A: Courtesy of Wikipedia, Monjayaki (often simply called “monja”) is a type of Japanese pan-fried batter with various ingredients. Now I’m starting to get hungry.
Surprisingly enough, despite not being the target audience for Tonari (the sight of handsome guys tearing up isn’t going to make me go: “kyaa!“), I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. Although I would attribute most of my enjoyment come from the comedic elements rather than its romantic counterpart.
Girl meets boy
More accurately, it is the girl-who-does-not-give-a-damn-apart-from-money who meets boy-who-is-socially-awkward. Meet Mizutani Shizuku (Tomatsu Haruka), a student who has no interest in anything but studying, for the sake of securing a good payroll in the future. Sitting beside her, or the lack thereof, Yoshida Haru (Suzuki Tatsuhisa), a guy who traded most of his EQ for IQ when he decided to create his character. Guess what, IQ does not help at all when it comes to the romance department, so
tough luck there good luck have fun.
In almost classic fashion, everything that transpired seemed almost predictable. It all begins on the fateful day where they first met, where the
guy suddenly got fixated on the girl who suddenly intruded into his peaceful delinquent life..Now that sounds kinda familiar, but whatever, it does work for a reason right? Obviously girl has no interest in guy since all she cares about is dem monies. Little did she know that the seeds of love has been sowed from that instant, slowly bidding their time to sprout at the opportune moment. It’s a trap!!
A couple of events later, it is time – for the confession. Wait what? Hey isn’t that a little too quick? We’re only at episode 1 for cupid’s sake! Time and love waits for no-one my friend, sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. While on the surface it does seemed rushed for the adaptation to skip (making a blind guess here) straight to the confession and the events afterwards, I have to say it is a good move, simply because we all know this was going to happen anyway, so why not fast forward a little into the “juicier” bits?
The confession itself wasn’t all too successful (nonetheless still amusing to watch), but from thereon, a piece of Haru found its way into Shizuku’s world of academics and the dollar sign. Of course, it was initially subconscious until Shizuku felt the hollow taste of victory by securing first place in her exams after a falling out with Haru. It is there and then where she started to realize: “could this be love?”
And they lived happily ever after.
While I’m no stranger to strange pairings (woops), I have to admit that I’m not feeling so “hot” for this “couple”. While I think I sounded a little unimpressed, since Tonari is rather formulaic after all, I have to emphasize that I really enjoyed watching the episode for its slapstick humour. Tonari happens to get so silly at times, which mostly stems from Haru’s interactions with Shizuku – it just puts a smile on my face.
Moving on to the more technical aspects of this show (I suck at this but it does feel obligatory, even though personally I think it doesn’t matter all too much especially since they can be subjective). The first noticeable point is the art style – where the colours are distinguished and there is a “crayon-ish” feel to it, fits the genre well I would say. Next, the music isn’t quite the epic-sounding type compared to its action rivals but it belonged more in the “light” category. In fact, I noticed that several segments of this episode had no background music at all, which caught my attention since the prolonged silence caught up with me.
More importantly (or at least to me), I hardly realized that it was Tomatsu Haruka voicing Shizuku. I have known for awhile that she really has a versatile vocal range, but to hear her play a deeper-voiced Shizuku came as a surprise to me. I really liked the monologue by Shizuku too, I don’t know why but nowadays it is rare to hear monologues these days, the extended versions that is. Therefore the presence of those monologues was a plus point for me.
At the end of
the day, the comedic value of this opening episode definitely exceeded what I had expected. If anything, the comedy alone has me sold on watching a few more episodes (I am looking to lighten the load a little here). Romance? Pass. More ridiculous out-of-this-world situations? Yes please. Going by the opening scenes, there appears to be a few more characters yet to make an appearance, that should help spice up the various upcoming character interactions.
- Not a very good way to leave a first impression isn’t it?
- Dumping a girl..like a boss, except that wasn’t quite it.
- Advisory: Smoking does not make you look cool people.
- MONJA! MONJA! MONJA!