MANGA REVIEW | "Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro" - Vol. 13
As Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro continues onward, the roles of both the titular character and Senpai seem to switch from time-to-time. While Hayase has been aiding Senpai with finding his backbone for a majority of the time, the senior finds opportunities to help his kouhai in return. In its thirteenth volume, not only do the tables turn countless times, but the characters seem to mature more.
Now that Nagatoro has rejoined the judo club, she has found another joyful activity in her life. But when Senpai hears her club mates bad-mouthing her behind her back, he starts to worry about her well-being. Things get tougher when Nagatoro’s injured during practice, with Shikki not mincing words on how she feels about her techniques. That’s when Senpai steps up to the plate, and puts the rest of the judo club in its place.
I’ve spoken about Senpai growing a pair these last couple of volumes, but this moment showcases how much he’s grown since Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro began. Even though what he says is simple, Nagatoro reacts joyfully when Senpai speaks up for her. It’s clear they both love one another at this point, and even though they haven’t said it, their actions are far louder than any spoken vernacular could ever be. In a way, how both Nagatoro and Senpai stand up for one another is akin to them protecting each other’s hearts.
With that being said, just because this manga has matured doesn’t mean it still can’t have some naughty fun. This occurs when both Nagatoro and Senpai use the wrong school showers. Suddenly, Senpai is stuck in a shower with the judo club, as Nagatoro panics to find a way to help him out. But it’s Shikki that helps get Senpai out of a jam, but does so in a way that causes Nagatoro to be understandably upset. (I’ll be surprised if this moment doesn’t inspire a future doujin!)
But things somewhat calm down when a school trip to Kyoto is planned, and Senpai (with his real name revealed for the first time, I think) is heading one of the groups. Nagatoro, realizing that Juniors can go on the trip, takes the opportunity to join Senpai’s group, something her friends Yosshi, Gamo, and Sakura jumps aboard for. However, when the girls try to derail Senpai’s plans, it causes a slight rift between him and Nagatoro. Thankfully, Sakura’s a lot nicer than the other two, with her putting Nagatoro’s feelings into perspective.
There’s a moment towards the end that proves Nagatoro’s love for Senpai. Yes, she’s still a tease, but the way her eyes glow when he offers to take her someplace in Kyoto is as lovey-dovey as it can get. If Senpai can finally take a hint and read her expressions, then perhaps he can take the lead and finally speak from the heart. (Then again, that would probably spell the end of the manga, which is still too good to wrap up!)
Nevertheless, Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro keeps on evolving the relationship between Senpai and Nagatoro. It knows when to be sweet, when to be funny, and when to throw in a bit of spice both mean and naughty. One hopes that they’ll grow more as a couple on this journey to Kyoto. However, seeing as the other girls in Nagatoro’s group are coming along, one can bet that there’ll be more hilarious chaos than heart-pounding romance.