The Art of the Teasing Girl | Takagi, Nagatoro, Anjou

In the first episode back after their unexpected break, the girls dive into the deep end with a look at not one, not two, but three Teasing Comedies! Just what is it makes these playful girls so enjoyable?

We’re back everyone!

Took a bit of an unexpected break, but now we’re back to finish up Season 6!

Now, where did we leave off?

Just finished talking about Sakurako, right? So next up should be a romance anime.

Then I have just the thing!

I mean… we already decided what we were gonna do with the season so, the options should be…

Let’s talk about teasing comedies!

Yeah, that figures. Well, there’s one we definitely have to talk about if that’s where we’re going with things.

But there are a bunch of others that’ve been snagging a lot of spotlight, lately! And one of them, in particular, is getting a ton of attention!

Hope you guys’re ready to Toon In.

I’m Rila!

I’m Riley.

And you’re watching Bulletoon!

Let’s be honest. It’s impossible to talk about the Teasing Comedy without talking about this little treasure!

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san – or Teasing Master Takagi – is basically the thing that kickstarted the trend, for sure.

That isn’t to say all the others are copycats, or anything. In fact, Takagi-san is pretty unique among all the newer ones that’ve been coming out.

Right, it isn’t like what Dragon Ball is to the battle shounen genre. It didn’t codify the whole niche. It just made an already established trend more popular. Other major ones don’t necessarily use the same formula.

That’s mostly because there isn’t much of a formula to copy, though. Or… maybe it’s more accurate to say that the formula is so simple, there’s not a whole lot of ways a pure copycat could set itself apart.

But that’s the beauty of it. Takagai-san is simple. It’s a story about the purity of puppy love. Takagi and Nishikata are in middle school – a little younger than the typical leads in a series like this, where the leads are usually at least halfway through high school. It’s a simpler time in their lives. So it only makes sense that the story is a whole lot simpler.

The series doesn’t spend much – or.. well… any time, really – on any of their worries or activities outside of their little relationship. Which, I should add, is absolutely precious!

Even I gotta admit, it’s cute as hell. And in a way I can actually stomach. Kudos.

Well, it’s a start. Don’t worry! I’ll convert you to the cute side yet!

Please. Stronger fools than you have tried. All of them failed.

And yet you know what I’m capable of… don’t you?

Er… so… yeah. What makes Takagi-san work is that it’s simple, it’s funny, and yes, it’s cute. Like we talked about a couple episodes ago, that’s honestly a winning combination.

Still, you’d be surprised. Anything with the same overall subject matter could be pretty easy to mess up.

Right. The series never veers into the darker side of that whole “they’re messing with you because they like you” spiel.

Yeeeah. Let’s be honest. A lot of times, that’s not the case. It’s just bullying. And even if they are bullying you because they like you, that’s… not a sign of anything healthy. If anything, it’s dangerous.

It’s kinda the reason why the earliest stages of another teasing girl comedy – Nagatoro – kinda rubbed me the wrong way. And this is where the video’s gonna take a bit of a turn.

Just to clarify, I love Nagatoro… At least, now I do. I’ve basically been reading the manga since it came out. I haven’t really bothered with the anime, specifically because of that, but there was always one thing about the story that bugged me. The way it started out seemed a lot less like “teasing” and a lot more like outright bullying.

No argument here. Heck, she even made senpai cry in the earlier chapters. Twice. I understand that the whole point of the story is that she’s basically trying to get the boy to grow a spine. But the method was a bit… much.

It’s actually like another series I’ve been reading that has a similar thing going for it.

Yancha gyaru no Anjou-san, I’m guessing?

Yup! It’s got pretty much the same basic idea, but it handles the whole thing a liiittle better, I think. And it does it with its own… style.

That… is true, I suppose.

You could actually see each of the three stories as sort of… natural evolutions of the exact same thing. Though they all have different quirks, I guess.

Well, with Takagi, it’s mostly just mischief. Playing tricks on him and stuff so he’ll get flustered. It’s like the Entry-level version of the whole thing.

With Nagatoro, it’s a lot more active than reactive. She bugs senpai constantly. Usually challenging him in some way so he’ll be forced to step out of his comfort zone a little. It adds some layers of complexity to the story overall, but it’s still simple and focuses pretty exclusively on the leads. I’d call it the intermediate option.

From what I can gather, Anjou-san is a little of Column A, a little of Column B. Then there’s Column C which is a lot – and I do mean a lot – of sexual innuendo. It’s tame, but still. Despite that, though, it actually does delve into the side characters more and the problems they have. Not only that, but it just comes across as the most emotionally mature of the three.

It’s also more holistic in its approach to showing how that confidence problem affects Seto in his life outside of his interactions with Anna.

With Nagatoro, it’s hardly shown outside of how senpai interacts with her and her friends. And Takagi-san, for all its simplicity, doesn’t even go as far as really having an arc. Which isn’t a bad thing. Like we said, the simplicity is the charm. But the added complexity is what makes these other examples stand out. Not so much the teasing, itself.

And with the way Anjou-san handles it, and the arcs of the side characters, it’s absolutely the more advanced option of the three.

Anyway, that’s just a little rundown of three “Teasing Girl” series we’ve been following.

I’m not certain I would go as far as to classify the Teasing Girl as an archetype. Definitely a sort of sub-genre, but let’s be real, here. Takagi, Nagatoro, and Anjou are nothing alike as far as their character traits go, themselves.

But then, what is the appeal of the Teasing Girl overall?

It’s a good question. What do they all have in common that makes them so beloved? I can’t entirely answer the question, though there are some obvious things.

There’s a longstanding tradition of whimsical female leads who shower their “loser” male counterparts with attention, of course.

Usually this gets associated with the label of the “manic pixie dream girl,” even if not exactly deserving of it. The label, itself, is basically an abstract, at this point. It’s a lot like the term “Mary Sue,” in exactly how nebulous the term is and how people interpret it differently.

I’ll be talking about it – and Anjou-san – a lot more when we finally do an episode on gyaru rom-coms! That’ll be fun!

Right. Short version, though. I think the most common use of the phrase is a criticism. Aimed at stories where the female lead doesn’t really have an identity beyond their clinging to the male lead and adding some zest to his life.

Their past doesn’t matter, they have no other clear goals or desires, no arc, they just… do things. Seemingly random things, at that. All to make the guy’s life more interesting. The guy inevitably falls in love with her, even if she isn’t – or wasn’t originally – doing this out of any form of romantic attraction.

It basically criticizes the idea that this female character exists for literally no other reason than to make a boring, stick-in-the-mud guy more interesting. Despite there being no effort on his part and therefore no reason she’d be interested in him at all.

On its face, that can sound like a fair critique of a work. But I think the phrase just got thrown around a bit too easily, for a while. To the point where its meaning was lost. I seem to recall reading that even the creator of it doesn’t seem to stand by its usage anymore.

With all that said, I think some of the appeal of what we just described is definitely at work. Especially since most of these stories are written for a male audience. An interesting, whirlwind of a female lead being interested in a more dull, relatable male lead definitely is part of it.

True. At that point it probably becomes a question of what makes them individually stand out. And that comes down to personality quirks. But I don’t know that, using our definition of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, I would use that phrase to describe any of the three girls we’ve been talking about.

Yeah, no. Definitely not. There are probably traces of it – especially early on – in both Nagatoro and Anjou-san, but both of those characters have actually been fleshed out pretty well.

Yeah. That’s been especially true of Nagatoro, lately. But I think another huge part of the appeal is that you’re not looking at a “will they, won’t they,” but instead it’s more of a “when will they?” Because ya know it’s gonna happen.

I mean, Takagi-san actually has a spin-off series where she and Nishikata are already married and have a little girl, who Takagi also teases because she’s a fun mom.

That… fits.

It’s too precious for words, honestly. True culture.

Riiight. Anyway, how about you guys? You like Teasing Girl comedies? What is it that draws you to ‘em? Let us know, down below. And give that like button a zap while you’re down there.

Tell us if there’s one we didn’t talk about that you’d love to see us cover!

For now, though, you know the drill. Subscribe and ring that bell.

We’ll be back soon with another new episode you won’t wanna miss!

This has been Bulletoon!

I’m Rila, signing off!

I’m Riley, bowin’ out!

Thanks for watching!

Keep up the awesome! And…

Stay Toon’d!


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