「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.

Full-length images: 1, 8, 19, 21, 27, 29, 37, 38.





    1. I think that’s more of a testament to the way the show is presenting itself. While I enjoy the development of Haru and Mitty’s relationship, there’s certainly a refreshing feel to the attention on Natsume (and as an extension Sasayan) this week.

  1. So much Natsume this episode (* ̄∇ ̄*) It’s really interesting seeing how much her past still affects her as she still finds it so hard to trust people despite having a nice group of friends. And despite liking her so much and understanding why she likes him I just can’t support her with Mi-chan for some reason. Shipping her with anyone else like say Mitty, Ooshima, Sasayan, Haru, Yamaken would be easier for me >_>

    Also apparently Sasayan hadn’t expected her to actually confess to Mi-chan. I’m still not sure what he actually feels though. He said that he had never fallen in love in quite a matter of fact way and while he apparently didn’t expect her actions it seemed like he was actually supporting that friend of his instead of being interested in Natsume himself.

      1. Ironic how Sasayan helped Natsume realize her feelings for Mi-chan.

        For Natsume, I think Sasayan will stay in the friend zone unless he makes a move.

        It’s not quite a love triangle, but things are developing.

  2. I’m in full fan-mode when it comes to Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. I liked the manga, but now I LOVE the anime. I can’t help but re-watch each episode before the next one airs.

    Natsume is the sweetest thing ever. I’m crossing my fingers that Mi-chan actually got the hint. Even if he rejects her, the way she confessed was too smooth!

    Sorry Yana, things don’t look good for you 🙁

  3. I’m not sure if you guys have noticed but Natsume has an amazing voice. What I find surprising is that her seiyuu, Yuiko Tatsumi, only had one other minor role which you can negate to not having a role at all. Based on her voice I would have thought that she was a veteran. Props to her

  4. Natsume has more personality than all the other girls put together, although that’s not saying much since Mitty has no personality & Ooshima might as well be a fly on the wall. OK, let me reiterate that:

    Natsume has 1000X more personality than the other girls put together.

    But that also means that the girls who are interested in Haru are, well . . . ~yawns~

    It’s been a nice ride, really. The manga turned into a milkfest in vol 9 & 10 so I hope they won’t ever touch that, especially that garbage after vol 10. Repetitive nonsense is only interesting the 1st time it repeats.

    1. I think you’re mistaking “lack of personality” with “personality I don’t like”. I like Mitty and Ooshima way more than I like Natsume – and I like Natsume, it’s just… she’s sometimes too judgmental and tends to believe she’s always in the right. Being stoic, or quiet, or a bit cold doesn’t mean you don’t have a personality, I hate that people often have this misconception.

      I haven’t gotten to volume 10 yet, but I still like how this series is written more than, say, Sukitte Ii na yo, which was cliché-infested and repetitive after 3 volumes.

      1. I said “NO personality”. Having no personality is the same as being stoic in my book, but that in itself is a personality, atleast when it comes to anime.

        I have 5 sisters & they fit every bill in the fold. You’d called a real person of that nature an introvert, of which my youngest sister is actually proud of being. I thought she was being sarcastic at first but she was serious when she told me that a decade ago. So much so that I still remember it clearly today. “Having no personality is a status in itself.”

        It’s a double constant but it’s terribly profound. Just because a person has “none” of something does not mean they do not have it at all.

        And by no means what I said equated to disliking any of their personalities. I find Mitty weird, that in itself draws my attention more than Natsume or Ooshima who both lays it all on the table.

        Also if you haven’t got to 10 yet don’t bother, it pretty much turns Zanibas’ chart into an oscillation.

  5. I think Mi-chan exactly knows what he has been told, and has been simply made pseechless, as would be most adult men after such confession. He knows that such romance is just not realistic, and is perplexed on how tio reject Natsume without hurting her (mission impossible?)
    One thing I feel is 100% sure, is that Mitty and Haru are naturally gravitating towards themselves, so much as the photo of them sleeping together seems like most natural thing in the world. By comparison, Sasayan is pretty much off Natsume’s radar and Yamaken off Mitty’s one – wait, Mitty doesnt have one, you need to get into visual range and use brightly colored rockets to signal your love to her. Thats why Haru succeeds…
    So, Sasayan has maybe a chance when Mi-chan finally gets to reject Natsume, but Yamaken is truly and utterly on a lost position. much like Ooshima… I wonder if there is chance of them being paired up as the spares, because both deserve something more than loneliness…

  6. Natsume is in an awkward position, because when an individual gets comfortable with themselves, they can open up to others. She was getting to like Mitty, then Mitty started going with Yamato. A couple, like an individual, needs time to ‘gel’, and sometimes their friends feel left out for awhile. Once they get comfortable with each other, they can open back up to other people. If Natsume tries to break into this adjustment time for Mitty and Yamato, she will indeed be a nuisance, which will reinforce her feelings about herself. Sasayan is doing the right thing. He’s there to talk and be a friend without demanding people’s attention, which is why he’s fairly invisible to Natsume on the one hand, but also someone she can talk to. If she ever really realized the level of his friendship, she’ll get all tongue-tied with him as well (was that a pun?). Anyway, social dynamics are hectic and it’s hard to get into the flow, as this series well shows. Here ends the psychology lesson for the day…

  7. Can I just love you for liking Sasayan? And for all the screencaps. XD
    Do you read the manga? If you wanna see Sasayan’s err story, read it!
    I really don’t want the anime to end. I hope they make another season… and another… It’s soooooooo good! They had episodes dedicated to the characters and it’s kinda unfair to not see Sasayan’s. ;_;

    And to not see my OTP (SasayaNatsume) moments animated ;_;

  8. @ Zanibas

    First things First. I just Wanted to Say Thank you Very Much for Posting this Show It was an AMAZING Ride and i Seriously Can’t Believe that the ending is near T_T *cries*.

    I don’t want it to end but…. i guess there must be an ending sooner or later..
    I love all the work and effort you’ve put into reviewing this Show it was amazingly done in your part.
    I can definitely say i Love the way you analyze their relationships.

    Just to Add to what you’ve said Already
    “it’s hard for the internet to fill the void of human contact” This is so unbelievably true i feel for Natsume here. I know from experience that once you’ve got a friend that fills that empty void You will never want to let go of them, and i think this is true for both Natsume and Haru as the void within them is currently being filled with Mizutani and Sasahara and each other, they can never Let go of this bond no matter what and also go to great lengths, even death (maybe, if they have to), to protect what they have.

    The bond between them is very strong but if anything should happen and that bond was to be broken it probably would affect them in a way, as if those friends were “Dead” (not literally) e.g. No communications, contact, Well practically everything you cant do with a dead person, like have fun or go shopping.

    I’m almost 100% sure now that Natsume is in a state of mind that she will do Anything to keep anyone from disrupting her “world”, and i would have to guess she does something so outrageous that it leads to this
    https://randomc.net/image/Tonari%20no%20Kaibutsu-kun/Tonari%20no%20Kaibutsu-kun%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2001.jpg Picture in Episode 1 Where she was/is crying …. (I’m probably wrong)

    She might use that picture she took for something Evil? and make a deal with the Devil (Yuuzan)?? (Also Probably Wrong)
    All this speculation is making me hungry :O

    But seriously though i hope it doesn’t end like this. I want some resolved issues to finish….. but you can’t have everything i guess

    OH and Zanibas LOVE the Screen Shots you made of NATSUME san 🙂 really appreciate your work, since they were amazing and her Facial expressions were captured perfectly. (Just love every Character in this Show since they stand out and hold their own)

    Can never give too many thanks 🙂

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