Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro
"Senpai" is constantly being tormented by Hayase Nagatoro and her hench-girls Gamou and Yoshie. Will Senpai finally tell them to take a hike? Or will he learn to love it?
Some years ago, I was shopping for a cat, and the pet store clerk gave me an Abyssinian cat to hold. Said cat immediately crawled up into my face and frantically batted at my glasses until they fell off. I was told that this manic behavior was characteristic of that breed. That cat did NOT go home with me.
Nagatoro, in this show, is very Abyssinian-catlike; she actually appears in cat cosplay several times in the series, so I'm not the only person who's made this connection. Like that Abyssinian cat, she's constantly in "Senpai's" face. Though at least an actual cat can't insult you as well, like Nagatoro does.
It's informative to do some comparison/contrast between Nagatoro and Takagi from Teasing Master Takagi-san. Both girls seem to be trying to get the attention of a guy through harassment. But Takagi relied on games and challenges to do the trick, while Nagatoro's tactic is verbal (and even physical) abuse of the beleaguered Senpai- something that Takagi would NEVER have done to her crush. Nagatoro really seems like a pure bully for quite some time- when she and her posse of "mean girls" (more on them later) first encountered Senpai, she was just notable as the one who continued insulting and demeaning him after the others had (temporarily) lost interest. While Takagi seemed to have an enormous variety of those games and challenges to use with her crush, Nagatoro just has an endless stream of repetitions of a limited repertoire of insults: Senpai is "pervy", Senpai is a "loser", Senpai will "never get a real date", Senpai will "remain a virgin for life." And THAT, plus her in-the-face schtick, is about all she's got- oh, except poking, prodding, and other annoying sorts of physical contact. (In fairness, Nagatoro is apparently into physical fitness, and a later episode shows she might have made an excellent Marine drill instructor. If she motivates Senpai to get some more exercise, I suppose that's one good thing you can say about her. But it was the ONLY good thing I could think of to say about her.)
Honestly, I have no idea why Senpai puts up with this. Yes, he's timid, and yes, we're shown that his response to bullying (by males as well as females) has always been to withdraw into his shell and take it. I hate to admit it, but I was a lot LIKE Senpai at his age- I was also a shy, nerdy kid- but I'm pretty sure that in a situation like this even I would have been able to tell someone like this to leave me alone. I suspect that Senpai's issue may be more than just craving female attention; masochism certainly seems to be a factor in there. In any case, he changes to accommodate HER much faster than she makes any adjustments in the direction of kindness toward HIM. (Or to put it as Kirino did in Oreimo, I was waiting for her to "dere"- and I waited a LONG time...)
I should mention that since Nagatoro's approach is much less cerebral than Takagi's, sometimes her antics backfire on her. (Takagi NEVER lost to Nishikata except when she INTENDED to do so.) Senpai also begins to exploit weak points in Nagatoro's attacks. When this occurs, we see that Nagatoro is actually pretty easily embarrassed.
Nagatoro is joined by her little circle of twisted friends in GROUP verbal humiliation of Senpai, but Nagatoro has some telling rules here. One is that she does not want her friends Gamou and Yoshie to be around Senpai unless SHE is present too. AND NO TOUCHING; Nagatoro reserves the right to touch him to herself. Of course, bullies will turn on their own if they show any vulnerability, so once Gamou realizes that Nagatoro has some kind of genuine interest in Senpai, she starts breaking Nagatoro's "rules" just to troll her. (And Yoshie just apes whatever Gamou does or says; she is the very model of a modern brainless sycophant.)
The eventual arrival of the President of the Art Club (the Art Club is Senpai's love and used to be his haven of peace, at least until his torturers moved in) alters the dynamic. President (as with Senpai, we've an interesting omission of names here) is voluptuous, and quite serious about art, while Nagatoro is neither. As previously noted, Nagatoro's surprisingly possessive about someone she claims she doesn't care for at all.
Some other things of note:
-I hated the opening song, though it suits Nagatoro perfectly; it's as raucous and manic as SHE is. The closer is not so bad though; I particularly liked the "Nintendo" version of it in Episode 6.
-President says art is about love, but seems to keep using herself as a model for her paintings. Is she, therefore, a narcissist?
-While I didn't really like the character art much, I have to admit that the show does this remarkable thing with Nagatoro's eyes when she's in "jealous" mode; the look she gets is an interesting combination of threatening and shocked.
-Interesting difference between the manga choices of Takagi-san’s Nishikata and Senpai; Nishikata's favorite was 100% Unrequited Love, while Senpai's is Big Boob Vampires.
The rec is the show with a MUCH nicer "teasing" girlfriend.
Nagatoro's just not worth the aggravation that comes with her, Senpai. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Contains some nudity. Violence here is almost entirely of the verbal kind. Right Stuf recommends the manga for 13+; I think that's a fine rating for the series as well.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro © 2021 Nanashi / Kodansha / Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro Production Committee
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