OP Sequence

OP: 「Q&A リサイタル!」 (Q&A Recital!) by 戸松 遥 (Haruka Tomatsu)

「となりの吉田くん」 (Tonari no Yoshida-kun)
“Sitting Next to Yoshida-kun”

It’s been some time since I’ve blogged a pure and vanilla romantic comedy, but the excitement I get when they’re well executed still hasn’t dulled. Mizutani Shizuku (Tomatsu Haruka), a study-holic, meets Yoshida Haru (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), a paranoid, naive, honest idiot. Whilst Mizutani and Yoshida seem like polar opposites, the common theme that brings them together is their comparatively small social lives. Whilst Mizutani trades off socialization for studies, Yoshida is completely inept in socializing in a normal manner, though his attempts are filled with honesty. This naturally leaves holes for the other to fill, creating the drive for the plot. Throw in some confessional tendencies, awkwardly hilarious socialization, and you’ve got Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun!

The first episode doesn’t break much ground in terms of the genre, and almost every element in the show can be traced back to another romantic comedy that did it first. However…

…I couldn’t get rid of the ridiculous grin I had on the entire episode.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is a great example of executing excellence with the “tried-and-true” of romantic comedy elements. Throughout the episode, I was reminded of my favorite romantic comedy–His and Her Circumstances–that shares many characteristics with the show. The smart and studious girl whose surface persona is broken by an unusual guy who foils her plans for studying–practically the same in Kare Kano except for the personalities. Both shows have a confession in their first episode, except Tonari goes the extra mile…fu fu fu. Both include socially inept characters who will undoubtedly gain friends as the series progresses, both have the female protagonist eventually associate shallowness with beating another person’s grades, and both share that slightly wacky atmosphere that lightens up the mood, but can recede for the serious moments.

But I don’t hold those similarities against Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun at all. In fact, I applaud it for making me feel nostalgic about a show I hold dearly in my heart, and for executing itself in a wonderful manner. It’s not about whether it does something new…but rather that it does something that makes me feel warm inside. Let’s expand on why, shall we?

The colors chosen for the show are cheerful, warm, and rich, both for the foreground characters and the background. While the color palette cheers up the mood, it also is key in making those heartwarming moments feel even more fuzzy on the inside. I’m quite positive that those sunset scenes would not have been emotional without the warm colors to accompany them. These colors happen to accent the art style, which I admire Brains Base for executing so well. Though the art style is simple, it is done with care and quality. It was a pleasure to look through the abundance of screencaps–pick any scene, and a majority of those frames would be picture-worthy. Although some body proportions seem slightly out of place, as seen in some of the image pans, the character designs are nicely proportioned and designed. Yoshida’s hair does remind me though of Houtaro’s own hair from Hyouka. I guess the messy look is popular these days! Mizu’s own hairstyle–fairly neat and simple–reflects well on her character, and makes for a great contrast when things don’t go according to plan.

Moving from the art and more towards the directing, people have got to admit: the story went pretty fast this episode. Those of you who followed my posts for Moyashimon Returns and Nazo no Kanojo X can attest to the varying effects of taking on a fast pace, but hopefully you guys would agree with me in saying that the pace works for this episode. I’ll grant that some parts of the episode did get rushed over, example being Mizu and Yoshida’s “melancholy” montage, but for the most part, it flowed very well. The show doesn’t get bogged down in character introductions; it jumps straight into the romance and right into the character conflicts. The focus on the two characters, another tried and true development for romantic comedies, allows for the fast pace to work, and allows us to focus properly on the characters that’ll matter the most in this story.

And boy oh boy, do we have interesting characters as our leads. Smart female characters with ability have always been my softspot *cough*TomoyoandYukino*cough*, and Mizu is no exception. She gives off this tsundere air that isn’t as overt as a typical tsundere, and knows when to open up and exactly how much, without breaking her character completely. Her control is quite remarkable given the circumstances, though it’s a hilarious sight when said control slips momentarily. Yoshida makes the perfect partner to trigger these slips, as a good version of the honest idiot. Yeah, he’s got that amazing IQ, but as we’ve seen time and time again…that doesn’t really apply in a romantic comedy if your social intelligence is in the negative. He’s got the heart though, and a pretty face and body to boot, so…fanclub anyone?

Other than their wonderful qualities, the one thing that stood out between the two–their ability to be considerate. HOT DAMN. Perhaps the sweetest part of the episode was when Suzu and Yoshida exchanged kindness; quick character development like this is actually hard to find in a romantic comedy. Usually it doesn’t end up being until the very end of a series (if at all) that characters begin changing their attitudes towards a person, much less in a permanent manner. I hope that such “listening and acting” skills reflect throughout the entire series, for that is the icing on top of this excellent romantic comedy that I’ll be looking forward to from now on.

In summary, if you like romantic comedies, you should be checking out the first episode. It borrows some formulas from other shows, but it executes them with quality, and even throws in a small twist of its own. Although I will still give a three episode impression, I definitely feel that the rest of the show will follow in the first episode’s footsteps.

Oh yeah! For those of you wondering if I’ll pick up Tonari officially…how this show will impact my schedule is still up in the air, so I’m not making any guarantees (except up to episode three), and I’d blog this in a heartbeat if I didn’t have that uncertainty. I hope that it does work out though, because I’ve fallen in love with this show! Monja! Monja! Monja! ^_^

P.S – The Christmas-themed ED really flowed well with the last scene, don’t you think?

P.S.S – 13 extra images, all full length, just for you guys!

Full-length images: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53.


ED Sequence

ED: 「White Wishes」 by 9nine



    1. gonna do the same especially when the anime cliche goes straight to the cliche for better development! I just love it, because it brushed off most love genre cliche, to improve the characters actual love. Yay

  1. Does anyone know how long this will run? i’m hesitant about picking this up since ann has 12 episodes and … they story will … not seem to fit very well in so few episodes…ty!

  2. Awesome just plain awesome!!!

    Oh man, I hate Yamaken and lots of you people will hate him soon(if the anime even covers that part of the manga)
    So lively, I didn’t expect it to be so colorful but it worked out quite well. I still dislike the part where Haru punched Shizuku in the face though, I disliked it in the manga too.

    Looking forward to the future episodes~~

      1. That’s hen (lol)
        I love Yamaken. He comes off a jerk but later on in the series he gets better Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Judging by Pixiv and other things…yeah Yamaken is popular as hell.
        (Yamaken’s twenty(?) pages verses the rest of the characters who have three or less.)

        I don’t think I can word this very well or if what I’m going on about it accurate (my memory is fuzzy), but the thing about Yamaken is
        Show Spoiler ▼

      3. I think the reason for Yamaken’s popularity is that almost all of us can relate to him. A guy who knows he’s lost the battle but doesn’t give up. Or. . . he’s just relatively fucking awesome.


    1. I too felt a little shifty when that happened, but at least he doesn’t differentiate between genders, does he? I also like to look at it as an actual negative aspect, which flaws his character…a bad thing and a good thing at the same time.

      So while we do shift in our chairs, I think that was the point, ja?

      1. I agree. When the knock out happened, it was very surprising, but also played off a little humorously by the animators (or maybe it’s just the color pallet that lightened the mood?).

        The punch it self showed us a few things about both characters.
        For Haru we see:
        1) He gets caught up in the moment
        2) He tris to do what’s right
        3) He’s completely oblivious to the fact that he just messed up big time until it’s pointed out to him
        4) Once he realizes he’s wrong, he at least stops (I can’t remember if he apologized there or not, but I don’t think he did)

        For Shizuku we see:
        1) She really wanted to help Haru not be so socially inept. She could have just left Haru to beat the crap out of the guys and walked out of the room
        2) She doesn’t take shit from anyone. She speaks up when something is wrong. Many times in RomCom the “comedy factor” is the characters not saying when something bugs them. She takes the opposite approach and punches him emotionally in the face right back.

    1. You’re going to hate Haru more. 😛 Show Spoiler ▼

      Haru is the definition of weird, but I’ll condone Haru for his actions and see it as an accident. When Haru was in battle mode if you interfere someone’s affairs who learned fighting is the answer to all of his or her problems… you’re going to be involved or punched in this matter. At least Shizuki had the balls to speak out that b**ch, you smack ME what Haru did was messed up. Actually because of Haru’s violent tendencies I liked Yamaken better…

      Adding… Show Spoiler ▼

  3. I wasn’t expecting to watch this, but I had time, so I did. And for the most part I liked it. x3 I’m definitely watching for Haru.

    Shizuku’s hair looks exactly like Maka’s hair.

  4. I honestly enjoyed their interaction quite a lot and I’m glad to see how fast it all went this episode. Seeing Shizuku’s reactions was definitely the best part of this since the feeling of wanting to do well at classes and not being able to get along with people because of that makes it easy to symphatise with her and Haru does really well in drawing out reactions from her that show her more emotional side. Hopefully we’ll be seeing them grow thanks to the relationship in the following episodes which I’ll definitely be watching.

  5. Honestly, I’m not really sold on these two yet.

    Shizuku’s intentions seemed very flippant, which I didn’t like considering that she’s the character we’re seeing this story through. She tells him off, then tells him she’s okay with him just a scene later.

    Yoshida is nice enough, but he feels kind of gimmicky. The whole “idiot savant” thing can only entertain so long (personally, anyway), and I’m hoping they reveal more stuff in the next episode. Otherwise, I won’t be convinced that there’s enough substance here to keep it interesting the whole season.

    That’s just my opinion, though.

  6. I wasnt really expecting much from this series, but I actually enjoyed it more that I thought. It will be def watch for me this season.

    I didnt like Kamisama hajimeshita very much but I’ll give a few more eps a go. But otherwise theres still Hiiro no kakera.Also then there will sukitte iinayo, which I have been collecting the manga. Lots of Shojous this fall!

  7. Looks like Maka from Soul Eater!!!

    Genuine laugh out load moments, and I really like the chemistry between the two, whether he was crying on her shoulder or grabbing her by the tie to make out. I am hooked!

  8. A great first episode, i had high expectations for the series since it is handled by Brain Base and so far it’s off to a good start…looking forward to seeing all kinds of things that will happen to both of them in later episodes…

    btw, how long is this going to be? the first episode covered the first 2 chapters of the manga, and now there are 33 chapters available, so, does that mean 33 : 2 = 16.5 episodes (or 16 i guess)…or perhaps they are gonna condense it into a one-cour series instead (12, or 13 episodes)?

    1. actually it’s more like 40 chapters out
      the chapters on manga reader sites is the amount the translator TRANSLATED
      so there’s actually more material
      but they might stretch out one chapter
      instead of squeezing two chapters into one episode
      i hope there’s at least 24 episodes

  9. I don’t know how to explain this serious, oh so well executed, humour. It reminds me a little
    of ‘Working!!’ Wow! 1st kiss at the end!

    Visually pleasing, nice art throughout.

    We have a male character (literally) on the edge with serious issues. I wonder if we’ll get an
    explanation; someone so smart isn’t generally violent, this is beyond intellectual clumsiness.
    And with a virtually identical female character – their only differences are in how their
    energy is released/expressed. His is through physical contact – literally striking out, and she,
    through introversion. Her dealing with an untenable situation by studying is really no different
    than his fighting (remember how she delt with her “captors”). These are polarized characters,
    how society expects girls and boys like them to behave. There are good possibilities here,
    despite its comedy billing, this could explore some interesting relationship areas.

    They both have deep self-esteem issues and try to prove themselves with their (only) tools at hand –
    her academics and his altercations. At the story’s start, we’re seeing that safety net begin to
    fall apart for them (she ace’s the tests, but does not enjoy the reward, etc.) Because of this,
    they look to each other for solace since that is the only thing they share and can relate to with
    each other.

    In some ways, Haru’s ecciness reminds me of Tomoki Sakurai. I hope this series can explore, in a
    great and entertaining way, relationships the way Nazo no Kanojo X masterfully did…

    Here’s hoping!

    1. “I wonder if we’ll get an explanation; someone so smart isn’t generally violent, this is beyond intellectual clumsiness.”

      There is a lot going on in Haru’s past, it’s nothing expected or really cliche either – especially for a romantic comedy. I doubt they will be able to really touch on the heart of it, considering the duration of the anime.

      Good first episode.

  10. I kept thinking Haru was voiced by Ono Daisuke but it was Suzuki Tatsuhisa after all. Maybe because Suzuki have a similar voice like Ono. lol

    Anyway, this episode is really nice. Comedy plus romance.

  11. i was thinking of Kare Kano the entire time too! while similar, Tonari seemed to be funnier and much more light-hearted. unless they decide to turn all serious and emo at the end too.

    shall restrain from reading the manga until the show is finish. *cross fingers*

  12. The kiss did it for me, this reminds me of the feel-good comedy I saw in Kaichou wa Maid-sama. Haru is the usual eccentric shoujo ikemen – violent, unpredictable, and a complete genius a la Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.

    My anime watching has just gone busier.

    Kinny Riddle
  13. Just a quick question for those who have read the manga in Japanese(I obviously haven’t), and that is whether the translation of the rape threat was literal, or this translator taking liberties with the language for shock value. It certainly has shaken many people’s cages and seemed jarring, though the current socio-pathic nature of the character might make him consider it just another threat.

    1. I don’t remember if it was in the episode. but in the manga the threat is an allusion to the tv/manga haru read … so it’s like a joke …(emphasizing his utter cluelessness), as in Haru wasn’t planning on raping her, he kindof used that phrase he thought that’s just what normal people say in that situation… because it’s in movies and stuff. it’s not supposed to be disturbing at all.

  14. I’ll be honest, I read the synopsis earlier and got somewhat interested, but that chicken in one picture really caught my interest for some unexplained reason to me.

    Glad I picked this up for the unknown reasons I did, I look forward to see Haru & Shizuku progress in their so called “friendship” LOL.

  15. What a great and refreshing first episode! I loved everything I watched! From the grumpy (and sometimes sweet) girl to the cool but-not-so-cool boy, they form a nice pair! Although at some moments I was quite confused because of their weird behaviours, but at the end of the episode I was all hooked and ready for the next battl… I mean, episode! =D

  16. As a manga reader, it did feel very rushed! But still a respectable adaptation. I’m starting to see a lot of people writing off Haru as a male lead..I feel like I got such a different impression from the manga vs the anime. Since the anime didn’t draw out a lot of the more ~emotional scenes and played up the comedy a lot more i think it just ended up with a bad start for him.

    Despite all of the bad feedback about Haru’s personality and antics, it does get a lot better so ppl don’t give up yet! This series has a lot more to offer!

  17. haha you guys all think of kare kano….which is great with the characters being book worms and in high school….but i really get a bokura ga ita vibe by the drawings of the characters and the vibe the characters give…the two main ones and also the supporting characters introduced….i have a feeling that this is going to be a heartstring pulling anime….like for sure…..shizuka said that the first episode was only the beginning….the pretty supporting girl was sobbing in the first clip……this is going to be a love quadrangle for sure…..

    also, wtf, haru kissed shizuku during a similiar shizuku being nice to him situation as when he confessed his everlasting love for her…….and he didn’t feel anything?????? what kind of love is that?!!!!?

  18. I got attached the first minute I watched the show as I have inclinations with the Jerk X Sugar and Ice / Tsundere trope pairings. Almost got squeeing on every Dere scenes. Hoping for more belligerent sexual tension moments between the main couple for the rest of the series!

  19. @ Zanibas

    OMG I REALLY am Hoping it Works out with your Schedule This SHOW Needs The Attention of RC 🙂
    It’s Good to know that it will at least Receive 3 episodes of Coverage, the show deserves that much.

    I see your only officially doing “Magi” for RC and that “Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun” might become a Train-wreck in Schedule terms since it’s on a Monday “School/Work Days” and I’m Assuming you have Commitments to fulfill too, but I sure wont mind ,if you can do it only if you were allowed to make your posts a few days after an episode airs.

    But anyways I love the Way you’ve written this Post/ Review, since your way of writing is just full of energy and also Insightful.

  20. Only one episode and already I agree with you completely, Zanibas. I’m so0 grateful Crunchyroll is streaming this series (I questioned their renaming it from The Devil Seated Next To You to My Little Monster, but I suppose that’s a small matter in the grand scheme of things).

    I’m loving this show on a lot of levels (character design details, vivid color palette, fun yet complex personalities, surprisingly funny and unexpected) so I absolutely hope your schedule permits blogging. I always enjoy a show more when an RC writer analyzes it along the way.

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