My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)

(13ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Standard shoujo romance : a girl falls for the angry good-looking bad boy. After all, he stalks her, threatens to rape her, kisses her forcefully and casually backhands her, injuring her in the process ; this must be love, right ?

Characters

Shizuku, our protagonist. She’s very, very cold and misanthropic, and has no friends whatsoever, chosing instead to focus on her studying. I like her and her dry, cynical attitude (although she’d probably very annoying in real life). One day, she’s tasked with delivering transcripts to the recently-kinda-suspended…

Haru, our male lead. While he’s very violent, he’s not that bad a guy ; he’s just very awkward around people, has no sense of his own strength, and very little social knowledge. He likes Shizuku because she’s the only person who’s not afraid to look him in the eye, doesn’t exploit him (unlike that pack of “friends” that hangs around him early on), and just straight up tells him what’s what when she’s fed up with his haphazard behaviour.

What with some of the OP imagery and Haru’s body language, I’m starting to wonder whether the title might not be a metaphor (although this episode’s coy on the subject so far).

Production Values

Brain’s Base bring in their usual baseline of quality, although this is in their lower range. Most of the budget here seems to be spent on the body language, making sure that the lead characters are always doing something quirky or a weird face in every single shot.

What did I think of it ?

Ignore my generic annoyance at the usual shoujo romance tropes in my first paragraph (although all of those things do happen over the course of the episode) ; this is actually a very fun romantic comedy, with perfect comedic timing and hilarious sight gags and dialogue. The two leads have tons of charisma and chemistry, and are a delight to watch interacting. This is very much played for laughs, which makes the shoujo clich├ęs more palatable.

It reminds me somewhat of KareKano ; while it’s nowhere that good a show, there are worse models to follow after.

A pleasant surprise, setting a high bar for the other shoujo romance shows also airing this season.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012.