Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 05

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The metahumor is strong with this one.

AIC Build is going down a familiar path with this series, having explored some of the same otaku parody territory with Oreimo.  There are risks involved in becoming heavily dependent on self-reference, but so far it’s pretty much a grand slam – in terms of big laughs, Haganai is up there with any series this season.  The secret is that the characters are all distinctive and cleverly created, each extreme enough to be funny in their own right but not so grotesque as to be unlikeable or even totally unrealistic.  As stereotypes often grow out of a kernel of truth stretched to ridiculous proportions, so do successful satirical characters in anime.

Of course, there are multiple other reasons why this is working so well, at least for now.  I appreciate that director Saito Hisashi knows his way around anime comedy, and the fact that the series acknowledges and even spotlights the self-reference is vital to its success.  There are examples littered all over this week’s episode, but most prominent for me were Sena’s comment upon seeing Kobato that “there’s no way your little sister can be this cute” – hilarious – and even better, putting Maria in an Index uniform and even having Kodaka ask where he’d seen the outfit before.  A loli nun is one thing – having her voiced by Iguchi another.  But by actually dressing her up as Index this week, they upped the meta level, lapped parody, passed “Go” and collected $200.  In its own way, it was pretty fearless.

As for the subject matter of the episode itself, the VR game brought into the group by Rika, this was mostly groan-worthy wordplay and otaku-mockery, but still quite funny.  “Largehard Corporation”?  There’s nothing wrong with a comedy that tries to be smart and dumb at the same time – Monty Python were the ultimate masters of the technique, much tougher than it looks – and the whole game sequence was a pretty good example of it.  Yozora double-crossing Sena was utterly predictable, but Sena getting her own back by tickling Yozora to death was a nice surprise.  It certainly contained more eel-fish joked than I’ve seen in an anime.

The character stuff was largely set aside this week, apart from the introduction of Kobato into the club environment.  The obvious battle royale between she and Maria looks like it will live up to expectations – you could see it coming as soon as Maria called Kodaka “Onii-chan”.  Some might say Kodaka has a thing for little sisters, but it seems more to me that he’s just too nice for his own good.  Still, the closest thing to a serious element in the ep was Kobato’s very real insecurity about losing sole custody of her brother’s attention (whether you’re ready to officially call that brocon yet is up to you).  Sticking her in the middle of a club full of girls with covert and overt designs on her brother (and I’m beginning to have very serious doubts about whether Yukimura just may be the simple trap “he” appears to be) seems fraught with potential angst.

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13 comments

  1. f

    That Kobato is so risky! Now, if she wasn't basically a child…:P

  2. S

    Now this comedy and parodies done well. It works on so many levels. Senna's comment that “there’s no way your little sister can be this cute” was probably a follow-up form last week's omake. I'm still rooting for our tsundere Yozora but Rika might prove to be a bigger threat than I initially thought. She's getting into everyone's good shoes and seems like a genuinely nice person with occasional nymphomaniac outburst.

  3. I was a little taken aback by that lingerie Kobato was wearing. Woof! A bit too mature for a girl her age – what kind of onii-chan would buy that for his imouto?

  4. F

    Its the garter that really sells it. It takes it to that next level. Best random garter in anime since Hoshizora.

    The OreImo reference was also top tier. Perfectly executed.

    I don't know if its intentional, but Sena's really started to come across as…well, being a really good girl who just has a terrible time interacting with people. While Yozora is…sorta a terrible person. But in a way thats funny, and doesn't make me hate her. I was happy to see Sena get some of her own back, but she's going to have to step it up a bit.

    But damn, that "blacksmith" outfit. Just damn.

  5. I actually *agree* with you, Fencedude! ;-P Yes, it's the garter that closes the deal. Yes, Sena is a nice girl who's socially awkward and Yozora is starting to look like a genuine tool. And yes, that blacksmith outfit…

  6. S

    I chuckled a bit when I saw the new background. It literally screams "Go, Team Taichi!".
    Come on, you guys gotta cut Yozora some slack. She had to dress up as a boy to go through childhood and she was so lonely that she had to make up an imaginary friend at one point. You can just see how much of an insecure person she is. Sure, she can be mean from time to time but that's probably an unconscious defense mechanism.

  7. K

    The character design's look an awful lot like the series last season about a kid who's cousin hid in a bedroll and thought she had been kidnapped by aliens. In fact one of the main girls in this series looks pretty close to Meme from that other series. Must be the same artists that made both series.

  8. F

    Yes, Buriki is the original artist for both Haganai and DenpaOnna.

  9. d

    @Karmafan: to add on Fencedue comment. Buriki does both the anime and LN designs.
    Most classic phrase ever- "their sacrifice is not in vain. they will live on within us as exp".
    They changed the game story a bit. feel just a slightly bit cheated.

  10. K

    I like this series. Its a hidden gem. Was expecting fate/zero, working, shana, guilty crown, etc… to do well but this series is consistantly pretty funny and came out of nowhere. The sister as Index had me LOLing big time.

  11. d

    @Karmafan: what do you mean out of nowhere? this has been ranking within top 3 for art and story for LN awards.

  12. K

    All the anime sites I visited were all talking about the ones I mentioned as the series everyone was looking forward to (forgot to mention Gundam Age and Last Exile sequel as well). This series came up as a surprise to me.

  13. I gotta agree with DV on this one – Haganai was one of the most anticipated series on all the sites I visit. The LNs are a monstrous seller.

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