Having college to blame from my lateness in episodic coverage, I will now talk about episodes 3 and 4 of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun.
Episode 3 was largely dedicated to introducing the side characters. We’d seen a lot of Natsune last episode, but we now see the group get together with the addition of Sasayan, who reveals himself to be quite the dependable guy and brings the much-needed stroke of normality to that enjoyably strange group of people.
It also brings the guys who used to take advantage of Haru’s strife for friendship back into the scene, portraying them, once again, as complete idiots, save for Yamaguchi, who’s quite the mysterious guy that left me with as much of an unsettling feeling as he did in episode 1. Anyhow, it seems amends were made to their relationship through building… a chicken coop together. Which actually ended up looking great.
The second half of the episode packs a different, less playful tone, being dedicated to our main couple: Shizuku and Haru. As they’re going home, Shizuku finally decides to confess to Haru, obtaining quite the strange answer when considering it was Haru who had confessed first. Several times, actually. Thus, he’s reaction felt hard to understand to me, though I believe that after Shizuku backed down when he asked her out in the beginning of the episode he must have felt afraid of what a change in the dynamics of their relationship would bring.
Regardless of the motives, this didn’t feel like a reset of their relationship as much as it was an evolution. Haru demonstrates to be less impulsive and to actually think about his feelings deeper while Shizuku has definitely come to terms with hers and shows her resolve towards staying true to them and conquering Haru.
This scene established some very nice balance between these two characters, but such balance did last for long, as Haru suddenly decides he’s not going home that night. He’s the type to only run away if something really disturbs him, so I’m really curious as to what Yuuzan might have done to him in the past. I mean (and I’m jumping a bit into episode 4 here), Haru hates his older brother and even runs from him every single time he sees him. Mizutani also seemed to get quite wary of the guy, so I’m quite curious regarding his true personality.
Making our way into episode 4, it was pretty much dedicated to developing Haru further. As I said before, Haru’s strange and somewhat scary behavior comes from a total lack of social contact. He doesn’t have any briefing on the importance of appearance in social integration (we all should be like that, really) and his honesty and bluntness are completely genuine – without a hint of self-restraint. From this description, it’s actually obvious how, as Shizuku pointed out, he’s a really nice guy, with the best intentions and always trying to help people out, yet he needs to appear that way for people to believe such. In fact, they’d probably only need him to appear like that, rather than be like that to believe it. Which once again, is rather sad. (Yeah, I’m losing my faith on human beings… *depressed*) Anyhow, it’s always nice to see how he strives to follow the advices of those he cares about and being nicer to everyone around him.
But of course change is never instantaneous. The scene where he beat up that upperclassman and everyone was looking at him as if he were a monster… He was just very rightfully trying to help that girl. It just happens that his way of solving conflicts isn’t the calmest one. It’s really bad that no one tried to help out his scared self when the same thing happened when he was younger. Speaking of which, it seemed pretty obvious who he saved back in that first day of middle school. I hope Sasayan can pay back his debt. He’s doing great at it so far.
Anyhow, on top of his nature and lack of social interactions, there also seems to have been something more traumatic to have happened, judging by how he avoids not only his brother but any conversation about him. His answer to Shizuku was just a bit too strong, even for him, so there really must have been something quite unpleasant happening in his past. And that’s something I’ll be looking forward to finding out.
This series has surprised from the very beginning, and it really is nice to see it’s not losing its charm. And that’s a merit I can almost wholly attribute to the characters. I find them to be quite fascinating. It’s nice to see a main duo who despite their uncommon personalities (especially Haru), are honest with their feelings and actions. Something I also have to applaud to is how perceptive everyone of others. Forget the unimaginably dense protagonists of these type of shows. We’ve got characters which try to grasp control of their relationships in a realistic way. And we’ve got that mixed up with a whole lot of fun, as Tonari manages to still tell a serious story without ever holding back on the enjoyment.