「変」 (Hen)
Edit: thanks to oliviaven for pointing out that can also mean change!

Oh man, where to begin, where to begin. First thing though…I’ll admit that once again, I had a ridiculous grin on my face the entire time. Tonari is one of those special shows that instead of a smile, gives me a giddy grin that causes my roommates to give me weird looks. Man, when Natsume was telling Mizu all about the joys of internet life…let’s just say I wished I fell out of my chair.

Ah, this is probably a good place to start. This episode introduced us to another character, Natsume Asako. Characterized as socially awkward, self-proclaimed as cute, and a little slow on schooling, what makes Natsume stand out is her amazingly blunt attitude whilst still keeping her cute persona…most of the time. Although her voice may reflect that typical popular girl stereotype, the way it’s coupled with how she doesn’t want to fall into said stereotype–great fun times indeed! In fact, Natsume is so anti-stereotype, that even Haru got creeped out when she had her episode outside of the Monja restaurant. My favorite quote (aside from chicken): “If I was a light eater, then too many boys would fall for me! Haven’t you noticed how cute I am?” The weird chemistry that Natsume adds to the group adds a lively energy and deadpan that even Mizu can’t help but get into! This energy is largely in part due to Natsume’s VA, Atsumi Tanezaki, who is playing Natsume as her first anime role! Her voice portrays the character quite well, and I appreciate how she can switch from a cheerfully high pitch to a more sullen and monotone voice whenever her life priorities are questioned. I look forward to hearing her antics in the next few episodes, especially since the epilogue hints at another wacky side of Natsume. Also, chickens. Itadakimasu!

The animation for many of the scenes seems to have improved dramatically. Whether it’s cooking Monja, scaring a chicken, or having chickens burst from your shirt…all of it was wonderfully animated and drawn. The full-bodied and warm colors keep attracting me to the details of the show, and of course, the well drawn close-ups of the faces continue to clearly express the emotional rides each of the characters is going through.

The pace hasn’t slowed down in the show either, with a declaration of returned feelings from Mizu in just under an episode! Having not read the manga (yet), I have no idea what’ll happen next, but I am happy with the pace that this show is taking. Other rom coms that I’ve watched, such as Nazo no Kanojo X and Kare Kano did the same thing to good effect, as it allows for the exploration of life after the confession in a quick manner, rather than the overdone premise of life leading up to the confession. However, other than reaching this point in a relationship quickly, the pace of which the manga arrived at this point shows the relative inexperience and immaturity of Haru and Mizu. Whilst I’m not saying that they’re not meant for each other, the two still have a lot to learn about relationships…meaning relationship troubles are bound to pop up in the future. Haru, while honest about his feelings, may not have matured his feelings enough to maturely handle events that’ll distance Mizu away from him. Mizu, who at the moment is being swept off of her feet, may start to feel that “emptiness” that everyone else fears once complications arise between her and Haru. Shows like this that rush and cut the BS typically tend to throw these complications in after the main cast has been introduced. What episode we can exactly expect this is unknown, but it’s an interesting plot flag to look forward to as we move with the series.

Reeling back though, it still has been a sweet ride to see Haru and Mizu grow closer together. They do make mistakes, but they’re honest about it and open to change…making this episode’s end scene that much more heartwarming. There are some foreshadowed problems, that’s for sure, but the moments they shared this episode–oh no my heart has melted!

Overall, these past two episodes of Tonari have been wonderful in almost every aspect. It’s quickly become my favorite of the season so far, and I look forward to hoping my schedule allows me to blog this past episode three! Monja and Chicken lovers, I hope you guys are enjoying this show as much as I enjoy blogging it!

Before I end, I’d like to start up a new segment for my posts that addresses concerns brought up from episode one. Hopefully this creates a conversation that we can all continue in the comments, along with this episode’s commentary as well!

Show Spoiler ▼

P.S – If you actually read this post and are going to comment, start your comment off with “Monja!“. I want to see which people make it through my posts ^^.

Full-length images: 12, 25.



ED1.5 Sequence

「White Wishes」 by 9nine



  1. This show suprisingly turned into my season favorite.
    Their interactions never seize to bore me and the humor is pretty well done.

    I also like how they already are showing the love instead of the usual 11 episodes of bickering around and 1 final episode of love revelation that everyone was waiting for.

  2. Monja!

    Yay I’m a chicken fan so I’m happy that there are chickens here and will follow it soley for the chickens. The characters are cute and stupid and growing so its a nice fun pace.

  3. Monja!

    So far loving it. 😀
    Definitely emphasizing Shizuku’s feelings more it seems. I kinda wonder if Haru’s feeling of “love” has kind of faded from when he first met Shizuku.

    Really love the characters so far too.
    Chicken, Chicken, Chicken! Chicken, Chicken! ITADAKIMASU!~

  4. MONJA

    First time I ever left a reply on this site, been lurking for 2 years already tho.

    I was looking forward to episode 2 the entire week, and now I can’t wait for 3.
    To me, this is already the best show of 2012, let’s hope it stays that way.

    From Haru jumping out the window randomly, to his seemingly indiferent brother just doing what he does.
    Everything has me smiling.

    My prime concern however……..

    Will dat chicken survive the season?

    1. Thank you for coming from the depths of lurking to share your thoughts! ^^

      Concerning the chicken though…if we examine the general durability of characters during a rom com, that chicken will be in constant danger, but will troop through it like a boss. How could they kill off such a titular character? D:

  5. No point in watching any more episodes of this wonderful series. It’s all done except for
    the wedding bells.

    Holy cow! What a choker ending. Completely unexpected confession from her. Haru is, deep,
    very deep down inside, a good person – a good man who (appears) to understands Mizu, or rather
    cherishes her. He’s strong enough to guide her to do something that he know will be for her
    benefit, but he’s not overpowering her to do those things (like skipping class). This is a
    delicate balance attempted by many with their female companions, but few actually succeed in
    (and, yes I include myself in that bunch). It’s easy to intimidate someone to do something,
    but to gently persuade, to gain their trust and cooperation, very cool indeed. I’m not saying
    this is a perfect example; each character has their flaws. But there’s some genuine thoughtfulness
    to this series’ writing and it showed quite well in this episode.

    I thought the chicken would be more of a stupid gag, but it showed Haru taking care of it,
    protecting it.

    I don’t know if Natsume was just for this episode, but, again, her particular dysfunction
    is/was acted out on-line with strangers. Like Haru’s fighting, Mizu’s obsessive studying,
    Natsume found her escape though anonymous meetings with strangers – a non-life if you will.
    With no real personal dynamics in her life, I wonder if Haru intentionally ruined her off-line
    meeting as his way of protecting her, too? To help her, in the only way he knew how, to grow?

    I know, I know, it’s only two episodes. But I gotta say that some of the other highly-hyped
    shows this season have had much weaker starts than this series. Hopefully, this series will
    continue – now that we have a mutual confession between our main characters, I’m really
    curious where this will go!

  6. Monja!!!

    As a huge fan of rom coms this is definitely one of my favorite shows this season. After watching episode one I ended up reading almost all the available manga chapters so I’m officially hooked! What I really like about the manga (and the anime so far) is it’s unconventional way of looking at the start and development of a relationship.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Just as you said Zanibas, this show has me literally laughing out loud! I nearly bust a gut when the rooster popped out of Haru’s shirt during class! I will definitely be looking forward to new episodes each week. And it would be really awesome if you have the time to continue covering this show ^^

  7. so 2 episodes in we could have 2 endings? confession + kiss in first episode (totally could end there), and now another confession (another great place to end, right?)? this show just never cease to amaze me 🙂

    ending jokes aside, this episode is totally funny xD and Haru is actually awesome at the end… must follow all the way to the end… and I sense we might dive into the other baseball player next…

    ps. is it just me or that baseball guy liked fried chicken so he volunteer to care the chicken? isn’t the chicken in grave danger then xD?

    1. also I forgot to say, thank you very much for covering the show, zanibas, had a lot of fun reading your posts 🙂

      pps. is 32 even passing grade?! I wish my school standard was that low…

  8. Monja!
    It’s interesting to see two socially awkward people start opening up to each other and to the people around them.

    I wonder how long the chicken is going to last.

  9. Monja!
    Originally I didn’t plan on watching this show. I picked it up because I had some time and found that I really enjoyed it. Imo, the pilot episode outperformed nearly all others (with the exception of Sukitte Ii na yo) that have aired so far and that success translated into this most recent episode. Hopefully this continues…unlike with kare kano which lost it’s way after a couple episodes.

  10. well sure after getting a kiss just eat all the way get kiss taste out?

    & chicken inside the shirt sure move along with trying help i-net girl with her study & at least now hmm more he said vs she said now feel confess?

  11. Monja!

    @Zanibas Is there a possibility that the title “変” was meant to mean “change” which uses the same kanji instead of “weird” seeing that it fits the episode as well

    1. Yeah, what I think too.

      It would be about the change in Haru (something about him changed).
      The part where his eyes were empty and when Shizuku said “It’s as if he couldn’t see anything, even though I’m right here” are related to the change.

      Man, I can’t wait for all the things to come.
      Seriously, it’s so damn funny, I can’t stop laughing when Shizuku scared the rooster and say that it is not getting any lol.

      Btw, epic spoilers
      Show Spoiler ▼

  12. Monja!

    Great series. Loving it greatly for Tomatsu Haruka. And yes Natsume’s VA is doing great for a debut role. I had to check if a veteran seiyuu was doing it and I was surprised and impressed a newcomer was voicing her. Kashiwazaki Sena came to mind instantly when Asako described herself, just minus the genius. Not to mention I didn’t expect her to throw up. What I’m really wondering about is the post credits scene. Was Natsume blogging on some superstitious or witchcraft related stuff? Oh and after reading your post, now I see what the “hen” in henshin (used in tokusatsu shows) means.

  13. Monja~

    Although I don’t usually watch Shoujo anime, I am aware that the common way to do it is to put the confession at the very end of the series. Besides the fact that the Shoujo genre never attempts to be realistic anyways, for the characters to be so afraid about speaking out their minds beats me. Why does it take like two seasons to reach that confession scene?! But fortunately Tonari comes along! It really reminds me of the day when I actually enjoyed watching KareKano. Also, it makes sense that Mizu digs down her emotions and open up to Haru about her feelings, more so when not a lot of main characters of Shoujo anime does that kind of thinking process.

    I did not intend to watch this but I am glad I picked this up.

  14. Seriously, I can only deal with one shoujo anime per season. I still can’t get over how almost all of them will include the line “my like & your like are two different things” & 9 times out of 10 its said by the guy. All the anime that fall into that “like/like” niche are mirror images of each other. But the only thing that’s worst than that is that “will they/won’t they” BS.

    If I had to choose from the 2, I would definitely pick the “like/like” misunderstanding. Mainly because the “will they/won’t they” can only be solved by the 2 idiots while the “like/like” can be wrecked by a 3rd party that gets burned. Unfortunately both situations can turn into trainwrecks by meddlesome 3rd parties – but that’s why this is shoujo. Its easy to derail that train when it has a one-track mind.

    Hopefully they won’t mess around with anything after chapter 31 in the manga, it really becomes a pathetic trainwreck after that.

  15. Monja…

    After shizuku confessed I thought the scene would end with haru saying something that would anger her lol. Good to see that this is one of the series that has gotten the confessions over and done with, now onto the juicy part of the story 😀

    Now I have two dishes I really want to try, yaminabe and monjayaki. Time to phone up the friends and try to make a party out of this.


    This ep made my heart go btooom btooom ( see what i did there) xD
    we clearly see that Shizuku is changing because of Haru,
    i wonder how Haru will change because of Shizuku

  17. james bond monja. this is quickly becoming my favorite anime of the new season. hella interesting characters but i still don’t know where the story is going. don’t matter. keep living with your funny antics.

  18. Monja!

    I look forward to this series every week now. The warm colors in the artwork and the general look of the series is relaxing, and the plot is always good.

    Even though I’ve read the manga (and like it a lot), I know that these adaptations don’t always go well, so I’m glad to see that this one is doing an excellent job.

    Next week is やっかい(厄介), which, while it has the one meaning of trouble/bothersome things, you can also use it in the context of “taking care of” or “looking after” someone. Looks like another double-meaning title, huh?

  19. Shizuku blushing is just pure gold. I always find romance stories where the story begins AFTER both male and female leads become an established couple, or even downright get married and have kids (CLANNAD After Story), far more interesting than BEFORE, because it opens up a lot of opportunities for where the story will go, as that is the real trial for the couple’s commitment to their relationship, the confession of their love was only just the beginning.

    With Sakurasou no Pet na Kanajo also looking very interesting, Monday nights this season is promising to be a great night for romance anime.

    BTW, please pardon me for being pedantic on a minor point: Zanibas, why’d you call Shizuku “Mizu”? Since her last name’s “Mizutani”, but yet you call Haru by his first name. If you’re referring to the nickname Natsume gave her, it ought to be “Mitty”.

    Kinny Riddle
  20. Monja!

    I’m still lost on what, exactly, monja is, though my next task will be to look it up!
    Has anyone else actually noted somewhere(on RC) that the two most promising rom-coms of the season both had kisses at the very end of the episode.. and both were stolen first kisses!?

    I’ve read Sukitte ii na yo but never heard of Tonari before now, and I like that both seem to move along at a more realistic pace.

  21. Monja!!1!

    I’m not sure how but this show has easily become one of my favorite shows for this season. Their interactions are really fun to watch and it’s nice to see that things are actually going somewhere instead of being forced to watch them doubt themselves for a season.

  22. Monja! I frea’heahea’hea’heaking loved the new char and seiyuu. Impressive. And the vomiting scene was hilarious, I fell in love with Natsume and her grubby face right there and then.

  23. Monja!

    Man it’s been so long since i’ve followed along with the manga that everything is pretty much new to me. I guess i just forgot that sasaharu and asako were introduced so early!

    1. no you are not the only one… it is just that she doesn’t have that ear phone of hers…
      speaking of the world ends with you, I felt that anime K reminds me more of that… also the ios port of the TWEWY has a secret ending pic with a new girl and new 7 days messages… so maybe we will get a sequel 🙂

  24. monja! monja! monja!

    wow. she’s a new va? coolnes!! i love her already. from that slow-mo trip to the chicken song and everything in between, parfait! plus it helps that the character she’s voicing is very adorable, too. declaring how cute she is with still traces of monja/vomit on her face… man, that killed me. hoping to see more of her in the coming eps.

    chicken. chicken. chicken.

  25. Monja!
    Monja, monja, monja! XD

    Hahaha, I didn’t even watch episode 2 yet.
    But Zanibas’ reviews are fun to read! Especially when you’re writing with a “ridiculous grin!” ^O^

    Well then… before I go check out this ep, MONJA!

  26. Monja! I did NOT expect that confession at the end! I was thinking that this will be Kimi ni Todoke painfully slow in terms of romance development so I was cuaght off guard and spilled my food when Mizutani suddenly blurted out a confession!

    The new girl’s seiyuu’s voice is cute! I thought it was Kana Asumi at first since her voice was Poplar cutesy but then she switched into a mature tone and bam!

  27. Ja mon! *Plays a Jamaican tune*

    Something about that OP keeps reminding me of the OP for Working!!. From the blare of trumpets and upbeat sound to the wildly-coloured backgrounds to the way all the characters were introduced in different shots in the OP. That’s a +1 for the series in my book.

  28. MONJA !

    Btw can Anyone Tell me the name Of the “Artist or Company that is Producing these Amazing Drawings / Artwork” ????

    I Love this Episode and I hope you can carry on Blogging this show Soo much !!.

    It seems like Natsume Asako and Yoshida Haru are a lot alike in the sense that they have an empty void inside them that they wish to Occupy with the presence of Friends.

  29. Monja!

    Oh man, Mizu suddenly busting out that yell to scare the chicken had me in stitches! Hope your schedule will allow you to pick this up as its definitely starting to secure a place as one of my favorites for the season!

  30. monja!

    I’ve had this manga on my to read list for so long. But since it had so many chapters I keep putting it off. I’m glad because ive always preferred anime because it brings out the humor of the material. The animation style and how it is directed is very similar to semi-old romcoms such as love complex and itazura na kiss which I both loved! I can hardly wait for the next episode!

  31. Monja!

    I really enjoyed the antics in this episode, and the neck-breaking pace is refreshing and fun. I lvoe that Shizuku is evolving in her worldview and yet is still sticking to her guns in some respect. While the same can maybe not be said for Haru per se, I think it’s more he’s “showing hidden character depth” alongside growing at a slower rate than Ms. Studious Student.

    Natsume was an interest addition, though I don’t yet love her since her reasons are partially selfish, it’s at least understandable why when her social issues are revealed.

    Honestly the line about Haru threatening to rape Shizuku flew largely over my head since it was given in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it delivery, and I took it to mean the same as “I’ll kill you,” some overblown threat that – for whatever reason – has had its seriousness devolved to a point where people won’t jump to call 911 when they hear it. Not to say I’m happy with this development, but I get that it isn’t a real threat or meant to villify Haru.

  32. Monja!
    Zanibas, I love reading your writing style o(^o^o)!
    When Zanibas stated “Tonari is one of those special shows that instead of a smile, gives me a giddy grin that causes my roommates to give me weird looks”, I remembered my roommate’s confused look at my giggling self. I completely understand that situation.


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