It’s natsu yasumi (summer holiday)! And Haru wants to see Shizuku in a bikini, but she says she’s not going to the beach. Anyway, this episode of Tonari continued the good storytelling this series has had so far. The first part of the episode focused on the school sports day. Shizuku and Haru have a talk about why people always seem to be afraid of him, and he learns that his normal look seems to be glaring at people. When Shizuku says she likes it when he smiles, he tries to start smiling when dealing with other people, and is somewhat surprised when this makes him a really popular guy with the girls. He’s trying to act friendlier, but this falls apart when he comes upon some upperclassmen hassling a geeky girl who is trying to set up another sports day event. Haru jumps in and turns pretty scary, and goes a bit too far in beating up the upperclassman. As he looks up, he sees the entire crowd surrounding him looking at him in shock, and his mind goes back to the middle school fight that led to him not coming to class. But in his reverie, Shizuku arrives, and drags him away from the approaching teachers. Shizuku says she doesn’t think he deals with things right, but that she knows he’s a kind person, and she hopes that other people will come to realize this as well (like Natsume and Sasayan seem to have). Haru thinks she is his hero, for saving him from the teachers, and notices the bruise on her forehead where she got hit by a volleyball. This leads to them both getting close, and almost kissing, when they’re interrupted by Sasayan trying to find Haru for the next soccer game. As he’s leaving, Haru makes Shizuku bet that if they win, she’ll go somewhere with him on summer vacation.
Fishing with Mitsuyoshi
Well, that’s a sucker’s bet, so they end up going fishing at a river with Natsume, Sasayan, and Mitsuyoshi (Haru’s cousin who runs the arcade). Haru doesn’t get to see Shizuku in a bikini, but Natsume fills that role for the group this time, as Shizuku learns to fish from Mitsuyoshi. After a nice time, they come home to find Yuzan at the arcade, causing Haru to flee. Yuzan turns out to be Haru’s brother (no surprise, they look nearly identical), and the rest of the group talks with Yuzan about Haru, who Yuzan claims has a ‘Brother complex’. He seems like a nice enough guy, so it’s a mystery why Haru is so scared of him. On her way home, Shizuku is again accosted by Haru, who wants to know if they smashed watermelons with Yuzan. When Shizuku asks why Haru ran away, he admits that he hates Yuzan, but stops any further inquiries into the subject, annoying Shizuku into leaving. But she comes back to invite him to her house to smash some watermelons. As they’re talking, Haru again mentions that she’s saved him, and he wants to do something for her, to which she calmly answers “Take me on a date.”
Is the watermelon shirt required when smashing watermelons?
Something I’m really liking through this episode is the partial role reversal that Haru and Shizuku have had. When they first met, it was Haru that was always trying to connect with Shizuku who was not interested at all. But now, Shizuku has gone from pursued to pursuer, as she is trying to figure out how to make Haru fall in love with her (a process that seems to be going along just fine by itself, actually, judging by how much Haru seems to want to be with her, and their respective embarrassment at possibly intimate moments). Shizuku is also getting a bit of an education about feelings, especially ones she’s never felt before. As Haru gains popularity with the girls, Natsume asks “are you jealous?” to which Shizuku replies “Oh, so this is jealousy.” A wonderfully blunt self-assessment, but also a new experience for her. Like last week, when she was surprised at the new feelings of attraction for a shirtless Haru, this week she feels the annoyance of jealousy and some of the heat of mutual attraction. Yet, she’s still able to talk to Haru calmly, and seems to be taking the attitude that anything he doesn’t want to tell her now, anything that is a secret so far, eventually she’ll find out. She’s taking a very long view approach to this relationship building, and perhaps some of it is that she sees that the other girls are interested in Haru, but he’s not interested in them at all.
It’s through this disinterest in the other girls that I really see how much Haru likes Shizuku. Like Sasayan said a couple episodes ago: Haru didn’t come to school for years in Middle School, but Shizuku got him to come and she’s gotten him to calm down. The “who” matters a lot. And we also see how much of an effort Haru has to make around the other girls to go against his natural tendencies for glaring and sullen looks, but this seems to be natural and effortless around Shizuku.
It certainly looked like a foreshadowing effort when the glasses girl who was being hassled by the upperclassmen was on the screen. We saw her four different times, including in the aftermath of the fight. Who is she, and will she come between Haru and Shizuku?
He doesn’t look THAT scary.
Exactly what did Yuzan do to Haru? That’s quite a bit of brotherly hate, and while Yuzan does seem fine on the surface, it seems a little bit faked, a little bit insincere. What is the secret that Haru doesn’t want to say about Yuzan?