Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 01

All of Kodaka’s classmates think he’s a delinquent due to his eyes, hair, and their assumptions. Do to their fear of him, he hasn’t been able to make friends. But he isn’t alone; one day he catches a raven-haired girl named Yozoro talking to herself after class. She admits she too can’t make friends, and has settled for imaginary “air friend” named Tomo. Kodaka believes suggests joining a club may help, but Yozoro takes that ball and runs with it, starting a new “friendship club” to essentially help its members make friends. She enlists Kodaka and posts flyers, and they soon have a surprising third member: Sena, the beautiful daughter of the school president who has only doormats, no real friends.

That preview was incredibly misleading; starting right in the middle of this story, while this first official episode starts that story at the beginning. It also features a guy who mostly keeps to himself until an oddly-alluring, eccentric girl starts a club and makes him join with him. If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because it resembles the formula of one of the most popular animes in recent times: Suzumiya Harurhi. We quite liked the melancholy series (both versions) and the Disappearance film is one of our favorites, so it isn’t a bad formula to start from. But the similarities pretty much end there. Rather than deal with time travel, espers, and world-changing powers, this series raises questions about a far more down-to-earth issue: society’s current importance on making friends, and how friends are made.

Millions probably get along just fine without any friends, and our world is built to support them perfectly fine. But that doesn’t stop the rest of society from muttering things under their breath or giving looks of pity or even disgust. Yozoro may say she doesn’t want any friends, but nor does she want those looks, those mutters, or the shame. It was pretty clever to set this in a Catholic school where one could (theoretically) start any club you want as long as you somehow tie it to God’s message (Love Thy Neighbor). It was also clever to immediately make their first neighbor, Sena, somebody very hard for Yozoro to love, but no less in need of real friends. As for Kyon Ryugi Kodaka, he’s there under protest, to observe and likely referee. But some part of him seems to want this club to succeed too.

Rating: 3.5