Long titles are all the rage nowadays so maybe I should just make this line very long to join in the fad and look cool.
|Ok, so here we have yet another show with an insufferably long title. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, as there hasn’t been much buzz for it. But I must say, I’m glad I decided to check it out. Filling in the romcom niche (it even says so on the label), Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru has been a pleasant surprise.|
|The pretty girl who’s super smart and has a pretty terrible personality meets the loner guy who’s not well liked, pretty smart, and also has a pretty terrible personality. What can happen when these two types of characters get put together? Fighting like cats and dogs, or will they come to respect and like each other?|
|Ah, another one of those anime where the main guy is verbally abused by the female lead (and pretty much everyone else). Now where have I heard that before? …But wait, Oregairu isn’t as bad as I thought it would be in that regard! Actually, this looks like it’s a pretty promising series.|
Sumairii // First off, we really have to figure out a better way to refer to the show since I don’t expect you want to read “Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru” every time I have a need to mention the title. In this way, we have a few options. There’s the standard “Oregairu”, and apparently “Hamachi” is a thing as well if Wikipedia is to be trusted.1 But those are boring, so let’s take a look at the localisation for this title: “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”. Wait, what? SNAFU?! I know that most localisations are pretty laughable, but this is just outrageous. Whoever came up with this is either a genius or was under the influence at the time. I’m leaning toward the latter. But whaddaya know, SNAFU has a nice, snarky ring to it, so I think I’m going to refer to the show this way from now on. Thank you, guy who comes up with english titles for anime.
This sounds familiar…
Sumairii // The immediate comparison that most people seem to draw is that SNAFU is highly reminiscent of Haganai. And for good reason: they’re both about a club of people who don’t have friends. The main guy, Hachiman, also evokes some Junichi vibes. Granted, Hachiman’s situation of getting “friend-zoned” into oblivion isn’t nearly as “traumatizing” as Junichi’s getting stood up on Christmas Eve. But wait, there’s more! The second episode brings in a chuunibyou as well! This is just outrageous! Yet another show mooching off the success of Chuu2koi! Oh, and while I’m at it, I should also compare SNAFU to Medaka Box, since they both have a theme of a group accepting requests from those in need. I could go on, but I think you get the point by now. In this day and age, originality can be hard to come by (though definitely not impossible). But we shouldn’t let similarites to other shows distract us, because there’s so much more to what makes a show good than simply bringing something completely new to the table.
Sumairii // What’s SNAFU like? Well, honestly I would call it a lover’s quarrel that’s constantly interrupted by a third wheel and some other people who pop in randomly. Hachiman and and Yukino seem to have this fascinating relationship wherein they both simultaneously despise each other, yet are drawn together for reasons unknown to them. The couple (yes, I’m shipping them already) is just always in this battle of words and wits, which I must concede reminds me of the relationship between Hitagi and Koyomi. Yes, yes. I know I just sermonized on the evils of comparisons. And to be fair, the wordplay in SNAFU is nowhere near as intense as it is in the Monogatari series. The showdown between the “perfect girl”, Yukino, and the sour loner, Hachiman, is very fun to watch though. Perhaps there’s some sort of sadistic entertainment that we can derive from watching a guy get verbally abused by pretty girls. Or perhaps we’ve been trained to enjoy this from all the other anime that have done it already, but now I’m beating the dead horse. Let’s get get back to SNAFU.
The art in the show is by no means terrible, but somehow I get the feeling that something is lacking. Everything just feels kind of low detail– low budget, even. This being one of the shows for which there was no proper character animation depicted in any PV2, I’m worried that perhaps SNAFU might actually be a little short on the ‘ol budget. A quick look at the faces of the characters in some scenes (and even the OP) will demonstrate my concern. But maybe I’m reading too much into things and it’s all just part of the art style. The show doesn’t look all too bad, really. And we shouldn’t be judging the book by its cover in any case. Regardless of how SNAFU looks, it certainly is an amusing watch fit for the romcom genre.
Highway // Despite the long name and the seemingly cliched character types of the two main characters, this show is actually feeling pretty fresh to me for the first two episodes. Setting up Yukino and Hachiman as two people who don’t get along, but are at least mostly civil to each other, feels different from the usual ‘all out fighting’ that I think we tend to get with this kind of setup. They’re both looking to outdo the other one, but they also seem to want the respect of the other person. So I like the dynamic between these two charcters a lot. I don’t care as much for Yui’s role in the show, as it seems that she just kind of gets in the way, and doesn’t really support the other two. I can’t really figure what’s the point of her staying in the “club” either. But she’s not a total loss, because she does help set up the side story in episode two as well, and perhaps that’s her purpose in the show, as the driver for the long-term side story of the ‘popular’ people who don’t get along with Hachiman and Yukino.
Karakuri // Well, I’m not entirely taken by the plot (how many anime have we seen before with a club that helps people?), but the characters are interesting. …As is the fact that the club doesn’t exactly solve their problems, but more like it puts them on the right track (via Yukino’s bluntness). Yukino seems pretty ambitious, but at the same time… not. She plans on changing the entire world, but she does so by sitting in a chair and waiting for people to come to her instead of going out herself. A nice contrast with the genki, cheerful stereotype I feel like I see a lot of. Meanwhile, there’s Hachiman who’s really not ambitious at all and is actually quite cynical. The two make an interesting pair though and while Hachiman seems to be at the end of a lot of jokes, I quite like the interaction between the two. Yukino’s ‘cool’ persona goes along pretty well with Hachiman’s sarcasm and they both have a way of not sugarcoating things. As for Yui, I like that she has her own problems too despite being the genki stereotype I talked about above. Her totally forced personality actually has a reason for being …well, forced. She might be like that in reality as well (since we’ve seen her interact with Yukino like that a bit), but at least there’s some kind of reasoning behind it. The Chuunibyou character was actually pretty funny too (if only for Yukino’s bluntness about him).
All in all, SNAFU looks fairly promising. If you’re a romcom aficionado looking for something new to watch, I would suggest giving it a shot. You won’t be disappointed by the antics between Hachiman and Yukino, and we’ve already seen a couple of interesting characters approach the “Service Club” to have their “problems” solved (with both humorous and more-serious outcomes). If SNAFU keeps it up, it just might have the potential to become one of the more entertaining shows of the season.
The personality of Yukino is making this show for me so far, and I really like how the other characters are playing off of it so far. Abrasive and blunt, but not maliciously so, she is a real source of laughs for me in the show. I also really like the OP and ED songs, sung by Nagi and Hayami Saori and Touyama Nao respectively. I’m hoping to see the show develop some of the ‘romantic’ part of the romantic comedy in the title, and think that we could end up with a really good couple between Yukino and Hachiman if it’s handled right. Definitely one to keep watching for me!
The animation seemed to be either a hit or miss and I’m not really taken with the OP or ED songs (I know, it’s Nagi. What’s wrong with me?), but the characters have the right things going for them. Plus Hachiman doesn’t seem like his life is going too badly despite Yukino’s verbal abuse. It could be a lot worse. Actually, I think I’ll be following this for Hachiman’s attitude. I have a feeling he’ll become less cynical as the series goes on, but for now, his comments on how stupid and pointless everything is are actually pretty entertaining. Though judging from the half flashbacks we’ve seen, he has a semi melodramatic life that’s traumatizing him, so even if he changes in character, finding out more about that might be interesting. …I guess I’ll just wait for the RomCom part of this to come into play and see where it goes from there.