Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT 05 – (Not) Hot Tub Time Machine

Sena has crossed a line that never should be crossed
Uh, help?

In this week’s installment of Haganai, Yozora gets to play an otome game which is the gender reversed version of the game played early in the first season. After that comes to a bad, but satisfying end, the plot resumes in the final third. After having her inventions called plain by Kodaka, Rika creates what she says is a time machine, but really only creates vivid dreams. Unfortunately, it doesn’t prevent Kodaka from talking in his sleep.

Yozora is entranced
Yozora discovers that she no longer needs 3D men

There was a moment at the end of Yozora’s playthrough of GirlsKira that had me thinking about how profoundly cultural norms shape writing a successful product, and how that plays against any sort of deviancy in society. To set this up, Yozora plays through with her character maxing out her stats and embarks on pursuing a relationship with a character remarkably like Kodaka. Because he is a social outcast, and because she never looked to pursue even a friendship with any of the characters in a game it was deemed a bad ending by the creators.

Yozora is pleased with her character's development
That’s right, punch the air when your stats are maxed out.

The societal bias in the story is shockingly obvious. As she develops herself into an elite character, she is compelled by the writer into pursuing relationships with girls and boys in the elite tier of school society. What she really wants is the relationship on her terms, and not one decided by society. The only reason she came upon the character like Kodaka was because she had no friends in game and could be cornered by thugs in an alley. Because if she had a boyfriend by then, she never would have been in a situation like that, etc. Finally, in the end, after playing through the story in her way she’s just arbitrarily told that she had a sad 3 years of high school because she didn’t follow the plan set out by society.

Kodaka intentionally ignores the obvious
To be fair, I think Kodaka doesn’t point out the change because of where it would lead next.

Alright, if that is too deep for you I’ll move on to more Yozora and the overall story. It’s quickly become apparent that the reason the club was created solely for Yozora to spend time with Kodaka and perhaps rekindle the friendship they had ten years earlier. With each new character entering the club, or semi-romantic development with Kodaka and the other girls, her control over her one link to a better time is diminishing further and further. Yozora is inherently a character dishonest about her own feelings. She can’t articulate whether she wants to be friends with Kodaka and the others or if she is in love, or merely wants to spend time with them. So she acts in passive-aggressive ways against the others all while the others look comfortable and grow closer are members of a club, if not friends.

Rika's clearly holding some information back
Surprisingly, Rika doesn’t have the heart to tell Kodaka what happened in his dream

That’s why Rika plays an important role in the story. She is for all intents and purpose the polar opposite of Yozora. Where Yozora shuns attention and attempts to be friendly with the others, Rika is bringing the club together with their activities and even playing peacekeeper when the others get out of line. Rika also hides nothing from the rest of the group at all. Her pursuit of Kodaka is obvious to the others and she also knows how to interact with other people. If she had a sense of withholding her feelings when appropriate, she would be completely normal.

Yes, the megane character came indeed.
That’s not a special effect, the room literally lit up as Rika spotted a glasses character

So ultimately, without Rika, this series probably goes nowhere. Yozora and Sena bicker continuously over Kodaka without realizing it. Yukimura refuses to recognize her own gender, and Maria and Kobato pretty much keep doing the same thing. Basically, there is no character development in this show without Rika.

Sena asks an important question
Sena just wants to start this question with “Imma let you finish…”

After that, here are the less important items I had from this episode:

  1. There is a rare cliffhanger as Yozora and Kodaka’s childhood friendship is exposed via Rika’s dream invention. I still have trouble believing this would alter anything, in fact, it probably makes Yozora look even better for not having taken any advantage of her position with Kodaka.
  2. Despite what I had thought going in, Rika only changed hair styles 3 times in this episode. I was expecting many more.
  3. The extended Mayo Chiki! insert into the episode was a bit odd. I’m sure it applied to girls being butlers, but in Yukimura’s case it would only mean becoming more of a woman than before.
  4. How great is it that Sena still held a grudge for the terribly named character in her eroge from the first season? That her revenge was quickly punished by Rika made it all the better. Normal people don’t hold on to things that long.
Subaru accidentally outs herself to Kinjirou...oh wait.
This is completely original material

Next week, it looks like lots of fawning over Kodaka as Yozora and Sena compete for his attention as maids. Does that mean Yukimura wearing normal girl’s clothing then?

3 thoughts on “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT 05 – (Not) Hot Tub Time Machine”

  1. Great post, and I didn’t really notice that contrast between Yozora and Rika before. So with that context it definitely helps me appreciate Rika as a bit more than just a series of walking fujoshi and sex jokes.

    I also really like your comments on the societal bias. It’s kind of interesting how Yozora more or less accepts that, acknowledging the bad end as the one she deserves but still refuses to change who she is. So she accepts her inability and unwillingness to play by society’s rules, but still tries to rekindle whatever she had with Kodaka, despite probably at this point already knowing that her way of life has been deemed destined to fail by society. So I guess she has, if not some string of hope, at least some internal rejection that her decisions will lead her to being alone and unhappy.

    1. I think it’s just one of those things that really just started to pop in my head over the last 3 episodes. Without the fujoshi aspects, Rika is fairly normal.

      I also do think it is actually a sign that there are aspects of this series that are well written when it came to Yozora playing that game. I don’t think she was consciously aware she was playing through her relationship with Kodaka. At the same time, it mirrors perfectly how Kodaka still subconsciously wanted to rekindle what he had with her.

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