First things first if you find yourself wanting to watch this show, be very careful of where you watch. I don’t just mean your physical location, though that’s certainly a factor, but the source you’re watching from as well. I found out you might get more than you bargained for if you accidentally stumbled upon the Blu-ray version… Anywho the show is available on Hulu, so if you’re willing to put up with some ads or have an account all should be good. Also here is a link to my “First Impressions” for the show from a few days ago. I feel like it might be helpful before going into this, but it’s really up to you. Now for the review.
Major spoilers ahead!
Kodaka Hasegawa, a transfer student to St. Chronica’s Academy, has found it difficult to make friends because of his mix of brown-blond hair (inherited from his deceased English mother) and fierce-looking eyes that make him look like a delinquent. One day, he accidentally comes across the equally solitary and very abrasive Yozora Mikazuki as she converses with “Tomo”, her “air” (imaginary) friend. Realizing that they lack social lives and skills, they decide that the best way to improve their situation is to form the Neighbors Club (隣人部Rinjin-bu), “an after-school club for people with no friends like themselves”. Other students with various backgrounds join the club: Sena Kashiwazaki is an attractive but arrogant idol who has no female friends and treats the boys as her slaves; Yukimura Kusunoki is an effeminate underclassman who idolizes Kodaka and strives to become manly like him; Rika Shiguma is a genius scientist with a twisted and perverted mind; Kobato Hasegawa is Kodaka’s little sister who generally cosplays as a vampire; and Maria Takayama, a ten-year-old nun who serves as the club’s advisor. The story follows their adventures as the club tries out various school and outside social activities as practice for making friends. – Wikipedia
Oh and one more thing I wanted to point out before we go any further. I’ve only watched the subs of the anime, but I hear the dub is actually really entertaining. I can only imagine with some of the lewd things they force Sena to read aloud!
Now then, as the Wikipedia summary points out above, our harem’s protagonist, Kodaka, is finding it hard to make friends because of this mixed hair and RBF (resting bitch face). I actually found the concept kind of funny because I’ve heard of blond hair being a sign of delinquency for guys in Japan, but I’ve never seen RBF applied to a guy before. To be honest, it wasn’t that believable as plenty of anime guys have naturally meaner faces than Kodaka, but the show does a decent job of exhibiting it when needed.
Speaking of Kodaka, this show introduced a concept in the harem genre I’d never really considered before. Rika actually considers at one point that Kodaka is purposefully acting dense, but is actually fully aware of how everyone feels about him. What’s interesting about this show compared to all the others is that we find out she’s actually right for the most part. The clichéd, “What was that? I didn’t hear you.”, moments are all just his way of keeping things normal and preventing romantic plot developments. I thought this was a brilliant introduction, and it actually makes me wonder if all guys in the genre do the same thing! (Relax I know they’re not real ^_^)
This show also did a pretty good job with the characters in my opinion. Though we don’t see a ton of development, the pacing was much faster than your traditional harem/slice of life. One of the seemingly most important plot points, Kodaka and Yozora’s childhood friendship, gets fleshed out in the first season! The viewer isn’t stuck knowing this information for seasons on end waiting for the protagonist to catch up? What a breath of fresh air! I know we don’t find out until the end of the first season in a two season show, but still it’s a nice change of pace.
By the time we get to the second season, I was actually pretty surprised that I felt conflicted about the romance. Until the final episode of the first season I was kinda hoping for something between Kodaka and Sena. But in the second season Sena doesn’t show much character and Yozora really seems like the right choice. However when it’s revealed that Kodaka’s and Sena’s fathers had arraigned for their engagement when they were young, it really seems like the show was pushing for them. Of course we’re left with a crazy cliffhanger after Sena confesses and we never get a straight answer from Kodaka.
I guess that brings us to a part of the review I’m not thrilled about. It doesn’t look like this series is getting another season, but it desperately needs one. There are numerous, interesting plot points that go completely unresolved. Does the gang go after Yozora after she disappears? Why is Sena’s father so obsessed with Kodaka? Just what the fuck is a yaoi hole?!?… and do I really want to know? It’s looking like I may actually have to read the light novels to get the answers I want.
Did that review sound similar to anything else I’ve reviewed recently? Because it sure as hell reminded me A LOT of Nisekoi while I was watching it. I still don’t know how I feel about that, but so many of the characters seemed interchangeable! Kodaka = Raku plain and simple, Yozora has characteristics of Chitoge and maybe Ruri. Sena has characteristics of Chitoge and Tsugumi, Yukimura = Tsugumi, Rika has characteristics of Tachibana but smarter, and Kobato and Maria are basically like a more forward Haru — though far less mature and honestly the weakest parts of the how. The three main character just happen to have met and been friends/engaged from a young age? Maybe I’m reading between the lines too much, and sure these traits are pretty common, but I just couldn’t get the thought out of my head!
Oh and we also find out that the effeminate Yukimura is a girl after all! Go figure.
Overall this show went way beyond my expectations when I found out what it was. The characters were funny, I was always surprised by the amount of cursing, it was nice to see them all become friends, and I fell in love with the second OP! It was a truly enjoyable watch that flew by before I knew it.
Review Lightning Round!
Quite enjoyable, but too many loose ends. Interesting, but underdeveloped characters.
Though nothing special in terms of animation, there were cut-scenes in the show with live action girls with bits of the animation playing on their shirts. I thought this was an interesting element I haven’t seen in other shows.
Dialogue was hilarious, and I hear the English dub is even funnier. I know sound usually has more to do with the actual audio, but I think that was done well too* — tries not to remember the “mooooo” every time Sena’s breasts took up the screen.
Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai receives 4/5
I’m trying not to fault the show too much for it’s lack of seasons, but if I were to take that fully into account this would probably have been a 2.5/5. I know it’s usually not the creator’s fault though, and I did really enjoy what they did manage to put out. If you’re a fan of the harem/slice of life genre you should definitely give it a shot!
Now for today’s ending question. Who would you rather Kodaka end up with, Yozora or Sena? Maybe Rika?
Oh hey gifs!