Other Name: My Little Monster
Genre: Shoujo / Comedy / Romance / Drama / School Life
Language: Japanese (English sub on Crunchyroll)
Shizuku Mizutani’s existence revolves around study. Her life is put into utter chaos when she agrees to take study materials to a boy that hasn’t gone to school for years. Meet Haru Yoshida, a violent and somewhat naive delinquent with more than his share of mental problems. After a brief misunderstanding is cleared up, he starts following her around and declaring that she is his friend, much to Shizuku’s chagrin. Things get even more complicated when he also indicates that he has feelings for her.
I really adored the cast in this anime adaptation of one of my favorite manga series. Shizuku and Haru have a lot of depth to them as well, making it easy for a viewer such as myself to understand some of their bizarre behavior. These two protagonists are often forced into making attachments to other people by circumstance, which offers them chances to grow by slowly making them deal with various issues. Having two crazy protagonists also makes this story enjoyable because it offers up funny sequences in droves. The writer gives distinct voices for each character, making the dialogue easy to follow.
The supporting cast often help move the story along in a big way. A good example of this is Natsume Asako, a socially-inept student that asks Shizuku to help her study for an exam. This results in an eventual friendship with Haru and Shizuku. This is also an example of an outside force instigating growth on the part of Shizuku and Haru. The story moves along nicely, with numerous detours along the way. Like all anime and manga, it somewhat exaggerates the tendency for people to over-complicate things. However, the writer makes it palatable using humor and rather cool dialogue.
One of the ongoing elements of this story is the question: How do two people in love manage a relationship when they’ve never been in one before? For Shizuku and Haru the road is often rocky, but in spite of the numerous road blocks along the way we can see them growing up slowly but surely. It is easy to adore the characters in Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, even the arrogant Kenji Yamaguchi because there is always some redeeming factor to give the audience something to connect with.
In conclusion, this series is for anyone that can appreciate a story about relationships starting from scratch, that long road to discovering who we are and what we truly want in life. It is also for anyone that has ever had to negotiate the weird behavior of crazy people. It is silly at times, but well worth watching at least one episode to see if you like the two main characters.