I don’t know what it is about Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro, but reading it puts a Charlie Brown-y smile on my face. Despite it being very mean-spirited and a tad cruel, there’s a slight wholesomeness that’s found deep within its package. Perhaps it’s the nature of both the characters, or maybe it’s the hidden feelings of the new queen of teasing. But whatever it is, the second volume of Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro is chock full of what makes the one of the most enjoyable comedies around.
Nagatoro puts Senpai through the wringer in multiple ways this time around. From piercing ears and White Day candy reactions to teaching him the basics of making verbal comebacks, the tanned troublemaker finds some interesting ways to make her classmate blush in more ways than one. However, when she least expects it, Senpai (accidentally) finds ways to turn the tables on her, even if she doesn’t fully admit it.
There are moments where Nagatoro finds a way to taunt Senpai even when he’s not around. The volume opens with a very funny spin on fantasy-based video games, where Nagatoro is a cat girl that partners with the wizardly Senpai. It all leads up to a face-off with the Demon Lord, which you can probably guess where they take it. (It’s an idea that I’m surprised no game developer has recently run with.) Senpai’s thoughts on this fantasy realm reenter when he’s trying to study, as his thoughts humorously drift back to Nagatoro and the friends she sometimes hangs out with.
A chapter where Senpai is forced to sit with Nagatoro and her friends showcases the titular character’s true colors. While she goes about teasing Senpai, her friends get into the game by pushing his buttons. But when one of her friends goes too far with the jabs, Nagatoro shocking goes on the defense for Senpai. It’s a moment that demonstrates how much she cares for him, to the point where even her friends are surprised by her reaction. At this moment, author Nanashi puts the heart of this manga front and center, bringing forth the caring side we know lingers deep within Nagatoro.
Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro may be more cruel than Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san, but it delivers the same amount of heart and hilarity on every page. Thanks to each chapter’s short framing, each little interaction between Nagatoro and Senpai never overstays its welcome. Dare I say, it will make every lover of mean-spirited rom-coms crave more of these two’s tease-filled hangouts. If you are need of a taunt-filled romp, then you can’t go anymore right than what Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro has to offer.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Vertical Comics