Romantic comedy? Check. Lead is a tomboy? Check! She’s so much of a tomboy that the man she likes thinks of her as “one of the guys?” Okay, you sold me. Tomo-chan is a Girl (Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!) is here, it’s loud, and it’s in-your-face… and typically, when an anime like that is all about screaming, I drop it but… something seemed different with this one. Only the main character screamed virtually every line she spoke so, was that enough to mask my disdain for a series like this and tell an interesting and compelling story?
There really isn’t much to this story. In fact, I kind of summed it up in my intro but in case you want the elaborated version…
Tomo is a tomboy and she has a crush on her friend Jun. The only problem is that ever since they were kids, Jun saw her as just one of the boys. He treats her like that which makes Tomo both happy and angry. She’s angry because no matter what, she cannot convey her feelings for him because he just can see her that way.
The anime is about Jun and Tomo’s journey to make him see her as a girl and to start dating. Of course, there are other characters along for the ride but, essentially… that’s it. There’s no deep mystery here… it’s a slice-of-life romantic comedy with some things thrown in such as Tomo taking judo classes (and her father running a dojo of his own) to really accentuate the whole tomboy aspect of Tomo. Outside of these mix-ups, there really isn’t much to this story as it’s a one-way track from beginning to end. The characters are what really prop it up so let’s go spend a little time down in that section.
Okay. We’ve already established her as the Giga Tomboy who likes combat sports… so what else is there to her character? Well, her desire to be seen as a girl in Jun’s eyes is definitely there but she contradicts herself often by not wanting to act like a girl. This is even more apparent in one of the episodes where Misuzu and Carol try to get her to wear girlish clothes (and succeed). Tomo wanted nothing to do with it and when they forced her to go out in public, she runs into Jun who can’t even recognize her. Plus, she turned a lot of heads. It proves that she CAN be feminine but her desire to be just isn’t there. She’s also good at picking fights. In fact, she’s more likely to rush in and put herself in harm’s way before Jun ever would. In fact, that plays into the ending of the show a bit.
Now, here’s the part where I make a lot of enemies.
I HATED Tomo as a character. As I stated in my intro… I cannot stand characters that constantly scream at the top of their lungs. And… when they try to pass that off as humor, I just say forget it and drop the show. Part of it is that I don’t find this style of humor funny. The other part of it is that I have misophonia and screaming characters that are REALLY annoying trigger it. So, it’s at a point where I just can’t stand to listen to it without feeling aggravated. I didn’t drop this show because Tomo was the only character who screamed so I figured it would be fine but man… did it make watching this show a chore.
On a positive note… I get what they were going for with Tomo. And, to their credit, they told a great story with her. I just can’t get past the personality. For me, she would be a much better character within the silent confines of a manga page rather than on my television screen.
Junichiro “Jun” Kubota
What can I say about Jun? He’s about vanilla as ice cream. He doesn’t really have much of a personality but he does get a bit playful with Tomo from time to time (even if he ends up getting punched for his antics). Outside of that, he’s disciplined and into judo as well which means he’s great at standing there with a stone look on his face. That isn’t to say he’s completely one-dimensional, though. Even though he sees Tomo as one of the boys, he does end up getting jealous whenever he sees her with other guys.
The jealousy aspect shows that he’s hiding his feelings about Tomo. Even if he doesn’t see her as a girl on the outside, there’s something awakening within him that says he really does. In fact, that’s part of his journey through this show… to find those feelings and act upon them, thus giving Tomo what she wants (or according to the last episode, stealing what Tomo wants away from her. You’ll understand that one once you watch it.)
He was okay as a secondary main character. Nothing really to write home about. His antics and mannerisms did lend to the humor but he was a bit dry overall as a character.
Best Girl Alert!
She’s Tomo’s best friend and while she knows that Tomo likes Jun, she has this little nagging voice inside of her telling her to stop it from happening because she’s afraid that she’ll lose Tomo as a friend if they get together. Because as such, Misuzu is always threatening Jun which makes her come off as a bit overprotective. Given the fact that she is cunning and sadistic, it makes for some pretty hilarious moments.
Her monotone personality also adds to the humor. Once you really get to know Misuzu as a character, you quickly realize that she becomes the best thing about this show!
Oh God, shoot me now.
If Tomo screaming nearly every line wasn’t bad enough, now we have the high-pitched, nasally-voiced character. Carol is a British princess (not literally) in the fact that she’s loaded (well, her family is.) Because of her blonde bombshell looks, she becomes the school idol. She comes off like a complete airhead but she ends up being revealed as an excellent student (of course).
She ends up befriending Misuzu, Tomo, and Jun and is just there for comic relief, although the constant unblinking blank expression on her face and super exaggerated blushies just kind of kill the character for me. I didn’t like her design, her voice, or her personality. I’m batting a thousand with this cast, aren’t I?
Finally, another entertaining character aside from Misuzu!. Despite being meek and timid, he’s the captain of the school’s karate club and is regarded as the school prince.
Wait. Prince… Princess…
Oh yeah, he’s apparently engaged to Carol and her childhood friend. F’s in the chat for Kousuke’s future.
Aside from that, he ends up admiring Tomo as an athlete and club member which sends a bunch of mixed signals throughout the school to add to the pile of gags this series has already thrown at us. It all works out in the end and he just becomes a background character that’s used when needed.
Art & Animation
If you’ve seen one low to mid-budget A1 Pictures show then you’ve seen… oh wait, this was done by Lay-duce. Sorry, I couldn’t tell the difference.
What I’m saying is that the show wasn’t anything to write home about in terms of artwork or animation. Being a slice-of-life show, it doesn’t need high-budget CGI or any sakuga sequences… but… maybe it’s the school uniform color choices or the way the characters were drawn but… the show didn’t really jump out at me for being memorable in the design of things.
The soundtrack is just another slice-of-life ambiance. In fact, the only one that stands out the most is the little jingle that’s played whenever an episode title is announced. Come to think of it… anime shows used to do that a lot and now it’s becoming really few and far between to see episode titles handled like that. I miss that style… bring it back some more!
I know that there will be some people who disagree with this but… I felt this was a show that had a great premise, and executed that premise nicely, but squandered its potential because of the main, titular character.
As I said, I’m sure there will be people out there that will see it differently and that’s fine. In fact, I’m sure there are some out there that will read the first paragraph of this section, call me out in the comments, and not even bother to read the entire TL;DR section (it’s happened before).
So, before you push your neck sweat on me, hear me out. My biggest issue was Tomo as a character. If they handled her differently, I think I would have enjoyed this show a lot more. When I think of a tomboy character, I don’t think of loud, over-the-top obnoxiousness. I think of a girl in a tank top and hot pants sitting there with a beer in one hand and a pack of smokes in another… or a gamer girl who doesn’t take any crap from anyone. I think they took the idea of a tomboy and turned it past 11 to the point where it was overblown and that’s where my issue with this show lies.
Aside from Carol, the rest of the cast was okay to fine. They supported the story and the overall essence of the story was really solid and enjoyable. Heck, screaming aside, I thought the ending was rather cute. So there are things I did like about the show which is why I kept watching and didn’t drop it I was semi-rewarded with a quaint love story that I enjoyed and if yelling and screaming is your style of humor, you’re going to have a field day with this show and I recommend that you go and watch it.
If you’re like me and hate that style of comedy, you’ll probably struggle a bit but, like me, will still find things to like about it.
Now, for the non-biased critique. While the story was cute and quaint, it wasn’t really innovative or anything super exciting. I know that there is only so much you can do with a romantic comedy but when you rely heavily on your characters to prop up a one-way track of a plot, the plot sometimes suffers and I think that was the case here. Don’t get me wrong.. the plot wasn’t bad… it just needed to be a bit more interesting. The ending tried to pull a twist but come on… there were 15 minutes left and zero indication of a second season coming. The “will it happen?” drama didn’t really hold up.
It tried, though. I’ve just seen better romantic comedies than this. That’s just my opinion. Feel free to have a different one. Whatever works for you.
Until next time…
Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!
Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko! has a cute and quaint story about a girl who is so much of a tomboy that the guy she likes can’t see her as a girl. It’s a great premise that is slightly marred by an obnoxious main character and a plot that fell a bit flat.
Cute story with a lot of potential
Misuzu is obviously the best girl
The humor can be satisfying at times
Tomo is hit or miss depending on if you like screaming humor