Last time we had lessons in Nice Guys™ and Alpha Males thanks to Black Bird and Suki Shite Sadist respectively. Black Bird only got a B+ this time because it toned down a lot of the more questionable elements, while Suki Shite Sadist continues the problematic framing earning itself another A-. This round we shall be tackling chapter four of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, which continues to remain good; and Hot Gimmick, which continues to show us just how great Ryouki is!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

  • Ah, seems we got ahead of ourselves last chapter. Shizuku quickly says her proclamation of love was a lie. Haru acts somewhat out of character by actually understanding what’s going on and teasing Shizuku about being shy. I, I’m not sure whether the author knows what she wants to do with Haru…
  • Another rescue scene for Shizuku. Haru takes care of the guys that were his “friends” before and who were bothering Shizuku and Sasahara in the store.
Tonarui - Personal Space

Personal space? What’s that?

  • Haru once again forgets this little thing we like to call personal space.
  • And a hint of possessiveness when Haru hits one of his old “friends” for touching Shizuku.
  • Interestingly enough, Natsume isn’t very comfortable with guys. A nice subversion I must say!
  • Wait, wait, Shizuku confesses again! And this time she doesn’t take it back. But Haru has a deep dark past, because well, it wouldn’t be fun if he didn’t! And he is worried Shizuku would leave him if she knew. DUN DUN DUN!

The Silver Lining?

Another very nice chapter from Tonari. I really like the friendship angle that Tonari has now introduced, and the fact that Shizuku takes initiative and confesses to Haru (twice at that). I also really like that she doesn’t get all depressed when she’s rejected but decides to “take back” her confession and say it again when Haru feels the same. It’s nice to see a heroine who can take a rejection and not sulk in self-pity for half a volume. There are still a few cliches like Haru having some dark past and another rescue scene, but there is enough freshness that it doesn’t bog the chapter down. Still some mild personal space issues and possessiveness, but overall, Haru is not portrayed as a creep unlike every other love interest on this feature, unfortunately. I also liked the subversion of Natsume being not very comfortable around guys. She notes that she doesn’t like being alone with guys when Sasahara arrives early and it’s just her and him; and also when Haru’s “friends” show up to help build the chicken coop. Overall, I’m really enjoying Tonari now. I can’t wait to read more. :)

Ranking: F

KLSFLSKDNFIODNFDKF?! No really, what is this chapter Tonari? You’ve gotten another F in a row! You better step your game up or you will be heading out of this feature. How could you introduce a female character that doesn’t want guys? How could you not have Shizuku sulk in self-pity at being rejected for half a volume? Furthermore, Shizuku confesses twice? No no no no! The man must confess, that’s the manly way. You are totally ruining this romance, man. We need a creepier more possessive Haru, you hear?

Hot Gimmick

  • Hatsumi expounds the virtues of Ryouki this chapter: “[h]e’s arrogant, selfish, the worst!!!” Makes one wonder why she stood up for him if she really believes that. >__>
  • When Subaru pays Hatsumi a compliment, saying she is strong because she doesn’t let the bullies get to her (Oh Subaru, if you only knew!), Hatsumi quickly says it’s not true. Can’t have her think good things about herself after all. We’re got to maintain her lowly submissive personality.
  • Man, this girl just has awesome self-esteem. She tells Azusa he has to be mindful of being with her or his image will be ruined. Lovely!
Hot Gimmick - Good old charming Ryouki

How to Romance Women, Lesson #1: Order them around like they are a thing that belongs to you.

  • First thing Ryouki does when he sees Hatsumi? He tells her to carry his bag for him and come with him to cram school. Oh and by tell, I don’t mean ask. He just shoves the bag on her and tells her to do that. Charming, right?
  • And you know the reason she’s actually thinking about standing up to Ryouki this time? It’s cause Azusa will think she’s weird. Hatsumi, good priorities!
  • Hatsumi recalls Ryouki’s words of just listening or else her secret (well technically Akane’s) is out. Even for another man, we seriously cannot have Hatsumi show any kind of backbone in front of Ryouki. Even the slightest sense of self-esteem and self-worth will make him utterly unable to love her.
  • What does her dear sister think about this? “Damn you, Hatsumi, not just Azusa but Ryouki too!” What a lovely sister-to-sister relationship these two have.
  • O ho, according to Ryouki, this is her punishment for not being a good slave and returning the handkerchief properly.
  • Hatsumi thinks why does she need to apologize for not returning it in person, but she does it anyway. Gosh, I really can’t get enough of how inspirational this heroine is!
  • Supposedly she’s oh so mad, but not like she does anything to show it. Hell she just apologized to him for not returning the handkerchief in person even though he’s clearly being a total ass about it.
  • She also asks him nicely not to do the whole slave thing in front of Azusa, but Ryouki just replies with “denied”. He even gets upset that she order him around! Hatsumi just replies with, “it’s a request”. More wish-washiness from our dear heroine. Just how low can she go, I wonder? (Hint: Pretty damn low).
  • Although, surprisingly, she has enough backbone to admit that she does like Azusa to Ryouki. Well I guess there is that. But she tries to back out of it by saying she’s not entirely sure how deep her “like” is. Man, seriously, we get like a glimmer of hope that she actually has some kind of backbone only for the author to relentlessly destroy that hope by having Hatsumi back off and try to undermine the bit of backbone she just showed. >:/
  • What does Ryouki do when he hears this? Yells shut up at her and tells her listening to her pisses him off. Man, I can totally see why everyone wants a piece of this guy. He’s just so considerate.
  • Oh it gets better! He notices kissing couples so he tells Hatsumi he has one more punishment for her, “Kiss me now. Right here.” She resists, but ultimately gives in because otherwise he’ll tell his mom about her sister.
  • Oh but look guys, Ryouki is all flustered by that kiss. See, it’s so adorable and totally makes everything else A-OK.
  • Azusa totally misunderstands and thinks Hatsumi and Ryouki are going out. Our dear tender heroine doesn’t have the courage to tell him that she likes him not Ryouki. See no backbone.

The Silver Lining?

Sorry guys. I can’t think of anything good about this chapter. In fact, I don’t even want to reach for something good at all. I could say, Hatsumi still likes Azusa, but the fact that she cannot, even on some level, deny Ryouki something, anything; be it show a little of that supposed anger, I cannot really defend her anymore. If she truly hated Ryouki’s guts as much as she supposedly does, she should at least have some of that anger unintentionally seep out. But that doesn’t happen. She doesn’t even have the backbone to tell Ryouki she likes Azusa and not him. So in short, I just cannot see anything worthwhile in this chapter.

Ranking: A

Nice And Submissive. Just the Way We Like ‘Em. Gosh darn it, no one has submissive down as good as Hatsumi. Well maybe Aki from Suki Shite Sadist, but I feel like Hatsumi comes off as having less of a backbone because she can’t even tell anyone who she likes. Hell, while short lived, Aki did have that momentary stint where she stood up for Naoya against bullies because she thought he was Masaya. Hatsumi doesn’t even have that. She doesn’t chase any bullies away. All she does is tell Subaru not to let them bother him. And gosh darn it, she is a damn strong person for saying that, even though she is clearly bothered by what the bullies say to her, but can’t do anything about it. Guys, it’s no hypocrisy, it’s strength! Brilliant!

–SW

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