Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

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

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Reviews

roriconfan's avatar By 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
ratchet573's avatar By on Mar 16, 2015

Story

Haganai is based on a light novel, which, as fans of my reviews will know, means it’s most likely in a range between god-awful and above-average. I’ve gone on countless rants about light novels in the past so I’ll refrain from doing so and instead destroy the story (for what it is).

Kodaka is the new kid in school and scares everyone because he looks like a punk (because it worked in Toradora, so why not rehash the idea here?). He has the most ridiculous off-color hair I’ve ever seen as well as a passion for high-water pants and boat shoes. As he prepares to leave school after a rough first day he encounters a smoking hot girl talking to herself and is suddenly forced into joining a club he accidentally helped create (because it worked in Haruhi Suzumiya, so why not rehash the idea here?). The club, founded so Kodaka and his new friend, Yozora, can meet more friends and try to gain a social life, is quickly peopled with strange girls such as the rich Sena, the sexually obsessed Rika, and the girly-boy Yukimura. In true harem fashion Haganai quickly shifts gears a few episodes in, going from the construction of a club and finding of friends to doing generic harem things.

And of course, as with all harems, every girl (and boy) in the harem is madly in love with the main character to some extent. This means lots of feuds. The two main girls, Yozora and Sena, are constantly bickering while Kodaka’s little sister, Kobato, fights with the ten year old teacher/nun (that makes sense) Maria over who is Kodaka’s true little sister.

Aside from that, there’s no plot to speak of. After all the characters have come together each episode is a bunch of loosely connected events, most of which are boring outings to the beach, the pool (twice!), a festival, and karaoke. There’s also a bullshit PTSD storyline about Yozora actually being Kodaka’s best friend from when he was a kid. She remembers it and knows him; he’s forgotten and doesn’t recognize her. It’s groan-worthy for sure.

All this culminates in what I think is the single most underwhelming final episode I’ve seen in a long time. Rather than an emotional revelation or any sort of progression or closure with the cock-tease romance, we get a bunch of clips of shit we’ve already seen followed by enough open-endedness to ensure future seasons and OVA’s.

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Characters

I can summarize the cast as being lackluster, but that’d be unfair to the few mildly entertaining girls.

Our main character Kodaka is the typical harem guy. He’s completely boring aside from one thing that sets him apart from the rest. And he, of course, also has some past event that ties him inexplicably to one of the girls. Project yourself into his boat shoes like the writers wanted and you’re doing it right.

Yozora appears to be the main love interest though I see the series going another way (which would be especially nice considering the predictability of these type of shows). She may be one of my most despised anime characters of all time. Kodaka sums her up pretty well in a later episode when he says she’s “Gorgeous but evil”. She’s very pretty, yes, but a total bitch. She has pictures she can use to blackmail characters; she forces Maria, the loli, to run around naked; she treats Sena like complete crap out of spite but also enjoyment. She’s a sick human being. You don’t have friends because you’re a cunt!

I’ll defend Sena because I don’t think she’s that bad, especially compared to Yozora. She has some affluenza issues and is a lolicon, but is an otherwise pleasant character to be around in the quieter, less comedic moments of Haganai. She’s given a lot more time to gel with Kodaka which endears her more to me.  You also see her get type-cast as the tits when she’s really smart and just…autistic for lack of a better term, which further makes her more than just the piece of meat Yozora wants everyone to believe. Sena is best girl.

Kobato and Maria are the lolis. What disturbs me most about the DVD version of the series is that they are sexualized a lot. The first naked pair of tits we see are Kobato’s. We also see Maria’s. While Sena’s are shown twice I don’t take as much offense to that as I do the unneeded explicit sexualization of the ten year olds. It’s unneeded and weird considering other characters, especially Rika, get censored during more racy moments. Aside from that these two bicker as much as Sena and Yozora and neither are developed enough (not in that way) to be worthwhile.

Rounding the club out are Rika and Yukimura. Rika is obsessed with sex, talks in the third person, but is also an extremely successful scientist. She brings the funniest moments to the series despite her only character trait being “She’s sexually repressed and needs to get laid”. Yukimura is the trap/feminine-boy. This character’s necessary only to lure in a certain crowd and the strange blushiness and near-boners of Kodaka around him (I.E the swimming episode) lead to some awkwardness that is otherwise unneeded.

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Animation

Fantastic animation is Haganai’s strongest point. The characters, for the most part, look unique enough to be memorable in that regard and every scene has beautiful lighting and color. There are some derp moments when characters are in the background and their irises are in strange spots but, for the most part, I have no complaints. Even four years later, it’s still high-quality stuff.

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Sound

While the opening isn’t exciting, it is catchy. The ending song is much better, though still nothing worth putting on an iPod. Music during the show is what you’ve come to expect of this type of anime with happy music punctuating silly scenes and bringing an air of joviality that isn’t fully utilized. I watched the English dub (sacrilege to most, but dubs sometimes pull me into an anime more than subs) and found it to be watchable. Kodaka’s voice actor is as boring as the character himself with a phoned in, lazy performance. Sena and Yozora, for their part, do a pretty decent job. The loli’s are as annoying as you’d expect and other performances are serviceable. Some of the reworking of the Japanese script is where the most cringing comes, especially Sena telling Yozora to “lay off the Hateorade”. I’m shivering just typing that.

haganai-3

Entertainment

Despite all complaints, Haganai is a watchable and fairly entertaining show. It’s predictable and some of the comedy is flat merely because it’s nothing but girls calling each other lame names (meat, cow, floppy). I’ve been more entertained by other harem series, but Haganai is one of the better of the mediocre ones. It made me laugh (a feat some can’t even manage) and it did, despite the characters being relatively two-dimensional and generic, engage me in the pseudo-romance.

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Overall

Haganai is a lot of cut-and-paste from other shows of the same genre, but it’s also got a grasp on keeping character interactions interesting and funny, even if some of it comes across as forced and annoying at times. The exclusion of a plot makes it hard for me to recommend based on any sort of writing merits, but the animation sure is pretty and the show comes across as harmless (except for the pointless nude scenes). It’s nothing new, but it’s good for what it is. Fans of harems and ecchi will enjoy this; people who aren’t into those genres will want to steer clear. My original review gave Haganai two and a half stars, but I think it’s more deserving of three, above average but not quite good.

3/10 story
8.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
4/10 characters
6/10 overall
jv4ever's avatar By on Jun 22, 2015

Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKhH1ODzgKE

This review will be extremely short. I’m not even going to bother to split this up into positive and negative points because there isn’t a lot to tell about this anime. It was really average in everything. It had average humor, the story was average, the characters were average. The fact that I don’t remember a lot from the anime means that there weren’t a lot of factors that piked my interest. Honestly I already forgot most of it.

One thing however that I’m going to address is the fact that I really want a 3rd season for this anime. Now you may ask why? It’s an average anime and you want a 3rd season? Yes because when we get to the end of the second season things finally start to get interesting. Finally there was something happening in this anime, it’s something that you feel coming during the anime and when it finally happens the season ends on a massive cliffhanger and that’s the reason why I want a 3rd season of BwTgS. I want to see how the story evolves from there.

Conclusion

So as a conclusion an average anime deserves an average score, that’s why I’m going to rate BwTgS at 3 stars.

I know that the chance is slim that there will be a 3rd season but there are other anime’s who had to wait 4 or 5 years until the next season was released so I still have hope.

7/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall
AngelBeatsYui's avatar By on Dec 24, 2014

Warning this review probably will contain spoilers-


So here is my review for 'Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai', to sum it up, it is a comedy, lighthearted anime about a bunch of people who have trouble making friends (hence the title). This is because of certain aspects such as personalities, hobbies and appearence. The story is technically just them trying to make friends with this club they create. The story was quite random but enjoyable if I am being honest, it did make be laugh even though I managed to find a version which was uncensored (not amused).  The animation was quite good except they had fanservice scenes that really didn't need to be there. It could be a better show if there weren't all them scenes such as the younger sister running out the bath room in one of the later episodes.

The music was cute but didn't really do anything for the show. I watched this show dubbed but actually I quite enjoyed the dub. The voices seemed to match the characters quite well (that is all I can really say on the matter). The characters well they may seem all random but really they all blended pretty well so we got some sort of a story.

Overall this isn't the best series but it isn't the worst. If you are looking for a light series which really hasn't got much of story (a bit but not much).

-AngelBeatsYui-

6/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
RamyMoo's avatar By on May 9, 2015

After watching an anime like this it is quite hard to give a honest, unbiased review. I have to say I loved it. This anime is not a revolutionary "OMG SO GOOD WOW" anime. It is an anime quite similar to My Teenage Romantic Comedy Snafu if you have watched it. It's the type of anime that is heart warming at times and "ughh..." at others. I loved this anime because I could truly relate to its characters. They were really well made in my opinion with depth in each character. Realism, also a major factor in this anime. No cliche in the harem :D Story is above par and quiet interesting. I think you will find that this anime is a good watch.

8.5/10 story
9.5/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall