I gotta be honest. Tonari no Kaibutsu really had me excited, I fell in love with the show at episode 1 and knew this would be one of the best shows this year – and a really high level shoujo. It started out really great – interesting and very fun characters, lots of good comedy mixed with an extremely cute couple. On top of that, the pacing was extremely fast for a romance anime – especially a shoujo – with both characters confessing IN THE FIRST EPISODE and even getting clearly a lot closer in the following one. Progress was being had and it was all just such a fun watch.
But then about 3 or 4 episodes in, the quality had a massive drop. The story of the lead couple entirely stopped in it’s tracks, they still aren’t together because of a hilariously stupid “I love you but I want to love you in a different way” situation that ONLY makes “sense” in low-tier romance anime and along with that the focus on those two disappears as well. It quickly becomes a very generic series with nothing special or likeable about it, that fun and interesting cast disappeared – replaced with dull cookie cutter archetypes, and the story became about making a new friend each episode by helping them with a stupid problem. The characters have all had zero development, the relationships have had no progress, and all we do is spend time teaching a generic and overly preachy life lesson to a new character each episode while dealing with the always unbearably cliche secret brother that the guy doesn’t want the girl to be close with. Now more episodes in – it’s still exactly that.
It’s truly one of the biggest disappointments in a long time, and its process of going from a great series with very high potential to complete shit in just a few episodes reminds me a lot of Natsuyuki Rendezvous. Both started out really damn well, but then plummeted to being SHIT real fast.
If this show doesn’t have a DAMN good finale then it’s definitely one of the more low-end romance series out there, and definitely another generic shoujo that isn’t even worth watching for it’s wonderful art. I only hope it can pull itself back up to the level it was at the start, but I doubt it can manage that.