Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge – 02

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Tanaka-kun - 02 -1In contrast with Shounen Maid, here’s another series that’s in contention for best new series of the Spring that’s facing an entirely different problem.  Rather than reflexive dismissal as something it’s not based on first impressions, I think Tanaka-kun is largely being ignored.  It doesn’t star moe girls (though they are in the cast), doesn’t involve an afterschool club, and generally doesn’t seem to have a natural slice of the commercial pie.  As if that weren’t bad enough, it’s a show about listlessness.  And all that amounts to a pretty big hurdle for any series.

Tanaka-kun - 02 -2Well, folks don’t know what they’re missing.  Not only is Tanaka-kun both really smart and really funny, I think it actually has a lot to offer genre fans – especially since it crosses over into several different genres. It’s not an easy series to pin down, but it is exceptionally well-produced by Silver Link – capturing the essence of the manga while adding a lot of imaginative and hilarious anime-specific twists.  In some ways the visual style reminds me of vintage Brain’s Base (that would have been the other studio that seemed like a logical fit) but the final product is wholly Silver Link.

Tanaka-kun - 02 -3Speaking of moe girls, Tanaka-kun introduces its very own this week in Miyano-san (Takamori Natsumi).  One might argue that Tanaka-kun was pushing his luck by going to the Shrine (and by the way CR, shame on you for translating “Jinja” as “Temple”) to pray for an uneventful day when things already seemed to be going pretty good on that score, but the diminutive Miyano puts any notion of uneventful to rest.  She’s completely over (under?) the top, a genki girl on speed – but she certainly makes a contrast with Tanaka-kun…

Tanaka-kun - 02 -4So who is this person Miyano seeks to be kedaruge to impress?  Stay tuned on that one, but the joke here is pretty good – as I said last week, a sort of Buddhist koan about laziness.  It’s hard work for Tanaka-kun to be so listless – yet to do hard work is contrary to listlessness.  “I’ll try my best not to try my best!” doesn’t really fly, but it’s an effort at least (oops – effort, that’s no good).  Poor Tanaka’s hopes of an uneventful day are run roughshod over by the pint-size apprentice, for which he’s quite peeved with the Gods (later he’s about to trek all the way to Izumo to rat them out to their boss, but Ohta stops him before he gets hopelessly lost), but eventually Miyano does achieve a kind of kedaruge transcendence – but only because she’s distracted by a growing obsession with who’s inside tiny mascot costumes.  Oh, to have the attention span of a gnat…

Tanaka-kun - 02 -5Tanaka-kun, on the other hand, is the real deal.  He estimates that of the three base desires, sleep sits at 80% for him (we can see where food ranks – as for the third, there’s no indication yet that it even registers).  What he envisions as his personal Buddhist paradise, Ohta imagines as (literally) a prison cell – which is actually why these two complement each other perfectly.  He may not spend his time conversing with the north wind like kedaruge-Miyano (even that would be too much work) but Tanaka-kun is so listless that he can’t be bothered to be hungry even when he’s hungry.  Now that’s enlightenment.




  1. Laziness requires efficiency and forethought. Better to do something properly the first time even if it takes longer, if it will save you effort in the long run. More time to sleep that way and less stress.

  2. That has to be the nicest school I have ever seen, which probably makes this my favorite series of the new season. This show does comedy in such a relaxing way, I liked the previous episode better but this was still really good! Judging from the reviews on ANN though, it seems they got bored of it after first impressions more than anything else, must be their poor attention span I guess…

  3. Yeah, I was thinking that too – that’s a damn nice place to go to school. A pond, a cafeteria that looks like a beer garden, catwalks…

  4. T

    I love how smart and intentional the comedy in this anime is, even in its little touches, like the transitions. The characters (that we’ve met so far) are so relatable. I’m not on par with Tanaka once it comes to listlessness, but the room he desires has crossed my mind once or twice… (A teeny-tiny LeoPalace apartment is the closest non-miserable approximation I can think of).

  5. F

    I can’t really put my finger on it why, but this show really reminds me of Isshuukan Friends (without the drama). Maybe the soft color palette or the character designs, and in a way the interactions between the two main characters are also similar (and of course it helps a lot that Hosoya Yoshimasa voices Oota in Tanaka-kun and Shougo in Isshuukan Friends). Similarities aside I really enjoy this show and I hope that you will continue blogging it.

    On an entirely different note, I have been following your blog since the summer of 2013, but this is my first comment here (I’m also one of those long time lurker, first time posters here). If my memory serves me right, the first series that I followed on LiA was Gargantia, and since then, thanks to your unwavering enthusiasm to anime I have been able to find – and persuade myself to watch – some truly outstanding series, like HxH, SSY, Tsuritama, MGX and the list goes on… which later became my personal favorites. So long story short, I’d like to thank you for your hard work, and keep it up, Enzo! (Quite ironic praising your efforts below a show about listlessness, but never mind)

  6. Faolin, thanks much – that’s very nice of you to take the time to say, and I’m glad you de-cloaked to comment. Those are indeed some very good series and if in any small way I contributed to you watching them, that makes me feel great.

    As for Tanaka-kun and Isshuukan Friends, that’s exactly why I mentioned that Tanaka-kun reminds me of a vintage Brains Base show. That E.H. Shephard watercolor look is totally a Brain’s Base thing. And tonally, this series would have been a good fit for the old Brain’s Base.

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