The spring 2021 anime season is here, and its lineup features titles of all genres and styles. Of course, the idea of a high school setting is still alive and well, as Horimiya proved in the winter 2021 season (especially with its open-ended final episode, suggesting more to come). Now, anime fans are going back to school once again with Don't Toy With Me, Ms. Nagatoro!
The anime has elements of a classic slice of life story, but it is hardly a relaxing iyashikei series. Instead, this is the story of a gentle upperclassman boy and his teasing tormentor, the one and only Hayase Nagatoro. Here's what newcomers should know about the series.
The Story & Characters Of Don't Toy With Me, Ms. Nagatoro!
At a seemingly ordinary Japanese high school, a quiet and soft-spoken boy named Naoto Hachioji has to put up with a gaggle of mean girls who seem determined to torment him, until another girl, Hayase Nagatoro, steps in. For a time, Nagatoro merely observed Naoto being verbally kicked around, but she suddenly decides that enough is enough. Nagatoro resolves to shield her upperclassman Naoto from these mean girls, but in exchange, she gets exclusive rights to tease him in their place.
What's her game? At first, it seems that Nagatoro is just another bully who wants a piece of the action, but it may not be so simple. Nagatoro is rather protective of Naoto against other mean girls, and it's possible that she's doing it out of the goodness of her heart, not just for the sake of abstract justice. The other girls are left to wonder: is this her way of processing a crush? It's not uncommon for boys and girls to mess with those they secretly like as a way to distance themselves from their confusing feelings, so it may well be that Nagatoro's interest in Naoto goes rather deep. To win Naoto's heart, Nagatoro must toy with it first.
Watching & Reading Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro!
The original Don't Toy with Me, Ms. Nagatoro! manga series, written by Nanashi, is currently ongoing, with nine volumes released so far via Vertical Comics. The anime began airing on April 11, and Crunchyroll will host all 12 episodes of this series' first season.
Despite the series' bizarre premise, Don't Toy With Me, Ms. Nagatoro! is in fact a shonen series, and may appeal to anime fans who look for slapstick series in a high school or junior high school setting, such as Horimiya and Azumanga Daioh.