Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Alt titles: Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends

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roriconfan's avatar By roriconfan on Apr 17, 2012

Warning to readers: This is a meta-review targeted mostly at people who consider it good. Do not view this text as an attack to your integrity or something because the show itself is an attack to your common sense and feelings and I am just counterattacking it by using the same method. Also, the review covers both seasons.

This is another case of a show trying to mask its shallowness with a serious premise and once again hundreds of people are biting the lure. Busyness as usual. Let me start with some cold-hearted facts that many of you readers haven’t realized or don’t want to admit to, probably because you don’t like the idea of your escapism shows regarding reality to be so damn fake.
- Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (made by the same studio) is NOT an awesome serious show about otakus being accepted as normal people by the non-otakus. It is fan catering nonsense bordering incest and fascination over porn games.
- Yosuga no Sora is NOT an awesome serious show about true brother/sister love. It is fan catering nonsense which go as far as resetting the story every few episodes as means to have the lead male having sex with everybody. NOT just his sister.
- Bakuman is NOT an awesome show about how to become a great mangaka. It is fan catering nonsense about a guy who has everything going rosy in his life and even getting a girlfriend out of someone who he never spoke to in his all life because DESTINY DEMANDS IT. Plus, it is patting at Jump Shounen fans too obviously.

In the same way, Haganai (short for what this shitty show is called) is NOT a show about making friends. Seriously, where the hell do you see the educational aspect in this show? It is fan catering nonsense about some anti-social people gathering in a room and playing porn games all day long, while insulting one another with overused boob size jokes. Very social and helpful indeed. It is also about cosplaying to fit in as many fetishes as possible in the same character. Yeah, that’s how you make friends. Nobody ever thought of, I don’t know, trying to talk to other people in an honest way helps? Nope, five minutes and they all give up trying to not be viewed as a misinterpreted stereotype and head on to become a different stereotype. One defined by boob size, hair colour, and uniform fetishes. Oh yeah, the depth is oozing out of their ears.

Now before you go apeshit about realism in anime not being important, I can always turn this boomerang back at you by saying “it is about a realistic problem” at which point you can only defend by saying you like the PREMISE of the show but not its presentation. Yes, admitting it is superficial is the only way out. And even in the weird case you do not admit and claim it is a realistic and very educational anime because it is your opinion and thus you can do anything you like (duh) then I am afraid once again you can be proven wrong by simply mentioning two other older anime.
- Welcome to the NHK is a very bold take on the lives of NEETs and hikikomoris of Japan. It delves into their deepest and darkest problems and goes as far as depicting mass suicide, pyramid scams, and drug-like dependence on games, all of which are presented as NEGATIVE!
- Genshiken is about a group of otakus making a club as means to find common grounds in their hobby. It also occasionally shows the negative part of their hobbies by making them act deviant and wait in hours in comikets.

Well this anime doesn’t try to show the negative aspect of being an anti-social. I mean, that is the main conflict of the series, right? Being anti-social is bad and you need friends. In the contrary, it is presenting it as cool. The lead male is scary for having a scary face and that is all to it. The main blonde female is scary because she has big boobs. Others are gothic lolitas and loli nuns. Do you see any ugly people? Do you see anybody dressing in a bad kitsch way? Do you see pimples, acme, fatsos, cross-eyed, crooked-teethed amongst them? NO! That is not anti-social; it is totally standard ecchi comedy stereotypes thousands of otakus go crazy about. So by simple deduction THEY ARE NOT ANTI-SOCIAL AND HAVE NO CONTEXT! The story is a lame excuse for fan catering with the stupid excuse of dealing with anti-social people.

If you just look at Princess Jellyfish, a similar show that aired a few months before this one you will clearly see how the anti-social women in the story REALLY look bad and REALLY act scared of other people (especially hipsters). You were made to believe and care about them, something that this show lacks completely.

I find absolutely nothing worthy in terms of story and the core concept is hardly looked into. Furthermore, the actual plot was further ruined with filler material not present in the anime, which happens to be far less funny and interesting than the core story. The ending is also never to be seen and all you get is a revelation that feels completely retarded. Since when does letting your hair to grow long makes you a completely different and unrecognizable character? I will tell you how; only if they are so generically drawn that they are defined JUST BY THAT!

I find absolutely nothing worthy in terms of characters. They are all generic-looking, shallow cardboards, defined by their sexual deviance and body/uniform fetishes. Frankly speaking it is nothing but a poor attempt to make the otakus feel a connection to this problem before they keep watching the same shit as always. You know, in the same way all harems have pussy protagonists everybody hates but they are otherwise the archetype most of the target audience identifies with easier.

The production values are good on a superficial artwork level; there is moe and sexy uniforms all over the place. But the poor animation, as well as the complete lack of cinematics and artistic overtones makes it an overall standard presented anime with a forgettable OST. Seriously, I am looking at it and I see nothing but overused generic school grounds, overused generic character figures, and overused generic videogame parodies. Nothing to make it stand out from all the rest MOEMOEMOE FLOOD shows out there.

As for all of you who will just try to view the series as an average ecchi comedy, you will again be disappointed. There hardly is any nude or erotic moments and everything is about few lines of vulgar speech and focus on dress fetishes, like maids and swimsuits. NOTHING MORE! You can find ten times more in a standard ecchi comedy. This is just another poor excuse to get fascinated over buying otaku-related merchandise; which, trust me, will NOT help you make more friends. In fact, you may even lose the ones you already have.

As for the whole “making friends” concept that so many people thought it’s so amazing and original and spam 10s all over the place? It is forgotten in a few episodes and afterwards it is just excuses for cosplay and comedy. You can find more serious and elaborate mechanics in a typical shounen series, where the hero makes friends out of the people he beats up. It works better than playing porn games all day and bitching at your co-player being a “sperm bucket”.

Educational anime my butt; it’s retarded fan catering nonsense for people without any expectations.

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 5/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (typical)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)

SOUND SECTION: 4/10
Voice Acting 1/3 (retarded and lacks context)
Music Themes 1/4 (j-pop trash)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (semi-episodic and full of fillers)
Complexity 1/2 (besides the in-jokes; nothing)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist)

CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (generic)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (doesn’t exist)

VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (go watch NHK instead)
Memorability 1/4 (no reason to remember this mediocrity)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 0/3 (what story?)
Characters 1/4 (fetish stereotypes)

VERDICT: 3/10

3/10 story
5/10 animation
4/10 sound
3/10 characters
3/10 overall
Sev229's avatar By Sev229 on Dec 26, 2011

I found that the story and characters were refreshing and new. However, the thing that held the series back was the lack of any real progressing in the story other than that of Kodaka and his memories of his childhood friend. The anime has a really open-ended conclusion, and that is of course due to the fact that the light novel series is still in progress, but I felt that they could've done better with the anime adaption. I'm definitely going to read the light novels now. If they make a second season, I'll gladly watch it, but I hope that it will have a more stronger story development.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
9/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
ratchet573's avatar By ratchet573 on Dec 23, 2011

Take an outcast with strange hair and no parental supervision, give him a club full of anime girls (there’s a girl for every male viewer) and watch as hilarity ensues and nothing much is accomplished. Set it in a high school, though this time a Catholic school (why not?) and watch the drama unfold. The question ultimately becomes though: what drama?

Based on a series of light novels (duh) I Don’t Have Many Friends as we English speaking chaps would call it is an anime that goes nowhere though is entertaining. A girl named Yozora meets the transfer student Kodaka, they have no friends, they start a club to make friends, and a bunch of crazy chicks join and make things interesting. It’s not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination and the whole club thing is severely overused in my opinion, but it still comes across as somewhat fresh. Maybe it’s the whole Catholic school setting, I don’t know why I wasn’t groaning the whole time. The series follows the club through their pointless adventures throughout the city. Most of these adventures are genre conventions (pool, beach, festival) but I found the karaoke one to be something new and fresh, I’ve never seen a romance/comedy do that. The only karaoke house I’ve ever seen in any Japanese entertainment medium was the video game Yakuza 3. The episodes generally boil down to the characters not liking each other or being complete opposites and fighting or something along those lines. The first and last episode are about the only ones where there is a moment of peace between the characters. Then it’s back to the constant fighting.

There is a backstory between Kodaka and Yozora that is really generic and groan-inducing. Otherwise, that’s about it. There is really no story.

The animation is great. Colors are fantastic, characters look good, backgrounds are nice. Movement is smooth.

I found the music and voice acting to be good as well. The opening song was fun and while not the best, it was not the worst. The ending song was pretty good. Voice actors all play their roles well.

Wow, this is quite possibly the shortest review I’ve ever done. It helps if there were a story I could explain. Well, let’s make up lost space with the characters:

Kodaka is a rather boring character. He doesn’t do anything interesting and every time I see him I wonder why his parents left him and his sister living alone together. Hell, why does this seem to be a conventional thing? Why are parents leaving their children alone to fend for themselves while they go to America to do things? Kodaka’s sister is Kobato, the goth loli of the series. She’s cute and adorable and loud and loves her brother and is yet another basic character. Maria is a nun at the school and ten years old. She’s also a teacher. She also never shows any sort of intelligence so I wonder what the hell she is doing as a teacher at the school. Does she teach the “How to Dress as a Slutty Nun to Appeal to the Loli Crowd” class?

 Then we have Rika, the scientist chick who is obsessed with yaoi and sexual things. She wants to bang Kodaka really bad but ends up instead having to enjoy herself with the vibrations of a train because Kodaka doesn’t really like her. She is probably the funniest character of the show, only because of her sick and perverted ways.

Yukimura is a trap. A chick that thinks she’s a guy that dresses as a girl because Yozora tells her that it’s the manly thing to do. I’m sorry, but I am completely at a loss for words at how stupid that is.

Yozora is a bitch with a lighter side I guess. I don’t know how to describe her because she spends pretty much the whole series being an asshole to Sena and treating everyone as if she is Haruhi Suzumiya’s less likeable cousin. She then has this mood swing where she treats Kodaka nice and blushes around him. And then she goes back to smacking Sena in the face with a fly swatter.

And that’s where Sena comes in, or Meat as Yozora calls her. Yeah, she’s kind of a stuck up bitch but at the same time she’s probably the only likeable character because she doesn’t deserve what Yozora does to her. She’s trying to fit in but Yozora just kicks her in the face every time and treats her like meat. The two are always fighting and Yozora always comes up with these ridiculous things and it just makes her seem more and more like a bitch. Meanwhile, Sena is actually being outgoing and hanging out with Kodaka and acting like a nice girl. And the show wants me to like Yozora because she likes Kodaka. But I can’t because Sena, while a pervert and while a little stuck up, is actually the likeable one!

And let me iterate that the romance portion of this comedy/romance is nowhere to be found. I guess Kodaka and Yozora are supposed to like each other and it’s all subtle, but the opening makes it look like this guy is going to engage in a goddam orgy! I watch comedy/romances to laugh and to see a romance develop, not laugh and feel bad for one of the characters because the other is a total bitch who is supposed to be likeable! It’s like a cheap trick! And the thing is, Yozora and Kodaka do nothing together and only share one intimate moment throughout while he spends two episodes sharing moments with Sena.

But why do I like this anime when all it is is a tease? It’s not a romance. It’s a comedy. A funny comedy. And the little insinuations of a romance are not insinuating SenaxKodaka, but YozoraxKodaka which I don’t think should happen. Usually the romantic interest is someone you want the character to be with, someone likeable. Not Yozora.

All in all this is just another brick in the generic comedy/romance wall. And the writer of this can’t get any pudding until Kodaka gets together with Meat (whoa, I just made a Pink Floyd reference in an anime review. I feel like a boss).

/Fan Boy Rage

Overall, Boku wa Tomodachi is not a bad anime by any stretch of the imagination, but just doesn’t go anywhere and doesn’t do anything. The romance is lame, the characters are archetypical, the comedy is good but does resort to boob jokes sometimes (Jiggly breasts do not equal comedy gold) and other sexual jokes that are either funny or groan-worthy. The back story is generic as well.

What I’m getting at is: this is entertaining to a certain degree, but by no stretch of the imagination deep or emotionally involving. It’s just twelve episodes of okay.

It’s a 5/10

The goth loli, the big boob blond, and the chick who thinks she's a guy who is a chick in a maid outfit. This show will appeal to your every fetish.

4/10 story
8.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
5/10 overall
doratai's avatar By doratai on Dec 23, 2011

This is a fairly banal take on the recent anime formula - male protagonist surrounded by girls, stereotypical composition of female characters (the tsundere, the nerd, the dirty-minded one, the subservient one, severly underaged one etc.). The animation and music is consequently of an average quality - there's not much in the illustration to challenge an artist really, all the scenes (school, beach, pool etc.) are part of the stereotype.

The saving grace for this work is the idea behind it all - a club for making friends. Not only is this relevant to Japan, where bullying and marginalisation is a big problem, it sets the scene for a lot of tension in an otherwise happy go-lucky string of events. The sequences where Yozora and Sena slag each other off are funny, but occasionally sounds like a desperate plea to communicate. It also begs the question - what is a "friend" to these kids?

Conlusion: I liked the concept, but found the characters and make a little disappointing. But then again, animators have worn out this model...'cause it works, and people like it. I'm sure there will be many more to come.

8/10 story
5/10 animation
5/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall
nasreen10's avatar By nasreen10 on May 31, 2012

Story: The series starts off with an interesting premise. However, I think it falls flat while resorting to the typical high school scenes (festival, karoke, beach) without offering too much. I did think there was a decent amount of humour and I did laugh quite a bit. However, the ecchi was a bit much for me. I think they could have toned it down and tried to put more content in place. In addition, some aspects were poorly explained or weren't developed thoroughly. The conclusion was subpar if not just plain bad. It makes a decent laugh but I do think they are series out there that are both funny and full of legitmate content. Sad to say, that this didn't deliver.

Animation: Decent but not special. The character designs are nice but not memorable. They seem to blend with other designs and don't stick. After a while, I probably won't remember how they look. Also, again, a hefty amount of fanservice (i.e. too much) which I think cheapens the quality. For the most part, it was nice to look at. However, an amusing sidenote is the ambigious human forms at the title screen. They add unexpected humour.

Sound: Supbar for the most part in both soundtrack and opening/ending. The seiyuus were either ok or annoying (some were just grating). I don't remember much of it.

Characters: Similar to the plot. The characters started off interesting but a good majority of them just fell into a stereotype or become annoying. A few stayed likable but I didn't care for half them which is a bad sign. They have some development but not much (some even get worse). Obviously, there is a love aspect but that doesn't lead to anything or even develop too much. Sadly, it's pretty disappointing. However, their antics do get a good amount of laughs.

Overall: It's a good comedy with plently of laughs and it's not too long. However, there is a definte lack in content or anything to make this series really stand out. If you're looking for something quick, not too intense with plenty of humour and fanservice to fill the time, this is just up your alley. However, you want something with substance, I wouldn't recommend this one. Or you can try the manga.

5.5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
5/10 sound
5/10 characters
5.9/10 overall