Haganai ReviewElizabeth Williams
Kodaka is the new kid at school. Unfortunately, he has a problem. His unusual hair color has everyone thinking that he is a thug, and before his first school day is over, it is rumored that he assaulted both his teacher and a fellow student. However, Kodaka soon finds that he is not the only person at his academy without any friends. He finds Yozura, a quiet, yet sharp tongued young woman talking to her imaginary friend and she decides right then and there that they are starting a club in order to make some friends.
Haganai is a show that is a fan service fest, and the animators don't want you to forget that for one minute. Besides all of the characters being attractive, the show is chock full of fan-servicey angles. You'll see girls in swimsuits. Girls in school uniforms. Girls in kimonos. A girly-looking guy in a maid uniform. Lolita girl. Girl with glasses. Girl with an enormous rack. Girl in a nun's habit. Chances are, if you like to check out anime girls, there will be one for you.
I consider myself a bit conservative in this department, as I don't care for watching things that are so overtly sexual. I'd go so far as to say I get offended by that kind of stuff more than the average viewer. But there are two main reasons why I didn't mind this show. I actually kind of liked it.
The first reason is Kodaka's character. In most harem-style anime (no, I'm not making this term up) the male character is surrounded by attractive females and there are nosebleeds abound as he does all he can to control himself around them. Kodaka is not an idiot. He finds all of these girls (and one boy) attractive in their own way. However, he does not have to keep himself from pouncing on them. He even has to constantly reject Rika and her advances. When Sena loses her bathing suit top, Kodaka pretends that he was busy doing something else and didn't notice, so as to not embarrass her. I guess the reason I like Kodaka in these situations is because he has respect for all of the girls and he doesn't gawk and stare at them.
The second reason why I enjoyed Haganai is because the root of the show really is about making friends and finding people that you can get along with. While each character falls into their own category, they each have one thing in common: they have a hard time making friends. Some of them are too quiet; some are too loud. Some of them behave and think a little too oddly for society's norms. Scratch that. All of them are quite odd in their own way. As the season goes on, the characters develop friendships, crushes, and rivalries with one another. The funny thing about this Neighbors Club is that even at the end of the season, the characters still gripe about how they have not made any friends yet. It is as if none of them have considered that they could be friends with each other, and they are even less aware of the fact that they already are a group of friends.
All in all, I enjoyed Haganai much more than I was expecting to. There were a few scenes where the writers laid the sexy on a little too thick to the point where it was kind of gross (sunscreen, anyone?), but Haganai still has the friendships and character development (in some, not all characters) that made the show enjoyable to watch. And, of course, if you are into anime girls, I suppose that could be a reason to watch the show, too.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
I started playing games from a young age, but really got into it when Santa left a SNES in the fireplace. My other hobbies include reading, writing, gardening, and playing with my two cats.
About the Author: Elizabeth Williams
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