Series Review: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (9/10)

Instant summary: Two social recluse, one incredibly violent and one incredibly studious, falls in love.

Can I say... faith in shoujo genre restored? Well, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun proved that the genre doesn't have to be exceedingly formulaic and full of generic characters. At least that's true for the manga scene, and I'm glad the anime scene doesn't have to follow it.

The shoujo genre quickly becomes stagnant when they only care about squeezing in cool moment after cool moment, and main duo always seems to be stuck in a perpetual state of uncertainty towards each other, that makes me want to just plant their faces into each other yell "JUST F*CK ALREADY!". Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun was very, very different. It was an emotional roller-coaster that almost completely escaped the trend; the characters are frank with each other right at the beginning, and it's their unique personalities that brings their relationship to its highs and lows. And it wasn't a long, boring ride; the highest and lowest point of this roller-coaster can happen within the span of one or two episodes.

Speaking of unique personalities, I believe that's the primary reason Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun became something awesome. Let's begin with Shizuku, who is the complete opposite of a dreamy high-school girl desperate to fall madly in love. In fact, she unique enough to be one of my top bishoujos of the season. Icy, gritty and cynical, she's unfazed at the obscenely loud personality of Haru, including his violence, despite her tiny frame. But at the same time, it takes a man like Haru to get under Shizuku's shell, and actually got her to fall helplessly in love. He's both extremely predictable and unpredictable at the same time, and for a fun character, I couldn't ask for a better one. Together, they made things exciting. A term you never seem to hear for a shoujo title.

And it's often very, very funny. The anime is strangely energetic most of the time as well. In some ways, I guess it even broke the norms of a romance title.

I guess my problem is that it never got too exciting. The ending was extremely mellow; and while you can call it a good ending, it's also somewhat inconclusive. I guess it's a drawback for staying faithful to the source? I wish they could have ended on a more exciting chapter. It would be more impressive, and more importantly, more memorable.

Plot/Concept: Broke the limits of the genre into something fantastic!
Story Style: Uniquely energetic, funny, and moving!
Audio/Visual: Great
Value: 9


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