Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai 01 – Adventures in Storytelling

A perfectly normal situation in a normal Catholic school

I made the decision to blog this series about a month ago, but it was the culmination of months of dithering about the direction to take this blog. Going throught the Gaiden and movies for Legend of the Galactic Heroes may seem like a worthy task, but there really isn’t all that much interest. Neither was there in talking about Giant Killing or Kaiba or Steins;Gate or Sora no Woto, or even that ill-fated Yosuga no Sora post I needed a real change. With a year of rust on my active episodic blogging, I will attempt to blog a series with a title that is fitting if only in perception.

The first episode could be arguably seen as a story of self-delusion and the intricate stories individuals tell themselves to warrant their actions or it could be the mutual recognition of all involved that they had reached rock bottom and needed help. These stories and more below.

The conflict at the heart of this episode is between the cynical Yozora and the pragmatic Kodaka. The former has a jaded view of relationships which was born from an implied betrayal in the past. Buying temporary friendships isn’t a problem for someone like her who views it strictly in terms of interaction with others. She says that she’s not desperate for friends despite the fact that she creates stories in her head about situations where she was with her imaginary friend.

The sun sets on the end of a type of relationship with the rest of the world.

Kodaka, on the other hand, suffers from the classic “scares people away” protagonist appearance manifested in the form of his natural blond hair. On his first day as a transfer student, he has a story he prepared on his own to explain it, but first impressions were too much to overcome. Now he spends his days in school reading light adventure novels while imagining himself with friends.

The only natural reaction to this type of protagonist.

The only thing which seems to link these characters is a desire to make friends without actually understanding what friendship is. Is it defined by betrayal, time spent together, club activities, contracts or is it something intangible? That would be the question hanging over everyone in this series.

A metaphor for salvation I'm sure.

As for hitting rock bottom, there is a mutual recognition by Yozora, Kodaka and later Sena that their relationships with people in general need to change. Yozora obviously wants something resembling a normal life, or at least someone she can talk to about the banalities of everyday life. Kodaka recognizes that not having friends is frowned upon by society. Sena is missing the types of conversation that do not come from having men ogle over her. Of course, the two girls don’t get along because of Sena’s attractiveness mainly. Can this group of characters figure out a way to make friends, are they on the path to becoming friends themselves, or will it come apart in the end?

Ok, it’s not the most unique grouping of characters forming a club and then trying to find members to make things more interesting. It doesn’t seem as contrived as it could have been, only in the sense that Kodaka would suddenly start a conversation with Yozora out of the blue and friendless people instinctively reading diagonally. Actually, that last one is a pretty big one.

Elsewhere in this episode, there were plenty of cuts in the middle of dialogue between characters which seemed designed to go for the database. There are various scenes of activity around the school meant to give it all a slice-of-life feel, while at the same time service shots of Yozora and Sena are meant to appeal to harem fans. The immediate use of first names between Kodaka and Yozora was notable because it implies closeness, yet it really meant nothing since nicknames define friendship from the latter’s perspective.

Track club practice going on? That ticks a slice-of-life box in the database, right?

Final Thoughts: This would be one of the better opening episodes I have seen this season. It was a little slow while only really half as interesting as the Bakemonogatari episodes entirely devoted to dialogue. I think the action will pick up as the secondary characters are introduced. Hopefully that will mean more points of interest in later posts.

6 thoughts on “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai 01 – Adventures in Storytelling”

  1. From my experience, this is a show that benefits from the character interaction, so when there aren’t as many characters, it feels rather slow. Just give it time and it’ll get better.

  2. The whole cast is pitifully small 😦

    These people are all trying to fit into society… JUST LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO BECOME A COOL BLOGGER!! The solution is to get other bloggers who feel bad about themselves and form a LAME BLOGGERS CLUB!

    Then again, you already have a group of friends but you REFUSE TO RECOGNIZE IT because you are LAME just like KODAKA.

    P.S. Now I finally understand the first caption, after several weeks of careful thought and deliberate consideration…

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