High up on the list of anticipated anime this Spring season is Ijiranaide Nagatoro-san (Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro) which follows the day-to-day suffering of Hachiouji Naoto, a timid, geeky, dweeby, spineless, somewhat masochistic second-year high schooler (we’ll explain). One day, while hiding out in the library, Naoto finds himself seated across from a group of girls he identified as “the popular kind”, people he never wants to be involved with. He tries to avoid making any eye contact or showing weakness (pfft!) but he can’t help but continuously glance at them, especially as they glance back at him and giggle. When they leave, one of them remains, sitting right across from him at his desk.
When Naoto accidentally knocks his bag off the desk, spilling the contents all over the library floor. One of the girls picks up the sheets of paper and sees something Naoto is incredibly embarrassed about – his manga manuscript! That’s when the evil he so impishly feared becomes his reality, but all that aside, what do we think about the first episode of Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro!
The Face of Pure Evil
Long story short, the basic formula to create Nagatoro Hayase like a PowerPuff Girl is to simply just a dash of evil, a pinch of evil, and then a huge spoonful of evil with flakes of evil grins, mischievous grins, and sharp-toothed grins! At this point so early on in the series, there hasn’t been any indication that Nagatoro is anything but a sadist. Some of it is pretty funny, while the rest of it can be a little uncomfortable, especially considering the protagonist’s lack of vertebrae. The best thing about Nagatoro’s antics has to be point 3, the contorted, convoluted visage of pleasure and schadenfreude painted on her face could possibly become an iconic image. One thing’s for sure, though, Nagatoro is terrifying!
Breakdowns, a Sadist and a Masochist (BDSM)
The first episode lays the foundations of the relationship that is to develop between these two main characters. While initially wanting absolutely nothing to do with Nagatoro’s group of friends, Naoto mentions that while Nagatoro’s consistent bullying is nothing unlike what he has experienced in the past, a part of him doesn’t dislike it so much. Is Naoto turned on by Nagatoro’s mistreatment? Probably!
While masochists are not anything new in anime, Naoto’s complete lack of confidence or self-worth seems to make us feel really sorry for him, especially when Nagatoro makes him cry twice on their first day of meeting. Nagatoro herself seems to be very excited by Naoto’s tears, partly because he is supposedly older than her. When you take these two and put them together, you get Naoto breaking down and crying, Nagatoro relishing his pain and Naoto… also quite possibly relishing the pain too! Regardless of motivations, the bullying we see Nagatoro put Naoto through is pretty standard in anime – laughing at the person’s dreams and ridiculing every single effort to make them come true, twisting words and events to bring out a reaction, talking about them in plain sight but obviously behind their back and of course, good ol’ intimidation.
Is the Pain Gonna be Worth It?
Don’t Toy With Me Miss Nagatoro has something, but it’s too soon to be singing its praises. The first episode had some decent moments, but the humour surrounding the interactions between the titular character and her victim gets pretty hard to sit through at times, particularly because Naoto doesn’t stand up for himself. We haven’t yet seen their relationship develop beyond this cruel banter just yet, but it could still be a really fun ride filled with hijinks, cruelty, evil, tears, and evil hijinks courtesy of the Spring 2021 season’s resident manic pixie dream girl. What did you think about the first episode of Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!