Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 01 Review
Dude, she thinks she has an invisible friend… How the hell is she supposed to have friends like that?
You know, when I hear about some guys founding a club to get friends then I think that they probably must be some really lame persons. To resort to such a stupid way to make friends isn’t a good idea but simply ridiculously lame. But that’s why it’s comedy, right? We are supposed to laugh about it so there’s no need to hide my opinion about it. But seemingly I was harsh after all since this episode didn’t want me to laugh about the characters but instead I should pity them and laugh about their “good humour” or something. Does it work? Not quite…
Kodaka Hasegawa is a poor sod who, through a unfortunate case of misunderstanding, became the school’s leading delinquent. He has no friends. Yozora hates everyone – except her best friend “Tono-chan”. But she doesn’t cound since she doesn’t exist… So she has no friends, too. In a fateful encounter of whining about how hard it is to find friends Yozora gets the idea to found a club – to find friends. Only a few hours after they started the club they are joined by Sena who seemingly due to her fame doesn’t have any friends.
Man, she’s talking as if it’s somebody else’s fault that people in this series end up having no friends…
When I heard of the concept of this series, I was ready to mock it to death. Christ, some lame people found a club to find friends! That simply can’t work! You might argue and say ‘Hey, it’s comedy so it’s supposed to be like that.’ but I would say that there are only two ways you can make such a stupid concept work – one is exaggeration and the other is irony. So which way did this series took, you ask. Well, I’m getting to it, just wait.
The first thing you will notice about the series is that it’s slice-of-life as there’s no greater plot as it’s rather character-driven arc-based daily-life-action. Character-driven because of the concept obviously as it’s about weirdos getting friends and to do that they have to grow as characters which means that it’s 100% characterization that this part depends on.
The characterization was a bit baffling to me. It was good enough to make it entertaining to watch the episode and I can see why the main-male and the first female character have a hard time finding friends. But that they have no friends is hard to believe, they don’t suffer Asperger’s syndrome or something. With the dude they make it seem like he’s the only delinquent at school and him being a delinquent makes him some kind of boogeyman to everyone. He is not unique! He’s just a delinquent! Delinquent’s aren’t like Godzilla as that they appear only once in every work of fiction. At least give him some delinquents who also misunderstand him to make it really convincing! Now I mentioned exaggeration as a way to achieve humour with this concept and it’s not a bad way to use that joke but… it’s been done before. The ‘bad reputation’-joke has been used countless times in that form as that the dude suffering because of it isn’t actually a delinquent. Now the first girl’s background seems more in the spirit of what this series wants to do as she has an ‘air-friend’ who’s in her eyes perfect and nobody could ever compare to such a perfect friend. It’s exaggerated how she rather wants to have a perfect friend that doesn’t exist than have a lot of friends who are imperfect. It’s also ironic how the girl who values friendship above all has no friends because of that exactly. What I didn’t like about the presentation of the characters was how moralizing the whole thing became. It was far too tragic for its own good as both characters became really serious about their lack of friends. The dude lamented that nobody should judge a book by its cover basically and the girl lamented that she can’t trust any friend because that person would betray her in the end. And when the dude begins to speak about loneliness and all that, I just threw my hands up and said ‘You’re supposed to dance, monkey! Make me laugh!’. But no, what this series seemingly wants is telling you that being lonely is ‘BAAAD’. I get it but I thought this was supposed to be a comedy and not a preaching-seminar. ‘The Lame Guys Club’ (my name for the series) is far too serious. But not in a way that it takes itself too serious, no, it just thinks that it might as well tell us something about the meaning of friendship and be moralizing about it. You can just see where this thing leads when you look at the third girl which is this popular… uh, I mean, MOST popular girl of her year who doesn’t have friends because she’s TOO frigging famous. My god, she’s a student! I hope that her character gets deeper next episode so that the whole thing makes sense why she searches friends without making her a ‘victim of social tragedy’. But why including her already if a deeper characterization is needed to appreciate her character?
Because I guess this will be an arc-based story going through the characters and telling you that you should feel sorry for them – and everyone else on this planet who has no friends while we’re at it. It will be a sort of random comedy that revolves around a certain number of characters at a time who end up joining the ‘Lame Guys Club’ to make friends – which they do ultimately by doing exactly that. This is a standard-approach I expect hereand I blame the vagueness of the plot-concept for that. You see, the basic idea is that these weirdos learn to make friends by having them be a member of a club which tries to do this exactly. But what do you wanna do with those weirdos? Do you want them to learn something about life and end up pondering the meaning of existence? But hell, I don’t wanna be there when the series gathers that much dust… Or do you want them to become someone normal who can make friends like normal people do? Yeah, right, make funny people a troupe of Average Joes, that will be worth the journey certainly for a comedy-series… So what exactly do you want to do with these weirdos? It could be romance, that’s not too serious as long as nobody starts crying and gets a fit of dramatic tension. Or it could lead simply nowhere and have a typical SoL-comedy after all that has been done countless times before.
Really…? Precisely when did having no friends became a good thing in yesterday’s society then? It didn’t happen, simple as that! There can hardly be a society when it’s considered a good thing to be a loner, right?
And that’s exactly what it is right now: Average. Elements of it seem interesting but when you get down to it it’s just again another series of weirdos exchanging short jokes about pervy stuff, pointless crap and the everlasting question of what exactly normal is now exactly. Add to that the problem of taking itself far too serious with some of the aspects of the series and I need only one word to say what the series needs: Irony. I know it isn’t quite afternoon-anime-material to mock the concept of friendship but at least be ironic about the process of finding friends. The humour of this show tries too hard to stay away from real serious topics like friendship and instead just indulges in making fun of the weirdness of each character (which also aren’t that original except the ‘air-friend’-part).
Instead of showing how the weird characters find friends they should make it a show about how weird it is for the rather normal characters to find friends. That’s a concept for a funny show about friendship but this series instead drifts into the territory of just another mediocre SoL-comedy that I have seen countless times before.