Anime Review: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Episode 2

Anime Review:
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Episode 2

What this is about: Separating the anime wheat from the chaff! Reviewing every subtitled anime show from 2010 and 2011! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, or “I Don’t Have Many Friends”, is a 12-episode televised anime series between October and December 2011, based on a continuing light novel series. Kodaka recently transferred to a high school, but ends up being ostracized due to his appearance and a bad first impression. Until one day he comes across Yozora, who also is friendless, and decides to make a club for the express purpose of finding new friends.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Very Quick Episode Summary: Yozora decides that the best way to form new friendship bonds is through video games. However, starting with a “monster hunter” role-playing type game, Kodaka discovers that Sena and Yozora are much more interested in playing against each other. Later, Sena brings in a “gal game”, and she ends up getting hooked.

My Impressions: Hm. Considering that Kodaka is the male lead of the series, in this episode he gets pushed back into barely a supporting background role as the two girls are practically at each others’ throats the entire time. This has suddenly turned into the Sena vs. Yozora Show.

More than that, you certainly can understand exactly why this series is titled “I Don’t Have Many Friends”, as the two girls have about as much social grace and personal amity as a sack of rocks. Very angry rocks. Socially inept, clueless rocks.

One might think, based on the initial set-up, that this series is going to devolve into Yet Another Tiresome Anime Harem Series. But after two episodes, I’m certainly not getting that impression. These girls have about zero sexual awareness, it seems, as Kodaka has about as much presence as wallpaper, most of the time. A love triangle seems to be one of the most distant of possibilities at this time.

At this point, I am sort of flummoxed as to exactly where this is all supposed to be heading. Given that this second episode was all about video games, and largely poking fun at people playing these sort of games, I wonder if it will run the gamut of otaku activities by having the girls (and guy) run through the gantlet of standard tropes? Or perhaps I’m overreaching, and this was just a way to further define the main characters and their personalities…so far. And by that I mean we only have three named characters, and if they just keep slinging verbal barbs back and forth repeatedly that will get tired fast. Please, time to throw in a new character or two, to sweeten the pot!

At this point, I would hazard to say that the amount of enjoyment you would get out of this is directly tied into how much you are steeped in the anime/gaming/otaku culture already. They’re clearly aiming for the anime-insular audience, which is fine, but it does limit the possible appeal to an already clearly-defined pool of potential viewers. I would say that if you enjoyed “OreImo” (which, much to my shock, I did) or “Genshiken”, then this is right up your alley.

The verdict:

At this point, I’m not sure whether I like this series or not. I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first episode; but the second episode leaves me wondering where this all heading. However, I must admit that I was largely entertained throughout. And that’s a good sign.


For more information:
  • My earlier reviews of the series:
  • Info resources:

    Sampling of Online Reviews:

    • “As of now, this series seems to be strongly oriented towards more hardcore otaku in general. The comedy relies upon your familiarity with otaku culture, so for those that aren’t too keenly aware of such, this episode won’t hold quite the same level of impact. If you do understand it though, it’s pretty darn funny.” – Emory Anime Club
    • “I can certainly say that I enjoyed the second episode of Haganai much more than the first. This was more in line with what I was expecting – a lot of sass, a little sex, and some very funny dialogue…While it was at times wildly entertaining there’s not a lot of specific moments I can pick out as genius. Rather, the overall experience of watching the episode worked because the dialogue was really sharp.” – Lost in America
    • “Though they have done quite a good job in adapting, I feel the anime isn’t portraying the comedy as efficiently as the manga does; being hesitant whether or not a wide audience would find certain scenes ‘comedic’. If you’re one of those who’ve decided to knock off Boku Tomo I’d suggest you to give the manga a try first.” – Sekijitsu
    • “I must say that I watched this episode with a stupidly wide grin plastered across my face, while sitting on a train in London bound for Oxford, and with people facing me in the seat across. But Haganai really pulled out all the stops in the second episode with a torrent of blatant references, parodies and spoofs. Of games, no less.” – How I Met Your Otaku
    • “I have a feeling that inevitably, Yozora and Sena’s fighting will become a means by which they show affection for one another, following the “even though they fight, deep down they are friends” sort of scenario…The two are more similar than they care to admit, or perhaps even recognize at this point in the show. However, it is clear the constant arguing leaves space for the two to develop into genuine friends, a desire the girls also have in common.” – AniMaybe

      ROUND TWO (Second Episode) RESULTS FOR THE FALL 2011 SHOWS:

      Thumbs-up for Round Two: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Episode 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate/Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

      Thumbs-down for Round Two: Working Season 2, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain

      Coming up next: Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, gdgd Fairies

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