First Impressions: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

2:00 PM on 10.10.2012 // Brad Rice

It's been a while since I've been giddy watching a show. To put it simply: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is something I'm really pumped for. It might be a little early to say this, but this show is my next Kimi ni Todoke or Toradora!

Don't you want to know why? Of course you do. I don't really need to say more than check it out after the jump.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, translated as My Little Monster on Crunchyroll, operates on a fairly simple premise of pairing opposites. The main character, Mizutani, only cares about good grades and studying – she’s detached from the rest of the world, and doesn’t give a hoot what other people think. One day, the teacher asks her to deliver some printouts to her ever-absent seat neighbor, Yoshida. It was a meeting fated in the stars. Yoshida is a rough and tumble yankee type, who had been suspended for fights that weren’t truly his fault.

I mean, he left bloodstains on the walls and all, but it wasn’t HIS fault that the fights started. I promise.

Yoshida is desperate for friends, as quickly evidenced by immediately declaring that Mizutani is his friend. The show doesn’t waste any time here. Before we even get halfway through the episode, he’s clearly attached to her and not letting go.

The first episode, I must say, moves incredibly fast. A lot of ground is covered, and there’s barely any time for emotional build-up as Yoshida and Mizutani moves from friendship to romance to betrayal to reconciliation all within 23 minutes. Other shows would have spread those plot points out over the course of half a season, if not an entire one. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is more interested in moving things along, though.

Moving past the roller-coaster of a first episode, the show appears to focus on expanding Mizutani’s non-existant circle of friends. She and Yoshida have to help the Internet-addicted airhead YYY cram for an exam, lest she fail her classes. Now, it’s not just two people. Future episodes look to include more supporting characters’ into this friendship-making show, as well as expand upon Mizutani and Yoshida’s relationship.

What intrigued me about this show, and expanding upon some of my feelings with Kokoro Connect, is the straightforwardness of the characters. People don’t beat around the bush with their feelings. There isn’t episode after episode of “Will Santa-kun hate me if I confess to him? I don’t want to jeopardize our relationship by saying something…”

The art direction on the show is another highlight. Everything is well put together, with very little sloppy work involved. Characters have extremely emotive faces and the shots displayed provide interesting angles. Really, there’s nothing to hate on in this aspect of the show.

And here's the thing: the whole time I'm watching it, I've got this big ol' grin on my face. I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm laughing pretty damn hard at what's going on. Everything is grand. Really, you have to watch Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. I think it's an easy contender for best show of the season.




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Brad Rice, Founder
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Brad helped found Japanator.com in 2006, and currently serves as an Associate Editor. He's covered all aspects of the industry, but has a particular preference for the business-end of things, and... more   |   staff directory

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