Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro

Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro anime series cover art
Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro

Series Overview

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro (Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san / イジらないで、長瀞さん) is your standard slice-of-life rom-com anime. Well, maybe “standard” isn’t exactly the right designation. It’s actually part of the relatively new sub-genre featuring a girl who teases the male protagonist.

I’ll get more into the controversy surrounding that sub-genre and Nagatoro specifically later on in this review. But, similar anime are Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, which I think is the best one, and Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!

So, the premise of this series is quite simple. A first-year student named Nagatoro likes to bully and tease her upperclassmen crush because he’s a loser. But she actually does it because she secretly likes him.

There’s no complex plot here. The appeal of the show is just in seeing how Nagatoro and Naoto (apparently that’s his name) interact with each other. It’s definitely not a series for everyone. Some people will think it’s boring, others don’t like the bullying aspect, etc. Just keep in mind that it’s not that serious.

Now, one thing I’m going to suggest regarding this series is that if you decide to give the anime a shot, watch at least two episodes. The reason I say that is because how Nagatoro acts in Episode 1 is very different from how she acts in the other 11 episodes.

This isn’t to say that you’re guaranteed to enjoy the show more by Episode 2. But I did see a lot of criticism from people who only watched the first episode or parts of the first episode. And generally, their criticisms only applied to that episode.

Also, even I’ll admit that the first episode was probably the worst of the series. It serves as an introduction to the characters, but I think it could have been altered due to how different it is from everything after it.

Characters

Let’s start this section off with Naoto Hachiouji, the protagonist. Until I looked him up for this review, I honestly didn’t know he had a name. I just assumed he was “Senpai.” Anyway, he’s a second-year loser with no friends who’s also effectively the sole member of the school’s art club.

Hayase Nagatoro is the titular female lead of the series. In the first episode, she’s pretty brutal with her bullying. But after that, she’s a lot tamer. Nagatoro is also the opposite of Naoto in almost every way, such as that she’s both athletic and popular.

Maki Gamou is one of Nagatoro’s friends. She’s the delinquent character of the series, and as such, enjoys bullying not only her senpai but also Nagatoro. Maki knows Nagatoro is protective of Naoto, and so she takes advantage of that.

Sakura, Maki, Nagatoro, and Yoshi dressed as cat maids from the anime Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro
Sakura, Maki, Nagatoro, and Yoshi dressed as cat maids

Yoshi is my least favorite of Nagatoro’s friends. I don’t particularly like Maki, but I find Yoshi to be annoying. She’s the follower of the group. 90% of the time, she’s just following and parroting Maki. She’s also very cat-like for no real reason.

Sakura is my favorite character. She’s not as prominent as Maki and Yoshi are, but she’s still within Nagatoro’s friend group. Generally speaking, Sakura is probably the nicest of the girls. But she uses her kindness to bend other people, specifically male students, to her will.

And the final character of the series (yes, there are only six) is Sana Sunomiya. Sana is a third-year student and president of the art club Naoto is a member of. She’s not around much because she’s busy studying for college entrance exams. Sana also specializes in painting erotic, nude self-portraits.

Anime Controversy

In case you hadn’t heard, there was a lot of controversy surrounding Nagatoro ever since the anime was first announced. But, none of that controversy seems to have existed when it was just a manga. Why? Because it’s all just people being outraged for no reason.

I guess I’ll start with Nagatoro’s personality and actions in the first episode since I’ve already touched on it. People thought her bullying went too far. It’s an anime. Calm down. And if it really bothers you that much, nothing else in the series ever comes close to that again.

However, the controversies didn’t start with the first episode of the anime. When it was first announced, there was a vocal group of people who were claiming that Nagatoro was whitewashed because her skin isn’t very dark.

Hayase Nagatoro from the anime series Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro
Hayase Nagatoro

I hate to break this to everyone who thinks that, but Nagatoro isn’t black. If you actually look at the manga, this is obvious. She’s tanner than the protagonist and other characters. But her skin tone is no lighter in the anime than it is in the manga.

Additionally, her skin isn’t even naturally tan. There are many times throughout the manga and anime when we see her tan lines from being on the swim team. Her skin that’s normally covered by her bathing suit is actually just about as light as any other character’s.

So, no, the anime hasn’t whitewashed Nagatoro. She’s just a Japanese girl who happens to have a tan because she’s constantly outside in a bathing suit as a member of the swim team. This outrage is just as unfounded as when people said Uzaki-chan was a loli.

I’m not entirely sure why this subgenre of rom-com gets so much unfounded hate. Nagatoro’s character in the first episode is understandable if you don’t realize that’s not the whole series. But most of the hate originates from demonstrably false claims.

Conclusion

It may have seemed like I was defending Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro a lot in this review, but at the end of the day, I think it’s a 6/10. I don’t think it deserves all the hate it gets, but it’s not a great anime by any means. It was enjoyable, but that’s about it.

I’d actually highly recommend Takagi-san over Nagatoro. It’s better in every way. It’s more wholesome, has better supporting characters, is funnier, and has better OPs.

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