[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="title"]
I'm going to admit straight away that the reason I decided to write this post for Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun was because of all the controversy I saw on twitter about a certain "phrase" said by the male lead.
[Note]: I might actually blog this series but no guarantees yet.
As someone who reads the manga - admittedly marathoned it a few a weeks ago - I had no issues with the episode, but instead praise for it's strong start. Essentially the material covered was 2 chapters and even though I remember the tone in each of those chapters being different, which did come across the same in the episode, it worked well with the episode. The narrative at the beginning of the episode was also a nice touch and the continuous narrative from Shizuku's point of view works well.
Just from the start many people should be aware that Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun doesn't actually follow the typical shojo romance track. This isn't really girl-meets-boy followed by each of them thinking "Does he/she like me " it's much more chaotic. Haru is far from the ideal shojo prince. For one he assaults Shizuku on various occasions and his only redeeming feature thus far is his unexpected intelligence. At this point in time I can understand any outrage against Haru's character and I do think that the episode didn't convey the humour intended in the manga so well, but as the story progresses more should be made clear about the reason Haru acts like this.
Shizuku will play an important part in Haru's personal development, in a way that resembles a reverse Kaichou wa Maid-sama! which is another refreshing change on things from the stereotypical shojo "White Prince" changing the fair maiden's ways. That said, Shizuku can't quite avoid being a little bit stereotypical by being put into situations of slight embarrassment whenever....well she gets hugged or kissed by Haru, actions which you don't see very often in romance series unless the character is an idiot (like Haru).
Even with all the comedy going on we still got to see a lot of sincere and serious moments involving Haru. These may not be enough to make you like him as a character but at least he displays some vulnerability, which was enough for me to downgrade him from an asshole to simple idiot. Big difference.
With a kiss and a confession of some type happening in the first episode, I'm guessing many of you are thinking how the hell is this story going to turn out. Rest assured the story remains humorous and manages to do a lot with so little, so have faith in the source material.
Overall, I'm willing to bet Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun did a good job with getting people interested from the first episode. There will be those who aren't fond of the cast - just Haru at this point - and possibly the story later on, but you'll always have a friend in me if you do love or just slightly like this series.
Final Note: People should NEVER compare this to Kimi ni Todoke. They are nothing alike and both completely different in terms of tone and story.