Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro is one of those things that I wouldn’t ordinarily bother to write about. I mean, it’s an older, smuttier version of Teasing-Master Tagaki-San, and it lacks the emotional heart of that other series.
But we have the same elements: the forward, assertive girl expressing her affection for a shy, retiring boy by teasing him mercilessly.
But there was something really clever in Don’t Toy With Me, something that made the writer in me watch it twice, and that had to do with the way Nagatoro was constructed, and I think it’s really simple but at the same time telling.
Okay, first of all we know that Nagatoro is crushing, and crushing hard, on Hachioji. Why is hard to say; perhaps she sees the purity of his soul in his art, although if that’s it, she seems to invest a remarkable amount of time trying to get him to think impure thoughts.
A lot of the teasing is sexual in nature: She calls him a “virgin” constantly; she offers to let him touch her breasts (and then calls “Time’s up” when he doesn’t close in fast enough); she hoists up her skirt or unbuttons her blouse for him to see … that she has a very modest bathing suit on underneath.
But as they start to spend time together that bathing suit reveals something very important about Nagatoro. As she spends time with Hachioji, she starts to wear crop tops exposing her midriff or skimpy bikinis when he can see her.
And those cut-down clothes reveal that she has very distinct tan lines.
First of all, that’s really unusual: I don’t remember seeing a tan line on any other anime character.
More importantly, revealing her tan lines reveals something else very important about her character. It says that for everyone else in her life Nagatoro wears AT MINIMUM her modest one piece bathing suit. The skimpy, sexy clothes come out ONLY for Hachioji.
What it says is she’s exploring the power of her sexuality with him.
Sure, why not? She’s fifteen, she’s got a hot bod, she kind of likes Hachioji (although it’s way too early in her life for her to settle down), and he’s almost totally non-threatening.
She’s not just teasing Hachioji to get his attention. She’s trying to figure out what she can get boys to do, and specifically what she can get this specific boy to do, using her body.
This is particularly obvious in some of the usual anime “business” that gets thrown in. You know what I mean. Like the time he slips and falls and accidentally grabs her breast, right? (We call that move “Nice to meet you, Ms. Ayanami.”) That’s further than she was mentally prepared to go, ground that’s too far beyond her comfort zone. She turns red and shrieks and looks as though she’s been humiliated. Because despite her constant innuendo, she’s as sexually inexperienced as he is. She doesn’t know how any of this works any better than he does.
What that does for her as a character is give her a little depth that she wouldn’t have if she was just cruel to him for the sake of being cruel to him.
But she’s not just a nasty girl. She’s fifteen. Sometime in the last couple years she’s just gotten those great curves. She knows that her milkshake can bring the boys around, but she doesn’t know what that means in practical terms.
How is she supposed to find out?
Well, she has Hachioji to practice on. He’s a good choice for that: introverted; shy to the point of being totally tongue-tied around girls; but ultimately, if she bullies him into it, willing to try. She can test her boundaries as a sexual being SAFELY with Hachioji because she dominates him completely.
Everyone else gets to see the modest Nagatoro, the one who wears a high-necked, one piece bathing suit, but the sexy clothes come out for Hachioji because she wants to explore herself.
You can see all that from her tan lines. Pretty clever piece of character design, eh?
I always look at comments and feedback, and I’m sure I’m not the first to see what I’ve seen, so have at it. Just keep it clean and keep it on target…no personal attacks, okay? Thanks.