Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: How to make crazy friends
November 2, 2011 5 Comments
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (quite literally this means I Don’t Have Many Friends) is a series based off of a light novel series written by Yomi Hirasaka and illustrated by Buriki. The story is relatively simplistic in nature, but nonetheless it has been enjoyable to watch so far.
This is a pretty strange anime with a fairly simplistic an often relatively nonexistent plot. The premise of this anime is that Hasegawa Kodaka and Yozora Mikazuki both discover that neither has any real friends, Yozora therefore decides to create ‘The Neighbors Club’, whose express purpose is to make friends. That is the plot in a nutshell, not the most inspiring piece of script writing ever. What makes this show worth watching though is the interactions between the characters as well as the characters themselves. You can pretty much tell what the show is about from the opening sequence.
Hasegawa Kodaka who has recently transferred to St. Chronica’s Academy (the school in the show) has the appearance of a ‘yankee’ or delinquent. He has blond hair, which we learn he gets from his dead mother, and has a fierce face, and especially his eyes. Everyone treats him like trouble and avoids him at all costs, what we learn however is that he is a gentle person, who looks after his younger sister, is good at cooking and generally a far better person than many others.
Yozora is a fascinating character, probably an a-typical Tsundere character since we haven’t really seen any Dere yet, but we do get a lot of Tsun from her. She is immensely spikey, and because of having such a personality everyone seems to avoid her. She isn’t all nice underneath though and is an immensely manipulative person, who even tricks teachers into letting her use various rooms and facilities around the school.
The final main character is Sena Kashiwazaki, an immensely beautiful girl, with large breasts, who is excellent at both her academic studies and sports. She is the daughter of the schools head teacher, and basically uses all the male students who fawn over her as slaves. She is of course ostracized by the other female students because of her personality, and while she is popular, she has no friends.
The interactions between these characters has so far made the show worth while, which is good, because very little really happens during the episodes. Most of the ‘action’ as it were takes place in the club room, although during episode two, everyone brings in there ‘PFPs’ (Quite clearly a PSP, but copyright and other laws likely apply to using the name) to play Monster Hunter, at which point we get the game view of them all playing and of course failing at the game. Yozora and Sena are constantly arguing, Yozora can be very condescending towards Sena, even calling her ‘Meat’ because of her large breasts, and essentially doesn’t want her in the club. For her part Sena gives as good as she gets, and genuinely wants to be in the club to make friends.
Sena is a massive game fan and we see her playing everything from fighting games, through to Visual Novels and even Eroge. She gets so involved in the games that its as if she is role-playing that character. There is a great scene where she is forced, in order to defend her claim that an eroge is a work of art, to read the conversation out aloud. This moment is wonderful, and pretty sexy, even if it is Yozora being a bit mean. What is fascinating about the entire plot and in fact the club is that nothing rally happens, club activities effectively don’t exist until Sena brings in video games, but even then everyone is fairly individualistic.
There is also a nice scene where Sena and Kodaka go to the swimming pool and Kodaka uses his yankee image in order to save Sena, berating her for being too arrogant and not being conscious of her surroundings and her own strengths. This is not only a nice scene, but of course has plenty of fanservice since it of course involves bikinis, and the inevitable problems one might encounter with a bikini. This show looks like it has the potential for being a harem show with both Yozora (apparently Kodaka’s childhood friend, although he’s forgotten) and Sena are falling for Kodaka, along with several other characters who look like potential love interests. There has been quite a bit of fanservice so far, with random lolis running out of the bath to Sena showing off her breasts at the swimming pool, and I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t continue. The fanservice isn’t something to really complain about, and at least in this show it does work quite well and isn’t out of place.
I really like the artwork, Buriki has a special talent for drawing faces and especially the eyes, making girls and women look especially sexy at the right moment. Buriki also did the character designs for Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, which is great, but at the same time worrying. For all the cuteness involved in Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, its ending was atrocious, in fact it was the worst none ending I’ve seen in ages. i have to admit though that the art style has an odd, quirkiness that I rather like, with some interesting character designs, and overall a rather nice feel to it. I would point out though that the artwork is hardly flashy or as impressive as say Guilty Crown, it has clearly been done on a smaller budget, I do think it works though.
This brings me onto my problems with the show. While I enjoyed watching it, I did find that the pacing was strange and disjointed. We had three episodes where the characters of Yozora, Sena and Kodaka have been fleshed out a little, with some nice character progression and the clear signs that their relationship is beginning to deepen. But in episode four we had three new characters appear, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it is the appropriate time to add new characters. I simply felt that it was a little rushed, we had three new characters in one episode in such a way that there wasn’t enough time to properly introduce them. The act of adding new characters in episode three itself is fine because we have had enough time to get to know the original characters, but i felt that perhaps it should have been done over two episodes instead. I am not sure this matters in any case because, judging by the opening and other interactions they do come across as supporting characters, with the main focus being on Kodaka, Yozora and Sena.
My second major concern is the characters themselves. They are all a little too convenient; we have the Tsundere childhood friend, the big breasted beauty, the loli characters (there are several), the genius teacher, non-gender specific kid (apparently he is a boy, but he looks too much like a girl). And lets not forget the little sister who spends most of her time roleplaying as some gothic character out of the anime that she watches. This just seems a little too convenient, like the producers are ticking boxes to make sure they have the major fetishes, or however you wish to describe them in the show to appeal to a wide audience.
While this does not necessarily impact upon the show as a whole, I am just not a fan of the tick boxes to reach a wider audience way of working as this seems to be. This, the off-kilter pacing and the knowledge that the last series which this group made didn’t end in any way, shape, or form makes me a little worried. I am enjoying the series, and until episode four the character development was rather nice, I wont really talk about plot development, because, apart from finding out that Yozora is Kodaka’s childhood friend there hasn’t been any.
Overall, however, this show is really enjoyable. I love the character designs, how the characters interact and look forward to seeing how Yozora and Sena approach Kodaka, and more importantly how he reacts to them. The clubs stated goal is a bit silly, and nothing very much happens, but in the end the club itself becomes a group of friends, very odd people, but friends nonetheless. This show is pretty incidental, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and has enough cuteness and interesting characters to keep me entertained. It is nothing special, but it has been enjoyable to watch so far.