Don’t toy with me Miss Nagatoro is a romcom anime based on the manga by Nanashi, currently available in 13 volumes. In Spring of 2021, it was adopted into a 12 episode anime.
There are different ways certain states of mind are expressed. In the case of this show, its shyness. Both of the two protagonists are shy in a sense. The senpai character is both shy and a bit socially awkward. He isn’t used to social situations, and lacking such an experience, he gets easily flustered. He also strikes as an introvert in the beginning of the show, preferring to spend his time alone, drawing and painting.
But then, Nagatoro erupts into his life. At first you think she’s just bullying him of sorts. The endless teases seem like malice, but no. She actually likes him. But, being so young and shy in the sense that she can’t really properly express her emotions, she toys with him. As the season progresses, their emotions for each other grow and towards the ends they start become aware of them.
But before all that, we run through all kinds of different, archetypal anime rom com scenarios. There is a beach episode, a let’s share lunch episode, doing a project together episode, alone in an apartment etc. The grand finale of the show is also an anime staple, the cultural festival episodes. Senpai has to create some works of art that rival his own senpai. To do that, he realizes he needs to paint Nagatoro. His own senpai told him “Everything that you do, everything that you create, lacks love.” The Senpai’s senpai work is motivated by a lot of love, even if its only a very intense form of self-love.
Senpai embraces his feelings and paints Nagatoro. It is the crowning achievement of him as a developing character. He was very meek, uninterest, lacked a backbone, and couldn’t express his will at all. Another great moment which portrayed just how much he has changed is a scene where he sees Nagatoro and her “Friends” hanging out with a bunch of guys. Now, he witnessed something similar before that, realizing how bored Nagatoro was around other people. With shaky knees, Senpai gets up , and with an outreaching hand tells Nagatoro, “Let’s get out of here”. Everyone is beside themselves. I was shocked as well. Nagatoro blushed like Snow White and they went off.
The vast majority of the comedy is based on Nagatoro and her friends teasing Senpai. There are a lot of sex jokes if that is your thing. The funniest part of the show, to me at least, are all the fantastic faces Nagatoro makes. She is a meme/gif generator. Most of all I prefer her scary and shy faces. She goes real dark really quick once she gets jealous. The friends aren’t all that fleshed out, even if all three of them are quite busty.
It is a very beautiful looking show. The art department really worked hard with creating all those Nagatoro reactions. They also really went all out on the nature and city vistas. The nature looks very intense, but it also has this feeling of a very vivid, colorful dream. All the paintings that Senpai creates are top notch as well. I’m a big fan of guitar/bass riffs and the opening for this show has one of the most infectious riffs I have heard in quite some time.