Haganai Review

 

Studio: AIC Build
Publisher: Media Factory, Shueisha
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Romance, School, Seinen, Slice of Life
Release: S1 (2011), OVA (2012), S2 (2013), Live-action Film (2014)

Friendship is such the phenomenon where everyone’s familiar with it, yet if asked to define it logically, everyone would have different answers based on experience. For the cast of Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai (lit. I Have Few Friends), having friends is a distant and seemingly impossible dream as some think they don’t need such, have a hard time communicating with people, or are just too smart or weird for your average person. Watch this awesome anime where we go back to the roots of friendship to rediscover it all!

Summary: Hasegawa Kodaka, a transfer student at St. Chronica Catholic school, hasn’t made any friends despite his first month of attending there. This is due to his unusual hair color he inherited from his late British mother. With that, everyone thinks he’s a bashful and violent delinquent, making defamatory rumors about him a common thing. His family kept moving so there wasn’t any opportunity for him to make long-lasting friends. His awkward face when making an effort to talk to people doesn’t help one bit, either.

Dismissal time, he goes back to the classroom to find his classmate Yozora Mikazuki talking to her “air friend.”

Yozora proudly admits she has an air friend, and because “Tomo” wouldn’t betray her no matter what. Taking pity in her circumstance, Kodaka suggests she make some real friends instead. The thing is, she doesn’t know how to in the first place. The two dive in an in-depth conversation regarding friends and how society unfairly treats those without as lonely and weird people. Yozora is willing to even pay 1000 yen per week people to hang out with her so that society won’t view her as such, since she’s fine being by herself after all. Kodaka dismissed such ideas.

Defining their remaining options via elimination, they were left hopeless without a possible positive conclusion- you can’t just ask people to be your friends, and joining clubs in the middle of the year would break said club’s inner group dynamics. Kodaka mentioning clubs incidentally gave Yozora the idea to make their own club, a club aimed to helping lonely and incapable people of making friends, to make friends, thus calling it Rinjin-bu (Neighbor’s Club).

Yozora took care of the paperwork, successfully establishing the Neighbors Club. They immediately put posters around the school, with a hidden message, for other friendless students to notice.

At the end of the day, Kashiwazaki Sena presents herself to join the club, but is immediately rejected by Yozora.

Considered unqualified by Yozora, Sena is actually one of the most famous girls in the school- smart, rich, sporty and beautiful, having all the boys ogle at her all the time. But she later on explains that being famous doesn’t gain her “real” friends, particularly female ones. Kodaka points out “Women who are popular with men and who excel too much face hostility from their own gender.“

Sena now becomes a member of the club, much to Yozora’s irritation. The two develop a unique friendship forged by insults, practical jokes and fierce competitiveness. On their first few days, they’d just hang around the club room, playing video games and visual novels, all the while with Sena and Yozora fighting. Even at co-op RPG games, one will usually friendly-fire at the other when found helpless.

Four others will join the club later on: Maria Takayama– a gifted 10-year old teacher and nun at their school whom Yozora requested to be their club adviser, Yukimura Kusonoki– plagued by not being able to have guy friends due to his effeminate appearance, he looks up to Kodaka in hopes of being a ‘delinquent’ like him, Rika Shiguma– science prodigy-slash-hikikomori-slash-most perverted character in the series, she joins the club to get closer to Kodaka after he saved her in a lab experiment gone wrong, and Hasegawa Kobato, Kodaka’s younger sister-slash-dark princess of the night who has nothing else to do with her life except watch her favorite anime at home.

The main plot starts at late episode 3, when Kodaka dreams about his childhood 10 years in the past- a guy who saved him from a bunch of kids who bullied him because of his hair color. Not one to back down, Kodaka punches the person trying to save him, and says that he’s not ‘weak.’ The two ended up getting beaten and started playing together from then on.

This friend of Kodaka, who calls him Taka, values their friendship as genuine, and confirms it by sharing his mother’s advice to him: “Taka, this is something my mom said once: When you get into high school, it’s fine if you don’t make 100 friends. Find a true friend who is worth as much to you as all those 100 other friends combined. Even if it’s just one person, as long as it’s a true friend that you can cherish.” Taka then decides to cherish their friendship as that of other 100 friends combined. Some serious d’aww moment in this scene. >.<

Apparently, their last time together was two nights before Taka and his family moved away. They promised to meet each other the next day, as he was going to tell he was going away, but his friend never showed up. He feels guilty ever since that night and regrets having not said it earlier. Taka wakes up in the clubroom, reminiscing about those days and incidentally blurting out the quote his friend said.

Guess what, Yozora was there, whispering to herself “Kodaka, you remembered…” and yes, the story now reaches a full circle! Although she won’t be telling Kodaka the truth until the later episodes. It’s for you to watch, and for YOU to find out what happens next!

I just love how everyone in the cast is so humbled and baffled by the thought of making friends, to the point that the concept is actually very alien to them. Not being able to go to amusement park with friends, karaoke, beach, swimming pool, festivals, etc. in their late age actually make a good catalyst to highlight their personalities more. That ‘what if’ they were able to do so and how will they react to it thing. There’s one scene that Kodaka didn’t see any use for a cell phone other than to call home, but Rika suggested otherwise. You should see the look on Kodaka’s face when he was able to input a contact to his phone besides a family member! Much more, to Yozora, who never had any contacts to here phone in the first place.

RATING: 9/10

Story
Visuals
Audio

 

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