizuku is home alone studying when Haru bursts in asking if she’s “seen him”. Before she can find out what he’s talking about, he’s gone, and left his phone behind. He does the same thing to Natsume (his net), Sasayan (his goggles) and Yamaken (his gloves and keys). Yuu comes across a rooster and sends a photo to Ooshima, who tells her it’s Haru’s. Shizuku crosses paths with her while on a rice run, and they go to the closed batting center, where Natsume, Sasayan, and Yamaken are assembled. On her way home, Shizuku bumps into Haru on the steps, where he tells her he’s looking for a firefly. Sure enough, both of them spot it as it flies off into the night.

This finale takes pretty much every character and shuffles them around here and there, all motivated by Haru’s strange (even for him) behavior and penchant for shedding belongings. It’s a clever way to say farewell to everyone, although as narrator Shizuku laments, there’s a lot more she wanted to say about them: Natsume, Sasayan, Yamaken, Ooshima, Nagoya…and Haru, who she still can’t quite come to terms with her feelings for him. She doesn’t mind being with him, but isn’t sure she could ever match his intense innocence and sincerity. To which we’d respond, why try to? Haru isn’t looking for a more peppy Shizuku; he’s fine with her the way she is (as long as she stays away from Yamaken, of course.)

She should be fine with the way she is too. She is working hard, but is still able to occasionally spend time with not only Haru, but her other friends who legitimately care about her. Why is she so obsessed with understanding why they care about her, or why he loves her, or matching those feelings precisely? This whole series she’s been fretting so much about how to proceed with a relationship with Haru, she’s overlooked the fact that she’s already in one. She’s his handler; his tamer; the one who makes his life more fun when she’s around. He’s her release valve from a dour, tedious life of study and work; someone who makes her heart beat faster. Quit over-analyzing everything and just enjoy the ride, Missy!


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 03

Shizuku takes back her confession, and Haru says he’s relieved. Sasayan cannot keep Nagoya the Rooster at his house anymore, so a “School Rooster Committee” is formed and plans for a coop are drawn up. Shizuku, Haru, Sasayan and Natsume use the weekend to gather materials. Haru’s former buddies reach out to Shizuku, who recommends they “make peace” with Haru by helping them build the coop, which is finished by evening. Haru reiterates his love for her, and Shizuku caves and re-confesses. Haru gets a text about a guy named Yuzan visiting his house, and begs Shizuku to spend the night at her house.

We can’t tell you how refreshing and satisfying it is to have a female lead who is blunt, direct, and doesn’t keep things bottled up for more than the length of an episode. It took Sawako two bloody seasons to get as far as Shizuku has gotten with Haru – and we’re not talking about bases. Shizuku initially makes an incorrect assumption from Haru’s reaction to her saying she was “lying” about loving him. It eats away at her, so she decides laying everything out is better than continuing on in a frustrating limbo. She is rewarded for her honesty and forthrightness by learning that Haru is happy she loves him, and wants to be with her; he was only scared of losing her if his love was “different” from hers. The touching scene is brought to an rude, abrupt, and amusing close through perfect use of the loud text alert.

The contents of the text rattle him, and he insists on staying at her place, where she cooks him dinner, lets him bathe, and sets up a futon in the guest room. She may be a recovering anti-socialite, but her hosting skills are above reproach…she’s a keeper! But she senses unease in Haru after that text. He’s running away from something and isn’t telling her. He should; as he himself has said, only good things have come from relying on her. A few nice details: the dramatically-scored scene of Nagoya settling into his new coop; we admire how everyone knows immediately what kind of ice cream they want (it takes us forever!); and Shizuku’s conservative “granny-style” going-out clothes are adorable and true to character.


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. Natsume Asako’s name is just one letter removed from Brains Base masterpiece Mawaru Penguindrum’s Natsume Masako. To learn more about the rooster’s namesake, Nagoya Cochin chicken, click here.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 02

Shizuku tries to eat her strange new feelings away with Monjayaki, to no avail. She notices Haru would have gotten a higher score than him had he only written his name. Haru also adopts a rooster. On the way home, a small, cute girl named Natsume Asako begs Shizuku to help her study so she won’t have to take remedial classes so she can go to an offline gathering. Shizuku refuses but Haru agrees to tutor if she’ll bring him along.

Haru’s longtime classmate Sasayan approaches Shizuku to get an impression of her. She decides to help Natsume as well, pulling an all-nighter with her. Natsume passes, and takes Haru along as promised, but he ruins everything. Shizuku dozes off on the roof and awakens with her head in Haru’s lap. He insists she skip class and keep napping. She tells him she loves him.

Shizuku initially approaches her sudden situation as if it were some kind of affliction; something to be solved like an equation. But no logic or reason will slow her heart or un-pinken her face when in the presence of Yoshida Haru. In short, she’s fallen for him, she just has to come around to realizing it. And she does so, in record time! Seriously, two confessions in the first two episodes and we have ourselves a couple. You have to admire the efficiency. And aside from some invasions of personal space and one rough face grab, Haru generally behaves himself.

This week also introduced a couple of new characters in Natsume and Sasayan. Natsume is an interesting parallel to both Shizuku and Haru in that all three have had trouble getting closer to others, albeit for different reasons (she’s offputtingly cute, apparently . That said, we enjoyed her energy and how her struggle to pass her test so she can make friends – making other friends in the process – helps Shizuku realize that what she’s feeling isn’t a nuisance. Haru’s changed her world. That change isn’t bad…just new.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Car Cameo: There’s a white Mazda2/Demio parked outside the monja place.