Developing a crush can be a really fun time, right? That moment when you discover you have feelings for someone? You waffle, wondering whether to confess or just swallow your feelings, hoping they’ll fade. But no, you finally muster the nerve, go to your crush and… just mercilessly torment them to the point where they live in a constant state of panic, unsure of your feelings towards them, but knowing you will absolutely rattle them every time you speak!
…Wait, that isn’t normal? Well, it seems to be the strategy of the title character of Nanashi’s new manga series, Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro.
The story follows a nameless high school student, who Nagatoro refers to simply as “Senpai.” He’s an aspiring artist but just doesn’t know how to relate to the more bombastic girls at his school. He tries to find some solitude at the school library, but when he accidentally spills his self-drawn manga pages across the floor, a group of girls pick them up and mock him. But while most of them walk away from the incident, Nagatoro sticks around. She decided to critique his work, and from there, the seemingly endless cycle of pestering begins.
Each chapter is a new incident where Senpai is hoping to get through an easy day of school, only for Nagatoro to sabotage it. From demanding to be the subject of a portrait, to faking asking him out on a date, all the way to forcing him into washing each other’s hands, Nagatoro seeks out ways to make Senpai squirm. But it becomes apparent that the constant teasing isn’t just sadism on Nagatoro’s part. It turns out that she might have feelings for Senpai, and the only way she can express it is through an endless barrage of pranks.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels between this book and Soichiro Yamamoto’s Teasing Master Takagi-san. But while Takagi’s tricks are mostly harmless, Nagatoro’s seem like borderline emotional abuse. Senpai lives with paranoia from the moment Nagatoro gets a hold of his manga, and he spends almost every panel of the book with the same expression on his face, with flushed cheeks and eyes on the verge of – and in some cases, outright – crying. And unlike Takagi-san’s Nishikata, Senpai just doesn’t seem to have the will to even try to fight back, but instead just absorbs the hazing Nagatoro throws his way.
Nanashi’s art does a great job of putting you in the shoes of Senpai, often drawing Nagatoro from his perspective. You can almost feel Senpai leaning away, as Nagatoro leans in to tell him her devious plans. And while Senpai’s expression rides a similar vibe throughout the book, the artist finds a way to add nuances to both his flustered face and Nagatoro’s sinister smile.
As someone who was fortunate enough to dodge most bullying in my childhood, I had some fun reading this title, but I could easily see it causing some problems with someone who had to deal with those issues, so keep that in mind when you consider checking this title out. Otherwise, I had a pretty fun time watching Senpai squirm. The art had a fun energy to it, and the comedic tension was spot on. I just hope Nagatoro doesn’t go too far in future volumes and break the poor guy…
Nagatoro is a freshman in high school who loves teasing and torturing her older male classmate (Senpai). What is her motivation and why does Senpai put up with her? Does Nagatoro just want to create misery for Senpai? Or maybe she secretly likes him?Add to CartLearn More