Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 07

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My favorite moment of this generally unspectacular episode of Haganai was the last one, by far.  But I know this much – if there’s a shipping end to this series, I’m pretty sure it’s going to leave me pretty pissed off.

OK, first of all – I almost feel as if there were some massive inside joke that I’m missing here.  Is it really that common for teenagers in Japan to be woefully ignorant about cell phones?  I know it was supposed to be funny and all (and it was, sort of) but it hardly seems realistic unless there’s something from the novels I don’t know.  Not knowing how to use infrared, I could see that I guess.  But Yozora had never sent a mail, Kodaka didn’t know he could use it except to call home, and Sena – a rich ojou-sama – didn’t have one at all?  Very, very odd, even for a bunch of social outcasts.  But it did play up the degree to which those three really are outcasts, that’s for sure.  Kodaka was so excited at doubling his contact list that he even slept with his phone.

To be honest, I really didn’t laugh much for the first two-thirds or so of the episode.  Interaction between Kodaka and Kobato was pretty minimal, and most of the screen time was given over to the double-reverse trap, Yukimura.  Those conversations were certainly odd, I’ll grant you, though I’m not sure I’d say there were funny in a good sense.  What an odd creature Yukimura is, and sooner or later Kodaka is going to have to put a stop to the charade that Yozora started.  We did get a pretty funny bit where Rika went all yuri on Yozora, sending Kodaka a bunch of dubious emails (including one of her elbow masquerading as Yozora’s butt) but that fell in the final part of the episode, which was where most of the action happened.  I’d really love to see more of Rika – she’s a character who consistently makes me laugh.

But as it always seems to, Haganai this week boiled down to the war between Yozora and Sena.   Except I can’t really call it a war, because it’s mostly just Yozora being a sadistic bitch to Sena simply because she can.  Sure, Sena acts like a snob in a transparently harmless way, and it would be nice if she didn’t let Yozora’s cruelty bother her.  But just because you can kick a dog doesn’t mean you should, if you’re a decent human being.  When Sena burst into the clubroom overflowing with excitement at having gotten a cell phone at last (Kodaka’s exact model, naturally) and wanted to exchange addresses with Yozora, I thought Yozora’s reaction was especially petty and vile, even for her.  Not just to turn the request into a torture session, but then to deliberately try and sabotage Sena’s phone?  Sure, it was technically harmless – but what if Kodaka hadn’t been around to fix it?  Sena might not be the most savvy soul in the room, but she didn’t deserve to have her exhilaration pissed on that way.

What gives me hope is that Yozora got exactly what she deserved – her plan backfired.  And it was pure pleasure to see her dismay when it ended up making Sena a sympathetic figure to Kodaka, who fixed her phone.  Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope that Yozora could see that her bullying and pettiness is the very thing that’s driving everyone away from her, including Kodaka – but alas, more likely she’s simply going to stew about what happened, feel sorry for herself and plot revenge.  That’s why I’m hoping for a “forever alone” end, because if there is a shipping conclusion it’s a lock that Kodaka ends up with Yozora, not Sena.  I’m not married to the notion that Kodaka ends up with Sena, but it will seriously burn my bacon if he ends up with Yozora after the way she’s behaved. 

One more thought – what happened to the Kodaka visit to Sena’s father?  Wasn’t that supposed to happen this week?  It seems to have been totally forgotten about.

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  1. K

    I like this series. I'm guessing he won't end up with anyone but if he does I hope its Sena. Yozora is just mean like a junkyard dog. Week after week we see her crush Sena and its actually painful to watch.

    So I hope he does not end up with her or she does a complete 180 and turns her life around.

  2. S

    Agree that this episode wasn't as funny. We need more Rika and Kobato. Yukimura and Maria just doesn't carry the show that well.

  3. A

    I find your analysis to be spot on re: Yozora versus Sena, but I'm pretty sure we're in the minority here. I think Yozora regularly beats Sena in character polls in Japan, and the support on /a/ is overwhelmingly pro-Yozora. It doesn't make much sense to me, but then again, I guess it's not supposed to: the character (and the show in general) panders to a specific kind of audience.

    Like you, I'm not even necessarily pro-Sena, but the emotional thrashing Yozora gives her every episode just makes her a more sympathetic figure to me. I'd give the show/novel props if I thought that was intentional, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

  4. Really, Anon? The polls I've seen seem to favor Sena, and I'd thought I was seeing a lot of anti-Yozora stuff on /a/.

    Karma, would it really be believable if Yozora did a complete 180 at this point?

    Seishun, I love a good trap/[double]reverse trap as much as anybody, but so far, Yukimura is no Mako-chan, Jun or Hideyoshi in the entertainment department. They introduced him/her and they haven't really done anything with the premise since – and watching her/him serve tea to everyone really isn't all that exciting or hilarious.

  5. b

    Guess I'm in the minority coz I still like Yozora despite her sharp tongue. Maybe it's coz I read the material or maybe I'm not used to disliking girls or maybe I'm weak to girls like that.
    Oh shi- I'm awakening my M tendencies. Nuuuu!

    And I kinda envy them with their enthusiasm with their cellphones. Mine hardly receives texts anymore and call are pretty much nonexistent. Oh well.

    And Kodaka didnt really remember the visit until Sena calls him later on. This cellphone episode is necessary for that. The studio kept messing the order of events before that I also expected the visit to be in this episode, squeezing it wit this one. Guess we'll get the visit in two weeks since next week is the pool episode.
    inb4 not another pool episode.

  6. A

    >> OK, first of all – I almost feel as if there were some massive inside joke that I’m missing here. Is it really that common for teenagers in Japan to be woefully ignorant about cell phones? … and Sena – a rich ojou-sama – didn’t have one at all?

    It felt like a play off of a few things:

    1) The poor use of cell phones in anime in general; it's not entirely uncommon to feel that the teenagers of the show are using things the animators remember from the 90's, rather than actually relatively modern devices.
    2) The old man/woman who are woefully ignorant of current technology stereotype, despite Yozora and Kodaka being only a year older than the other two who were entirely familiar with them. IE: the massive rate of the young taking up technology that leaves those even a few years older a bit puzzled. Likely a mirror of Japan's notoriously quick turnover in fashions and trends in general.
    3) Sena's general insecurity rearing its head again. She can't possibly admit to wanting the same things the 'common' folk around her like (cf: karaoke), so talks herself into a corner she can't get out of. At least with the people in the club she has a small bit of wiggle room to change her mind, but she's far too image-conscious outside that room to allow for that. (One might argue that her initial attempt at entry into the club invalidates that as a general assumption, but one might also bring to mind her being unable to let anything go once started, as evidenced in the pool episide.)

    By the way, did you see Sena's phone at home? Yeesh, talk about a relic. Er.. "antique". Yeah.

    Re: Yozora — I'm in pretty much complete agreement. While I feel that Sena does actually need -some- of the hounding she gets from Yozora, Yozora takes things to such an extreme that.. well, I can only compare it to something like Tomo in Azumanga Daioh taking the keys to the cabin and just throwing them into the woods. There's absolutely no sense of restraint, any understanding of consequence, or any empathy for anyone around her. Except worse since Tomo never really had any ill intent, while Yozora practically oozes it.

    She's sort of become the "love to hate" character. She's so horrible that it creates its own emotional investment, even if all you can think of are all the nasty things you wish would happen to her, or enjoying when her plans backfire. And at least sometimes she's "not too bad".

  7. A

    without Yozora in the club, Sena would be the one that everybody going to hate. we can see how full of herself for be better than anyone else.

  8. I don't think Sena would be hated, TBH. She's huffy, but unlike with Yozora hers is very obviously a front – she desperately wants to be loved. I don't think the others would take that eminence front too seriously.

    I more or less get the joke(s) they were going for with the cell phone bit, but jokes are funnier when they're grounded in a little truth. I'm just wondering if there's any actual basis to believe teens in Japan would be that out of the loop.

  9. F

    Sena's a good girl, and mostly seems to just suffer from a lack of real attention and love.

    As for Yozora, while I thoroughly enjoy her as a character, I don't "like" her as a person. Of all the characters, her friendless state is both the most understandable, and the least sympathetic. I'm positive she's driven off everyone who's ever tried to be friends with her.

    That being said, her verbal abuse of Sena is very, very funny. The phone conversation especially was genius. She's quite sharp, such a shame she uses her powers for evil.

  10. A

    I can testify for their somewhat realistic reactions.

    I was one of those people that didn't know anything about cell phones. I didn't have one until I was 18, I'm 22 right now. I barely even use it for anything else other than to tell time, and of course calling family. Tbh I didn't even know cell phones have infrared until I read the novel.

    If you were to tell me to get in contact with someone, the first thing that came to my mind would be by email or talking face to face. Using a cell phone just doesn't come to mind immediately.

  11. d

    i think this episode was plain weird. solely because Sena's breast gained extra bouncy-ness this week. not distracting but weird.
    Like the use of the neighoubour's club poster being torn up. signifying the end of a "friendly" club. Is Yozora going to go seed mode?

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