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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends Review Painful Insults Make Better Sitcom

Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends

The insults might me be my favorite part as they hit with such disdain for each other; be it about boobs, lacks of boobs or how dumb one is because they're blond in this high school harem fan-service comedy recently re-versioned by Funimation. "You're blond is showing", stings so fast and precisely, like a tactical air strike to one's soul. Gundam sex with Eva units make for touchstone moments in this series that can at one minute be about a club of friendless losers to being inside a modern video game.

Funimation has really gone out of its way to recapture the insults and make them for the American audience on the dub for Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends a sitcom-esque anime better than anything on television or coming out this Fall. Really, the Fall line-up this year looks grim. Look at Seth Green's Dads, that isn't going to last long.

In Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends we're introduced to a club of people who suck at making friends and can't seem to understand they are all socially unacceptable for different reasons. Unlike the cheap stories of most fan service or harem animes there is compelling writing and great dialogue presented here, yes we have the same episode motifs, but with enough variation to keep it very different.

The story is truly about Kodoka, a month-old transfer student who hasn't been able to make any friends at the catholic high school he's attending. One day, he accidentally catches his long black-haired classmate Yozora talking to the wind. She happens to be talking to her best friend who is made of air.

Yes, air.

No, the friend isn't real, this isn't some sort of magical anime. Yozora is a loner, so lonely she has a loyal "air friend". She exclaims with much ferocity to Kodoka how much better an air friend is that it almost makes you cry. She is the instant tsundere (mean girl) of a soon to be formed group that will soon include a big-boobed, beautiful, rich blonde girl who happens to be the daughter of the school's President (schools are a lot more bureaucratic in Japan); a maid with gender-confusion; a little sister who pretends to be a vampire; a little naughty nun; and a scientist who gets off on some weird sh*t. Poor Kodoka, surrounded by women who are all insane and of course he himself is too stupid to make any moves on .

Girls words hurt like bullets raining out in an action movie in a battlefield of club room activities. The girls behind these words make the show a pleasure in both how insane they are and what comes out there mouths. Pain and hatred are mixed in through the never-ending battle between blonde Sena and black-haired Yozora who torment each other non-stop. Yozora calling Sena out as "meat" or "udders" for her heaving bosom never ends. We see a similar battle between the young nun of Maria and Kobato, Kodoka's younger sister over his brotherly love. Yukimura, the maid of the group, falls for Kodoka. Don't worry she says she's a boy, but is revealed to be a girl down the line. Rounding up the group we have Rika, the rotten girl mad scientist who gets off on dirty thoughts of Kodoka and Yukimura, as a boy and comes up with Gundam on Eva action that is animated and we'll make you hit the floor with laughter. Rika has the dirtiest of minds and you will want to hear her thoughts aloud.

The design of the show and the cute girls makes a miss from the manga form. The cast is drawn a bit more cartoony and more moe in the manga than they are in the show that switches to the more clean cut standard anime character design. Each of the girls is cute and the show pulls off some great random thought imagery, but most of the time it's simple animation. Some of the best episodes come from the exploration of video games where the characters are transported, not literally, into the gaming world to fight monsters and wind up killing each other or the break down of a love sim filled with so-called skanks.

I Don't Have Many Friends is the best comedy to come out this summer for anime, what High School DxD will attempt will probably be heavy fan service with low attempts at writing. A cast of colorful foul-mouth maidens who should never be allowed to say what they feel makes for a knock-out anime for those who miss harem shows that did a good job of making you laugh.

A season 2 has already finished in Japan and there is a live-action film in production too.