Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun OVA

January 18, 2014

Like most OVAs these days, they aren’t really related to the story of the TV series and serve as fillers and motivation to buy the final DVD of the series. Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun OVA is no different but yet makes it slightly different from other OVAs. As we know the TV series was a high school romance comedy. For the OVA, they turned it into a period drama! Imagine the characters from the show being reduced to those people under those feudal times. Usually series stay in the same period setting but for this one, it doesn’t. So in that sense it is ‘different’. A little weird but unique in its own way.

Tonari No Gokudou-kun
In a land and time where sweets are forbidden (at least where this anime is concerned), Shizuku is a teacher of a temple and at the same time the leader of the Mizutani Group. Their rival is of course the Yoshida Group led by Haru and owner of this land and loves picking fights. Shizuku wants to meet the Yoshida Group’s leader but since he is always capricious, she has never met him during all her formal visits. The rest of the characters include Natsume as some advertisement flyer distributor who makes lots of grammar mistakes in her flyer, Ooshima the princess with Yuu as her airhead retainer, Sasayan the secret ninja to the princess and Yamaken as Shizuku’s retainer who has a secret crush on her. While Shizuku is at the river, her slipper’s string breaks and she falls in. Haru happened to be passing by and sees her drowning. He throws Nagoya the chicken as a buoy! I don’t know. Can chickens swim? Miraculously, Shizuku is saved. Once everything calms down, they introduce each other but short of mentioning the clan they belong. Haru puts some red berries over her lips as lipstick but it starts to get itchy. He uses some herbal remedy to cure her. Now her lips are green… Haru decides to teach Shizuku more things so the temple children can respect her greatly. That nigh Shizuku can’t concentrate on her studies and her mind is filled with thoughts on Haru. Next day, Yuu leads Ooshima to an illegal printing factory that Sasayan has discovered. Because Yuu carelessly calls her name (I think she didn’t really care), the guys swarm over the princess but was saved by Haru. Here’s another woman falling for him. Haru continues to teach Shizuku and she is impressed with his knowledge. He too would like to be by her side. He agrees in her words that despite everyone has their own unique ideals in this town, why can’t they find a way to accept each other.

Natsume spreads her flyers that love will come true if you manage to skip the stone on the river 10 times. Of course this is just a ploy because Natsume’s real identity as a thief is to steal the people’s wallet. She stumbles upon Sasayan and learns about him as a secret government agent. She inadvertently tells him about her informant where she got this information. Ooshima is one of those many love hopefuls but does she really need to pick up a huge rock for it? They say the power of love can make you do miraculous things. But why throw it right into space? She’s so in love with Haru that she even shouts it out loud. As Natsume is going to snatch Mitsuyoshi’s wallet, he catches her in the act. She is smitten by him when Ooshima’s rock crushes him. Haru thought Natsume was at fault but she dismisses it and points to Yamaken. He happened to be lost on his way here and came in the wrong place and wrong time. The blaming game begins. Yuu thinks Ooshima has done a good job. Ooshima feels so good that she feels like telling the Lord to lift the ban on sweets. Sweets loving Yuzan wonders if she is really going to do that.

Next morning, Shizuku is horrified to see her temple destroyed and since this is the work of the Yoshida Group, she is really going to take action. As she prepares herself, Yamaken accidentally trips and falls over her. He wanted to confess but she had more important things to do. This is what happens when you hesitate. When Shizuku meets Haru over the bridge, they realize their respective positions in the clan. Shizuku accuses him of tricking her. Before they can fight, Sasayan stops them and shows the true culprit: Yuzan. He is nonchalantly chatting with his friend, eating snacks and even has Ooshima and Yuu tied up. Haru is shocked that his own men was the culprit. Yuzan didn’t bat an eyelid to admit everything was his doing since Sasayan shows DNA proof that his sweets were present at the temple wreckage. Why is he doing this? Because sweets are forbidden, they fetch a high price in the black market. So by lifting the ban, they will become cheap and freely available. While Yuzan is busy making dumb sweet puns and revelling in it, Haru has decided he wants to live alongside Shizuku and build a town where everyone can be happy. This of course sends Ooshima into depression because it feels like some sort of indirect rejection. Haru and Shizuku are about to teach Yuzan a lesson when Nagoya suddenly flies down and possesses one of the guys. Are you ready for this shocker? Nagoya is an alien from Chicken Planet and Haru is the first prince, Prince Chicken sent to this planet 16 years ago to control his emotions. Now that he has learnt what he lacks, he is to return to their planet. And so Haru is carried away into space and the lovers are separated… In the final scenes, we see the gang rebuilding the temple. Natsume is trying to write better letters so she can put her feelings into it and give it to Mitsuyoshi. Suddenly Haru comes back crashing down into the rubble. Happy Shizuku goes to hug him. I don’t know why he returned but we can’t have a sad ending. In fact, for a sweeter ending, they kissed!

Almost Romeo x Juliet…
It was rather fun on its own. Seemed like it was heading for another romance developing nicely between the main duo when suddenly they had to put in that ridiculous sci-fi element. I know, I know. Anything goes. It felt so out of place with the characters in historical setting and then when Sasayan showed something futuristic like the DNA proof, I had a feeling something weirder was going to happen. True enough, they added that last bit alien crap just to throw us off. Who cares about all that because in the end Haru returned to Shizuku’s side and this time their kiss was perfect instant of the sudden one that we saw in the TV series. So why the hell Prince Chicken returned, I had no idea. Probably just to throw us off once again and of course to make everything a happy ending. Since it already didn’t make sense, heck, why not go all the way. Hmm… Instead of next door’s monster, maybe it was next door’s alien for in this case. Hah… Too bad for all the other characters with their unrequited love. It felt like that too in the anime. Maybe the next time if they try another setting, a futuristic space sci-fi one, I’ll have another look at it and try to lower my expectations of it. But then, it’ll be more or less the same thing.

Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun

June 9, 2013

We’ve had countless animes whereby both protagonists with totally different personalities fall in love with each other. Even if it is not instantly, at least the trials, tribulations and misadventures that they go through together usually gives us a feeling that they’ll eventually end up together. Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun doesn’t feel any different. Shizuku Mizutani is your typical studious bookworm girl. Her only goal in life is the land a lucrative job and dedicates her time studying. Sorry guys. She’s got no time for high school romance and all that sort. On the other hand, there is Haru Yoshida. I’m not sure if calling him eccentric describes him accurately. Would weird do any justice either? He is the kind of guy that leaps into action before he thinks. And because of his zero social skills, he quickly gets into fights.  To him, violence solves the problem. So what happens when you put a diligent girl and a troublemaker boy together? Yeah, clash of personalities. Clash of ideals. Fireworks are going to start. That’s the odd thing about love. Opposite attracts. Then there are other characters into the fray which makes it the mandatory love triangle equation. Love was never an easy topic in the first place. But you can be certain that their lives will forever be changed with each other’s company.

Episode 1
Shizuku narrates she sits next to Haru who hasn’t come to class ever since getting into a bloody fight on the first day of school. He has earned a scary reputation among the students when he put several seniors into hospital in that fight. Yes, the ‘bloody evidence’ is still on that wall. Did anybody bother to clean it off? Ironically, all these events don’t interest Shizuku because her goal is to become the smartest girl and earn 10 million Yen annual income. Yup. She’s a study-holic. However she is tasked to deliver notes to him by her teacher, Saeko Ninomiya. At the batting centre run by Mitsuyoshi Misawa, Shizuku sees firsthand Haru’s craziness when he loses his temper over a game and then jumps right out of the window! After Shizuku leaves, Haru pulls her away and accuses her of being ordered by the teacher to be a spy on him and to tell him to go back to school. He is cool once he discovers the truth and becomes her friend. She’s not accepting the fact that he’s her friend yet. Saeko is impressed she manages to pull off this errand and thinks she could persuade Haru to return to school. Although his suspension is lifted and the seniors are the ones at fault, if Haru quits school, it will be bad on her conscience and she won’t sleep well at night. Not a chance. That’s your problem. Shizuku makes her way out of school and is ‘kidnapped’ by Haru. He brings her to the riverbed to show her a stray dog he found. Only thing is, it’s not a stray dog and it belongs to some owner! Shizuku remembers she isn’t fond of animals. When her class pet rabbit died, she didn’t show any emotion, causing her classmates to label her as Dry Ice. Then at the fast food joint, this blonde guy Kenji Yamauchi AKA Yamaken and his friend want Haru to lend some money. Using the friendship thingy, Haru happily gives them. Then Haru asks if today’s school was fun so Shizuku just tells him if he wants to go to school, just go. He can’t. He’s scared because everyone is afraid of him. But Shizuku is the first person who hangs out with him being scared so he doesn’t need to go to one right now. Shizuku says real friends shouldn’t use him for money and though she is no expert, she would rather have no friends at all than to have friends like that. Haru pours the drink over Shizuku’s head and calls her a bad person. In retaliation, she throws her drink at him and runs away.

Saeko wants Shizuku to tell Haru that at this rate he’ll be expelled. She goes to the batting centre to leave this message to Mitsuyoshi. He tells her to chill and have a game. While taking out her frustrations, she overheard Haru’s ‘friends’ lamenting he has stopped lending them money. To her surprise, Haru is sitting behind her. She leaves and tells those ‘friends’ if they really consider Haru their friend, they should be honest with him. One of them wanted to get rough but Haru grabbed him by the collar and tells them to leave. Haru walks Shizuku home and along the way he starts crying. Tears of happiness I presume. She hugs him and assures he will have friends. He is confident that he might go to school if she’s around. Then he confesses he likes her. In a sexual way. She thinks he is misunderstanding the situation as he never had friends before. Whatever the case, he’ll always love her. So Haru turns up at school. And like the country bumpkin he is, knows no shame because he even stripped himself in class! A month passes and I don’t know how Shizuku puts up with his wacky behaviour after another. He’s becoming like an annoyance. Following her around and keep pestering her to try some monja at some store. Saeko thought she saw Haru being rough with Shizuku and though scared, she gives him a book on how to treat women gently. He immediately tests his gentle hug on Shizuku. Shizuku continues to study and has always been the top scorer till recently somebody beat her to it. That’s why she couldn’t represent the students to make her speech at the opening ceremony. Haru is bugging her so she tells him off that she’s studying. Instantly he points out to the solution to the problem. That’s when she remembers Haru was that speaker who got first place and made the speech.

Till the midterms are over, Shizuku considers him her enemy. Haru wonders what so special about studying because every problem has an answer. How hard can it be? Perhaps it’s the way he said it that pissed Shizuku off. Shizuku is brought to a class that had some boys Haru once beat up for trying to rob him. She just sat there and continued her studies. Haru went looking for her and once he finds her, he gets so upset that he wants to kill them! Shizuku tries to stop him but in his rage, he accidentally hits her face! That’s when Shizuku has had it with his friendship games. She tells him he’s just a waste of time to disappear. Since then, Haru leaves Shizuku alone and she is able to concentrate on her studies and achieve first place for the midterms. However she doesn’t feel happy about it. Then she goes to the batting centre where Haru is hanging out. He thought she wanted to rub it in to her. Instead, she wants to thank her for saving her that day and it made her happy. Now that he has calmed down, happy Haru continues hanging around her and doesn’t mind her studying since she likes it for some reason. If it’s something she cares, he cares about it too. Shizuku feels embarrassed because it’s like she’s being cared about right now. Shizuku accompanies Haru on the way home when he suddenly kisses her on the lips! Was he trying to imitate something from the book he’s reading?! Though he doesn’t feel his heart fluttering like before, he still loves her. Shizuku just stood there. Stunned. Embarrassed. Confused. WTF moment.

Episode 2
I suppose the only way Shizuku could deal with that shock is to eat her heart out at the monja store. I think she couldn’t care less about her weight gain right now. Shizuku reminds us how she cared about nothing else but studying. What is she implying? The recent test has her scoring top again. However Haru would’ve secured that place had he only wrote his name on his test paper. That’s the least of her problems now. Seems Haru has ‘kidnapped’ a stray rooster on his way to school! But all her mind is on now is that sudden kiss… She can’t concentrate. Suddenly classmate Asako Natsume begs Shizuku to help her study. If she fails the makeup exam, she’ll have to waste her summer holidays on remedial classes. Shizuku refuses. Because if she’s stupid, she should take remedial classes. Natsume vomits after eating too much monja. Her reason is that because she is cute, boys will fall for her if she’s a light eater and thus shunned by other girls. Her reason for not wanting to take remedial classes is that there is a gathering of her online community. Shizuku still refuses but Haru wants to come along and agrees to coach her. I wonder if she can handle this hell teacher. She has to. For the sake of her gathering. Later Shizuku asks does it really matter to Haru that people doesn’t like him. He notes she is special and wonders if she has ever felt empty inside. The kind of darkness that surrounds you all around. It scares him. While Shizuku studies alone at the library, classmate Souhei Sasahara AKA Sasayan suddenly talks to her. He’s interested in her because he likes her. Not another weirdo. Is this a joke? He has been observing her and Haru. It’s amazing she got him to come to school. He knows Haru. Sort of. Because they went to the same middle school and he basically never come to class for 3 years! Before Sasayan leaves with his baseball team, Shizuku has a favour to ask of him.

While Natsume is on the verge of death (she didn’t understand what she is being taught), Haru is running away from Saeko who is trying to tell him it is illegal to bring the rooster to school. Natsume feels despair and thinks smart people like Shizuku won’t understand her feeling of being lonely. She wants to get close to people. Shizuku helps her to study. Oh, here is news. The makeup exam is tomorrow. Despite not scoring very high, she was exempted from remedial class. 32 points is the highest she has scored in her life. Serious. The gathering came and went as Natsume blames Haru for ruining everything. She didn’t get a chance to talk to the girls and Haru got into a fight with a guy. She got shunned. She quits. Saeko barges in to give an earful about the rooster but Shizuku mentions that Sasayan volunteered to take care of the rooster. Haru is looking for Shizuku who is nowhere to be seen. I think she wants some peace and quiet away from this dude. She dozes off on the rooftop and when she wakes up, Haru is next to her. He won’t let her leave and makes her lie on his lap. The first time she’s ever skipped class. She starts to notice the blue sky and the other sounds in the background. She felt good. That’s when she is grateful to have met him and confesses she loves him. Thanks to Haru, her world and her values are changing.

Episode 3
Shizuku realizes the embarrassing she said. She tries to give excuse she was lying but Haru acts mature. He feels better about it. Sasayan can’t keep the rooster at his home so they think of getting permission to keep him at school. Saeko is reluctant because it’s tough to get anything from those old geezers. Surprisingly, they gave their approval! So the meeting on how to take care of Nagoya (the rooster’s name) and make a coop for him. Natsume and Sasayan wait outside the batting centre for Haru. They see Mitsuyoshi giving some handsome guy cash who tells him not to come back. At the store, Natsume and Haru start arguing about an expensive coop that Haru wants to get. They have no budget. He insists. Roosters don’t work, right? Shizuku bumps into Yamaken and his friends. Sasayan thought they were going to attack her and throws his basket at them to escape. But Shizuku is slower than a turtle. She could’ve been caught if Haru hadn’t thrown one of them back and cause a scene. Out at a safe place, Sasayan calls Natsume to finish the purchase since they can’t go back there as the guys may still be waiting for them. Haru wonders what has gotten into Shizuku. Normally she wouldn’t have cared to take care of Nagoya or spend her precious weekends with her friends. She says nothing happened and he believes her. With all the necessary materials to make the coop, suddenly it feels a lot harder than it seems. Then Yamaken and friends pop up. They just want to talk. They felt bad about what they did to Haru and wanted to apologize but he’s ignoring them.  Shizuku thinks they’re selfish to expect him to listen after hurting his feelings. Yamaken deduces she is in love with him. She denies. Then she gets an idea. If they want to make peace, they can help in finishing making the coop. Yeah, she build something without lifting a finger. The coop is finished and though not cute (as claimed by Natsume) at least it’s decent. I think Nagoya likes it.

When the friends leave, Haru walks Shizuku back. He talks about luck and misfortune cancelling out and balancing each other in the end. Because if meeting her was his luck, it balances out everything that has happened. Ever since he met her, only good things happened. That’s when Shizuku gives up and declares she loves him. But he was relieved when she took back her words about loving him before and now she has really fallen in love with him. Haru loves her but notes his love is probably different than hers. He thought she would leave him once she realized that. In that case, they should start all over again. Shizuku will wait for him to fall in love again before she confesses again. Haru can’t go home after getting a message from Mitsuyoshi. Where else is he going to spend the night? What do you think Shizuku’s dad is feeling when her daughter suddenly brings back a guy? And they’re both so casual about it. So casual that Haru treats this place like his home and walks around topless. Shizuku is in a dilemma whether to look or not and when she does, he’s already fallen sleep. Meanwhile the handsome guy, Yuzan comes looking for Haru at the batting centre. Mitsuyoshi tells him he is not around. But Yuzan notes he can’t run away forever.

Episode 4
Haru is really treating this place like his own. Yeah, he even coolly notes there is a spirit in this house because last night he felt something watching him. Shizuku points out that’s her brother, Takaya. When the final exam scores came out, Haru beats Shizuku to first place. Despair time. So she goes to see Saeko to reconsider some of the marks on her questions but from what I understand, Saeko is ranting about her failed relationship instead. It reminds Shizuku that she was rejected by Haru. How can she make him fall in love with him? How did she start to fall in love with him? Shizuku notices Haru staring at others and tells him to stop it. It scares them. Besides, she likes it when he smiles. He takes up her advice and guess what? He suddenly becomes popular with the girls! There’s a group following him around! Though, he is still the same crazy weirdo we know. Of course in a way this makes Shizuku jealous. During sports day, Shizuku wonders why Sasayan cared so much for Haru since he never talked to him before and only recently. That’s because he owes him. A couple of girls are bugging Haru when Chizuru Ooshima requests their help to set up for the next event. They leave it to her to do it. Haru wonders if it’s okay since they’re supposed to be friends. The girls mention they never talk to each other although they’re in the same class. Later Ooshima accidentally drops a sports equipment on one of the guy’s head. She becomes very scared. Though he won’t pursue this case any further, he calls her useless and pushes her away. Haru didn’t like that and wasn’t joking when he replied back to one of the girls that he would oblige in making her bleed. The guy punches him. Haru fights back and beats him up in a one-sided fight. This made Ooshima even more afraid. Only hearing Shizuku’s voice calms him down. She takes him away to run when the teacher arrives. While washing up, Haru wonders if he has done something wrong. This happened before and when he looks up, everyone was staring at him, stunned. Though Shizuku can’t say his way was right, she notes he is a kind person. They almost had a very private moment together till Sasayan had to pop up to remind Haru about their next match.

Haru hopes that Shizuku would come along with him if he wins the next match. She agrees. And without any sweat, Haru wins it so she has to tag along to the river with the other friends for their summer vacation. Mitsuyoshi reveals he is Haru’s cousin. He wanted to point out about Haru’s older brother but Haru doesn’t want him to be a blabbermouth. The vacation ends and they drive back to the batting centre. However upon seeing Yuzan, Haru immediately runs away. Like it was some sort of reflex action. The friends talk to Yuzan and learn he is Haru’s big brother. He seems like a pretty nice guy. Upon knowing Shizuku had a part in helping Haru go back to school, he hopes she won’t give up on him and to keep an eye on him. After Shizuku leaves, Haru snatches her away at the alley. She almost died of a heart attack. He was waiting here the entire time? Even weirder, his concern was if they smashed the watermelons together. They didn’t. Mitsuyoshi cut it for them. He asks about Yuzan. Haru hates him but doesn’t want her to pry further. She invites him to her home since she has watermelons for him to smash. She notes she thought she knew him but apparently realized she doesn’t. Haru wants to do something for her since she’s always there for him. She wants him to take her out on a date.

Episode 5
Haru causes Shizuku to blush when he says out loud he gets to see her every day. I think everybody else heard that. In class, Haru notices Shizuku doing maths year that they should only learn next year. Shizuku gets mad wondering how he knows the answer without studying. Remember the time he skipped middle school the entire year? He wasn’t bumming around. He was studying. All topics covered in high school. Ooohhh… Then he asks is there anywhere she wants to go for their date. Yes there is. The library. As they leave school, they see girls gathering around a hot guy waiting at the gates. It’s Yuzan! Instantly Haru disappears! Wow! It’s not even the case of blink and you’ll miss. But Yuzan is here to see her. Haru hiding in the bushes realizes he should‘ve grabbed Shizuku’s hand and run. He pops up, scaring Ooshima. First she’s scared of him but when he realizes she is a class rep, he is amazed by her and thinks it is her glasses that made her so! When Haru notes she is a nice person, her heart skipped a beat. I guess you can tell what this means. Haru suddenly gets a message. He becomes fiery and leaves.

Shizuku seems to be accompanying Yuzan who is bragging about all the different types of sweets he had (I want to taste them!). This is a bait to draw Haru. He sent him a mail with a picture about their location but I guess Haru got lost. Yuzan and Shizuku talk and he learns that they aren’t really a couple. She loves him but he doesn’t feel the same. It’s a different kind of love. Down to business, Yuzan says he needs Haru to quit school and come back home. Haru was a big troublemaker before he entered middle school. Dad kicked him out but now he suddenly wants him back. That is why Yuzan is here. To bring him back. He knows it won’t be easy since Haru hates both of them and based from what Mitsuyoshi said, he has no intention to come home. Thinking Shizuku will be lonely if Haru leaves, he hopes she could help him out. However Yuzan shocks Shizuku that he wants her to help him keep Haru here. They gave up on Haru a long time ago and now he is coming to school. Something must have happened and it’s because of Shizuku. The conversation is interrupted when Haru almost smacks Yuzan with his bag. He takes Shizuku away but she wants him to hear Yuzan’s side of the story. Still don’t want to? Yuzan puts it this way. If he continues to be a coward running away, Shizuku will have to take his place like today. Their father never thought that Haru would go to school and now he wants him to quit so he can enrol him in a school he can influence. But if he learns how to function in society, there’s no reason for him to force him to come home. Yuzan can convince dad about this so Haru just have to play his part in going to school. It’s a win-win situation and a pretty good deal.

Later Haru chides Shizuku for talking to Yuzan. Now what? He’s her father? She just wanted to know more about him. Still, he doesn’t want her to hang around him. She refuses because he has no right to order her around. Till Haru brought up that love subject again and causes them both to go red. As Haru tells Shizuku more trivial stuff about himself, Shizuku gets this urge to touch him, giving anxiousness as an excuse. She touches his cheek and says she’ll be sad if he leaves but if there is a place he wants to be, he should just say it. Of course there is. He wants to be by her side. Shizuku remembers Haru’s words that he was afraid of losing her. Now she understands what he meant. In school, Ooshima seems anxious when she comes up to thank Haru for saving her the other day. His beautiful smile made her blush even further. And Shizuku had this prickly feeling in her heart seeing this scene.

Episode 6
As we know, Shizuku is probably jealous as she ponders how to get rid of this feeling. So irritated that she messed up tying her hair for the first time. Ooshima narrates how she got sick during the first week of school and missed making friends. She regrets coming here and is all lonely and should’ve gone to the same school with her other friend, Yuu-chan. On a side note, Haru is surprised Nagoya laid an egg! Roosters lay eggs? Obviously a prank! What more, the egg is boiled! So when Ooshima hears Haru is always with a certain girl, she gets dispirited. While the class is choosing a class rep, Shizuku notices Haru wearing glasses and trying to show off. Natsume bugs Shizuku about Haru’s encounter with Ooshima because she too knows she has the eyes of a girl in love. Probably Shizuku excused herself with her falling grades and excuses herself. For the first time she realized that other than studying, she wanted to look Haru in the eye but couldn’t. Later Haru talks to Ooshima. He is sad that he wore glasses and didn’t get chosen as class rep! That’s his intention?! Haru seems to be pretty blunt when he asks Ooshima if she has friends. He tells her he too never had any at first but now has some. He is also blunt to answer her question that Shizuku is the girl he loves. So when Natsume comes by and misinterprets this situation, Haru somehow aggravates the situation by saying she has no friends. Thus it suddenly becomes an operation to help find Ooshima a friend. WTF. How did this even happen. Why is even Shizuku part of the operation? Ooshima is so embarrassed. Shizuku seems upset and leaves. Another excuse that she can’t concentrate on her studies? Shizuku mouths off that this is Ooshima’s problem and that she should do something about it herself if she’s unhappy. Haru notes he spiteful attitude is what he hates about her. Likewise, she also hates his self righteous attitude. Oh no. Tension rising. And poor Ooshima doesn’t understand what’s going on and is caught in between. Is she the cause if this?

Later Ooshima sits alone and Haru comes by again. She asks what he meant about being in love with Shizuku. Is it the romantic kind? He couldn’t answer. Natsume comes by and invites them to join them. But it feels like another tension rising because Ooshima is sitting between Shizuku and Haru. He wants to know why she is ignoring her. She tells him straight her chest hurts when she is with him. She can’t focus on studying and doesn’t want to see his face. Haru didn’t get it and thinks she is sick. It upsets Ooshima so much that she had to tell him off that Shizuku cares about him and is worried. She even scolds him for having no balls! She said that out loud! She runs away but Haru catches up with her. He thinks she is trying to overachieve things and it’s tiring. Just work on achieving what she can. Ooshima feels better and is convinced she is in love. Shizuku notes how studying made her feel complete because she is rewarded for the effort put in. So she confronts Haru to apologize and wants to remain friends. Haru is shocked with her answer. Shizuku feels her mind should be focused on studying. Haru blushes when he thinks back about Ooshima’s words about being romantically in love with her. One morning Shizuku calls Haru out on a date. That’s fine but the library? Well, she’s been studying all by herself while he occupies himself with the Rubik’s Cube. Natsume and Sasayan visit the batting centre and learn about Shizuku and Haru’s ‘date’. Natsume feels down because Shizuku never confides in her or tells her anything. Mitsuyoshi advices her that it’s probably because Shizuku has never done it before and once she realizes she can’t do everything alone, she’ll open up to her. Love requires more than 1 person and she should be there when Shizuku needs her. But Yuzan isn’t optimistic. Noting honesty isn’t necessary a virtue and that Haru is a coward, he might run away when the time comes. I guess Haru is bored that he doesn’t have anything better to do but to stare at her. She tells him straight she is no longer attracted to him. She can’t control her emotions lately and can’t let her grades suffer as a result. She is not a genius like him and needs to work through a problem several times for an answer. Haru asks if he is a distraction now but she disagrees since the problem stems from her side.

Episode 7
Haru remembers his late aunt Kyoko who suddenly came into his life to take care of him. The school is preparing for the cultural festival. Ooshima bumps into Haru. She took up his advice and worked hard. Now she has loads of work to do. But she feels better overall. Haru brings up that topic of being shot down by Shizuku. It’s not that he got rejected by her. When Ooshima talked to him about that, it opened his eyes but realized was too late. Ooshima in a way feels in a tight spot. One hand, Haru still hasn’t given up on Shizuku and on the other, she still has a chance with him. She wishes him good luck anyhow. Haru learnt something from Kyoko (something about you can’t pick back up spilled water), that’s why he doesn’t want to make mistakes. Natsume has been eavesdropping and can’t help drop in. She thinks he should just go tell her how he feels if he has time to ponder about this. She adds Shizuku may not be responsive but that’s what makes her attractive. As Shizuku is not interested in her, she doesn’t insult her with names like the rest. Anyway, if he continues to get rejected, don’t give up trying. Haru remembers how hard he tried to push Kyoko away and caused trouble. She doesn’t want him to deny his strengths. Then on her deathbed, she told him humans will always wither away if they’re alone. The only cure is to seek other people. She hopes he would find that person one day. Could that person be Shizuku? Speaking of which, Haru goes to bug her (she’s dozing off at the library). He catches her off with his words that he was ‘thinking about a dead person’. Here comes another surprise. He confesses he loves her. It takes a few seconds for Shizuku to compose herself and control herself in not doing any embarrassing reaction. Good job. Then he tries to kiss her! Thankfully she pushes him away. Does love make him feel those urges? At least he is honest. Despite the confession, Shizuku won’t go out with him as requested so they started arguing. The following scenes that ensue, Shizuku felt a sharp pierce in Haru’s stare like as though she was in constant danger. Life isn’t fair when the midterm results are out and once again Shizuku loses top spot to Haru. Second fiddle again, I guess.

Later Shizuku gives Haru tickets to the cultural festival. He licks her hand! She warns him she’ll get mad if he does that again. Quarrel again. She wants him to give her some personal space (at least 2 metres) or else she won’t feel comfortable with him. I guess Haru didn’t like it so much so he made a very defensive barricade for Nagoya’s coop and names it after Shizuku! Shizuku stumbles upon Sasayan and his friend making plans to make money at the cultural festival. But first they need to get a good spot and that’s the tough part because the seniors will hog them. So during the festival committee meeting, the seniors flex their muscles by taking up all the good spots. The juniors have no chance. Shizuku stood up and defied them to claim the best spot. Haru is there too and repeats her claim. The senior didn’t like him and when he pushes Shizuku away, Haru punches him! In the end, they got the worst spot. As Haru pulls weed as punishment, Ooshima learns about the incident and advises him he shouldn’t solve things via violence if he cares about Shizuku. She was mad because she was worried about him. Haru felt relieved because he thought it was his madness that made her go crazy. Ooshima starts to have this feeling that she might regret falling in love with the wrong guy. She mentions about the not giving up statement he said the last time. She is willing to take the risk as she isn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. However Haru couldn’t remember he said that. What a mood killer. A few metres away, Shizuku heard their conversation. As Shizuku is going to stop by her cram school, she sees Yamaken and his cronies beating up a couple of guys in the alley. Yamaken also goes to the same cram school with her so they walk together to see their mock test results. Shizuku got first place while Yamaken took third. He takes a swipe at her wondering if she enjoys watching people less smarter than her. Shizuku admits it feels good to look down on others. Returning to the cronies, we see them pathetically trying to beg from Natsume to give them tickets to the cultural festival. See? It’s fun to see idiots like that, right? Shizuku gives hers to Yamaken. On her way home, Shizuku meets Haru. She tells him she won’t fall for him because it’ll be cruel to keep his hopes up. He’s fine with that. He just needs to change her mind. Then he tries to kiss her but manages to control himself. Embarrassed and flustering Shizuku leaves and feels she didn’t do anything wrong. But she can’t help wonder why this is happening to her again.

Episode 8
Shizuku is the zombie nurse (Binbougami’s Momiji?) of the haunted house. Somehow she doesn’t seem to be putting much effort into it. Not scary. Not cute. She still has lots on her mind especially about her decision on Haru. If she was still alone, would she doubt herself like this? She happens to see Yamaken. That guy has a very bad sense of direction but his pride won’t allow him to admit it. They return to Nagoya’s coop. Haru and Yamaken’s cronies happen to be there. Haru didn’t like Shizuku being so close to Yamaken but Yamaken provokes him further that she doesn’t mind his touch compared to his. Haru swings a punch but he evades and Shizuku got hit in the face! OMG! Shizuku enforces the 2 metre rule. Stay clear of her at all times! Natsume tries to console Shizuku. The latter knows Haru is such a selfish and childish guy but why can’t she break free of him? Thinking she is seeking her advice, Natsume says that his fixation on her is because he doesn’t want to be alone. She brushes it off since she is just someone accessible to him. A sign she doesn’t trust him? For the rest of it, Shizuku wants Natsume to stay out since it’s not her business. Now it’s Yamaken’s turn to console her. He doesn’t want to be blamed for letting her get punched when he is clearly the cause of it. He tells her his version why she can’t break free of him. Due to her expectations, his words and actions fulfil some of her own hope. She wants him to meet her expectations but she never met his. As they walk through the festival corridor, Yamaken wonders if she feels lonely after chasing everyone away. Shizuku doesn’t feel so because she’s never felt lonely. Yamaken brushes that off because she can’t feel lonely if nobody is around. That statement hit Shizuku and she starts to realize. Yamaken then sees Yuzan with Mitsuyoshi at the festival. He quickly grabs her and hides in the nearest empty classroom. Seems he had some traumatic experience with that dude. Shortly, I guess Haru also must have seen him and hides in the same room. But he has Ooshima with him. It looks like a scene he is forcing himself over her? The duo watch Haru and Ooshima’s ‘interesting’ conversation. Haru asks how she would feel if he tells her he likes her. Because each time he says this to Shizuku, things only get worse. Yeah, he may need to resort to force. Ooshima throws that question back at him. What if she says she likes him. He didn’t think she was serious at first until she puts it in a male-female attraction thingy. That’s like having sex, right? Then the worst possible combination: Yuzan enters into the room.

Meanwhile Mitsuyoshi stumbles upon heartbroken Natsume. He learns she wanted to help Shizuku but was given the cold shoulder. She views Shizuku as her friend as is worried that if girls get into a fight, their friendship is over. Mitsuyoshi assures her it won’t end as long as it comes down to how badly they want to be friends. By now, a crowd has gathered around the room. Why the hell is Haru taking Ooshima hostage?! I know he is panicking but this? Yuzan asks him if he is willing to hurt her. Haru frees her and escapes via window. Yuzan wanted to speak to Shizuku but Yamaken gets in the way. He remembers him and passes Haru’s boots to her to give it back to him (he fled without them). Shizuku returns the boots to Haru and they both admit they’re stupid. She does away with the 2 metre rule. Shizuku notes once the mistakes are identified, it is easier to correct them. Haru gets up and goes to apologize to Ooshima. Likewise, Shizuku goes to apologize to Natsume. She got so emotional that she cried. At the end of the festival, Shizuku is caught off guard by Haru. She thought he was sleeping and wanted to touch his hair. He pulls her close to him and asks if he has a chance with her or not. Haru learns about Shizuku’s insecurities as she is worried if her grades will be affected if she goes back to love him so much. That’s why she decided to go back to studying. She needs to study or else. Haru suddenly hugs her and she remembers this comforting warm feeling that made her heart beat like mad. It was the time she rested on his lap and looked up the blue sky. She didn’t understand what this feeling was then but now she does. She asks Haru to give her some time because she wants to think about their relationship.

Episode 9
Shizuku wakes up to find Haru reading in her room. Did he just break in? Well, he tried to enter the front door but her dad seemed surprise. He forgot today had no school and didn’t want Haru to tell anybody. Shizuku smells something suspicious and goes down to confront dad on why he is not at work. It’s odd to see the daughter reprimanding the father. This means he must have screwed up something big time. The truth is, his shop business folded about 2 weeks ago. He kept quiet so as not to shock her. Shizuku takes action by calling mom. Her response? Go and die! I guess Shizuku must have mastered the art of saying with that tone and expression exactly like her mom’s. Why not? This is the sixth time it has happened. Holy cow! Six times?! How useless can this guy get? Haru hears from Shizuku’s dad as he thinks Shizuku and Takaya must be lonely. His wife works that’s why they’re able to get by. Shizuku had little friends and preferred maths to dolls when she was young. Haru points out she has friends now. Later Haru meets up with Sasayan and Natsume at the batting centre (since Shizuku wants him to butt out of her own family affair). The guys talk about girlfriends. Sasayan hints he had one but got dumped. Haru hints something good happened between him and Shizuku. Which is practically nothing. No progress. Natsume is shocked when Haru told her that Shizuku said she wanted to think about their relationship. That was about a month ago. Now you know why no progress? Well, seems Shizuku stopped by and overheard them. Totally forgot about that, huh? As Shizuku and Haru walks home, she tells him she wanted to be like mom. She once wanted a goldfish but it’s not like she wanted a pet. After reading up and buying food for it, it never materialized and felt disappointed. That’s why she concluded it would be disappointing if she built up her expectations. It made her realize she must be lonely then. Haru then grabs her hand because he has something for her. Guess what? He is fishing down by the drain for crayfish? What a letdown. And here she had her hopes up for something…

Yamaken must be really bad at directions. It’s the fifth time he has asked the librarian for a certain book and his pride doesn’t allow him to let her show the way. So it’s a miracle when he finally finds the place. But Shizuku is also there. So they talk about studying and Haru. He gets irritated just talking about that guy. Meanwhile Sasayan and Natsume are eating at a café when a couple of girls whom Natsume knew walk in. She tries to hide herself but I don’t think that tiny book could do the trick. The girls recognize her and start gossiping about Natsume among themselves. Some love thingy that happened back in middle school. Natsume is on the verge of breaking down when Mitsuyoshi greets her. Then he has that look on his face which says “What are you b*tches staring at” and so those bullies scoots off. Wait a minute. Has she fallen for him? After Shizuku and Yamaken part, he goes crazy thinking back how he drew a diagram to analyze Shizuku’s state of mind for her! So he’s helping her out of courtesy? His body actions don’t seem like it. Shizuku remembers how her mom decides to work because dad was a failure. So he stays home to watch the kids and even Shizuku on one occasion asked him why he was such a failure. Regarding Yamaken’s question of why she wanted to know it will be all or nothing, because it’ll be a waste of time on anything uncertain. Shizuku goes pick up Haru. Still fishing! Caught nothing. Yamaken passes by in a taxi and happens to see Shizuku. His reason to go see her is to return her pen. But when he sees Haru with her, he hesitates. Not until Shizuku leaves, Yamaken throws the pen to Haru for him to give it back to her. Haru is suspicious he has Shizuku’s belongings. He asks straight if Yamaken likes Shizuku. He hints maybe. So you got a problem with that? Haru puts on a worrisome look on his face knowing he’s got a rival.

Episode 10
Shizuku has to come to with Natsume’s Christmas party. They stop by a fast food joint to get some food and run into Yamaken and his cronies. The idiots want to join Natsume’s party and initially Yamaken didn’t want to come even if Shizuku invited him. But when Haru tells him off he can’t come, he changes his mind. Haru doesn’t want him around because he said he loved Shizuku. Oh dear. Did everybody hear that? Yamaken shrugs it off and says he was only joking (which of course is a lie!). I guess Haru bought it. So the Christmas party turns out to be at the batting centre… Sasayan is about the make his way there and chances upon Ooshima. He invites her to come. Upon arrival, perhaps it isn’t what she had in mind because she’s getting creep out when the cronies start to take a liking for her. Annoying. Yamaken wonders what Shizuku will do now that her rival is here. Shizuku dismisses Ooshima as one and is just a girl in love with Haru. It’s not her problem. That’s all. Ooshima feels odd to be among the weirdoes. Because the cronies are fighting over her, Natsume and Haru are engaging in some riddle while Shizuku is cramming her face with whatever book she is reading. Haru gets too close to Shizuku (casually putting his arms on her shoulder) when the guys talk about elementary school. Haru can’t remember some pushing incident he did but doesn’t’ care about it since he has Shizuku now. Ooshima notices Shizuku is studying for the winter session cram school and Yamaken also announces he is also taking that same course. It’s when Haru feels jealous. I’m sure he confided in Mitsuyoshi about joining one but they don’t have that kind of money. Besides, I don’t think he needs it either. He’s a genius, remember? Shizuku thanks Yamaken for that talk the other day. She has decided to talk to Haru very soon.

Later Natsume confronts Yamaken to stay away from Shizuku and Haru. With Ooshima passing by, Yamaken points out what about her since she too confessed to Haru during the cultural festival. Natsume says Ooshima knows her place but it only brings depression to the latter since she got the wrong idea. At the end of the party, Haru confronts Yamaken to stay away from Shizuku. He declines his offer to be his friend in exchange for Shizuku. Because he has Shizuku, he doesn’t need him. Yamaken wonders what if Shizuku likes him more than Haru. He can’t answer but I suppose he was about to do something unholy. Something like pushing Yamaken off the stairs! But Shizuku pops up so he stops and walks home with her. On the way back, Haru wonders if Shizuku could just study fine without the cram school. Shizuku asks if he is jealous and he admits he is. Shizuku realizes this is what jealousy feels and since it’s no point telling him not to worry, she decides to make her feelings clear. She confesses she loves him and rest assured he can trust her on that. So does that mean she won’t attend the cram school? Dream on… So Haru is like an annoying mother-cum-stalker trying to persuade her not to go there. As well as to stay away from Yamaken. Till she tells him off she makes her own decisions and not to interfere with her studies. Left speechless… You know Haru is the persistent kind, right? After class, he continues to follow and ‘order’ her to go straight home after class and not go anywhere else. What is he? Her mother?

Episode 11
I think Yamaken is trying to ask Shizuku out for dinner. Too bad she brought her own. As Yamaken narrates the elitist he is, he can’t help wonder how the heck he ended up in cram school. I don’t know. Maybe he likes a certain girl? He also narrates how he has no trouble getting women because there are some who are just dying to date him. But you know what they say about things that are easily obtained.  He pulls Shizuku aside when she was too fixated on her place cards than watch she was going. This makes jealous Haru to punch him softly in the back. Shizuku and Haru ended up arguing about the latter continuing to follow her around. Yamaken makes a cheeky gesture so Haru throws his can. Yamaken dodges and the can hits Shizuku! Grrr… Don’t lose your top yet, girl… Be patient. In class, I guess Yamaken wasn’t watching his pride when he makes a comment that people are divided into smart and stupid. That’s the difference between him and them and she should have no problems understanding it if she dates him. Eh? Doesn’t it sound like he’s hitting on her? His heart skips a beat when Shizuku touches his head (where Haru punched). She wants him to stay away from Haru and her too. She’s not bragging but rather it shows her that is how much appeal he has. Yamaken can’t help smile on this ‘victory’. Think you’re appealing?

On the way back, he bumps into Haru. Yamaken can’t let his guard down because he feels Haru was really trying to push him over then. Flashback reveals Haru and Yamaken knew each other. Yamaken told him off he always get bullied for showing off and also never to watch himself. Other flashbacks include watching Haru violently beating up a guy at school like a monster and when Yamaken’s buddies were bashing up some guy in the alley, Haru accidentally got in the crossfire and thought Yamaken did it and beat the sh*t out of him. Yamaken thinks Haru has changed but the latter feels it is Shizuku who is the one who keeps changing. He is afraid she may leave him behind. That’s why he is always looking up. Haru tries to let him off with a little threat but Yamaken is not cowed. Is this jealousy he wonders. Haru sits in the rain remembering his past with Yuzan. They had nowhere to go and it was useless if they even ran away. He clearly remembers telling him he was the reason why they were brought to this house. He always wished Haru never existed. Haru is snapped out when Shizuku passes by. He calls her his hero because she always there whenever he wants to see her. He suddenly hugs her and whispers in her ears “I love you”. He wonders he has to suffer and show restraint. What restraint? He wants to barge into Shizuku’s class to mess up everything. Do that and everything is over! That’s why he’s restraining himself hard. He doesn’t want her to hate him or leave him behind. He wants peace of mind. He wants proof. He wants her! Not so fast, buddy. Shizuku is lost for words. She thought everything would work out if she told and showed him how she felt. She guesses they are out of sync now and doesn’t know how to fix it. In another one of the classes, Yamaken thought Shizuku wanted to eat spaghetti, thus it’s his chance to take her out for dinner. He never thought she could bring pasta in a container to class. Maybe next time.

Episode 12
Natsume enters the batting centre and is nervous with Mitsuyoshi around. She sees Sasayan and his friends. One of them, Shimoyanagi wanted to talk to her but is super nervous. His friends are laughing like mad behind. Natsume didn’t like this one bit and leaves. Did they upset her? Sasayan catches up with her and hopes she can forgive them. She explains that’s the reason she hates boys because all they care about is their own fun. He thinks it’s her fault for letting it get to that point. She tells him about female friendship thing but Sasayan points out Shimoyanagi didn’t do anything wrong in particular. She reveals she was just irritated. Shizuku is busy with her studies, Haru is in a bad mood and is having trouble talking to Mitsuyoshi. Sasayan thought she likes him. Natsume flusters and dismisses all he said. Haru drops in and is one happy guy. Apparently Shizuku made a promise to go on a picnic with him after New Year as long as he stays away from her studies. I guess he got ‘bribed’. So for the rest of the year, everyone did their own thing. Natsume chats with her online friends on New Year’s Eve and even lies about the fun things she had done. Suddenly she gets a call from Shizuku on how to record a TV programme and can’t find the instructions. Music to her hears. She must have been waiting for this moment. Then she couldn’t take it anymore. Because she is so lonely, Natsume heads down to Shizuku’s home just to help her programme it. She’s staying for the night. Oh, Haru is there too. He says she shouldn’t feel lonely because she can drop by anytime. She observes them and wonders if she can still spend time with them once they become a couple.

In the dead of the night, they get a phone call from Sasayan and realize they’ve overslept. It’s already 1am and they’re supposed to head for the shrine. Well, it’s packed with people. Yamaken and his cronies are about to pick a fight when Haru jumps in. The cronies manage to convince him their opponents are the baddies so they start the brawl. Yamaken realizes if Haru is here, then Shizuku too must be around. He finds her and tries to buy her dried squid but she pays him back. Natsume brings Shizuku away seeing that Haru is in a fight. She sticks out her tongue to Yamaken he’ll never get her and gets ‘crushed’ in the forehead. Shizuku is about to tell Haru to stop when she got elbowed by him in the face. Ouch. Luckily she manages to keep her cool. They bump into Ooshima along the way and she is with her friend, Yuu-chan. They take their fortunes and only Shizuku got good luck. Natsume is in a dilemma because she wants to root for Ooshima. She tries to persuade her to love somebody else than Haru but she’s cool with it. Ooshima wonders if Natsume has anyone she likes. She claims she doesn’t. Everyone converges at the rooftop of the batting centre to watch the sunrise. Natsume is surprised when Mitsuyoshi talks to her because he notices her gloominess. He adds boys that age are sensitive and could be a little nice to him. Natsume says she doesn’t know how to act after being mean the last time. Then she shouts out to the sky she hates boys. On the other hand Mitsuyoshi says he loves girls but he can’t fall in love now because he has got all this debt. But love is wonderful because it changes people for the better or worse. Natsume explains her delusion of building a kingdom for Shizuku but he points out she knows that isn’t true herself. Natsume hints of being together with him. Sasayan overheard that and goes apologize to Shimoyanagi that the plan backfired. Haru and Shizuku are super disappointed that they stayed up all night and couldn’t see the sunrise. Flashback at the shrine reveals Shimoyanagi still feels Natsume was mad at him. Then they bumped into Yamaken and his cronies before both groups go their own ways. Just before the countdown, Sasayan tried calling Shizuku but no one picked up. Natsume woke up and takes a snapshot of Shizuku and Haru sleeping close to each other.

Episode 13
Thanks to the building blocking, they can’t really see the sunrise. I guess they’ll just make do in seeing it rise from behind the building than the horizon. Haru says everything is fun when he’s with Shizuku and hopes they can do it again next year. Shizuku spends the next few peaceful days studying since her dad and brother are away visiting grandma. Just when she thought she hasn’t heard from Haru since, here comes that bugger through her window! He’s in a frantic. He’s looking for something but won’t say what it is. He expects her to know! Want to guess what he’s searching for? In a huff, he just leaves but left behind his handphone. Next he bugs Natsume but she too can’t understand what he’s looking for. This time Haru leaves behind his net. Next is Sasayan at school and by the time he leaves, he dropped his goggles. Sasayan calls Haru to find out but is surprised Shizuku picks it up. They can’t tell what Haru is searching for. Natsume goes to the batting centre but no one is there. Shizuku shortly arrives too. They’re both looking for Haru but he’s not around. Shizuku hands Haru’s handphone to her so she could give it back to him. Yamaken and his cronies are at hospital (one of them had appendicitis) when Haru suddenly runs pass by. He came across a wild boar… Anyway, besides the gloves he drops on purpose, this time he loses a set of keys. Why is this guy keep dropping things? I hope he won’t lose his clothes by the time this run around ends. By evening, Sasayan makes his way to the batting centre and finds Natsume waiting. Meanwhile Yuu-chan spots Nagoya along her way and snaps a shot and sends it to Ooshima. She calls her and tells her about the rooster. Shizuku remembers she has to buy rice and goes out to do her shopping. On the way back, she sees Yuu-chan holding Nagoya and is lost.

Yamaken and co now come into the batting centre to return Haru’s belongings. His cronies are absolutely happy Natsume is around. She apparently isn’t. Soon, Shizuku and Yuu-chan come in. They think Haru has been looking for Nagoya. They decided to find him but where to start? For all you know, he might have gone to where no man has gone before. Shizuku deduces from his getup and situation she saw him this morning, he may be down by the river. Why? Who knows? Yamaken and Shizuku don’t want to join the search and leave. Yamaken’s co initially didn’t want to find Haru too but with Natsume giving her piece of mind about caring for friends, I guess they suddenly know the meaning of compassion. Shizuku realizes Yamaken is lost and since he doesn’t admit it, she leads him back to the main road. The rest continue to search and Sasayan thinks Natsume should wait back at the centre in case Mitsuyoshi or Haru returns. I know what he’s up too. But Natsume declines. In actually fact, she really wants to see Mitsuyoshi but is too damn scared. Yamaken’s crony who underwent appendicitis surgery suddenly has his wounds open again and starts bleeding! Oh sh*t! Shizuku sees Haru as she walks back up to her home. She tells him they have found Nagoya but he isn’t aware that the rooster was missing. Eh? Wasn’t he looking for it? Apparently not. He was looking for a glowing bug. Something like a firefly. Do fireflies come out in winter? He spotted it this morning and wanted to watch it with her. It probably would have been prettier if she was with him. Then they see the firefly before it disappears. Shizuku did a research that indeed a species of firefly was active during winter. But to what they saw was a bug or not remains a mystery. Shizuku narrates Haru sometimes looks like having fun and other times he looks distant. She wonders if she can one day look into his eyes with honest and sincere affection. She notes the light she saw was pretty. Very much prettier because she wasn’t alone. Finally, Mitsuyoshi returns to the centre to see Yuu-chan waiting with Nagoya. Who’s she?

Next Door’s Weirdo
Nothing much happens… What the hell is this unfinished hanging? Feels like everything hasn’t been settled yet and then the series just ends. WTF? Nothing resolved too. Perhaps the reason why it wasn’t extended to another season was because it was getting boring. Yeah, I somehow gradually felt that as each episode passes. Sad to say, this kind of ending made it worse. Not to say that this drama romance anime had anything very unique that makes it stand out from the many other similar drama romance animes that I have seen. Therefore, uninteresting plot and direction + nothing much dramatic happens + not much progress and development between the characters and the love polygon + unsatisfying end = one hell of a big yawn fest and bore. It’s amazing that I didn’t fall asleep. I didn’t even take caffeinated drinks or coffee to stay awake.

Just as Shizuku narrated from the start and at the end of the series, she said she had lots to say about Natsume, Sasayan, Ooshima, Yamaken and even Nagoya. Yes, she even had something to say for the rooster. I guess 13 episodes weren’t enough. Or did it feel like she didn’t even say anything about them throughout the series? What was it that she wanted to say about them? Probably some love relationships and their friendship I’m guessing. Her monotonous expressions at first were amusing because it’s like she’s a bookworm zombie but it gets tired after a while. It’s funny when she shows a little more emotion especially when she is flabbergasted, surprised or blowing her top. You can thank Haru for that. Sure, that guy is eccentric and may not act like in the society would view appropriate. But he’s a nice guy once you get to know him. And if you can put up with his quirks too. His weird ways of doing things may amuse you but you too will learn to get use to it and that won’t be fun anymore. It’s somewhat predictable he is going to do something weird. The question is what he is going to do.

So that’s why it is also funny and a mystery how Shizuku and Haru can end up falling in love with each other despite them short of being acting like romantic couples. How long will that take? Maybe give them another season and they still won’t make any progress. Even if they speak their mind, it still didn’t get them anywhere. Is it just me or do I notice that sometimes when Shizuku wants to stop Haru from getting further into a fight, she gets accidentally owned by him. In a way, that’s like abusing your girlfriend, right? She’s already come this far, what are a few knocks to her head? Okay, maybe she should be worried about that. One thing is certain. Ever since they both crossed into each other’s lives, their lives have been changing in different directions. Shizuku may still be targeting to be Japan’s top student with high grades and landing that dream job. But she’s not as obsessed as before. She now has true human friends instead of her book as companion. She’s learning things that she can’t learn through textbooks but via life experience. Haru may always top her in grades but when she finally beats him, the satisfaction wasn’t there and not what she expected. With Shizuku around, Haru gets to control his feelings better and not rush into every fight to let his fist solve the problem. On a trivial note, the opening sequence and the promotional poster has Shizuku holding Haru being chained by the neck. What are they trying to imply? Haru is her dog? She will have full control over this ‘monster’? She needs a leash to keep this wild guy restrained? I suppose this subtly hints about their relationship. Shizuku trying to put some control in their relationship the way she wants. The 2 metre rule (which she later revoked) and telling him to stay away from her cram school classes are just some of the signs that she’s in control. I am confident Shizuku won’t easily lose control of him.

As for the other characters, because of the unresolved love triangle (as it is mainly focused on Haru and Shizuku), it is one of the reasons why I felt this series was a letdown. So what Ooshima had a crush on Haru. So? Is she still gunning for him or not? After that school festival incident, things on her have just about toned down. You just see her here and there so as not to forget about her. Besides, she would have been quite forgettable by then. It’s odd that for one incident it took to save her, it is understandable that she likes him and after so many moments with him hearing him out that his heart is with Shizuku, it is certainly enough to put a girl with high ambitions to give up. And even after witnessing Haru and his weird antics, does she still really like him? She can bail ship now since it’s the perfect chance. In the end, nothing really conclusive about Ooshima and Haru, right? Yamaken’s body action clearly points to that he has feelings for Shizuku. He won’t admit it but we know. He knows Haru is going to be a pain and a big obstacle but doesn’t seem to take any proactive action. Is he fine the way he is now? Does he love watching from the sidelines and just pray for some miracle that Shizuku would suddenly grow tired on Haru and turn to him? He sure doesn’t look like he is in a rush (or maybe he just looks like it) and perhaps could certainly wait. Yeah. Keep waiting. His cronies are a bunch of idiots but at least they seem fun and carefree and in a way honest with their feelings. I suppose they like Natsume being pretty and all not because they want to pursue any serious relationship to begin with. They just want a cool chick to hang out with. Say, what happened to that appendicitis member anyway? Did they rush him to the hospital or he just died from excessive loss of blood? See, this is what happens when you don’t wrap things up properly. Even if they’re just minor characters and the scene was probably for comic relief, at least you want to know what happen to them, right?

Natsume too is having her own problems with love and as hinted in the final episodes, she clearly does like Mitsuyoshi. And what is his reply? Man, that guy doesn’t even give an answer. So where does this leave Natsume? I guess it is not as bad as an outright rejection so she still thinks she must have a chance. Just that she is too chicken (sorry Nagoya, not referring to you for any pun whatsoever) to confront her feelings despite being a different person when she’s online. Her minor case with Shimoyanagi wasn’t resolved either. He wants to apologize but couldn’t get the chance. Then the story ended. Good luck waiting for next season. If there is another season being made. Sasayan feels like he is just some observer amidst everybody and everything. From the way he speaks and acts, I don’t think he has anybody in particular he likes. So in some cases maybe for Natsume’s, he tries to play matchmaking and as seen tries to give her a fighting chance for Mitsuyoshi. The biggest mystery of all is Yuzan. At first he was painted like some sort of antagonist wanting to bring back Haru. Then he may not be as bad as we think he is. Whatever happened to him after the school festival? It’s like he came and gone. I almost forgot about him when the series ended. So what was the deal with their dad anyway? There is a deeper and darker secret behind it and I’m guessing that Shizuku would find this out once she gets to know him better. That’s another story. Amusingly, it’s funny to see Haru bolt just the sight of Yuzan. It’s like a natural reaction and I think this super fast disappearing act could make him the best street magician or the fastest 100 metre sprinter. Yup, even breaking the world record at the way he ‘vanishes’. Too fast for the naked eye to see.

I’m not saying that this series should have more screen time on Nagoya seeing that I get the feeling the rooster is this series’ mascot. Perhaps the only segment that Nagoya hogs the screen time is during the next episode preview. I don’t know. You just see Nagoya bumming around. What do you expect to see a rooster do? This isn’t some cartoon or fantasy so you’d be sorely disappointed if you’re expecting Nagoya to suddenly get up and speak or wield a sword and slay duck demons. Hah. My imagination must have run wild after finding this series to be really boring. One funny bit that I clearly remember involving Nagoya is when Shizuku tried to boo and scare it when she thinks it is staring at her! I think the chicken got scared out of its life. Nearly died of a heart attack. Then maybe they all can have fried chicken for dinner. Mmm… Tastes like chicken. Of course lah!

Hearing Haruka Tomatsu as Shizuku, the first thing that she reminded when I first heard her was I thought she was the grown up version of Hitoha from Mitsudomoe (a character she voiced in this anime). They sound almost similar as both are in a way bookworms and they have that no-expression look on their face. Other casts include Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Haru (Yuuji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Kana Hanazawa as Ooshima (Chiaki in Mouretsu Pirates), Ryota Ohsaka as Sasayan (Yuki in Tsuritama), Takuma Terashima as Yamaken (Umehara in Amagami SS), Tomoyuki Higuchi as Mitsuyoshi (Takaomi Sudou in Guilty Crown) and Yuuichi Nakamura as Yuzan (Tomoya in Clannad). Atsumi Tanezaki makes her debut as a supporting role as Natsume. Both the opening and ending theme have this shoujo-esque feel. Q&A Recital by Haruka Tomatsu is the lively opening theme while White Wishes by 9nine is the girl group pop ending theme.

I have to admit that there are some funny moments too but the long and draggy love romance drama that didn’t go anywhere somewhat spoils it. Maybe they are trying to tell us that love takes time to nurture and you can’t rush it. That’s why this season was probably not enough to cover it. Hey, I’m here to watch a satisfying love drama not to see a cliff-hanger, okay? You can hear the words Shizuku says about what she realizes and observes as she goes along in her relationship with Haru. I think they are notable but they aren’t going to be remembered or listed close to the most memorable quotes in the history of this genre. Besides, I did say that this series had nothing unique to offer besides Haru’s odd behaviour so there is nothing much that stands out. Thus if you ask me, I would have preferred other animes of this same genre like Kimi Ni Todoke, Sukitte Iinayo and even Bokura Ga Ita because the relationship actually went somewhere despite the slow pace of the typical romance drama. Also, did you notice there are no ecchi/fanservice elements? Therefore, this show is purely for fans of the romance genre.

Despite how I said that this series was boring and the likes, even if they made a second season, I would still love to watch it to find out more about how the love relationships between the characters will be resolved. No doubt it would be Haru x Shizuku as strongly believed by many viewers and fans. But you can’t dispel the other slim possibilities. Life surprises you when you least expected it so there is that slight chance that will upset the balance and herald a new revelation. Who knows? Hopefully it will be resolved by then and won’t leave it hanging like how they did it here. That’s how I would prefer my love situations to be solved. The longer it takes, the more complicated it becomes to get over with. Feelings of awkwardness set in, more love rival appears, unforeseen circumstances pop up, just to name a few. Simply because it’s love. You know, it’s complicated. You can’t solve that with any maths equation you learn in class, can’t you?

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