HUZZAH! TONARI NO KASHIWAGI-SAN HAS FREED ME FROM ITS KAWAII CLUTCHES!

tonari no kashiwagi-san cover

Everyone, it has happened. I’ve been waiting for this day… for too longTonari no Kashiwagi-san has finally finished its scanlation thanks to the aid of one brave Spanish reddit user named “u/desdnt.” This man(?) has no idea the impact he(?) has made on my life upon the release of the last chapters of this manga. This is my salute to them, as a fellow human being and a peruser of pixelated pictures online. Thank you.

Let me elaborate on this long and overly-complicated story I have with this title. I started this in January of 2013. For those at the back of the class witty enough to jump ahead, this would mean that, upon completing this series now would mean I have had it on my reading list for nearly six and a half years. Six and a half years ago, I had never been employed before. I had less than a hundred anime titles to my name (probably). I wasn’t even out of my teens—I was not quite a year removed from graduating high school. A lot has happened in six and a half years. I have become so much different as a person, a thinker, and as a critic in that timespan, yet this manga was able to survive throughout all of that. It’s amazing for me to even ponder.

Of course, it was no balanced spread. The later years of this manga’s existence on my list were as dormant as my aspirations for employment in the sciences, a dream I had as a child. However, I will talk of that with time. This story will start from the beginning.

tonari no kashiwagi-san 5

In January of 2013, I found this title on a whim and was entranced by its cover image. Something about the idea of a bossy and “tough” girl (who was secretly otaku) being paired with a pushover male otaku was something of a fantasy of mine distinct and specific niche for my fictional interests. I started reading the story and fell in love almost instantly, even getting to the point where I debated putting it among my favorite manga list. (Fun fact: I had completed maybe ten manga by that point.) It was cute, wholesome, and sugary sweet in a way that tickled my pessimistic persona. Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal to me.

The manner of scanlation was only semi-frequent with the series, as by the time I got to the point where the scanlation had ended (maybe forty or so chapters in), the manga updated maybe once or twice a month. Almost like with Komi-san or Aharen-san now, it was one of the first ongoing manga scanlations that I checked often everyday for new updates. It became a ritual, in-between watching unhealthy amounts of anime, to visit the manga site in wait for more Kashiwagi-san. Thinking about it, I seem to have a thing for manga with the female lead’s name as the title.

The time is now early 2015. I have read up to chapter 60 or so, and, according to the MAL entry I made at the time, I seemed to be getting pretty sick of it. I described it as “I’m slowly developing cancer from reading this.” What can I say? I was pretty edgy four and a half years ago. The manga had been slowly lowering itself to the mercy of multiple filler chapters to freeze the pace of the relationship between the two leads. On top of that, seeing as this manga is typically sugary sweet, the amount of “risky moves” by the characters to progress their inevitable romance ranges between zero and zero. They’re too shyyyyyyyyy! Oh, what if they reject me, despite the fact that we have great chemistry and we’ve been hinting to each other for many chapters that we wouldn’t be opposed to a relationship that pushes the boundaries of a normal platonic friendship?! “Repetitive” is a word I use often in criticism. It applies here, as well.

tonari no kashiwagi-san 1
You will see this face 4324934578 times during this manga.

Even so, I continued. I figured if I made it this far, I could at least finish it. Some months later, I would find out that the manga was ending, and that the final chapter count would total to 84. In July of 2015, I had read chapter 70. Only fourteen chapters to go and I would finally be done with this series that has gone on for far too long.

That would be the last time I would read the series for a whole year.

Upon the release of chapter 70, the scanlation for the series simply stopped. Time passed. At one point, I looked through my list of ongoing manga and came across the name and thought, “Huh. That hasn’t updated in… months.” The 2016 new year celebration has come and gone, and the manga hasn’t updated in half a year. It wouldn’t be until May that the series suddenly, randomly, started back up with the scanlation process, getting all the way to chapter 77 in September before going dark once again. This second disappearance wouldn’t take as long, as two more chapters were added by the beginning of February of 2017. This is where the story starts to get sad.

There are five chapters left in the manga. Kashiwagi-san has already ended in Japan. I am dying to finish this manga and finally review it for the blog, which I had planned to do for a long while prior to that. I almost gave in and did a Komi-san style post where I just summarize it up to the point where I am, but I was so close and I figured it wouldn’t take long for me to read through to the end! It’s only five chapters! How long could it take!?

tonari no kashiwagi-san 2
You will see this face 4324934578 times during this manga.

After updating in February of 2017, it would not update again for the remainder of 2017. Happy 2018, everyone! Still no Kashiwagi-san. Months pass. January: Nope. February: Nope. A full year without one chapter release has passed. March: Nope. April: Nope. May: Nope. June: Nope. July: Nope. August: Nope. A year and a half has passed without one new chapter release. September: Nope.

October of 2018. One new chapter of Kashiwagi-san is released to the wild. I freak out about it on Twitter. I am one step closer to finishing this cute-as-fuck series that has somehow become nostalgic after the disgustingly long wait I’ve had to endure to finish it. The gods of manga scanlation would not grant me mercy. When they feel it is time for me to finish the series, they will release them all at once, but it will take time.

That one new update was a week before Halloween of 2018. The last four chapters were released all at once earlier tonight, on May 21st, 2019. That’s seven months later.

tonari no kashiwagi-san 3
My audience reading this post.

Let’s do the math: Between the release of chapters 78-79 and the release of the final four chapters tonight (a total of seven chapters), it took nearly 28 months for the series to finish in English. That is an average of reading one chapter every four months. Additionally, considering the four final chapters came out at once, and the first two chapters in this span came out at once, there was one chapter update within a gap of about 27 months.

Now that I’ve spent 1,200 words describing my nightmare-ish history surrounding this manga, let’s talk about the manga! One issue: I remember next to nothing about it.

A majority of this manga, for me, was read between 2013 and 2016. If it had finished by the end of 2016, I would have zero issue recalling various aspects of the manga that would help my case for review. Unfortunately, it meandered horribly for close to three years and now I’ve got nothing but distorted images and disconnected feelings. I can only rely on what I remember feeling about the series, instead of how I actually feel, because the length of time is just too great. One chapter in the span of 27 months is like getting one phone call from a former lover in that same amount of time. Are you going to feel anything for them by the end? Probably not. 27 months is a long fucking time.

tonari no kashiwagi-san 6
@anime

Thus, I will describe the series to the best of my ability strictly from memory. It will also be in bulletpoint because that is the minimum extent of my abilities to elaborate:

  • The leads’ friends pair up and are the true OTP. (The big one that always stuck with me.) The main male-female duo is overshadowed by the fact that their friends are more interesting as characters, more interesting as a couple, and had a lot more conflict to wade through in order to get to their ending comfort zone within the relationship. I apparently stated that their initial starting point was “overdramatic,” but also stated it was “super cute,” so I guess that compensates for it? These two were the characters I most looked forward to seeing whenever a new chapter came out.
  • The two leads are too nice. Sugary sweet and happy sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns is nice and all, but real conflict drives interest. The most they ever grow conflicted on is… “Am I ready for a relationship? Isn’t it a wittle too scawy?”
  • Men and women in this manga have literally the exact same eyes. Everyone looks incredibly feminine in this story. It looks lazy, but also cute.
tonari no kashiwagi-san 4
The OTP.
  • The pace is abysmally slow during the middle portions. Once the side characters establish their relationship and don’t have much more to develop, the story isn’t really sure what to do with itself, so it circles around the “Will they? Won’t they?” plotline for the main characters for about thirty chapters. That’s only slightly exaggerated.
  • The whole premise for the series, the “I’m secretly an otaku, so don’t tell anyone, okay?! Only you know about this,” thing, is dropped, I think, within the first twenty chapters. It devolves into a standard development of friendship-turned-romance for both the main pair and side pair. Turns into a very plot-loose, slice-of-life atmosphere.

And with that, I am free. Finally, I can mark on my gravestone that I did, in fact, finish this series before I died. It took a looooooong time—in fact, it was the longest I had spent on a manga in my entire history of reading manga, followed only by Nana to Kaoru (which took me nearly four years). Kashiwagi-san will always have some place in my soul for the lovely beginning it set up for itself at a time when I was most impressionable. Hell, I might just re-read it soon now that I can adequately marathon it. For now, it’s a very average read that may have been hampered by the extreme length at which it took to completely finish. Read only if you like really cute romances that take an eternity to blossom.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

If you’d like to see more reviews like this, feel free to look at my full list of manga reviews!

Thank you for your time. Have a great day.

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