Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 11
「山口さんちの賢二くん」 (Yamaguchi-sanchi no Kenji-kun)
“The Yamaguchis’ Son, Kenji-kun”
From the sounds of this title, one would assume that the focus of this episode is on Yamaken. Although that is true, it’s also very misleading because I thought the latter half of the episode gave a great deal of character background to Haru as well. I do not claim to be a Yamaken or Haru fan because I think they both have their faults (as well as good points) and I think from a female perspective, it’s sometimes very hard to see both their intentions. Especially from Mitty’s POV, she’s someone who already lacks EI (or some people call it EQ) and although it might be very obvious from a third party (like Natsume), it’s very hard for Mitty to understand what’s going on with Haru and Yamaken. I want to dive a little deeper into these three individuals… and I’m sorry for stepping away from the other characters (for now) but hey! The majority of the episode was indeed focused on these three.
Starting with Yamaken who had a very brief introductory speech about his past… If there’s one thing that I give him credit for, it’s his honesty – with himself. He’s not necessarily very open about his affections towards Mitty, but at least he knows that he likes her which is better than being in self-denial. He also mentions that he has no problems getting girls; it must be the whole bad boy attitude plus he’s smart! Even Mitty isn’t blind to that, but it takes on a whole new meaning when the person you’re attracted to also says that they think you’re “appealing”. I think Yamaken likes Mitty because she’s different, but also someone that he’s grown an attachment to without realizing it. I mentioned before (in a comment somewhere) that if you go through life expecting people to treat you like a prince, and they always treat you like a prince… you won’t notice person A from person B. This is why Yamaken has no problems turning these people down. Mitty is different though because she treats him indifferently. To the point that he feels like he holds no spot in her heart/mind… And that leads to his competitive nature against Haru – for Mitty’s affections. I can’t tell you if he’ll succeed or not… (probably not since this isn’t a story focused on Yamaken) but from the state of things, Yamaken doesn’t sound like he’ll give up easily.
Haru’s past takes over halfway through and I was actually surprised to see so much of his history revealed this episode. And if I was more honest, I didn’t expect there to be so much drama in his past – not just with his brother, but clearly he’s had to move a few times. If I had to make a few predictions, I would guess that Haru’s mother passed away (probably giving birth to him) and thus why Yuuzan hates him so much – for taking away their mother. At the same time, Yuuzan and Haru are blood siblings and it’s hard to just neglect your younger brother. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be Haru, and it seems like he has a lot of internal issues to deal with. I’m sure this has been discussed multiple times (either by commenters, bloggers or Haru/Mitty) so I will not overkill it. I only wanted to add that Haru probably sees Mitty as an escape from his past. She’s someone who doesn’t view him as violent or crazy (although she does see him as a rival in school) and best of all; I love how Mitty doesn’t judge. Luckily for Haru, Mitty also happens to return his feelings and that’s great reassurance to him that he has someone to depend on. Is it enough though? From personal observations, it seems like Haru is looking for more. He keeps saying “I want you.” and I’m sure that’s not in the sexual way (or is it? O_o)… he probably means that he needs her to be there. He likes her companionship, her company and he uses it as a way to avoid the thoughts and memories.
As for Mitty herself… I’ve said before that I love her. I love her sarcasm and her bluntness and just her overall uncaring exterior that seems to drive a lot of attention. Of course, Mitty’s already changed a lot since the first episode. She’s shown signs of concern and love and slowly (very slowly), I’m sure she’s going to start realizing that school is not always the top priority. In the meantime, it is – and what Yamaken and Haru don’t see is that, she’s not intentionally trying to hurt them, she’s just preoccupied. She doesn’t bring her lunch to avoid a date with you, and she’s not sitting in classes to make you jealous. You can also say that it’s her downfall for being so tunnel-visioned, because Mitty doesn’t have the best sense when it comes to relationships and empathizing with others (Natsume on the other hand is great at that in my opinion). This is where that “wall” comes in between her and Haru. What happens after the “I love you’s” have been said and you still feel a gap between the two of you? This is something that I feel has to be resolved by both Mitty and Haru. I’m definitely more interested in this aspect of their relationship than the third wheel (sorry Yamaken!) because a relationship is about more than just admitting your feelings. It’s how you carry on as a couple afterwards that determines whether or not you stay together.
Wow… that was a long post. I feel like in the process of discussing the psyche of Mitty, Haru and Yamaken I’ve missed out on a lot of the other characters as well so I’ll briefly mention them. Ooshima’s friend shows up… staring at Yamaken. Not quite sure what kind of role she’ll play but she’s in the OP so that must mean something! There’s also the ending piece with Natsume standing outside the batting range. I don’t see her as someone that would confess her little crush out loud, but I’m also scared that she’s turning a bit into a stalker. We’ll see how this develops later on because it might conflict with our groups’ handout spot.
Note: Zanibas is still alive and well folks! He’s just preoccupied with real life priorities so I’ve been assigned to write this week’s episode in his absence. Wish him the best of luck so he can get back to writing soon!