Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun Episode 5: Yoshida Family Matters
aka A Romantic Rival Appears! She uses “Glasses”! It’s super
(Hello all! It’s me, Tenderfoot, filling in for the lovely Oki this week on account of the terrible weather hitting the East Coast. I’ll do my best to not disappoint!)
Summary: With the start of second term, Haru, Shizuku and the others are all back in school. Yuzan surprises Haru by waiting for him at the end of class, and upon seeing him Haru (of course) bolts, leaving Yuzan to lure Shizuku away with the promise of divulging some of Haru’s past. Haru ends up scaring the living daylights out of the same timid girl he defended at the sports festival, Chizuru Ooshima, who turns out to be the class rep. Haru persuades her to check if his brother is gone for him, which she reluctantly agrees to. After some banter about glasses, during which Haru tells Chizuru that she’s a nice person, he gets a text from Yuzan and leaves in a hurry to “save” Shizuku.
After talking about sweets for about 5 minutes, and making me crave some baklava, Yuzan and Shizuku finally sit down to talk about Haru’s past, the state of their family, and what exactly Yuzan wants. When Haru shows up, Shizuku talks him into listening to what Yuzan has to say; that if Haru promises to continue to go to school, Yuzan will convince their father to not force Haru to move back home. Shizuku and Haru leave, hand-in-hand, and have an honest discussion about Haru’s childhood and their own feelings (for the most part.) Shizuku realizes how important her relationships with other people have become to her. The next day at school, Chizuru thanks Haru for defending her at the festival, and it’s obvious that she’s fallen in love with him, which Shizuku doesn’t fail to notice.
Impressions: Er…well, considering how much I like the manga (which is to say a whole lot), and how much I’ve been enjoying the anime (which is also to say a whole lot), this episode didn’t fail to hit me right in the…how do you say…Feels? Yeah. Direct hit. KO. My battleship was sunk. The End. But then again, I could probably say that about every episode, so take it with a grain of salt I guess.
Now where to start, where to start. Hmmm. Let’s go with Chizuru, our bespectacled capital “R” Rival for Haru’s affection. All it takes is a couple of kind words, some compliments, and one of Haru’s smiles and *twang* she’s struck by Cupid’s arrow. Poor girl. Chizuru is painfully shy and quiet (and doesn’t seem like she has a lot of friends) and if this were a different series she’d probably be the one in Shizuku’s shoes, but this is this show, and she’s doomed to the role of Rival. It’s hard to view her objectively, since I know more of her story from the manga, but I think the show did a good job of not taking her down the bitchy, mean girl route. Feel free to tell me otherwise, but I though it came across as very sweet that she fell for Haru, if not a bit unfortunate (I was very sympathetic towards her, because who here hasn’t fallen for someone who’s already taken? Come on, be honest.) Haru is very unaware of how his actions affect others (Exhibit A: The fact that his smile alone was able to cause half the student body to fall in love with him, without him even realizing it) so to see Chizuru fall for him because of actions that are just Haru being Haru, and not him trying to be romantic, is…;_; Poor, poor girl. Shizuku definitely notices that Chizuru has feelings for Haru, but I guess we’ll have to see how she reacts. Judging by her actions during Haru’s brief spike in popularity from last episode, I would wager to guess she’ll keep the same cool head that she always does.
Speaking of Shizuku, she has some fun times this episode with both of the Yoshida brother’s this episode. Haru’s family situation is revealed to be less than ideal, having been kicked out of the house by his father before he even started middle school. The exact reasons for this have yet to be discussed, but it does show that Haru hasn’t had the most wonderful childhood. It’s no wonder he would carry some resentment towards his dad and resist having to go home and place himself back under his control. Thanks to Yuzan, things seem to be resolved for now, with Haru able to continue going to school, but it seems like he and Papa Yoshida might have more trouble to cause in future episodes.
The more interesting part of this whole affair is how Shizuku and Haru’s relationship (or whatever you want to call it) is developed and expanded on. I mean, we already knew that Shizuku is the main reason Haru is going to school (especially when he already knows everything in the curriculum) but Yuzan also gives her a possible explanation to Haru’s refusal of her declaration of love: he simply cares about her so much that he doesn’t want to lose her by changing their relationship too quickly. If you think about it, it makes sense. It’s pretty obvious that Haru and Shizuku like each other, but they’re both totally newbies at the whole relationship/general human interaction thing. For Haru, having Shizuku around has brought him a lot of happiness, so the fact that he isn’t emotionally ready to gamble on changing that relationship and then maybe losing it all rings truer to me then him being wishy-washy. He knows what he wants, he’s just too scared to reach out and get it. I think things start to change with this episode though, as Haru freely admits that he wants to be with Shizuku. We can start to see that he might be ready to take that chance now, especially after opening up to her a bit with some of the personal information that he didn’t want to share with her or anyone previously.
While Haru did a wee bit of growing up this episode, Shizuku seemed to do a whole lot. When Yuzan brings up the idea that Haru might disappear from her life, Shizuku comes to realizes just how much she doesn’t want to be separated from him. In her straightforward Shizuku way, she tells Haru that she’d be sad if he left her (it’s also good to note that she makes a point of telling Haru that she doesn’t want him to give up on the things he really wants just to be with her, which is nice.) Of course, Haru feels the same way, and wants to be with her too, which he tells her. But it’s not just Haru. Shizuku starts to see that she doesn’t want to lose any of her friends now that she’s become so used to how enjoyable it is to have them around.
So hurrah! for personal growth! While episode one Shizuku saw friends as an incomprehensible burden, episode five Shizuku has gotten so used to them that she’s starting to be unable to remember what her life was like before them. Oh, and can we get some snaps going for Shizuku for telling Haru that he can’t order her around? Yeah, I liked that part. Haru seems to think that just because Shizuku is in love with him, he can force her to do as he says. I’m glad that Shizuku recognizes that that simply isn’t the case and shuts him down. Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you stop being your own person with your own free will. (Okay, side note, did any of my other Shin Sekai Yori watchers catch that whole people feel anxious and then crave physical contact to make them feel better thing? Ahhhh!!! I knew it seemed familiar! Haru was even talking about a monkey at one point! SSY is taking over my life! Nooooooooo!)
Final Thought: My Little Gangbanger. Enough said. So funny. So weird. So what the what? did I just even watch and why? I’d probably go see it (although the title needs some work…)