Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 12
「年は暮れゆく」 (Toshi wa Kure Yuku)
“The Year Draws to a Close”
I wasn’t really expecting any sort of single-character focus this late into the game, but it definitely came as a pleasant surprise! While slowly nudging the story into place for the finale, we get to see more of the beloved Asako Natsume! Rejoice at the many screencaps devoted to her range of facial expressions!
Some of you may have noticed that my post is relatively late as compared to when I usually post. While part of that may have been whiplash recovery from finals, a large part of the delay was thinking…”how am I going to put my heart into this one?”
You see, concerning Natsume’s problems…they’re legitimate and I can absolutely understand where she’s coming from, but the ability for me to relate to her situation just isn’t there. I actually kind of wish that Cherrie had pitched her thoughts for this episode as well, since Natsume’s situation is probably more often resonates with the female gender (not that guys can be affected by it too). I wouldn’t know how it feels to have the opposite gender fawn over you, preventing interaction with the same gender. Natsume, I’m a little jelly of you, a little disconnected from your situation, but if there’s one thing I can understand fully, it’s your desire to latch onto your newfound friends.
Mi-chan-san said “There’s no such place” in response to Natsume wanting to build an eternal “fantasy world” where fun is abound and no one gets hurt. While Natsume may have to eventually face the reality of change, right now…I feel she is justified in wanting to create this fantasy. Her school life, her home life, and especially so her social life…most of it was void for much of her time growing up. Unfortunately, it’s hard for the internet to fill the void of human contact, and it’s easy to fool internet friends contrary to how you actually feel. Now that she’s found an anchor, a reassurance that “you don’t have to be lonely,” it’s understandable she’d try to protect said friendship to the point of even possible denial.
Thus, by the end of this episode, many thoughts must be floating around Natsume’s mind.
First…although she wants to help out Haru and Mitty, she’s afraid that they’ll fill each other’s gaps such that Natsume is left out of the picture. If the epilogue was any indicator of Natsume’s shady thoughts…it’s quite possible that she could end up being another temporary wrench in our true couple’s reparations, all to protect her inclusion, to protect Haru’s statement that she’ll never have to be alone.
Second…although she believes she distrusts guys with a passion, Natsume finds herself trusting the opposite gender. It’s interesting though how Natsume makes exception cases for each male that’s earned her trust, rather than re-evaluating her viewpoint of guys as a whole. She still has this fear that if she gives into the guys too much, her life will fall apart again. Wanting to remove any risks, especially those from experience, is understandable, but are points Asako will have to eventually grow out from. It’s a transitional period right now for Natsume, where reversing years of distrust is going to take awhile. Hell, if I were in Asako’s situation, I’d probably do the same…I already avoid people’s eyes like the plague, avoiding their affection would be easy!
Lastly, what Sasayan calls “perfectly natural”, now comes at a strangely awkward moment for Natsume. Although she is transitioning herself to trust guys more, even if it’s not explicit, she still has already fallen for Mi-chan-san, and admittedly confessed to him in a poetic…yet undoubtedly ambiguous (and therefore lost on Mi-chan-san) manner. However, if the first 10 seconds of episode one were any indication of anything, we can already guess at what the outcome of this crush for an older guy will be. How Natsume will react to this though (after the crying)…we can’t know.
But hell, you know who who’d? Sasayan would. If only he’d mobilize himself to be in the right spot at the right moment and do the right thing, he’d be in a perfect spot to be there for Natsume…something he hasn’t had many chances to do! I do applaude him for being blunt with Natsume’s obvious crush, but man, be prepared for when she gets rejected! Sasayan is an observant and calm character, which I like about him. His patience, while something that can be irritable when it lacks results, will probably be the trait of him that earns the most respect from Natsume. He’s a guy that doesn’t like to rush things and does things for others, as evidenced by him constantly trying to be a bro for his lovestricken friend. In a way, he is the support character that hides behind Natsume’s actions, who supports the support and makes small strategic nudges to advance the plot. To be honest, I think such potential for Sasayan is wasted as a secondary character…though his “from the back” influence is a nice subtle touch to the show. I hope one day we can get an episode where we finally see him in the spotlight and go through his thought processes, just as we have with Yamaken and Natsume.
But alas, the season ends next week, its future determined by how well the merchandise and discs sell. So far, it’s been a great run with you all, and once again, the last being Nazo no Kanojo X, it’ll be hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful romance.