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[The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten]
AKA: お隣の天使様にいつの間にか駄目人間にされていた件
Genre: Romance
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll.
Content Rating: 13+ (Mature themes.)
Related Series: Second season.
Also Recommended: My Love Story; Tsuredure Children
Notes: Based on light novels by Saekisan, published by SB Creative (and in English by Yen Press)


2023 Saekisan-SB Creative Corp./"The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten" Project

The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten


After Amane Fujimiya performs an act of kindness for Mahiru Shiina, the girl in the apartment next to his, she ends up cooking for him (and splitting meal costs with him "to save money"). Can a deeper relationship sprout between two low-key tsunderes?


One of my favorite T-shirts has the word "Curmudgeon" written across it; but the last time I wore it, someone told me I really wasn't one. Well, you have to prove your bona fides sometimes, and I guess the treatment I'm going to give this show- which many viewers find an adorable love story- should prove the authenticity of my shirt.

OR, perhaps this show DESERVES it...

We'll start with the opening song, which I found an exuberant but saccharine, cloying, and utterly white-bread ballad similar to those in old TV series like The Love Boat. And the song seems to think the show's about Mahiru (the "Angel"); it's really much more about Amane, as I'll try to show later.

I've loved a number of romantic series, but they've had things that The Angel largely does not. Is there comedy? There's one character here that's sort of a jester and a little bit over the top- and she stands out by being the only really lively one in the cast. She's not one of our two leads, though.

Is there drama? It's a difficult thing to do in a show where nobody really raises their voice. Amane is frequently snarky, and sometimes scolding (there's a dark side to that scolding, in my opinion- we'll get to that later.) Mahiru mainly acts pouty (and later, frequently embarrassed.) Amane's snark nearly rises to the level of insolence when his mother visits him- his treatment of her was surprisingly cold for a son to his mother in Japanese culture, and made me think she must be a stepparent, but there's no apparent evidence that this is the case.

Oh, there WERE opportunities for real drama. Amane has one close male friend, named Itsuki Akazawa, who's mainly quietly supportive of Amane; but Itsuki's girlfriend, named Chitose Shirakawa, is the aforementioned jester of the cast- and in my opinion the show's only real spark of life. It seems that Itsuki's dad does not approve of Chitose for some reason, and at one point this leads to Itsuki briefly rooming with Amane- and then he goes to stay for a while with Chitose's parents. I would have loved to have found out the details behind all this, but the show only really cares about other characters when their paths cross the Amane-Miharu orbit, and only for as long as they do.

The bulk of the show is about Amane and Miharu establishing a semi-domestic life with each other (while trying to keep this a secret from their classmates- she's the school idol, and so the jealousy of other students could be an issue), but of course they'll fall in love, though one of them will begin to show the feelings quite a bit earlier than the other. I never really understood Mahiru's logic that they'd "save money" by eating together; if they're splitting the food costs, I'd imagine Amane's a bigger eater than she is, so she'd effectively be subsidizing him. I took this whole arrangement as really being about her not wanting to spend all her evenings alone. We'll later get the backstories of both Amane and Mahiru, but while hers is objectively much more tragic than his, she eventually acts like his trauma is the more "important" one, and that she needs to comfort him more than the reverse. In other words, his feelings are regarded as the most important. We'll say that, at a deeper level, the story's sexism is peeking through here.

And that gets us to what I feel is a darker side of Amane's relationship with Mahiru, which the story's sexist assumptions maybe make it oblivious to. There are two major instances of this. We will use some quaint misogynistic terminology here that was out of fashion even by Grampa's day to describe Amane's apparent attitude in each case.

In Case One, Mahiru falls asleep in Amane's presence. When she awakens, he says, "You should be grateful to me." What should she be "grateful" for? Apparently, for his not sexually assaulting her when she was vulnerable. He makes the point more explicitly by following this with the line, "I'm a guy, you know", by which we're to understand that men are natural rapists, I suppose. But, perhaps (and here's that archaic terminiology) Mahiru is NOT a shameless trollop who casually falls asleep in the presence of any man. Perhaps she's willing to with Amane because she trusts him. And perhaps the onus is therefore on HIM to treat her with respect. We'll say he doesn't appreciate this point.

But that's not the end of it, oh no. In Case Two, later in the story, Amane admonishes Mahiru for being a temptress once again; she's such a brazen hussy (bet you seldom hear that one too!) as to appear before him in her school uniform, but with her legs bare! (I'm not really sure WHAT women need to do to keep from turning men on; stockings, too, can do it (e.g., in Season Two of Nagatoro, and we musn't forget Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate), while even covering up completely with pants seems provocative to some men (e.g., a TERRIBLE C&W song from some years ago called "Tight Fittin' Jeans.") OR, maybe, men could just do a Lockout/Tagout on their "Rape Switches.") I'm sure the show's creators would accuse me of overthinking this, but once you've looked at the story's (or at least Amane's) assumptions from this angle, it's hard to UNsee them. Such are the perils of being "woke", I suppose- in addition to the LEGAL penalties, for being Woke in Florida.

On one level, it's intended as a sincere (though tedious) attempt at a "sweet" love story; but the lack of either comedy or real drama hurts it, and I kept being troubled by the sexism that I felt lurked just under the surface- particularly in Amane's thinking. I let it go with three stars, since I expect its INTENTIONS were good- I'm just a little leery of the actual execution.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Amane is, as noted, too much of a moral scold to let anything really happen. Right Stuf rates the manga for 13+. We'll say Mature Situations

Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (12/12)
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten © 2023 Project No. 9/Saekisan-SB Creative Corp./
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