Friday, December 23, 2011

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

It just wrapped up, and since it draws a bit of a parallel to my own past life, I felt like I should post about it.  Despite not actually wanting to post on the subject.

Two side notes:
  1. The anime's name is abbreviated to Haganai.  This is because of how it's written in Japanese.
  2. Now that I've re-read it, it's actually a spoiler-free summary of the series with some extra crap about me talking about how much my high school life sucked.
A few seasons ago, when Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai was airing, a few friends of mine made blog posts about what it was like growing up as an anime fan in a family that generally hated upon the medium for no reason.  I can draw a similar parallel to Haganai.

I never really had a lot of friends.  I was that "unpopular one", the one nobody would ever talk to and everyone would find the most trivial of reasons to make fun of.  The fact that I have a hard-to-pronounce-correctly last name didn't help.

My mom always assured me that once I went to college I'd make real friends who were actually mature and willing to look beneath the surface and see the person within and that sort of stuff.  She was right, too.  You definitely can make friendships that last in the years before college, but it's the years after graduating high school that you begin to discover who your real friends are.  Except for me it took a bit longer because I didn't really find where I fit in until a few years after I joined CAINE, essentially once all of the old members had graduated and I was essentially among the group of people that had been there the longest.

So basically I was part of the group that hung out with each other because nobody else would hang out with us.  We got along fairly well despite our differences, but there were still the trivial reasons to make fun of people.  We even became hypocrites in senior year when we excluded someone from our group.  To be fair, she was a bitch to everyone.  I'm trying not to use names here but the wording is going to get awkward, so bear with me.  Basically she was the girlfriend of a member of the group.  I had known her from a long, looooooooooooooooooooooong (longcat long) time ago (we're talking preschool here) and didn't like her then.

Anyway, I'm drifting off topic.  Haganai reminded me of my less-than-pleasurable high school experience.  But even then, it takes a few things to extremes, because that's what anime does.

The main character, Kodaka, is pretty much an idiot.  He transfers into this high school and is running late on his first day.  Yet he doesn't bother to stop and catch his breath before walking into the damn classroom, which results in a scene filled with misunderstanding where he's branded as a delinquent.

He and Yozora, a girl in his class whom he discovers has an "air friend" basically start a club, which is this anime's version of "the group of people that hang out with each other because nobody else will hang out with us".  Along the way they pick up a few extra members with the aid of a cryptically worded flyer containing a hidden message.
  • There's Sena, the daughter of the headmaster, who is the generic "oversized breasts" character, who generally has guys doing whatever she wants but doesn't really like that life and wants real friends.  She's also massively into dating games.
  • There's my personal favorite, Rika, the genius child scientist who isn't required to attend classes and is only at the school to make the school look good, who continually tries to get into Kodaka's pants for "research".
  • Then there's Yukimura, the guy who's always picked on and is rather effeminate, who ends up dressed in female clothing for the rest of the series.  Including the beach episodes.
  • Finally there's Maria, the child nun who always likes to call things she doesn't like "poopy", and Kodaka's little sister Kobato, who watches some anime about a vampire and is always cosplaying and acting as the main character, to the point of wearing a colored contact lens to gain heterochromia.  The two are always at odds with each other because of the whole "church vs. vampires" thing.
Obviously, those sorts of extremes gathered all in one place don't exist in real life.  Which brings me to my next point.  The series seems similar in story structure to Haruhi, somewhat.  Think about it.  Main male meets main female, they start a club.  They recruit a select few more members, including one who is essentially in cosplay for the rest of the series.  I even think I recognize one of the music cues.

Remember how I said Kodaka is "pretty much an idiot"?  Well, yes.  He continually has Rika trying to get in his pants, and continually denies her.  Come on, you have a girl who's only a year younger than you basically throwing herself at you (sometimes literally) and you turn her down every time?  Seriously?

Regardless of the intelligence of the main cast, it's still a decent series overall.  I've kind of sidestepped around a subplot that is actually a major part of the latter portion of the series, but whatever.

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