Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Title:Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
I Don't Have Many Friends
Yo no Tengo Muchos Amigos (Spanish)
僕は友達が少ない (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: INOUE Marina
ITO Kanae
Hasegawa Kodaka is a recent transfer student to St. Chronica's Academy, a Catholic high school. As with every other school he has ever attended, he finds it difficult to make friends there because of his naturally-blond hair and fierce-looking eyes, which make him look like a dangerous "yankee" to his prejudiced schoolmates. One day, Kodaka accidentally comes across the equally solitary and very abrasive Yozora Mikazuki while she converses with her imaginary friend Tomo. Realizing that neither of them have any social lives, they decide that the best way to improve their situation is to form a club: the Neighbor's Club precisely intended to make friends and learn social skills.
(Synopsis courtesy of ANN)

A Fall 2011 series

12 episodes

OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch Stretch [series:2494#628]
(All episodes watched):

My first impression of Bokutomo was that it looked like an unoriginal pastiche of stereotypes (the scary but misunderstood guy, for one), just like several other new series this season. The OP sequence suggested another fanservice series rather than a true comedy. But afterwards things seemed to look up. Yozora’s ‘air friend’ was a novel idea, and the fact that some effort was being made to keep the dialogue interesting was encouraging. The thought occured to me that this show might actually go somewhere. The concept of a 'friendship club' might be expanded upon; only time will tell. Yozura is assertive without being annoying; she has a problem but takes action to fix it. Most anime comedy girls this season seem to do little more than flash their panties and get accidentally molested. So, you might say there’s a brain in Yozora’s sexy body, which is unusual. Things were looking good until she and another girl, Sena, got into an argument over the best breast size, which reminded me of how fleeting originality and quality in these shows is. Still, the mix of about half fanservice and half decent comedy seemed about the best proportion that I was liable to get during the season, and if this ratio could be maintained I wouldn’t mind watching. I was left guardedly optimistic about Bokutomo.

Episode two was fun as well, as the club attempts to use video games to build friend-making skills, but they largely have the opposite effect. The one test that every comedy series must pass is that it must make the viewer laugh, and so far BwTgS has done so. It looks like a number of additional members will join the club with time, but not yet. I'm not sure if this would qualify as a harem series, since Sena and Yozura are so domineering that you'd hardly want them as girlfriends. The arguing they do verges on becoming annoying, but it was not as bad as it was during the previous episode. Wouldn't it be crazy if over time the two of them actually became friends, rather than just sticking to the personalities which they had been issued when they first appeared? Anyway, I have concluded that this is my favorite all-new comedy of the season, although there is little competition.

Episode three was so-so; I wish the makers would get it through their heads that Sena and Yozura just plain arguing is not funny or entertaining. Plenty of fanservice this time, but not so much laughter. There are signs of Sena becoming romantically interested in Kodaka. Also, Kodaka and some girl (which one is not yet clear, but probably Yozura) met as children, as usual. This episode neither made me like the show more nor less; it could have been better, and it could have been worse.

Episode four was a disappontment, as BokuTomo shows distinct signs of devolving into a generic harem series. Lots of boobs and butts and suggestive coincidences, but little quality writing. No less than three new members join what was once the friendship Club but might as well be renamed Kodaka's harem. Among them are a ten-year-old nun (is this some sort of new lolicon niche?), someone who is either an effeminate guy or a cross-dressing girl, and a 'genius' chemist. But perhaps the reason why so many new characters appeared at once was because there seems to be less combined personality among them than either Sena or Yozura has (and neither of them are exactly fascinating). Maybe there just wasn't enough time to expand on them, but the fact that fanservice was clearly given priority over character development is not a good omen.

Episode seven was modestly amusing as the club members try to figure out how to operate the fancy options of cell phones--with hardly any friends, most of them have never had much reason to use them before. Is that person who dresses as a maid really male? If it weren't for the subtitles, I would assume that the answer is 'no'. I can't remember the answer from the episode when he/she arrived, and there's no way of telling now. This series kind of wobbles back and forth between the girls behaving in likeable ways in one episode, and obnoxious ones in the next. On the one hand you can sympathize with Yozura for her lack of friends, but on the other she kind of deserves what she has gotten since she has a touch of sadism to her as she enjoys humiliating others. So we get a 'one step forward and one step back' sort of character development, which is frustrating. Will it ever go anywhere? At least Kodaka is a likeable, semi-intelligent guy who isn't trying to exploit the girls around him. His sister is kind of funny with her habit of acting as a vampire princess (apparently she's just immitating a TV show).

Make no mistake, the makers of this show were relying on fanservice to do a good deal of the work of pleasing viewers (who were obviously intended to be male). It's always easier to do that than to find genuine talent. There have already been two trips to swimming pools and one to the beach. Sometimes it's fairly funny, other times sort of disturbing. Since the humor is modest, I find myself wishing that a little character development would take place to fill the void. These are obviously socially disfunctional people who would be better off if they each made a change for the better. But based on what I've seen so far, I'm not going to hold my breath. That being the case, I'm glad that this show will wrap up after twelve episodes.

Personally, I would say that Sena is the most attractive, or, more accurately, the least repulsive of the girls in Kodaka's harem. Otherwise, his choices are his sister, a child, a pervert, a guy, or a bitch. But the unwritten rule of romantic comedy anime is that the first girl that the guy meets will always win out, if any winner emerges at all. It was pretty obvious right from Kodaka's first dream of a childhood experience that the friend whose name he couldn't remember was Yosura, seeing as this person's hair was black and this is a show with such a simple plot. Suddenly the obnoxious Yosura gets all teary-eyed and apparently we are supposed to become endeared with her. Eh... I say let's just wrap this modestly satisfactory show up and move on to a hopefully better one in the Winter season.

I guess the final episode did do a little something with Kodaka and Yosura's childhood friendship, instead of just throwing it into the plot without much thought. There was a little thought, but not much, to the final episode and the series as a whole. I can't help wondering why the relationship was included at all, since neither Yosura nor any other harem member wins Kodaka's heart in the end. In general, Bokutomo was a show which occasionally came up with a good idea which never lasted more than an episode, and otherwise slogged forward with the usual fanservice and smile-as-much-as-laugh humor.

Last updated Friday, January 06 2012. Created Sunday, October 09 2011.

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