Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – Preview
Kodaka Hasegawa is a half-Japanese, half-English high school student. He has no friends. This is because his unique genes give him blonde hair while still looking otherwise Japanese, and he’s often mistaken for a juvenile delinquent. Just as he’d grown accustomed to a life without anyone to talk to, he runs into an odd girl named Yozora, who is alone in her classroom chatting with an imaginary friend.
Out of what can only be morbid curiosity, he begins to talk to her and discovers she’s even more of a recluse than he is, and in possibly the same stroke of logic that created her air friend, she decides the best way to meet people is to form a club. This marks the creation of the Neighbour’s Brigade – sorry, Neighbour’s Club – whose sole purpose is to bring together people without any friends. In other words, people who are as crazy as Yozora.
Based on that description, the first series that would pop into your head would be The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And this wouldn’t be too far from the truth.The characters are extremely similar, although we end up getting two Haruhis instead of one, and the maid character is male (I think…). The humour style is very reminiscent of the early episodes where Haruhi was making everyone grope Mikuru. Luckily for those of you who didn’t like that sort of thing, the existence of two aggressive female leads means their sadistic tendencies are focused towards each other, rather then innocents, so the moral dilemmas posed by their actions are a little easier to look past.
Not to imply that the series shies away from obscene moments, of course. The day the series creator looks up the word “shame” in the dictionary will be a black day, indeed. To give you an example, Sena (the blonde girl in the above poster) eventually decides to try playing games about relationships to learn about bonding with other people. Of course it eventually turns out the “bonding” in these games isn’t the kind she expected.
And that’s only a third of the way into that chapter. Things just get more extreme from there; Sena’s not even the most perverted character in the series, but if I went into the weird stuff scientist girl Rika is into, it could scar quite a few people. Or completely kill Evangelion for them. After a while, it starts to feel more like the Haruhi-chan spin-off than the main series when it gets silly.
The Haruhi comparsion doesn’t simply extend to the comedy, though. At times, the story takes a step in a more dramatic direction, which reminded me more than anything of those scenes of Kyon talking with other characters about life, the universe and everything. It’s not too overly serious, which makes for a nice contrast with the sillier moments. It also provides the opportunity to flesh out Kodaka, which makes him feel like more of a person than the typical harem lead.
Speaking of which, I should bring up the harem element of the series. I’m not usually a fan of shows that try to play the harem element completely straight, since most people are smart enough not to buy into the promise of any serious resolution. That’s why I was happy that Boku wa Tomodachi never relies too heavily on relationship drama to move the chapters along. There are bits and pieces of romantic moments, but never to the point where the series is falling back on them for support. The rest of the time, the relationships between friends are the biggest focus, as you’d expect, and the teasing moments never go too far beyond that, no matter how blatant they are.
Now, as for how the series will be adapted into an anime, I highly doubt it will differ far from the source material. I didn’t have the chance to read much of the original light novels, though I did look at what chapters were adapted to the manga. Most of them seemed to make the transition, and what little I read had the same intensity as the manga based on it. From this, and from the fact that the series is primarily comedy-based, I would say there won’t be many major changes apart from expanding a few scenes. The anime studio is a group called AIC Build, whose resume consists entirely of Ore no Imouto, which I’ve never seen, but that may mean more to some of you.
The one concern I have with the anime, though, is the potential for censorship. There aren’t too many moments of actual nudity in what I read apart from the above H-game, and one scene of Kodaka’s fiendish little sister getting a bath. That isn’t what I’m worried about, though. I’m worried about the language involved, since it contributes a great deal to a lot of the humour, and it could lose it’s punch if it isn’t handled properly. There are scenes in this series of characters describing doujins in meticulous detail, openly discussing rape in fiction, and reading aloud from hentai, among other things. I’m not sure how much of this could end up getting cut, but if anything is affected in the translation, it’ll be this.
Overall, there were times in this series where the events became a little difficult to read through, but I still greatly enjoyed it. In fact, despite having read the manga, I’m still putting this on my watch list, since I could easily see it all again.
Highly Recommended: Fans of Haruhi Suzumiya and/or Seitokai Yakuindomo
Recommended: Harem fans, comedy fans, fans of Ore no Imouto
Not Recommended: People who are easily disturbed, people who hate over-the-top comedies