The pranks on Sena are one of the things that return.
Hello and welcome to Winter 2013! One of the shows that I saw coming in Winter was Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT, and I’d been interested in seeing the original show, which aired before I started following current shows, in Fall 2011. So in anticipation of this second season coming, I watched the first series, and was hooked almost instantly. After finishing that, NEXT became one of my most looked forward to shows for this coming season. So how did it fare in the opening episode?
Haganai, as it’s commonly shortened to, is a show that focuses on the activities of a thrown together school club, the Rinjin-bu (Neighbors Club), that was formed basically to try to help the characters in the show make friends because for various reasons they are not able to. Throughout the first season, the club got populated with the main boy character Kodaka, two main girls Yozora and Sena, and a host of other odd characters: Yukimura, a very effeminate boy who dresses like a maid and waits on Kodaka (with the rather odd goal of trying to be more ‘manly’, not really trying, tho); Rika, a pervy genius girl who twists everything into her fujoshi fantasies, their ‘advisor’ Maria, a 10-year old Nun who is actually school staff to provide cover for the club, and Kodaka’s younger sister Kobato, who has a literal case of chuunibyou and believes that she’s a vampire from her favorite anime. The show’s pretty much a harem show, with all the other characters fixated on Kodaka with some degree of affection, from Kobato and Maria’s “Onii-chan” to Yukimura’s doting yaoi to Rika’s using Kodaka as the stand in for her fetish fantasies. But the real possible romance comes from Sena and Yozora, who are both interested in Kodaka as more than just a friend.
Yozora lays it on a bit thick in imitating “Niku”
Now that the background of the story’s out of the way, NEXT picks up almost exactly where the first season ended. It really seems more like the kind of ‘split-season’ 2-cour show than another series, as the cast is all the same, the relationships are all the same, and the progress is right where it was at the end of the first season. And that meant that the pranks pick up at the same rate, with Yozora wasting no time in pulling one over on Sena, with Rika’s help. Giving Sena a horrible hairstyle that they claim is trendy and cool, they play on Sena’s vanity and self-image of a goddess to send her out in the world with random summer foodstuffs in her hair. But they end up feeling bad about it, and apologize the next day, but after Sena’s gotten a spanking from her dad about it. This is actually a bit of a change for the show. It’s the first time I think that Yozora has shown any sort of remorse for what she’s done to anyone, especially Sena, and I think that’s quite a positive development.
The rest of the show focuses on a trip Kodaka makes to Sena’s house to study for upcoming exams, thinking that because she gets good grades, she’ll be able to help him study. But the real thing he learns is Sena’s motivational techniques for hanging onto her grudge against Yozora: Stalker pictures on the ceiling, items she’s been pranked with, and always reminding herself to get revenge. She’s less helpful in studying, blowing off Kodaka, and figuring out how to get him to spend the night at her house by delaying him with video games, then dinner, then getting him to take a bath… with her father.
Pegasus joins Kodaka in the bath.
The focus of this season seems like it’s going to move more into the ‘romance’ part, with Yozora and Sena fighting for Kodaka’s affections. Well, this is mostly what I’m hoping for, and it seems to be going that way, with some foreshadowing by Kodaka at the end of this episode about what his promise to Sena’s father will ultimately entail in terms of trouble. Of course, the meta-joke to me is still in effect. Here’s a group of people who hang out together in a totally elective group, thinking about things to do that friends would do, and then doing those things, supposedly in preparation and practice for when they actually have friends. But what they really are is friends already, doing things friends do with each other. And all of them want to be there, and are friends to the others. Maybe by the end of the season, some of them will realize this.
If you were a fan of the first series, or even just thought it was a good way to spend time, you’ll slide into this second season like it never left. It really feels like a straight up continuation, and in my opinion, that’s a great thing. But if you didn’t see the first series, then you’d be a lot better off watching that first, before jumping into NEXT. And if you haven’t seen the first series, then what are you waiting for?! Go see it, it’s a ton of fun!
The only bad I can come up with is that the new OP and ED songs just aren’t as awesome as the first season’s. While they’re still by Tom-h@ck, they just don’t have either the amazing energy that Zannenki Rinjinbu brought or the raw power that Watashi no Kimochi had. I’m sure they’ll grow on me, but I wasn’t grabbed immediately, and that’s a little disappointing.
So bad it got her spanked!
Sena’s Hairstyle, without a doubt!