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cruyffbedroom

  • Joined Mar 2, 2013
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Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Mar 24, 2013

My Little Monster is a show about two high school students (Shizuku and Haru) who meet each other and change each other’s lives; which, you know, big deal. Haru has been absent from class for a long time now because of his past bad behavior, and Shizuku gets tasked with bringing him back to class. The series then concerns him their relationship to each other, and how each of them grows from that.

Haru is seen as a scary, impulsive thug who glares at everyone. Shizuku is the serious, responsible type who always studies. But they each have hidden sides to them that the series then explores. Part of the fun of the show is finding out about those hidden sides to their personalities. My main focus here will be the main relationship between these two characters, and their general attitudes toward not only each other, but toward the world. Most of the comedy of the series comes from the clash between their viewpoints, and also a clash between their desires and the constraints of the “normal” world.

Arguably the most interesting thing about the Haru character is his enthusiasm. At the beginning of the series, he’s hiding out from school. He beat up some upper classmen and  got suspected; but his suspension had been lifted, and he simply refused to go. When he meets Shizuku, he escapes by jumping out a window. But later on, he accosts her and stops her from leaving. The truth is: he’s curious, he’s anxious about school; he wants to go. His tough exterior actually hides a soft, rather inquisitive nature. He wonders out loud that since Shizuku brought him his school papers, it must be because they’re friends; and he later asks her school was. His knowledge of friendship, of school, of all sorts of things, seems to be derived from media; he yearns to experience it for himself. Shizuku is the excuse he gives himself to attend school, but soon enough we see how important going and being there is for Haru. He earnestly believes in the significance of the rituals of youth; he wants to make friends so they can all hang out together after school, wants to meet them in the weekend, wants to live out his high school life the way it’s supposed to be done. But, again, he’s too weird, a little too intense, to get along with other people; in the end, only Shizuku seems to be able to handle him.

Shizuku, on the other hand, is a loner by choice. She comes across as cold, unfeeling, and stuff like that. But really she’s also as intense as Haru is. She focuses all her energy on her studies. She’s not interested in what happens around her, or what other people say, or that she might be missing out on some better life. For her, high school is just a thing she has get through, make good grades in, and get an amazing job later on. Which, fine; that’s actually a pretty great way to look at it. But immediately the show takes great care to show another side to her. Although she tries not to get involved in Haru’s problems, she cares too much to let things pass. She’s blunt and says what she wants, sometimes without thinking of the consequences, as when she calls out Haru’s friends for not treating him right; her truth-telling can be brutal. But Haru’s presence radically changes how she perceives her life. There’s a beautiful moment in the school rooftop (where else?) where she falls asleep. When she wakes up, Haru’s there watching her; it’s the first time she’s ever skipped class. She allows herself to relax, to feel the moment around her, to know why it might be an important experience, “my world is growing.”

What’s refreshing about these two characters is how these characters aren’t tortured souls without any clue about their real feelings. In the first two episodes, both characters have confessed to each other. Just like any good old-fashioned romantic comedy, a bunch of complications pop up; romantic rivals, past wounds, etc., just to put off what is inevitable. But I loved how sure they all were of their feelings. I’ve seen so many shows where the characters are completely clueless or never have the courage to say anything about what they feel that it becomes annoying. Haru and Shizuku may be clueless as to how to navigate the world and deal with people, but they are remarkably sure about their feelings; and honestly it’s thanks to that that the series remains solid and engaging. Haru and Shizuku are characters who are weird, too intense, to fit in “normally” with everybody else. They’re people who can’t turn off their personality just to fit in. The show, almost imperceptibly, allows them to build a world for themselves. By the final episodes, our main characters have found people who care about them, even though they themselves remain as stubborn and as weird as they started.

It’s a shame that we’ll probably have to wait for a sequel to find out what happens in the romantic lives of these characters, but that’s okay. The show has the confidence to basically end on a totally filler episode because we’ve already learned to love the characters and love to spend time with them. Perhaps a second season will introduce more drama into their life, perhaps not. The series allows our main characters to feel some new emotions, have their lives be changed, all without too much angst or anything like that. Haru and Shizuku have learned to enjoy themselves.

copied/pasted from my tumblr: cruyffbedroom.tumblr.com

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6/10 overall

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