The first episode of this anime is the most gripping. The rest dragged on but whatever right?
Just as its title imply, this series talks about people who don’t have friends. I do relate in a lot of ways so I decided to push through with it even if it contains two of my most hated elements in Japanese anime: harem and cross-dressing.
So these two people, Kodaka and Yozora, who totally don’t care about each other’s existence suddenly find themselves conversing one afternoon. Kodaka sees Yozora talking to thin air and realizes that she’s just a lonely child who doesn’t have friends.
Who is he to talk? Since coming to school a month ago, he himself has no success in establishing relationships with his classmates. Oh well, as they say, birds of the same feather do flock together. Finding their common denominator – that is, having zero social life – they decide to start the Neighbors’ club where members are encouraged to come up with techniques on how exactly they should interact with people so that they’ll start becoming ‘popular’ and gain friends.
That’s pretty much all there is to know.
Story wise, I won’t expect much.
What made me stay were the characters themselves. Although they can’t offer much, I think they are able to achieve their purpose of portraying the different personalities of an individual which can eventually result in isolation.
For instance, we’ll think that a smart girl like Yozora will have a lot of girl friends. She’s manipulative too so we’ll find it hard to imagine why she doesn’t even have an underling. All she has is Tomo-chan who is nothing but thin air (literally) to whom she talks with when nobody is around. We’ll assume she’s lonely (Kodaka did) but really, it’s more convenient this way because humanity drains her energy. She doesn’t find it necessary to keep the deepest bonds. The branding is uncalled-for because being alone doesn’t translate to loneliness.
Out of all the characters, I relate most with her actually. Same views and, in fact, same grievance. Friends expect a lot from us and we return it with equal fervor. As soon as we do, we’ll get surprised how much they can shatter the image of the ‘perfect friend’ so we get disappointed. We’ll tire each other out and the relationship turns sour.
Put it short, Yozora lacks trust. She’s afraid of the expectation and betrayal that may come in package. That’s why she lacks friends.
On the other hand, there’s Sena who’s perfect. She’s rich, pretty, sexy, smart and good at sports. The Mary Sue who everybody hates. She gets all the boys so the girls hate her. She puts herself on a pedestal with the things she’s born with so no friends for her. What she lacks is normalcy. It isn’t even her fault.
The fourth member to join the club is another guy. Let’s discuss this alongside Kodaka because both of them are isolated for their looks. Yukimura for looking feminine despite his gender and Kodaka for looking like a delinquent. And this happens. People get bullied and fail to have friends because of looks (in reality, these are kids who have bad breath and bad body odor or too many pimples and too many back fats etcetera etcetera). We’ll want to be associated with people whose physical appearances we can be proud of right?
Well, nothing is wrong with Rika’s face. In fact, she’s the genius member who’ve produced breakthroughs and inventions in the world of science and technology !But she lacks what a normal teenager needs most. Hash human interaction. Spending so much time in her lab alone because of her special gift for science resulted in her twisted shut-in, hormone-raging self. A typical high schooler will freak out just by knowing her obsessions. She only spouts erotica. That or mecha.
Now, now. Let’s put the ratings down and talk about the two youngest members — Maria and Kodaka’s little sister, Kobato. If you ask me, it’s no-brainer. They both don’t have friends because they’re annoying. They both have irritating fantasies and voices. haha
Putting my completely subjective feelings aside, it probably has to do with the fact that they can’t relate with people who’re of the same age. They’re immature so they want to be pampered. This is why they can only find pleasure in keeping relationships with people who are older than them and also why they can conclude that entering a high school club makes more sense.
These characters feel so real in their purest sense. In sum, the anime is telling us that we don’t have many friends because of one or more of the following reasons:
- We can’t trust people.
- We appear too perfect even if we’re totally not (see: slut for getting all the boys)
- We have issues with our physical appearances (or armpits)
- We are shut-in perverts
- We are immature and annoying (but we feel we can only relate with older people)
Also, plus points that these characters never developed throughout those thirteen episodes. Weird right? We usually want the opposite but I’d like to believe that it isn’t the focal point. By refusing to change their personalities, the anime is able to emphasize that despite a person’s shortcomings, he’ll be able to find people who can accept him for who he is. Regardless of the darkest secrets, they’ll spend the time together because that’s what we call friendship.
There. I said my issues. Not much plot. Lots of harem (element present to keep the story going actually) and cross-dressing. And it’s ecchi. I don’t exactly fancy the fanservice. I totally wasn’t expecting another butts and boobs fanfare (had enough of it from Fairy Tail). Just imagine my surprise since I got this file from the woman who tutored me when I was two years old. Shocker.
I was in this for the motif and message. So if you’re all for that then this anime is for you.