Welcome back to season 2 of the Imouri Anime Review, where people vote for an anime that the Imouri team will review. The anime will be reviewed using these four criteria; Story, Animation, Character Development, and World-Building. Each category will be given of score (1-10), and then an overall score will be determined.
September focused on a back to school theme with a twist. We focused on the three big teasing anime. The users from the Secret Anime Club voted for their favorite anime to review that centers around someone being perpetually teased. After voting ended, the anime that got the most votes was Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro for the September 2021 review.
Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro is a slice-of-life romantic comedy centered around two high school students. The series follows Hayase Nagatoro, aka Miss Nagatoro, a first-year high school girl who enjoys teasing Naoto Hachioji, aka Senpai, an upperclassman with artistic talent.
Miss Nagatoro and her friends hang out in the library when Senpai walks in to get some homework done. Nervous, Senpai accidentally drops his bag, and his manga drawings fall out. Eventually, the friends leave, and Miss Nagatoro introduces herself to Senpai after seeing his manga drawings. She then continues to tease Senpai until he starts crying. Afterward, she leaves, giving him a small apology. The next day she starts hanging out inside the art room, where Senpai can usually be found. This is where the teasing and verbal abuse regularly begins.
The story is made into short mini-episodes that are combined into a full-length episode. Each mini-episode focuses on a theme or idea. It's interesting to note that even though the episodes are one-off, there is a clear passage of time and an overarching theme to the series as a whole. Do you remember the friends I mentioned earlier? Eventually, Senpai does befriend Miss Nagatoro's friends in a weird sort of way. Throughout the series, Senpai and Nagatoro start to become closer.
I like the way the story is set up with the mini-episodes combined into a full-length episode. It puts the focus on Senpai and Nagatoro. There isn't too much backstory with Nagatoro and Senpai, focusing only on themselves, the teasing, and their character development. Also, teasing isn't the whole focus of the series. Some people may not like the series due to the "verbal abuse" happening to Senpai. However, some people most likely don't see the bigger picture, which I will point out in the character development area. Despite the story's pacing, I wish there was just a bit more backstory for Senpai and Nagatoro. It would be nice to learn more about their family as well. Overall, the story is cute, and it's great to see both of them interact together.
Story Score: 8/10
I have heard some say that the series does not deserve the animation it has received. I say it does. The opening few seconds of the first episode show you a lovely seaside town, full of detail. The characters are very vibrant and animated well. The animation captures the essence of Nagatoro's teasing so well, pretty much precisely out of the manga. Senpai, Nagatoro, and the other supporting characters have been animated beautifully to capture their unique personalities. Yosshii kind of looks like a cat and sort of mimics one as well.
Another aspect of the animation that I want to touch on is the switch between the real world and the fantasy world that is born of the imagination of Senpai and Nagatoro. The animation kicks it up a notch when there are fast action-type scenes, just like what you would see in a popular Isekai show. Also, everything in the show revolves around Nagatoro being something of a cat or has cat-like reflexes.
Two more things I want to mention about the animation are the art displayed throughout the series, such as Senpai's art. The series does have a lot of emphasis on art. Speaking of art, the opening animation, and song, Easy Love is amazing. The artwork and vibrant colors combined with the pop anarchy look make the show. Check out the opening below.
EASY LOVE Opening
Also, I want to give a big shout-out to Megami33 for making an excellent English dub version of Easy. Megami33 did the entire song, and the use of imagery and music puts everything together. If you haven't listened to her version of Easy Love, check out the video below. I promise you won't be disappointed.
EASY LOVE - Full English Cover by Megami33
Overall, the animation is stunning and puts the whole show together.
Animation Score: 9/10
The two characters I will focus on are Nagatoro and Senpai. Both of them have a lot of development in the series. I also believe this is the core of the series as a whole. Let's start with Senpai, as I feel he has the most growth.
Senpai, at first, was a shy, nervous recluse. From the looks of the first few scenes with him, you can tell he didn't interact with anyone much. He does have some interactions with his art club members later in the series, but other than that, he mostly kept to himself. It wasn't until a chance encounter with Nagatoro that his life would be turned upside down. He was forced to come out of his shell. Forced into awkward situations with Nagatoro, he started to slowly open up, not only to her but to her friends as well. Even though Nagatoro was teasing him, he began to develop genuine feelings for her. He needed to grow, and Nagatoro gave him that push. One of the best scenes in the whole series is when he confronts his fears and decides to take Nagatoro away from the boys that were trying to flirt with her. Watch and see for yourself.
Overall, it took a hard push for Senpai to grow a lot and to confront his feelings.
Now let's talk about Nagatoro. She has just as much development as Senpai. She could have easily stuck by her friends and left Senpai in that library; however, she grew when she took that step forward to learn more about Senpai. At first, it was just teasing, however strong feelings began to grow in her, and at that moment, she knew he had her heart. Yes, she still teased him, but it was to get him to grow as a person so he could finally confess his true feelings. She even has her vulnerable side. Nagatoro often gets jealous or upset when one of her friends teases Senapi, often getting aggressive toward her friends. However, deep down, she is a charming girl but doesn't always show it. She talks big game when it comes to the physical aspect of relationships. Still, she shows her innocent and embarrassed side when the moment arises. Deep down, she loves him.
Overall, both Senpai and Nagatoro grow a lot throughout the series. Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro has heavy character development. This aspect of the series shines the most.
Character Development Score: 10/10
Where the series has its strengths, this category is where the show is at its weakest. Yes, we can argue that there is a world being built from the Manga that Senpai is making, but that's just a plot device to express emotion or enhance the level of teasing happening to Senpai. We can explore the world of art, which the series touches on a bit. But, that aspect is minor and only has minimal merit toward the end of the series. It's not a huge main driver of the series itself. Nearly all of the focus is on the story, animation, and character development. I wish there could have been more world-building, at least with the school Nagatoro and Senpai attend or dive deep into the families of Senpai and Nagatoro. However, that's not the case. Overall, there isn't much of any world-building happening throughout the series.
World-Building Score: 2/10
I hope you enjoyed the review. If you haven't yet, go to the Secret Anime Club to vote for the scary anime series you want reviewed.
*Images are from the My Anime List website and the Nagatoro Wiki Fandom. Videos are from YouTube that the channel owners listed such as Crunchyroll Collection, Megami33, and Mitsuki Tokura. We do not own any of these images. Credit to all artists of the images and credit goes to the creators of the anime series.