Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 06

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I’ve tried mighty hard, but I just can’t bring myself to like Yozora.  When push comes to shove, no matter her excuses, she just isn’t a nice person.

Haganai is an odd little series in that it could be viewed in any number of different ways, both in terms of genre and tone.  For me that seems to change a lot from week to week, but after watching the karaoke episode, what it feels like is a series about a group of people who are fundamentally broken in some way.  Each of them has a personality quirk or a set of circumstances that lead to their being both social outcasts and unwilling loners.  It’s sort of sad to watch them fumble their way through social interactions even with each other, but with eps like this one you could also take heart in the fact that they’ve found each other at all.

Through that lens it’s hard not to be a little forgiving towards Yozora, who despite her verbal sophistication is as much a loner as the rest of them.  It seems apparent that she hasn’t had a friend since she and Kodaka hung out as grade schoolers, and she had to pose as a boy even to accomplish that.  Yet it’s the very reason that she is an outcast that makes it impossible for me to like her so far – she uses her powers for evil.  She drives people away with bitter sarcasm and cutting humor that’s a little too on-the-money.  She’s smart at picking up on people’s weaknesses, and she attacks them for sport.  It’s a form of self-loathing that makes her do that, and knowing that makes me understand her and feel a little sorry for her.  But it doesn’t make me like her – not yet, anyway.

Sena is much more endearing, at least for me, as indeed is the rest of the cast.  I treasure the rare moments when Sena actually manages to come out on top when sparring with Yozora, not least for that rarity.  She’s broken too, of course, as they all are, but she wears her desire for human contact much more guilelessly than Yozora.  As for Yukimura, my trap-dar is telling me more and more every week that the writers are using a trick deck here – that’s a girl, I’m almost sure of it.  And she’s obviously crushing on Kodaka, but then so are the rest of them, though Rika is the only one willing to be open about it.  Her suggestion of karaoke was meant as a date before Yozora hijacked it, but it did lead to some interesting group dynamics.

Nothing in the last couple of eps has been as hilarious as this series at its best, but there have been subtle pleasures in watching the interactions unfold.  Yozora and Sena prove once again that their stubbornness outweighs anything by buying separate rooms just to stick it to the karaoke salon, despite the fact that it belies the whole point of the excursion.  The interplay between Kodaka and Kobato is really starting to work for me, and I loved how he turned the girls’ arrival times into a story problem for her to solve – and her delight when she solved it.  No big laughs there, but it was very authentic, and it’s charming to see how he humors her weirdness and clinginess without being so obvious as to hurt her feelings.  And Rika, well, she’s just Rika.  She peppers the conversation with double entendres and practically give the microphone fellatio (how often do they sanitize those things?).  But Rika sometimes doesn’t even bother with a double entendre when a single entendre will do – “Did you come?”

Of course the irony of the episode is that while everyone was theorizing and blaming each other for why no one in the make friends club had made any friends, they had made friends – each other.  It’ll be interesting to see how that group dynamic shares focus with the obvious romantic subplot that’s forming.  Kodaka will be visiting Sena’s house as a result of the friendship of their fathers (I loved the way Sena used that as a rare trump card to upset Yozora) and he’ll presumably be finding out Yozora’s true identity soon enough – they certainly flagged it hard this week.  Yukimaura and Rika are into him too, and Kobato is a mostly non-romantic brocon, but I don’t think anyone besides Sena and Yozora is to be taken seriously in that battle.

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  1. F

    I don't think we're supposed to "like" Yozora. I mean, I don't "like" her myself! I like her character, I think she's entertaining and her continued domination of Sena is both amusing and sexy….but I wouldn't want to be friends with her, or even really be around her.

    And that's the point, no? She doesn't have any friends because she's the way she is. She's probably driven off everyone who's tried to approach her.

    On the other hand, I really like Sena. As you said, she's actually very open about her needs, and is even willing to grovel before Yozora for just a tiny bit of acceptance…but every so often she remembers she's got a backbone for something other than supporting her MEAT, and delivers a good stab into Yozora. What she did to Yozora at the end of the episode plenty makes up for the abuse she suffered before. She doesn't even know how effective it was.

    The others are just generally strange and wacky, but I am very impressed by just how adorable Kobato is. And Kodaka's definitely a great onii-chan for her.

  2. K

    I haven't seen anything about this series before now (manga, novels) so I'm just wondering….

    At the beginning of the episode he was friends with another dude and they promised to each tell a secret the next day but the black haired kid never showed up. Is it possible that Yozora is that black haired kid? A girl pretending to be a guy when they were little kids? Or Yozora is pretty flat chested now so maybe that friend is Yozora now pretending to be a girl?

    It just seems strange to me they would show the flashback to his being friends with a black haired dude and then no mention of him the rest of the episode?

  3. F

    Uhh…yes, Yozora is the kid from back then. They sorta gave it away right after the very first flashback in episode…2? 3?

  4. Z

    Not only was it shown earlier, but it was shown that Yozora is aware that it's was him back then. That is most likely why she came up with the idea of the club in the first place, to spend time with him.

    It's pretty obvious that the secret that the kid was going to tell was her gender and she most likely chickened out on doing so and that is why she didn't show up.

    It's not very balanced between Yozora and Sena as the later gets all the positive points except wits. Sena isn't stupid either, so it's not a negative side to her. So I would expect some major development of Yozora to balance things up. Maybe she will act totally differently after the past is cleared up?

  5. b

    They're reaallyy putting a lot of those childhood flashbacks here. Wow.
    Oh well, different media calls for different approach of the story.

    Not as good as the previous ones but it was okay.
    Next episode doesn't seem like the house visit already as it's way in the middle of Vol3. We're just around in the end of Vol2 with the karaoke and the invitation of Sena. But seeing the preview with all them bouncing meat makes me think it is. Sweet. Guess they'll combine it with the cellphone chapter.
    Though with this we're really burning out the material as they left out some of the club activities. Really wonder what's in store for the next episodes.
    Hurry up with the translations Baka-Tsuki as I might get spoiled by the anime 😛

  6. d

    @Enzo: Kobato is not a sis con. She is a bro con. Or more rightly, slightly clingy personality

  7. LOL, that was quite a Freudian slip there…

  8. S

    Yozora's definitely a bitch but I still like her, and Sena probably enjoys being verbally abuse too since she keeps coming back for more. It takes two to tango 😛
    OMG, Kodaka, just give it to Rika already! She's practically begging to be raped.

  9. M

    guh she's like haruhi!

  10. I

    >But Rika sometimes doesn’t even bother with a
    >double entendre when a single entendre will do –
    >“Did you come?”

    Troll subs are trolling. She actually said ゾクゾクきましたか? meaning "Did that give you a thrill?"

  11. A

    I understand that Yozora may not be the nicest girl out there, but I do appreciate the fact that she isn't incessantly violent towards Kodaka or anyone. So I'd much rather deal with her low-key bullying than pointlessly lashing out at someone over nothing.

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