Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless Review: Laziness Will Make You Laugh

 by Jonathan Bilski it time to do another review? Maybe, I'll just wait for ahhhhhhnother site to do this one. Mmmmm, I'm being prodded by the rest of the staff...I guess, I'll have to, have someone write down my thoughts on it.

*Dictated but not read
An anime featuring the very lazy lead, Tanaka, a less than action-filled packed high school boy. Whose kidding? Tanaka barely moves enough you might think super intelligent mice are moving around his body from the inside like he's a robot in this slow-burn anime comedy. He is not that though, he's just a very lazy teen. And for a character who wants to do so little he has a great cast of friends that build around him in a wonderfully bright art style. The style and look of a bro-mance friendship at first glance made me think it was a Yaoi anime, it isn't though. It's a sitcom about the laziest high school student in Japan.

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless has been around for a while via Crunchyroll. Now it's coming out on Hidive for streaming, a new dubbed episode premieres every week. It's also coming out via Sentai Filmworks in two editions this January 30th with the Tanaka-kun is Always Listless Complete Collection and the Tanaka-kun is Always Listless Premium Box Set, which comes with cool physical items for your desk or home.

Slowly strolling into the anime I though it might be some pretty boy anime about bro-mances. Soon I found that to be a too simple description of the show and the leads. Sure, there's bro-mance, but a bro-mance based on the lead Tanaka being, jeez even write "being" is a stretch, he himself wishes he was a background character if the school was an anime. So lazy in fact, his best friend Ohta physically carries him to other classes underneath one of his arms or on a shoulder.

Thus begins the slow (and you like how slow the show moves) fun jokes that come out of Tanaka-kun is Always Listless.

You see Tanaka isn't just your lazy main character, he's just the laziest person you may have ever known. So lazy that it's an effort to get food. So lazy to try and get into a relationship or be conscious for the most of the day and that doesn't infuriate his friends, well one, it just fascinates them. It gets them to a level to try and understand him as though he's an alien or a pet animal.

Tanaka's best friend is Ohta, one of the most helpful people you might ever meet. Think of me saying that as though it's the start of a Disney movie about friendship. He is partially or for the most part Tanaka's mobility around school, a school that looks really cool, but will get more into the look of the show later. Tanaka is so slow from lack of physical activity, he wouldn't make it to other classes in time. Ohta is the opposite of Tanaka, helpful, strong, reliable and awake. They have sort of bond that makes them inseparable. They talk about everything and usually about the level of Tanaka's laziness. And then as almost the punchline, Ohta will usually carry off Tanaka. Or Ohta will say how lazy Tanaka is and Tanaka will just agree.

The show masters jokes on a human being so without will or energy that he's basically seen as a school mascot or someone important when he really just doesn't want to do anything. And so they come for him.

Slowly the cast of friends builds up around him starting with the adorable and short Miyano who want to become an apprentice to Tanaka. She wants to learn to be as listless as Tanaka, because she is a FIREBALL! Miyano is another opposite of Tanaka in being a ball of energy that may rival the sun! And she's darn cute trying to become a more stoic person.

We also get Echizen, who seems like a delinquent, a real bad girl, who challenges Tanaka to a fight, see how well that goes. She slowly builds to to be part of Tanaka's circle with a connection to Ohta and Miyano.

Then we have the school's leading lady, Ms. Popular, Shiraishi. She soon develops feelings for Tanaka. Mind you, even though he doesn't do much and for some misunderstood reasoning on pink-haired Shiraishi's part. Don't think of it as a real two-sided love story, it's mostly in Shiraishi's head.

That's really the main cast with some little sisters in the mix in later episodes.

These people all sort of get sucked into the world around Tanaka to see him basically fall asleep and it's funny. There lives all connected by one high school boys lack of doing anything.

Starting with a blissful opening theme that prepares you for a colorful, almost like a cat warmed by the sun feel, is the design of what looks to be a very modern high school. The high school just looks beautiful as do many of the backgrounds of the show. They animators make it hard for you not to just want to fall asleep with Tanaka in the same environments he doses off in.

The English dub cast does amazing work. Everyone captures the character be it in how slow Tanaka talks or how adorable Monica Rial sounds as Miyano.

Ahhhhhhh, (stretch) Tanaka-kun is Always Listless is a different anime comedy. Nothing is trying to pound you over the head, it's more like a pillow slowly being thrown into your face and it's a really nice pillow too. It's more like a joke ends with Tanaka just stopping and not answering a question as he dozes off and you the audience going, "Wait, what?,' as the scene just ends.  You should continue through the well-paced series about lazy boy and his friends who are way too nice to put up with him.