Haganai is an interesting show for me – a test of whether you can like a series if you really dislike the main (or co-main) character. The character in question is Yozora, and the answer for me is mostly yes – through one season and an OVA, anyway. Yozora never grew on me in the slightest and I find her just as unlikeable in this OVA as she was in the first season, but there’s enough in the show that makes me laugh – and I like all the others characters well enough, especially Sena – that Yozora isn’t a deal-breaker for me. There was never any question in my mind that the series would get a second season, and an announcement came soon after the first ended. It’ll be interesting to see where Haganai goes with the revelations from the S1 finale.
As for the OVA, as mentioned, it’s pretty much a classic Haganai episode – all seven main cast members in the clubroom trying to figure out how to kill time until Kodaka suggests a relay novel. Now you can’t tell me the first character that came to mind wasn’t Rika – it sure was for me – but everyone in the group gets a chance to inflict their weird sensibility on the effort, with Rika’s manic perversity wisely saved for last. If anything we get to see things taken a little further than we might in a TV episode, though Haganai always danced pretty close to the edge of what was acceptable in a mainstream series anyway.
The stories here are mostly pretty funny, though a few things stand out. I remain flummoxed by Yukimura, who my gut still tells me is the least convincing trap ever (Or is it most convincing? Or is it reverse trap?) but everyone in the show still treats as if he’s a boy in a maid costume. Yukimura certainly lays Yukimura’s feelings for Kodaka out more clearly than ever in Yukimura’s opening chapter of the relay novel (much to Rika’s delight), a samurai tale about Kodaka, my favorite line of which was “Went to town to rape as usual.” Rape, in fact, is a major player in the this episode’s flights of fancy, mostly thanks to Yozora’s page of the novel. I get that her attacks on Sena are supposed to be funny, but they almost never are – in addition to being unwarranted by anything Sena has done (except the grave offense of existing in the first place), they go so far past harmless teasing into downright savagery that I have a hard time understanding why they’re even intended to be funny.
Of course what follows Yozora’s ugly take of Sena as a pig-girl being raped by reptilian youkai is the usual pattern – Sena tries to respond, her attacks end up lacking the sophistication of Yozora’s, and she flees the room in a huff. In fact it’s Kodaka’s page of the story (sandwiched in between) that’s by far the most normal, unsurprisingly, but Kobato and Maria are on-hand to make sure things get silly again (I found Maria’s poop-focused simplicity funnier, though I did love Sena’s “Kobato’s brocon is so kawaii!” reaction to Kobato’s chapter) before Rika takes center-stage to wrap things up with a hilariously raunchy red-hot BL mecha porn starring Kodaka and Yukimura. Rika is one of the most fabulously twisted ecchi characters of the last few years – I dream of a crossover where she meets Oshiroi from Ben-To, and we get to here the two of them go head-to-head in an attempt to top the other for fujoshi points. Universe!!!