With the first episode unprecedented, none could blame Tonari no Kaibutsu for a watered down second spectacle – yet one doesn’t have to, the series somehow surpasses its own perfection in this chapter.
A wonderful rarity in storytelling , this episode initiates as a direct continuation to the last, yet not exact – taking place only a short while beyond the conclusion last seen, although still somehow having set the spotlight upon a separate focus. As the general aspects were introduced last episode, the light is now beaming down upon a more specific fact – Haru kissed our heroine, as previously seen, and she’s now left in an uproar on the inside.
Magnificent in the finest sense is how Shizuku doesn’t respond in any particular or way immediately following the kiss – but by the episode’s end, one will see that she does indeed give Haru an answer. Having had her lips violated, she neither lashes out at Haru in anger, nor embraces him. The kiss was not meaninglessly portrayed, nor lightly presented – our heroine is left in a personal turmoil of thought as to what her take should be.
She’s rarely interacted with others – however, now she’s been kissed. And the integral detail regarding this event is that she doesn’t necessarily dislike the fellow to be able to decline him – rather, she simply cannot come to a decision on how to react, and that being the case is exactly what makes her course of action so glorious. She didn’t simply smack Haru on the head, yell “BAKA!!!”, and run away – she instead gives actual contemplation and consideration before making any further move. Indeed, she’s truly an intellectual of a heroine.
Now while our heroine’s situation is the main point of the installment, Shizuku keeps pondering on the subject for the duration of the entire episode – whilst all the while, a diversion from daily life spurs up.
Before getting into that however, it should be said that our heroine, prior to the finale of this episode in which she makes an expression of sentiment both sublime and brave, she remains fairly stiff around Haru – or in other words, the reality of her love towards him is sinking in, and it leaves her literally unable to move if he’s around as she’s still to admit it.
In the meantime, this is where the extra line of plot comes – a bishoujo fairly conscious of her cuteness approaches our top scoring genius of a heroine, Shizuku, in hopes of receiving some mentoring. Shizuku declines on the basis that it’s not her problem – however, this opens the pathway for exploration of a different type of intimacy beyond romance, friendship. In place of Shizuku, Haru unexpectedly accepts the task of tutoring the cute bishoujo – reason being that he hopes to go with her to a convention of some sort.
An earnest wish, Haru wants to gain friends – and this is, in fact, what the cute bishoujo seeks as well.
For reasons best described solely through the prefix of “various”, the cute bishoujo doesn’t get along too well with most classmates – and thus, she’s desperate to attend a certain event, something only possible if she can succeed in avoiding makeup classes by scoring decently on an upcoming test. The cute bishoujo does, however, lead a fabulous internet life – although as many of us should know, that’s not nearly as fulfilling.
However, even accounting for that, as well as Haru’s teaching sessions, it all amounts to null – the girl evidently lacks the cognitive power to be able to grasp any concepts explained to her, and her esprit de corps dries out.
Nonetheless, hope is not lost so quickly – Shizuku finds an essence of humanity in her cold yet adorable heart, and our heroine takes it upon herself to aide the girl in Haru’s place. Shizuku has been combating through the idea of why those around her seem so intent on acquiring “friends”, questioning why others view loneliness as so frightening a facet – yet she seemingly realizes that she, herself, has been suffering no different.
And now at this point, hope is lost – somewhat. The cute bishoujo ultimately scrummages through the test – yet that “real world” meetup event collapses on itself. It’s tragic, although this is no series of sorrow – while the original plans went nowhere, friendship still flourished on quite an expansive scale. Our male protagonist and female protagonist alike both gained a friend, the cute bishoujo – and likewise, that means two new tomodachis for the cute bishoujo.
Heartwarming as this all proves to be, don’t forget, it’s merely a side-story – and so approaching the final minutes, enter finale. Shizuku relaxes on a rooftop with her newly made comrade – meanwhile, Haru is walking around looking for her, yet she leaves him be as she apparently wants some solitude. The cute bishoujo heads out to get Shizuku a drink – and upon her return, she sees a sleeping Shizuku, with Haru sitting beside her, subsequently leaving the two as even a slow learner like her can quickly figure that the two are in quite a stage of romantic development.
Shizuku awakens to see that she’s beside Haru – and whilst about to feverishly run to class after noticing the time, he insists she simply go back to sleep. Now, we witness a confession with the resonance of an intergalactic collision – Shizuku, without a hint of hesitation, tells Haru her feelings, a confession of love.
While this is merely the second episode, we’ve already been so deeply entrenched in the lives of our characters – and both have shown themselves admirable for many a reason, most notably in how they recognize their own problems, and then put forth sincere effort to right the wrong. Even in the matter of romance, once they found that their love is true, they did not waver in deciding to follow through with it.
Being so true to themselves, it’s inevitable that one will come to love the characters of Tonari no Kaibutsu – and of course, this heartfelt animated recollection of their adventures, Tonari no Kaibutsu itself.