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As far as shojo romance series go, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is definitely different.

Just like Sukitte Ii na yo's 3rd episode set it apart from a long list of shojo anime, this episode of Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun arguably did the same thing. Unlike the former series mentioned, this series maintains the more innocent shojo feeling whilst messing up our preconceptions of a perfect male lead.

The contents of the episode are contradictory, which makes it an interestingly enjoyable watch. Haru has always had the makings of your stereotypical shojo male lead - looks, brains and brawn make up the trifecta - and through no fault of his own (actually Shizuku's), the entire female population of his school falls in "love" with him. Being short-lived, this episode worked for me on a few different levels.

On one hand, were shown that Haru is indeed a shojo male lead but we're reminded that he is a misunderstood character with severe attachment issues. What makes this funny situation even funnier is how Shizuku was responsible for potentially creating a distance between herself and Haru by telling him to stop glaring at people.

Simply put, both our heroine and male lead are clueless. A first for shojo Not necessarily but my experience doesn't allow me to comment much on the matter, however it is what makes Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun stand out. Love is often portrayed as something a girl yearns for/avoids, only to have that boy fall in love with her at the end. It's rarely shown as the messy, clueless actions of two people aware their emotions but hesitant to act on them. Depending on what you look for in a romance/romantic comedy series, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun may come across as will they won't they but to me it's more a case of the two characters discovering and bettering themselves before getting together.

More is revealed in terms of story, when we meet Yuzan. Yuzan's involvement for me in the manga has never been a directly major role, but (surprise) an indirect major role. Much like in the manga, he doesn't add to the romance plots that are ongoing. He instead is the catalyst for Haru and Shizuku's relationship, giving them a push from the first episode. Just by arriving, he's managed to get Haru and Shizuku to get closer together emotionally as he reveals more about his past in small increments. There is also a new female character (Chizuru) who makes a brief appearance. If you recall the intro of the first episode, she's one of the main cast of characters the anime will focus on, although in this episode she didn't do much.

Carrying on the theme of "cluelessness," the ending this time round was romantic and endearing with a dollop of comedy. I don't know why but having these two morons smashing watermelons after repeating a part of the "rape" scene was a fun ending. Not as romantically touching as the last two episodes, but as funny as the first.