- Mangaka : Kinoue Seiichi
- Publisher : Seven Seas Entertainment
- Genre : Romance, Comedy, Slice of Life, Seinen
- Published : November 2021 — present
There’s been a trend of gender-bent scenarios in manga recently, and Tonari no Furi-san ga Tonikaku Kowai (No Matter What You Say, Furi-san is Scary!) is the latest to flip the ordinarily gendered roles around for excellent comedic effect. Here, we have the typical ‘high school delinquent falls in love with the new student’ story, replete with all the beloved tropes of a romantic slice-of-life. From comedic misunderstandings to friends trying to play matchmaker, Furi-san is Scary! doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does offer a gender-bent coat of paint – this time around, it’s the girl who’s the delinquent!
We’re not talking about a gyaru-style delinquent, either (that’s been done to death and back in romantic comedy). Furi isn’t unattractive, but she certainly isn’t portrayed as the stylishly beautiful type of female lead we’re used to reading – she’s rough around the edges, has an intimidating face, and is constantly followed by all sorts of nasty rumors. But beneath that exterior, she’s a wholesome, shoujo- and cat-loving girl who’s crushing hard on Taira – her new classmate and the object of her affections!
Can Furi overcome her own inadequacies and her delinquent reputation to find true love?! Read on for our full review of Tonari no Furi-san ga Tonikaku Kowai (No Matter What You Say, Furi-san is Scary!) Volume 1!
As we mentioned in the introduction, Furi doesn’t fit the usual bill for the ‘edgy girl lead’ in a romance. She’s not the gorgeously shy type like Komi from Komi-san wa Komyushou Desu (Komi Can’t Communicate), nor the ditzy gyaru as seen in works like Citrus or After-School Bitchcraft. Furi takes the form of the rough high-school delinquent with a genuine heart of gold, reminding us more of Miyamura from Horimiya than anything else.
The obvious theme of Furi-san is Scary! is the nigh-condescending sort of “don’t judge a book by its cover”, although that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to read – there’s just nothing here that’s truly unique beyond the gender-bent setting. Furi undergoes all the regular trials of a rom-com manga; there are simple misunderstandings thanks to her sometimes terrifying smile, sick-day scenes that reveal herself more to her crush, and new friendships formed with those who finally understand her true nature.
Taira himself is similar to Tadano from Komi Can’t Communicate – simple, earnest, and entirely unaware of literally everything going on around him. It’s clear he’ll need a lot of help from everyone around him before he realizes Furi has a crush on him…which gives Furi enough time to get her emotions in check, and form a battle plan for her eventual confession!
1. Gender Equality, Hooray!
The ‘rough but endearing’ character archetype dominates a lot of shoujo and BL manga, but is incredibly rare in seinen or shounen rom-coms between straight characters. Usually, we see a gyaru-type, the class-princess-type, or the ubiquitous tsundere, but Furi is a breath of fresh air to help rebalance the gender scales. Bluntly put, not everybody is perfectly gorgeous in life, and seeing that realistically represented in manga is nicely refreshing.
1. Familiar Ground…Too Familiar…
As we alluded to earlier, beyond the gender-bent switch, Furi-san is Scary! isn’t doing anything particularly new. Once you remove the swapped-genders, you’re left with a story that’s been told before, and probably with a little more skill if we’re being entirely honest. The four-panel style that dominates most of the manga doesn’t work as nicely as it could, and the first volume feels like it’s speedrunning the rom-com trope list.
If you’ve already read the titles we’ve mentioned in this review, and are eager for more of the same, then definitely give Furi-san is Scary! a try, but otherwise there are existing series you could binge-read while we wait for more volumes to see how Furi-san is Scary! develops.
Furi is endearing and charming, and it’s easy to sympathize with her struggles – children are often cruel in the worst possible way, and although she has thick skin, she no doubt hates the rumors that surround her. She’s simply a girl in love, regardless of her appearance, and she deserves that happiness. How much she’ll have to endure before she can realize her youthful daydream is yet to be seen, but we hope she’ll definitely get there before long!
Let us know if you plan to read Tonari no Furi-san ga Tonikaku Kowai (No Matter What You Say, Furi-san is Scary!) down in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading our review today!