When the Winter 2023 anime season was announced, most could have predicted a triumph Vinland Saga Season Two or Tokyo Avengersbut only a few were able to discover the potential in less attention-grabbing titles like The angel next door spoils me or Tomo-chan is a girl! However, the rom-com strikes again, with Tomo-chan is a girl! It currently ranks fifth on MAL among new programs currently airing. Viewers may have unexpectedly found Tomo’s journey of self-acceptance, as well as her unorthodox behavior, more relatable than they expected.
While Tomo is definitely the main character of the show – her honesty, generosity, and genuine nature make her the most likable character – her friends are more than useful tools for making her shine. Jun, Misuzu, and Carol in particular are written with surprising care, with their characters constantly showing sides unexpected of them and a wonderful depth. Among them, Misuzu, in addition to taking the lead in humor, has aroused the interest of fans due to her mysterious relationship with Tomo. In Episode 8, she shows clear signs of jealousy at the thought of Tomo and Jun together. Does this mean that she likes Tomo more than just a friend?
Misuzu’s jealousy has made fans of the anime suspicious
Since the first episode, Misuzu has wasted no time trying to help Tomo reunite with her best friend, Jun. Her methods may be questionable – and the way she shows support needs work – but she never fails to help Tomo move in the right direction. Her advice finally shows some results when, in Episode 8, Jun’s behavior begins to change, his attitude towards Tomo becoming more guarded and attentive. Misuzu should have been overjoyed, at least as possible for such a stoic character – why would Carol notice her confusion and mischief?
When Misuzu suggests that Tomo should buy a new swimsuit to go to the beach with Jun, she knows her plan will work. Once Jun sees Tomo wearing a bikini, his plans for a relaxing day splashing around suddenly go out the window. Looking at Tomo and Jun from her spot under the umbrella, Misuzu reverses Jun’s transformation – a process she started that is almost unstoppable. She doesn’t look so happy. The same thing happens in Episode 8, when at the festival, Misuzu notices Tomo and Jun’s relationship developing and wonders what will happen to her and Tomo.
Misuzu doesn’t have many friends – in fact, the only person she calls a friend is Tomo. Her sad feelings may be caused by the prospect of losing her only friend. However, fans of the show have been wondering if her grief might stem from jealousy as well. Today it’s clear that Misuzu is going down the same path as a lot of best friend characters in rom-coms – realizing their feelings just as they would hand their friend over to someone else.
Misuzu is cold to everyone except Tomo
Trying to discover Misuzu’s feelings requires an understanding of the character. However, Misuzu is generally difficult to read. Stoic, cold and outspoken, she always wears a mask of indifference, rarely letting her emotions slip through the cracks. However, her affection for Tomo is something that often makes her hesitant, uncertain, or afraid – Carol, who despite the way she comes across as very perceptive, immediately recognizes Misuzu’s need to be close to Tomo. Throughout the series, Misuzu requests to be held captive by Tomo, to spend more time doing “girly” activities with her and finally to sleep next to her – and Carol is often the one who achieves this.
With everyone else, Misuzu seems almost indifferent. As she grows closer to Carol and John, she always struggles to call them friends, but it never happens with Tomo. With Jun in particular, Misuzu seems to have a difficult relationship. Rather than coming from the time they dated in middle school, one could argue that their hatred stems from their shared claim to be Tomo’s best friend. In fact, their rivalry escalates when Tomo’s spare time comes up for grabs.
Is Misuzu like Tomo?
If this were a Netflix teen drama, there would be no doubt that Misuzu was clearly dealing with her feelings for Tomo and possibly questioning her sexuality and identity in terms of love and friendship. Her jealousy, as well as her failed relationship with John and her apparent disinterest in boys, may be part of her personality, but they may also suggest something about her sexuality. Misuzu may simply not know who she is yet. Her character arc, then, will inevitably involve a journey of self-discovery.
However, this is an anime and, more importantly, a rom-com with the explicit goal of bringing Tomo and Jun together. It’s unlikely that the writers were willing to explore Misuzu’s feelings for Tomo – on top of complicating things for the main couple, such a creative choice would be far from what casual rom-com audiences would expect, and in most cases, anime aren’t known for making bold decisions. So, Misuzu will likely end up getting some assurance that her friendship with Tomo won’t be pushed to the side – and that will be the case.
However, whether or not the creators decide to explore Misuzu’s feelings, the fact that fans have begun to question her is a sign that times are changing. Having Misuzu in love with Tomo isn’t such a weird idea anymore; In fact, it’s an evolution some fans might want to see. It may never be made clear, but Misuzu’s conflicted feelings are there for the audience to feel empathy, and perhaps find a part of themselves in, proving that anime can be a place of discovery and exploration like no other medium.