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It's safe to say that Haru is one of the few male leads in a shojo series that needs so much personal development.
Interesting that in shojo romance - i.e. one that's target demographic is the fairer sex - we have male lead who's emotionally stunted and lacks any common sense when it comes to his love interest. I've already mentioned in previous posts that Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is a rarity when it comes to the genre and demographic it fits into, and for me it's a lovely anomaly.
Haru's been a broken character throughout the series so far, even causing an uproar with his initial mannerisms from episode one. He's been less than ideal as a male lead, however it's refreshing to see a male lead more into the girl. Make no mistake: in this relationship Haru is the submissive one who has been changing since he met Shizuku. His flashbacks reveal little about his past that we're not aware of, but it gives us an insight into the reason for his actions and his lack of basic understanding. He's a deeper character than most male leads; he's not naive as much as he is inexperienced with people in general.
Credit must be given where it is due. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun hasn't been just about the development of the female lead with sprinkles of development for the male lead. Quite the opposite. This story has been about development of both leads and episodes like this are give the story more depth. What's a romance story without a split focus
That wasn't all we had this episode. Yamaken and Chizuru starting make their moves on their respective love interests, although Chizuru is the more obvious one. Yamaken comes across as the cool rich guy who seems to have an unusual obsession with Shizuku. Unfortunately, this does mean we're back to the will they, won't they portion of the story that I know a lot of viewers will hate. I don't mind it, but I guess that's because I know what to expect from the story.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun continues to be a fun watch. At this point all the shojo anime this season are of a high calibre and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun still manages to have the edge on the other two.