I have spent some time trying to understand why I enjoy Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (I Don’t Have Many Friends) by concocting a philosophical or intellectual angle through which I can justify my viewing of what is merely just another harem show. I’ll just have to settle for finding it amusing.
Based on a series of light novels by Yomi Hirasaka the main drive of the show begins when lead character Kodaka Hasegawa wonders “I wonder how someone makes friends,”
Kodaka Hasegawa has transferred into Saint Chronica Academy. He’s an outsider, viewed as a “yankee” by his schoolmates due to his aggressive eyes and the blonde hair inherited from his English mother. Whilst wandering around school he encounters Yozora Mikazuki while she is talking to her imaginary friend Tomo. They realise that neither of them have friends and decide to make a club in order to make friends and learn how to interact with others. Soon others are joining the club including Sena Kashiwazaki, the principals daughter, an over-achiever and the girl all the boys in school fawn over, a feminine boy named Yukimura who hopes that Kodaka and his yankee reputation can turn him into a man and a scientific genius/fujoshi named Rika. From there on in we watch the growth of the club and its adventures in modern relationship etiquette.
Two things are obvious the first being that the premise of the show is so slight as to be non-existant and after reading that synopsis the harem aspect is prettyblatant. The opening for the show slaps you in the face with it.
I dislike harem and ecchi. Ecchi is a major turn-off for me and my history with harem shows has been patchy. Although I have read the first few volumes of Love Hina and Negima and watched the various Tenchi sagas I find them dull. It’s not so much the fascile and clichéd presentiation of women that plays on the latest otaku trends – moe, gothic-lolita, tsundere, maids, little sisters etc. My problems lies with the fact that the lead character is usually such a plank that he can’t see that the whole group fawn over him and when he does notice he strings them along with his indecisiveness.
Give me spies with superpowers, the supernatural and politics please.
I also don’t particularly have a thing for school stories. So I was surprised when I found Boku wa engaging. Maybe it’s because Kodaka isn’t a plank but the main reason is, to put it bluntly, watching an anime that parodies RPG’s like Dragon Quest and has voice actresses yelling idiot and stupid at the top of their voices appeals to some of my baser instincts. That and I find Yozora amusingly cruel.
I would love to say that she has read Albert Camus and adheres to the notion that an individual’s happiness should be the overriding concern of their existence but she’s just a typical tsundere character currently caught up in a feud with popular girl Sena.
Yozora is quite fond of putting others down and this trait is in full force in her duels with Sena – “Even popularity has its limits.” “Popular people can go die.” At times it pitches into utter nastiness but when her viciousness is done well I find it hilarious as in episode two’s RPG parody which sees Yozora and Sena engage in player-vs-player battles, Yozora admitting “I only feel alive when I’m killing somebody!”
Anyway these two girls are battling for Kodaka’s affections and while this is hardly heart-breaking stuff like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time I have built a liking for the characters. I know and have known girls like Yozora and even Rika the fujoshi obsessive and the anime has reminded me of some funny times when I’ve felt like Kodaka… that I won’t recount here ahem. There are moments such as the nudity that I find off-putting and a turn-off and I would like it more if the age range was raised so we were dealing with university kids but I’m still watching and I look forward to seeing how they resolve this story be it by friendly means or foul.