Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun — First Impression

Ok, I have a confession to make. This will surprise absolutely no one, but I hate shoujo. All shoujo is the same (with the exception of Princess Tutu, but I’m not sure that counts). A girl doesn’t have any friends. No one will ever love her (despite the fact that she is strikingly beautiful). Then she meets a hot bishounen who happens to fall in love with her. Said hot bishounen is also awkward in some way.

Now, up to this point, I’m okay with the formula. There’s angst and the blossoming of a new love. Cool. I mean, not the best setup, but I can deal with it.

But then the next 23 episodes are invariably about feelings and shit. He loves me. He loves me not. I don’t have any friends! He loves me. He loves me not. Let’s get married! What a load of bull. The only shoujo I remember finishing at the moment (aside from Princess Tutu which is awesome) are Skip Beat and that one with the ice skater girl. Skip Beat was cool because the main characters were both assholes, and the ice skating one had ghosts. But generally I can’t watch shoujo.

Now, back to Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. It’s a shoujo. The same old, same old. An awkward girl has no friends because she studies all the time. No one will ever love her. She meets a hot bishounen who’s a delinquent. They fall in love. Or do they?! (spoiler without having watched the show: they do)

We’ve seen this all before.

But you know what? I’m going to stick with this, at least for a bit. Because Brains Base makes it so amazingly stylish. The attention to detail, the cinematography, the timing is all top-notch. It almost makes a stupid shoujo story interesting.

I’d also like to point out the bright colors and textured backgrounds. It reminds me of  a cross between Mawaru Penguindrum and Usagi Drop. I wish more shows would use bright colors, it’s a lot easier on the eyes that way.

17 thoughts on “Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun — First Impression

  1. The shoujo with the ice skating girl is called Ginban Kaleidoscope, which is a great series.
    If you don’t like shoujo though I doubt you’ll like Tonari. I personally find it a rather funny series, though I might just stick with the manga since there’s so many shows this season to watch.

    1. Ah, thank you! That was a great show. Partly, I think, because it was more than just the romance.

      I doubt I’ll like Tonari either, but I’ll stick with it a bit longer at least.

  2. Wait, you don’t like Shoujo? Your banner shows Simoun, which is technically a Shoujo. At any rate I believe it is only fair to judge each series on its own merits. I can definitely identify with your loathing of love-angst Shoujo. But there are still exceptions that shine through. Like Nana. And then there are Shoujo that don’t put much focus on love at all, like The Twelve Kingdoms. When Shoujo is mixed with another genre it can be refreshingly good when put alongside all the Shounen series that we have to deal with each year.

    1. Simoun’s a shoujo? Really? I hardly think it would be appropriate for young girls…

      I guess what I really hate is not shoujo in general, but the more specific category of shoujo romances. I feel the same way about them as I do about shounen fighting shows.

  3. I haven’t watched much Shoujo but I really enjoyed KnT season I. Besides production quality what I enjoyed in that series was that it wasn’t single-mindedly focused on the main romance but developed other characters and side stories along the way. KnT season II was somewhat worse imo as the main couple was basically set from the start and all sorts of misunderstandings had to be created to get some resemblance of plot.

    So I’m worried what will happen in this series: The couple already kissed in the first ep., the girl is overflowing with emotions now and the guy doesn’t pick up fights any longer. Everyone is happy. I really hope the creators come up w/ a decent plot.
    In any case, I agree w/ you Draggle, the artwork looks nice indeed. The backgrounds are rather simple and there isn’t much actual movement. But if you watch it like some colour manga slide show it works just fine. I love the characters’ clear lines. Shizuku looks fantastic. So I’ll certainly watch it.

    1. This show has some of the worst pacing I’ve ever seen. It started out so fast; I’m betting it’ll burn out by episode six. But for the time being, it’s charming and funny and it looks good. I can’t ask for much more from a cliche shoujo anime.

    2. I did like the first episode of Kimi ni Todoke. But then the second episode lost my interest, and the third I couldn’t finish. I’m guessing the same thing will happen with this show, but I hope I’m wrong.

      They do still have a lot to work out I think, even if they did mostly realize their feelings already they have no clue how to get along with each other. I hope they spend about ten episodes on the rooster though, seems like the lead character.

  4. The characters and background are pretty well done. That’s good enough reason for me to continue. All flags have been raised though, during this 1st episode. So, when are they going to do “it”?

    1. Swordplay, you mean? You don’t have to beat around the bush. Probably never, since the guy isn’t manly enough to use dual blades.

  5. I have to heavily disagree about the animation. The production values are quite below par in this series and make many scenes that could have been aesthetically pleasing, quite the opposite. I also really dislike the type of message that can be gleamed from the show.

    For context about what I mean, look at another person’s blog:

  6. “All shoujo is the same (with the exception of Princess Tutu, but I’m not sure that counts).

    Oh man, this is an attitude that drives me nuts – “oh, shoujo sucks… except for this one! but you know, its not really shoujo, its different!”

    No. Princess Tutu is shoujo. There is no other way to slice it. What you dislike is a particular subset of shoujo – shoujo romance. Not all shoujo is romance, although the shoujo that becomes anime has trended heavily in that direction of late. Rose of Versailles and Revolutionary Girl Utena are two other shoujo in which romance is not the primary driving force of the narrative. For even more of a shake-up of your mistaken ideas about what shoujo is, consider Banana Fish or Animal Yokocho. Or, hell, might as well toss in the Maria-sama ga Miteru manga, which ran in Margaret – certainly no “I like him, does he like me?” stuff there.

    Might as well second the chime on NANA like one of the commenters above, although Simoun itself is a bit muddied – it has a shoujo manga, but also a seinen manga and seinen light novel. The anime walks the line for the most part between the two, although based on its airing slot, I’d say it falls more toward seinen in target demographics.

    1. Sure, Princess Tutu is shoujo. So I watched 100 shoujo shows and hated 98 of them. I still think it’s fair to say that I hate shoujo, no? I suppose saying I hate shoujo romances would be more clear, but I do like an occasional shoujo romance too, like Skip Beat and Ginban Kaleidoscope, as I pointed out.

      Guess I will have to check out NANA at some point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *