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Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Review

February 20, 2012 By: Nopy Category: Anime

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (a.k.a. ‘Haganai’ or ‘I Don’t Have Many Friends’) is a short 12-episode school harem comedy anime series produced by AIC Build and that aired in the fall of 2011. A lot of people seem to brush off school harem anime as rubbish, and considering the premise of some of them, I’m not surprised. The description of the series on MAL makes it sound more interesting than your average school harem comedy:

Hasegawa Kodaka has transferred schools, and he’s having a hard time making friends. It doesn’t help that his blond hair tends to make people think he’s a delinquent. One day, he runs into his bad-tempered solitary classmate Yozora while she’s talking animatedly to her imaginary friend Tomo. Realizing that neither of them have any actual friends, they decide that the best way to alter this situation is to form a club and start recruiting.
That is how “Rinjinbu”, The Neighbours’ Club, was formed, a club specifically designed for people who don’t have very many friends. As other lonely classmates slowly join their little club, they’ll try to learn how to build friendships through cooking together, playing games, and other group activities. But will this group of relationship-challenged misfits really be able to get along?

Admittidly, it wasn’t the genre or story that got me interested in the series, it was the fact that the character designs were done by Buriki, the same artist that worked on Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. I started the first episode expecting everything except the animation/character designs to be utterly average. When I finished the first episode, I had a smile on my face and realized “hey, this anime is actually funny”. Yozora’s excuse for talking to herself (having an air friend) instantly made her my favourite character (until Kobato came along). Her decision to not let Sena, the school’s hottest and most popular girl, join the Neighbours’ Club was also ironically funny because the point of the club was to make friends.

I should point out that the humour in Haganai isn’t like the typical slice-of-life or slap-stick comedy you find in most anime. There are no explosions or girls pulling random objects out of thin air; it is based on being able to relate to certain characters’ motivations and logic. Each of the main (female) characters are brutally honest and frank when they speak out. This means that nearly all of the funny parts come from conversations, but the series doesn’t suffer from “talking heads” syndrome, which is a bonus.

One of the worries with comedic anime like Haganai is that the humour would eventually wear off when they start re-using old jokes. There were a few recycled moments, but for the most part, each episode was fresh with new content. When video games started to get old, they moved on to other things like karaoke, figuring out cellphones, and going to the beach.

While comedy is the driving force behind this series, there is also a touch of some drama, mainly a love triangle between Kodaka, Yozora, and Sena. Little headway was made in that area by the end of the series, which really begs the question of why they decided to include it anyways. I’m sure the light novel that Haganai is based on gets further into it, but looking at the anime as a stand-alone product, it felt more like a road to nowhere.

The character designs were attractive, as I had expected from Buriki, and the animation quality was great for the first episode. Sadly, as the series progressed, the animation quality dropped, reaching an unbearable low in episode 8. The quality improved somewhat after that, but was still nowhere as visually appealing as the first episode. I was more upset than usual because one of the main reasons that I was watching the series was because I liked the character designs. It was definitely not something I was expecting from the studio that produced Ore no Imouto.

Despite its shortcomings, I found Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai to be extremely entertaining. Whether you have friends or not, I think everyone reading this post can relate to and/or laugh at the things that the characters say and do. I therefore highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys comedy anime.

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24 Comments to “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Review”

  1. I’m happy that I decided to try watching this series despite my lack of interest in school harems. It was entertaining and I like that most of their comedy comes from their conversations and not some silly acts. Enjoyable series!
    Hoshiko recently posted..Nendoroid Aisaka Taiga

  2. It was really funny. That perv girl was hilarious. I remember covering the series for the first time. I didn’t enjoy it very much. But after rewatching some episodes I learned to appreciate it more.

    No wonder the animation looked familiar :D
    Cely_belly recently posted..Bleach Ch. 481

  3. I liked the crazy bunch a lot ^-^
    Even though I would have liked to see them as better friends in the end, the character interactions were the part I’ve enjoyed the most.

    Overall the anime did more than just deliver comedy and pretty girls, it also had reflective and heartwarming moments.
    Wieselhead recently posted..Kaminagi Ryoko ~Resurrection~ by ALTER

    • I would’ve liked to see them grow closer as well. While the Yozora-Sena and Kobato-Maria relationships seemed pretty strong, the other members didn’t look like they were very close to each other.

  4. CaptainCooter says:

    Excellent review. I’ve seen a number of people who would just assume refer to Haganai as a luv-dramedy, rather than have to admit to themselves or anyone else that they are, in fact, enjoying a harem. Apparently their conscious won’t accept it.

  5. Sena! Sena! Sena! Niku! Niku! Niku!

    IS there really anything else to be caring for in this series? :P
    feal87 recently posted..Ano Natsu de Matteru – Kanna in nekomimi mode! Nyan Nyan!

  6. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the preview episode they released. I kinda didn’t like it then. But when I saw the show proper I really started to like it. The no friends premise is something I can sorta relate to, so watching their awkward attempts to make friends was really amusing to me.

    I’m surprised you liked Yozora so much, most people I’ve talked to really didn’t like her haha. I can sorta see why though, she’s much too forceful in her rebuttals, not that Meat didn’t deserve it.
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  7. It’s a fun show indeed, and it’s a kind of fun with a concept, a concept of having little to no friends. It’s fun and hilarious but there is also meaning in it. It is indeed a good show^^
    Kai recently posted..Kai’s Best Anime of All Time

  8. I’m happy to see that many people ended up liking Haganai besides me ^^ The character designs were indeed quite good, as that was one of the stronger points to Denpa, but like you I think I was pretty impressed early on by the comedy. I think the love triangle is leaving it open for a sequel in the case that it gets the chance to have one.
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    • It would be nice if Haganai had a sequel, but considering how most anime like this go, it probably won’t. If it does get one however, I do hope that they develop the love triangle more.

  9. I’m actually thinking about picking this up, since the character designs seem very nice. And it sounds like it has pretty good humor, so yea, that’s definitely a big plus. So while I’m not generally a big fan of its genre, I might be able to let that slide.

    • I think there are some parts you might enjoy, perhaps Sena’s constant oogling over Kobato, since you seem to be a big fan of yuri.

  10. I watched Haganai as part of my “Christmas catch-up”, streaming via the FUNimation youtube channel (no region blocking, yay \o/). I wasn’t expecting much honestly, but after watching the first episode I was hooked. I blasted through all 12 episodes in 3 days after that and very much enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the series for it’s characters and how relatable their actions/personalities were.

    My only complaint is the lack of resolution at the end – pretty much the case with the majority of anime. They pretty much brought up an issue the 2nd last episode and resolved it in the last, which felt a little cheap. Saying that, if a second season was to arise I’d be very happy.

    My favourite character has to be Yozora, although it’s a really tough choice. Kotato was so cute, and I felt sorry for Sena a lot who was equally cute.

    • Wow, sounds like you really liked the series. I’m not fond of the ending either, it felt so empty because the problem was introduced so close to the end, leaving no room to build up the drama/suspense.

      I’m glad to see there’s another Yozora fan :)

  11. Many doesn’t get Yozora as a character, who makes this show, or for that matter makes Sena. There are a couple simple fetish characters, like Maria/Kobato, and the gag ones like Yukimura/Rika. Sena is cute but waves the standard moe flag too much, Yozora is awkward and full of contradictions, yet fragile and tragic at the same time. She’s like the anti-moe, the type that doesn’t make you go awww but sigh and regard with endless pity and even protectiveness. Maybe because of all the flaws she strangely enough reminds me more of real girls as opposed to 2D fan-pandering types.

    • Yozora really is what makes the show so enjoyable. If it were just Kodoka and Sena, the series would just be the two of them getting lovey dovey and there wouldn’t be much humour.

  12. Nice review!

    This series was surprising to me in quite a few ways. Although I like comedies and whatnot, I initially didn’t expect much from it and well, turns out to be very enjoyable.
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