Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 06
「彼女達の憂鬱な日々」 (Kanojo-tachi no Yūutsuna Hibi)
“Girls’ Melancholy Days”
The title definitely doesn’t lie–Shizuku, Chizuru, and Natsume all experience some degree of sadness this week, with each handling the situation uniquely. While Chizuru stands up for others and Natsume reaches out to Mitty, Shizuku takes a step back and…closes herself off. It’s definitely been an interesting episode to mull about, and one I hope we can all talk about deeply in the comments. How much pain is Shizuku hiding behind that apparent veil of truth? Do you agree with Yuuzan when he says truth isn’t always a virtue? So many questions to ask, and so much material to cover…
While there still are moments in the show that have made me grin (prime example being the ‘balls’ scene), those moments have given way to a new tone in the series. I don’t know if it was due to the ridiculous pace this episode, or if it’s just me, but the interactions between the characters…something uncanny could be felt. Something…awkward has been seeped into the group of friends. Even in the Omake do the vibes feel negative…as the tone of Mitty’s voice betrays her words. While Haru and Mitty are still being honest to each other…they are hiding their true selves back behind the “honesty” they feel comfortable revealing. The two have reached that point of the relationship where the raw emotion has started to subside, and reality is starting to kick in. The two have reached that point where the validity of their feelings will be challenged–was it merely uncontrollable emotions like Mitty said, or will there finally be that final push to finally give in to one another…to be 100% honest rather than be a strategic 90%, to brace through the struggles together rather than blaming themselves.
Mitty, for awhile, has been patiently waiting for Haru to return her feelings back not in a blunt yet non-serious way as he usually does, but one where you can stare him in the eyes and say, “he’s serious”. Time has passed though, and unfortunately, the changes in Mitty’s life have impacted the one thing she could rely on before: her grades. From the flashbacks we can infer that grades to Mitty mean a whole lot more than she currently lets on. Perhaps her aspiration is to ensure that her own future family is financially secure, to follow the footsteps of her mother. Thus, we have Shizuku “reeling back” so that she can find a balance between her future financial happiness and her current emotional happiness. However, the fatal flaw that Mitty exercises in this case (at least, in my honest opinion) is that she’s trying too hard to compartmentalize her work and personal life, all while trying to figure it out alone.
Why would Mitty invite Haru to the library if he is a distraction towards her studies? Why would Shizuku say that the problem is herself and not Haru? It’s all because Mitty wishes to be in control of her situation again…but is struggling with that control. Mitty, while honestly desiring more time to study, also desires to be with Yoshida more, and not just as a friend. Although the two polars don’t necessarily conflict with one another, Mitty is treating the situation as if it were, which places a huge strain on both. Mitty can’t study and the both of them are acting at an awkward level of 9001. While Haru needs to hurry up and give Mitty a clear answer (or at least explain more in detail why he can’t give a clear answer), Mitty now has some stuff to work on as well. It’s understandable how the passage of time may have dulled her attraction to Haru, but her actions aren’t lying–she’s not revealing her entire story to Haru, and she has to do that with the willingness of letting Haru help solve those problems. That is what Yuuzan meant when he said that “honesty isn’t always a virtue”–you can be honest, that’s for sure, but honesty for the sake of dishonestly hiding other things…that is a questionable act we need to examine. Without the willingness of Haru and Mitty to fall, trusting the other person will catch them, their relationship will be strained by their current refusal to open up to one another. I truly pity the two–they’re hurting so much more than they let on–but it’s a challenge they must overcome to find a happy balance.
I could rant on and on about this, but there are two other girls who also have their share of melancholy! Haru definitely isn’t the only one who can help Mitty. Natsume, now feeling the distance from Mitty as well, desires to impart her knowledge of romance and relationships onto the inexperienced Mitty. While her pushy nature may conflict directly with Shizuku’s reserved persona, as a friend, she is justified in looking out for Mitty. Her advice might be clouded in a bunch of silliness, such as pointing out Chizuru and her status as a rival, but she definitely means well. Yuuzan, once again, in his infinite wisdom, notes to Natsume that Haru and Mitty will need the advice eventually. Mi-chan, in a more humbling and humane way, states that love isn’t a one-person deal, hinting that Natsume will definitely be playing a bigger role in these next few episodes–a much needed development for, currently, an under-appreciated character. Go Natsume! Use your infinite knowledge from the internet to solve this awkward situation! Heck, if you need to use another voodoo charm, do so! Make sure Mitty doesn’t revert back to who she was!
But alas, the last, yet definitely not least happens to be HanaKana and Chizuru. Her monologues definitely hit the spot on why some people in her situation act like they do, and to an extent, I can identify with those issues. Some of us just wish that things would fix themselves and beg us to join them…but at the same time, we feel that we’re not worthy to join them in their merriment. There’s this complex that hangs over our heads that fears that if we hang out with people, they’ll think badly of us if we make a mistake, and then leave us to be lonely once more. This fear of disappointing people, but having a desire to still be with people, closely mirrors the description of the hedgehog dilemma as a minor variant. Thus, as a consequence, without the inertia to break those preconceived notions, Chizuru watches from far away and doesn’t seek conflict with anyone, in order to somehow appease people and their hidden fangs. That build-up then made Chizuru’s “balls” outbreak all the more satisfying, as it completely broke new ground for her character. While we have seen similar outbreaks of this nature in other anime (b-b-b-baka), for me, it still doesn’t get old. Chizuru, while she doesn’t seem destined to be with Haru, definitely got some balls rolling (fu fu fu) for herself and for Haru. Her situation wasn’t the most unique or surprising for me, but her character is solid in execution and reacts humorously to Haru’s bluntness. Now, if we could just figure out who this Yuu-chan is…
Again, there’s so much I’d like to talk about, but those are the main points I wished to bring up. The pacing in this episode definitely picked up a LOT, so it was quite a bit to digest the first time around. I actually am considering re-watching this episode to make sure I didn’t miss any nuances, since it tackled so many people’s problems in such a short time period. Mity’s past, Chizuru’s “Yuu-chan”, and Natsume’s desire to fit with the group are all still unsolved mysteries–hopefully next episode provides the answers to the many questions brought up this week.