While many romantic comedies begin with a dramatic hook to entice viewers, The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten begins quietly. This anticipated Winter 2023 anime series establishes a subtle tone for its romance, allowing the focus to be on natural relationship progression and character development.
The same-named light novel series by Saekisan and Hanekoto was adapted into the movie The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten. The plot centers on a friendship between two neighbors who go to the same high school and are in the same class. Despite being close by, they have never exchanged words. On a rainy day, Amane offers Mahiru his umbrella, and Mahiru accepts his generosity, starting a new relationship.
Neighbors' Quiet Romance May Highlight Their Friendship
Given Amane's aloof nature and Mahiru's reputation as the angel of their school, the two students have little reason to interact, even though they are neighbors. However, they begin to form a neighborly friendship when Mahiru starts sending meals to Amane after noticing that he doesn't feed himself very well and even offers to clean his apartment. Romantic chemistry is not as evident in their interactions in Angel Next Door's first episode, but their mutual kindness and the comfortable atmosphere between them shows they are building a foundation of friendship.
Angel Next Door, rather than relying solely on tropes, establishes a friendship between its characters first, laying the groundwork for a more endearing romantic progression. Though slice-of-life fans may prefer this pace over those who prefer high-intensity anime, the quieter tone of Angel Next Door's romance could result in a higher quality story that avoids overused clichés if done correctly.
Characterization Is the Main Aim of Angel Next Door Instead of Needless Drama
More dramatic romantic comedies can certainly explore their characters' history and personality, but the steadier pace of Angel Next Door could allow it to focus on characterization even more, leading to an overall richer romance. Just like Horimiya's pacing allowed it to structure its romances around the characters' stories, subtle hints in Angel Next Door's first episode suggest the series will explore Mahiru's background.
Mahiru is sitting alone in the rain at the start of Episode 1, deep in thought and obviously bothered. As the story progresses, whenever Mahiru's family is mentioned in conversation, a subtle change in her expression suggests either a rift between her and her family or a more tragic past. Mahiru undoubtedly carries an emotional burden, which may explain the difference in her personality depending on whether she is at school or alone with Amane. Mahiru's character will most likely be explored further as her relationship with Amane develops.
While the quiet start could set Angel Next Door up for a refreshing pace for its romance, some viewers may hope for lively plot development as it continues to keep the story engaging. Those excited to watch Amane and Mahiru's romance blossom as they grow closer as neighbors can stream the series on Crunchyroll on Saturdays.