Tonari no Kaibutsu doesn’t merely contain impact, it boasts obliterating force – relationship, tragedy, comedy, romance, everything in one episode; this isn’t even a heavy hitter, this is just an instant winner.
Most typically, when one says a series contains an abundance of emotion, this is more literally meaning that a specific sentiment or two are present within – and they’re threshed out extensively. Tonari no Kaibutsu isn’t anything like that – reason being it doesn’t simply spin through a pair of emotions, or even three, it goes through a whole spectrum of feelings, from a variety of perspectives, each delivered to the intricacy and elegance of a symphony.
Forget genres and whatnot, this is an outstanding animation no matter how one chooses to view it.
You don’t call this “shoujo”, you call it “perfect”.
Since aesthetics are always immediate in giving a first impression, it feels appropriate to begin with them. One couldn’t help but hold the visuals to a high standard prior to release as the character designs were indeed marvelous upon first sight – despite a few points of complaint, especially with the side-characters. Yet as per this first episode, there’s not a single aspect to even forcibly feel disappointed with – it’s impossible to be unsatisfied here even if one tried their best, and that applies visually and otherwise for that matter.
Yet returning to our topic of the hour, cast aside character design, focus on composition – every frame is composed of line crisp to the point it almost seems edible. All is finely drawn – yet equally as exquisitely colored over as well. And the palette isn’t merely the standard RGB trio found anywhere, it’s a selection of color with legitimate and notable consideration in tone.
The heroine doesn’t merely sport butter yellow blonde hair for instance – she instead has stunning locks of an almost hazel appearance, making her beetle-like twintails a striking facet with every scene. Specifics no different apply to every other shape found within this series, the artists actually had to stop and contemplate just what hue would be most appropriate in whatever ongoing scenario – and the effort definitely shines.
Another area to praise is how the style of illustration changes to correspond with the mood of the scene – this responsive quality of the visuals gives a dynamic boost of mesmerization to every second without exception. If the series is showcasing a sorrowful atmosphere, one is going to feel sorrowful – and there’s no way around it but to stop watching. Considering that one is going to be essentially hypnotized by the series however, dropping it is certainly not happening any time ever.
Atop the unmet flavor of perfection, features both distinct and immense are found everywhere – every single item or physical element within this series is either suffocated with creativity, or refined to such a ridiculous extent, historians should just begin recording the attributes of this legendary animation for safekeeping as this is a masterpiece of the generation.
Look above at the image of our admirable heroine holding a biodegradable soft drink cup – that cup, just the cup alone, holds more sophisticated shadow and line work than seen within most modern day anime series as a whole. And it’s more original as well – having a capital letter “R” on it instead of the usual “WcDonalds” or similar.
Now all of that has been said and we’re not even touching the plot yet – the story will have one completely under its control, and in a fashion which leaves the entire industry of Japanese animation looking pitiful. The pace doesn’t even matter in this series – it’s a mystery how much time transpires throughout this single episode. Yet regardless of that meaningless detail, the series goes through so much – and all through a constant transition, smoother than what the word “smooth” can even describe.
A great series, in a not so sexual way.
Without a millisecond put to waste, the tale flourishes straight into our heroine on her way to deliver handouts to a classmate’s place of residence. The home of the classmate, as well as the classmate for that matter, both appear rather odd – although the true strangeness stems once the fellow seems to assert he holds the sacred relation of “friendship” with our heroine.
Further down the hole, whilst we come to see this perplexing male lead sincerely despises school, he isn’t a stereotypical delinquent character at all – he’s misunderstood by others, and as result, he detests the classroom as others would merely deject him. In fact, this character even says himself that he’s afraid of going to school, truly shaken in fear by the thought as he hasn’t anyone – any light of support.
However, once this fellow begins hounding our heroine with his ideals of friendship – it’s clear that he’s not merely joking, he legitimately adores her. And she, in spite of actually being an outcast herself, albeit by choice, seemingly fills the gaps of what our male lead what missing – bravely paving a new pathway for him to tread, whilst also gaining something she never was aware she wished for so dearly.
Our heroine is, by nature, apathetic towards others – or so was the case originally. Upon meeting our male lead, who insists so strongly his role of a friend to her, she aides him in breaking away from a raunchy group of false companions who simply took advantage of him.
A teary-eyed outcome follows – both our heroine, as well as our hero, seem to have found something they’ve long lacked, a true friend. More than that however, they also appear to have met their respective soulmate. Whilst the development seems to more directly focus on our leading male, this indirectly builds our heroine’s character tiers and tears worth. And for starters, when our intuitive heroine went out of her way to assist our leading male when she rid him of those phony friends, she pushed aside her usual disregard for others.
On the contrary, our male protagonist already held our heroine in high regard – after this incident however, one needn’t even insinuate what he feels as he tells our heroine himself. He loves her, and “in a sexual way” no less – and he’s going to love her in a sexual way forever.
Following up on this is a short period of uncertainty – our heroine hasn’t in her life had to deal with any such matters till now, and likewise, our male protagonist never had someone actually interact with him like a human being should.
Inspired by his love, our male protagonist returns to school, overcoming his freight in order to be with a person for whom he cares quite deeply. Now at school, he exhibits his affection in many different instances. The matter to be concerned with isn’t whether he loves our heroine or not, we already know that he does – rather, it’s how will he adapt to meet our heroine’s lifestyle, and similarly, how will our heroine accept these advances which feel foreign to her.
As one will see, she’s something of a genius when it comes to the core subjects of the education system – yet even such intelligence fails to assist her with matters of the heart. While they have majorly contrasting personalities on the outside – internally, our protagonists are both all too identical. Our heroine knows many things – yet when it comes to love, she’s just as lost as our leading male.
While our leading male may have the courage to come forward with his feelings, he lacks subtlety, among other facets. Our heroine isn’t as entirely straightforward or direct – yet she’s just as clueless when it comes to certain things. And the beautiful brilliance in this all is that we’re shown our characters evolving – and within the very first episode at that.
Awakening to the fact that studying holds value to our heroine, our leading male places it up on the priority list – whilst also ensuring not to disturb or disrupt her when she’s busy with it. Similarly, she learns of his sincerity – figuring out that he earnestly cares for her, and subsequently setting aside part of what she holds important, studying, in order to satisfy a wish of our male lead.
The mutual selflessness and clear struggle for romance is heartwarming and more – and by the episode’s end, one will feel in love with this series in all kinds of ways, sexual and whatever else there is.