Edit: thanks to oliviaven for pointing out that 変 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!
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 ^^.
「White Wishes」 by 9nine