Tomo Chan is a Girl (Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!): Anime Review

I started watching Tomo Chan is a Girl (Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!) because of a recommendation from an anime group I was following. I am happy to say that I am now one satisfied new fan.

Synopsis: Tomo Aizawa and Junichirou Kubota are next door neighbors and childhood friends who do everything together. The problem starts when Tomo develops feelings for Jun but he doesn’t see her as a girl, even when she flat out confesses her love for him. Will Tomo’s love stay unrequited?

I love Tomo Chan is a Girl because its just so wacky. At first, I was wondering if Jun was obtuse enough to not know that his best friend for ten years was indeed a woman, but an episode or two in, it was explained how it actually took him YEARS to discover that she was indeed a girl. This just helped establish the denseness of his character even more and his contrast with Tomo. While Tomo was a quick to ignite firecracker, Jun was like a growing ember, slow to start but burns just as hotly, maybe even more.

There’s a beauty to Tomo Chan is a Girl‘s simplicity. The innocence of Jun and Tomo was fun to watch, even as they were pushed along by their well meaning but scheming bestie Misuzu, who makes up the third of their friend circle.

I liked the fact that Jun may seem dimwitted at first but learning his backstory makes viewers understand why he doesn’t immediately act about his budding feelings for his bestie and why he feels the need to prove himself to her and eventually her dad before he goes all out with his pursuit of her. This happens around Episode 10 (yes, it takes him 10 episodes) before he realizes his first goal.

There were many hilarious moments that make up this series. Tomo and Jun fumble a lot because they really don’t know what the heck they should do with their evolving friendship. But at the core of this relationship are two people who genuinely love each other and will protect each other at all cost. How many times was it in the series that Jun stepped up to protect Tomo? He doesn’t even take credit for it. He just does it because he loves her.

We have 16 year olds who are falling in love for the first time, playing at adulthood, stepping out of their comfort zones. It may seem like a never ending skit but its a cute reminder of all the efforts we once exerted to get our crushes to notice us. These two adorable dunderheads are completely clueless when it comes to romance and their uniqueness extends to their love language — competing with each other until they pass out but that just makes their quirky love story even more interesting.

Its refreshing to see them navigate through their complicated feelings like babies learning to walk. I love how the story is about friendship just as much as love. The unconditional friendship that Tomo offers her lifelong friends Misuzu and Jun (no wonder they love her just as fiercely) and even to new ones like Carol, Misaki and the girls who were crushing on Misaki. Tomo is one of a kind, and that monologue in the end by Jun makes his understanding of her dad more poignant.

I also love the closing theme when there’s a version for Tomo and a version for Jun and the boys. It gives a different feel to the words.

Closing theme Tomo version
Closing theme Jun version

I love that the show is funny, exaggerated, and the characters are so well developed. I mean all of them. The plot was light and simple but its innocence makes you want to fall in love for the first time again. It gets especially good when Jun finally realizes that he has been in love with Tomo all the time and his firm resolve to be by her side forever. Sniff. So mature.

Tomo Chan is a Girl is also a great story about different types of love, as surprisingly, Carol makes Misuzu realize. Its truly touching to see friendships bloom in the series.

All in all, 13 episodes for the entire Tomo Chan is a Girl manga was a great call and it covered all the bases. Personally though, I would not mind getting more side stories featuring these two adorable cuties and the rest of their gang. There wasn’t much that wasn’t covered from the manga already but I would not object to additional side stories by the mangaka. Pretty please?

Piece of advice though, I preferred the Japanese dub more than the English dub. You just feel the emotions better with the original language.