Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Weekly Update – Episode 11

Shizuku is concerned

Is Shizuku going to reach out to Yamaken?

Shizuku is still in the center of the show, but the perspective moves more to the periphery this week as the two boys, Haru and Yamaken, move into the spotlight for some compare and contrast of their motivations and history. And while it’s easy for Haru to figure out why he likes Shizuku, for Yamaken it’s a lot harder. He’s got plenty of pretty girls who want to go out with him. He’s handsome, aloof, rich, and smart. But for some reason, he can’t stop thinking about Shizuku. Plain, grandmotherly, studybug Shizuku.  And making it worse, Shizuku is almost psychic about cutting off every avenue he has of approaching her (he tries twice to ask her out for dinner, and she’s brought it with her). So not only does he have the threats of Haru hanging over his head if he tries anything with her, but she isn’t making it easy for him to even get that far. In fact, Yamaken’s best chances with Shizuku come directly at the expense of Haru, for when the three of them are together, he’s incorrigible. Still insanely jealous, Haru’s missteps when he sees Shizuku and Yamaken together are the only things that seem to create any kind of opening for Yamaken, but he uses them mainly to tweak Haru, rather than make inroads with Shizuku.

The slightest thing seems to set Haru off.

And Haru is so easy to tweak that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. His outburst at the end of last week continued, sometimes at a lower level, but never far away from the surface. At least this time he managed to not leave a mark on Shizuku with his retaliatory attacks on Yamaken. He thinks that Shizuku is only demanding from him – restraint, consideration, behavior – but never giving any to him. In his mind, he thinks he’s the only one sacrificing. He wants to burst into her prep school class and wreck shop. He doesn’t, so he thinks that he should get credit for that. He wants to beat the stuffing out of Yamaken, and he doesn’t, so he thinks he should get credit for that. But it’s clear he doesn’t get it. In the words of Chris Rock (link NSFW, language), “You’re SUPPOSED to do that!” Ok, you get a little credit, but if that’s a big effort, that’s a huge warning flag. You’re not supposed to go around beating anyone up. You’re not supposed to follow your girlfriend around yelling at her, or threatening her, or demanding things. It doesn’t work that way. So while Haru thinks he’s sacrificing, he’s really just coming down to the level of “normal”. Yet in return he wants “more” from Shizuku.

Yuzan belittles Haru

Yuzan leaving Haru behind in the past

It’s becoming very clear that what Haru is afraid of most is being left. Left behind, left alone, left out. His flashbacks show scenes from his youth with Yuzan, where Yuzan is clear that he blames Haru for things, but says doesn’t hate him. Yuzan had to go somewhere he didn’t want to be because of Haru, and at least holds a grudge. And Haru is still affected by that. Exactly how, we don’t really know, but we can see the results in his stunted social skills, his very short fuse, and his fear. But what Shizuku can’t see (nor can I) is what Haru wants. He wants reassurance, but how? Shizuku has pledged that he doesn’t need to worry, but he doesn’t trust her at all. If anyone would be trustworthy, it’s her. Shizuku once again brings up the concept of being out of sync, like we’ve discussed in episodes past. And this couple is always out of sync, but I’m really starting to wonder if anything can change that.

Asako working up her courage

Asako is gonna give it a try.

For some actual romance in the show, however, we need to turn to Asako. Still smitten with Mitsuyoshi, she seems to have finally screwed up enough courage to try to talk to him as we reached the end of the show. Will she actually be able to go through with confessing to him? Will she blow it? And what will Mitsuyoshi’s response be? He’s a smooth guy, but this is going to blindside him, since he’s just thought he’s being friendly to Haru’s friends. It probably won’t be a happy occasion for Asako, but it will definitely be a learning experience.

Always out of sync

A couple always out of sync.

I love romance in shows. I love when the couple gets together through their trials and finds that spark. But this show is is starting to be different. In this show, I’m starting to hope that there isn’t any sort of romantic resolution, because Haru is such a mess. He’s dangerous, and sure he says he’d never hurt Shizuku now, but that temper really seems to get the best of him. I’m sure Shizuku thought that finally clearing everything up between them would calm him down, but it’s seemed to have the opposite effect. He’s gotten more possessive, and more demanding, and done both without actually indicating what it is he wants. And he seems to have gotten more violent in the past few episodes. Is that just because Yamaken is around more? Or is it because Haru’s regressing. Either way, I’m starting to think that having them be more of a couple is a mistake, and with only two episodes left, it feels like any sort of lovey-dovey ending would feel tacked on and inappropriate. Unless something really changes next episode, a “let’s continue to work on it” ending is probably in the cards (and such a change would have to be really well done to not feel fake).

Haru misses again

I’ve already talked about it at length, but Haru’s behavior, hands down, is the ugliest thing in this show. It sure doesn’t seem like he’s improving at all.

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