Friday, October 28, 2011

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai - 04

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Possibly the most romantic pickup line ever: “This is the first time I’ve ever been interested in a mammal.”

There’s certainly a lot I could talk about with this episode and indeed this series, but it basic terms – right now it’s just damn funny.  The characters are bizarre in a good way, the dialogue is not only smart but has a great rhythm to it, and underneath all the zaniness, sex and snark the series is actually about something,  It’s not Evengelion or anything, but there are feelings and ideas at the heart of the show that pack a little weight.

I said that it seemed like “things are about to get really crazy”, but this episode exceeded even my expectations.  Not one, not two, but three new club members were introduced – and each stranger than the last.  First off we had Maria (Iguchi Yuka, dangerously close to Index here).  She’s a ten year-old genius nun and a teacher at the school – OK, whatever – who used to use the clubroom for her naps until Yozora tricked her into becoming advisor for the Neighbors Club.   What is it with the Japanese fascination with loli nuns, anyway?  She gets her habit in a bunch about how Yozora tricked her and how she wants the room back, but Yozora fools her with a side of bullying and brings her back in line.

Then things get really weird.  Turns out the stalker who we’ve had glimpses of trailing Kodaka is first-year boy Kusunoki Yukimura (Yamamoto Nozomi), who sees the delinquent Kodaka as some sort of idealized male paragon who can inspire him to become more masculine.  Yukimura is being bullied because as a boy, he pretty much puts Hideyoshi to shame in the manliness department despite his Sengoku warlord name.  When Yozora gets him to wear a maid uniform, though, the resemblance to the legendary Mako-chan is quite remarkable.  I can’t help but wonder if Kodaka just rolled his pants down and wore socks some of this delinquent myth would disperse, but as far as Yukimura is concerned, he’s now Aniki.

The main event of the episode, though, is certainly Shiguma Rika (the great – and underrated – Fukuen Misato).  She’s a force of nature, this one – a mad scientist à la R-15’s Tsuruko who throws in a healthy dose of nymphomaniac for seasoning.  A first-year girl and science prodigy who never has to go to class – she just designs drugs and such to earn cash for the school all day – she passes her time reading rape fiction when she’s not having accidents with sleeping gas like the one that necessitated her rescue by Kodaka.  Listening to hear read mecha porn was one of the oddest moments of the season.  The climax: “UNIVERSE!!!” and Yozora’s response – “You are broken.” – was one of the best exchanges of the series.  Haganai clearly has a thing for young girls reciting porn, not that I’m complaining.

All the pieces seem to be in place for some truly bizarre comedy now.  I found it interesting how vehemently Yozora responded when Kodaka lumped her in with the bullies, especially given that what she did to Maria and Yukimura (forcing her to be a serving wench in addition to the club sponsor and tricking him into dressing as a maid) amounts to a form of bullying.  No doubt she’s been bullied herself, and doesn’t see herself as one, but I think she’s being a bit hypocritical since the way she treats everyone is basically low-grade bullying.  Now that Rika has showed up and declared fully for Kodaka (“How about trying sexual intercourse with me?”) Sena and Yozora are going to have to trade in there some tsuntsun for a bit of dere, or risk being left in a ditch by the roadside.  As for Yukimura, who knows where the hell that’s going – I don’t know if that “tingling” he felt was for Rika or for Kodaka.

Poor Kodaka…  He really is the only fairly normal person in the bunch, and he seems doomed to be viewed as a dangerous lunatic.  This week you can add “rapist” to the list of false accusations.  Thing is, he’s showing a little bit of personality now that makes him just slightly more interesting than a boring “eye of the storm of wackiness” character.  I like the way he lets his sister act out her silly fantasies and doesn’t bother to play along and I like the fact that he persists in being his boring self, despite the fact that it’s getting him nothing but misunderstanding.  He’s nowhere near as entertaining as his harem, but I see potential, and maybe with this much insanity in the room it’s good to have one marginally responsible person.

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10 comments:

  1. Kusunoki Yokimura?? You meant Yukimura right?
    And there are 2 points where Yozora cringed and got upset. One was the thing about bullying- as you mentioned- and the other was something about Kodaka. Can't really remember the Kodaka one but would this have future implications? Hmmm.

    Eva unit 01 raped by Gundam double 00?
    In the LN rape was not the only thing added. Add having an underling and dragging two bishoujos around school.

    Kodaka is now a legend.

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  2. I haven't read the manga or the LN yet (which means my interpretation has a high chance of being wrong), but just by the episode (my, how Russian Formalist) I was under the impression that the manga was just that: a mecha doujinshi... except Rika was reading/interpreting all the battles in it with a sexual filter fully in place. Which is just as bad as reading actual porn, because this means she's PROJECTING all her fantasies unto something that's not sexual to begin with.

    As for Yukimura. Ah, a lost cause. Unlike Mako-chan though, it's mostly a case of misunderstanding (again!) than slowly sliding down the rabbit hole of crossdressing and unconsciously ENJOYING the trip downwards.

    It looks like the next episode will feature the talked-about showdown between the Sisters of Light and Darkness. Mmm.

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  3. Wasn't it Unit02?
    And sadly, that really was MechaxMecha that Rika was reading. As in really. Not the pilots but...you get the point. Rika said so in the novels and manga. It was a bit disturbing to read in the manga and LN but it was fun. But hearing it with voices was so much fun as well as cringe-inducing. UNIVEEERSSE!!
    (I must be broken as well xD.)

    And wow they really made all that fit in one episode. The transition is flawless that I really liked it. Also laughed out loud lots of times. This was what I was looking forward to in this series. Lots of laughs, dirty jokes and a tiny hint of jealousy/harem. Really great episode.
    Next episode should be fun as well. Kuroneko vs Index xD

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  4. Oh man, this episode.

    One thing you neglected to mention, which seems pretty relevant overall, is Yozora's reaction to Rika's assertion that men and woman can't be "normal" friends. She really, really did not like hearing that. Also she's definitely a bully, and has basically the entire club under her thumb now.

    Anyway, it was pointed out on another forum that really, Yozora never intended the club to have anyone but herself and Kodaka in it, making me wonder when, precisely, she realized who he was. Was it when he first transferred in, or not until later, perhaps after he first walked in on her and her "air friend".

    As for Yukimura, I'm just marking him down as "gender indeterminate", since honestly I find it hard to buy that he's really a boy, but whatever.

    Also, instead of Mako-chan, he really looks like a wayward MISAKA sister.

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  5. That's kind of a spoiler for an LN reader like me.
    Though that's not a heavy thing and considering the latest translation on Baka-Tsuki, that may be the case.
    Hope they translate Vol4 already since it's getting good on the novels.

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  6. @Fen: That Yozora created the club for two persons and having Sena Bishoujo appearing makes her unhappy- was my initial take too. Thank you.
    And I have only just started on Vol 2 of the LN so I am not spoiling anything as far as i know.

    The question is whether Yozora sees Kodaka as friend or boyfriend material. (Reference to her outcry that male & female can just be friends)

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  7. I think Yozora definitely sees Kodaka as BF material, but TBH it hadn't occurred to me that the whole club was a pretense for she and Kodaka to be alone together. That would certainly explain why she made the flier with a hidden message she figured no one would figure out - and it's ironic that it was Rika that did.

    As for Yukimura, well - when it comes to traps you can never be sure. The choice of seiyuu suggests there could be a double-reverse being played, but for now the Hideyoshi paradigm still applies - effeminate but male.

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  8. Love love love Haganai. Sharp dialogues, crazy characters and cute girls reciting mecha porn. What more can you ask for? This show just gets better and better. I don't think people are giving the omakes enough credit too which has been consistently hilarious (LOL at Yo. Yozora was set to be my favorite but with the introcution of Rika and her nymphomaniac charm (on top of that megane), I think Yozora has a challenger. Can't wait for Kobato to meet the gang, she's not going to be happy when she meets the harem ;D

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  9. @Enzo: You meant that Sena found out the hidden message right? not Rika, since Sena is the real threat.

    @Otoko: Yes, I wanna see Kobato join in, but first I wanna see the MMLRPG.

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  10. Rika found it as well. And I'm not sure she's not a threat - but threat or not, by her personality she appears to be a threat, and I think that forces both Yozora and Sena to treat Kodaka differently if they don't want to be left behind.

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