Kaushik here, back to review another recently finished anime series of the spring 2013 season. This time it’s a doozy of a title, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru. I did do some impressions on this show earlier, but I’m back for a full review now. This one is another one of those popular light novel high school comedy romance adaptations that have been all the rage for anime lately.
It was animated by Brain’s Base and ran from April 5, 2013 to June 28, 2013, for a total 12 episodes and one OVA. I do normally watch these somewhat generic light novel adaptations, though they’re usually quite generic. Yahari (I’ll shorten the title for my own sanity’s sake) ended up surprising me to he end though, and I think it has a bit more to offer to the genre than your normal run of the mill harem anime.
The premise of this anime is pretty simple, and would probably lead anyone reading a synopsis to believe that this is in fact another generic harem anime. You have a guy named Hikigaya Hachiman, something of a loner, being forced into a club with a (beautiful!) girl named Yukinoshita Yukino. They go around throughout the school helping people and naturally cannot stand each other.
If you remove the names from this situation, it sounds like a dozen anime that have already been made. And really, I have to say the plot of this show truly isn’t that great. It’s mostly cordoned off into little arcs, which involves Hachiman and Yukino (later joined by another friend, Yuigahama Yui) solving whatever issues the student body comes to them with. Sometimes these issues last only one episode, other times it can last several. Still, as far as the raw plot goes, it’s nothing to get incredibly excited about. In fact, were it not for the characters, this show would have very little by way of a saving grace.
So let’s get into these characters I keep raving about! One thing I’d like to state before moving forward, though. One of the major aspects I really enjoy about these characters is their unwavering flexibility. The stubbornness to be themselves all the through is what separates this show and makes it a cut above the average.
Moving on, then, the main character is a young man named Hikigaya Hachiman. He’s something of an outcast within the class, shunning the idea of friends or closeness to his classmates in favor of a loner attitude. When confronted about his attitude, he’s quite clever at coming up with excuses as to why his way is the correct one, and that’s one of the things I like about Hachiman.
Normally in a show like this you’d think the cold outcast would eventually warm up and be something akin to a normal human being over the course of the show. Usually that makes for an okay, if clichéd, personal struggle. But I really respect Yahari for taking a different route and saying no. Hachiman was born a loner, and a loner he will stay. That doesn’t mean he can’t make things interesting, or grow as a person. But it’s nice to see that they kept the core of his personality intact (even in the face of a lot of opposition) throughout the entirety of the show.
The other main character in this show is Yukinoshita Yukino. To some degree, she is very similar to Hikigaya Hachiman, which is why they’ve been put in this Service Club together. Yukino isn’t so much of an outcast loner, though something similar happened to her as a product of her personality. Yukino fits right into that archetype of anime girls known as “perfect”. She comes from a wealthy family, she’s brilliant, she’s good at sports, she’s beautiful… There is very little she can’t do.
However Yukino also knows all these things. She’s popular with the boys of her class, and consequently hated by the girls of her class. She has a curt, abrasive attitude not entirely unlike Hachiman’s, but she’s also of the mindset that as a gifted person, she’s obligated to help out those who are less fortunate. As a result, and entirely unlike Hachiman, she takes her Service Club duties quite seriously. The two of them make for quite the pair.
Lastly there’s Yuigahama Yui. Yui is the most normal character in the show. She’s got normal friends, a normal life, and a normal attitude. Because Yui was the first person to request something of the Service Club, she ends up becoming friends with both Hachiman and Yukino (albeit begrudgingly on the two of their parts). Yui often plays the most active role in the trio’s relationship, generally urging for things to be done and offering a viewpoint both Yukino and Hachiman lack; the most normal one. While Yui is something of a stark contrast to both Yukino and Hachiman, due to her normalcy she’s the least interesting main character the show has to offer. That being said, she does have her moments.
There are a lot of side characters, but other than Hayama Hayato (a popular member of Hachiman’s class) they all seemed to be gimmicky characters with very little depth. That’s not to say they weren’t enjoyable for the small amounts of screen time they had, but none of them approached the depth found in Yukino and Hachiman. I will say that both Totsuka Saika and Zaimokuza Yoshiteru were very enjoyable characters. I particularly liked how Yoshiteru was voiced by Hiyama Nobuyuki, and he got to yell all sorts of hilarious things in an incredibly hotblooded voice. Definitely one of the best in the business as far as that work goes.
The art for the anime seemed kind of rough at times. It’s hard to pinpoint, but the faces especially gave me the impression that they were kind of cobbled together and seemed as if they might fall apart. During some odd frames of animation some of the faces even looked quite goofy. Another thing that was interesting was Hachiman’s character design. I like how he looked very unapproachable and a generally unfriendly guy. Too many times in anime they aim for an effect like that but in actuality they look pretty okay. Hachiman is a good example of a character design that actually looks the part of his character, which I found refreshing.
The background music was actually pretty okay for this series. There weren’t very many stand-out tracks, but definitely several solid themes I heard throughout. Still, none of the music sounded very unique or eye (ear?) popping in any way. As far as the opening and ending themes go, well, they were collectively okay. The opening theme is “Yukitoki” by Nagi Yanagi. Now, I’m a crazy Nagi fan. I love her work, and her voice, particularly her work as a vocalist in supercell. I always regret that she split off of supercell to pursue a solo career, but there’s nothing to be done about it.
Yukitoki, like a lot of her songs since her supercell days, is kind of hit-or-miss. It doesn’t have the weird electronic-vibe she’s been hitting in a lot of her B-sides lately, and in fact it kind of sounds like a generic anime opening. Still, it’s Nagi and I can’t help but like it just a little bit, at least. Lastly is the opening theme, this one’s called “Hello Alone” and it’s done by the voice actors of Yukino and Yui, Hayami Saori and Toyama Nao, respectively. This song isn’t really my favorite, but I suppose it works well enough for this show. At the very least, it’s not ear-gratingly bad like some anime songs I’ve heard in my time.
— Very awesome characters
— Pretty funny at times
— Character design is surprisingly good
— Plot is at its core a generic harem show; mostly saved by the characters
— The plot is abrupt and a little bit of a jarring break from the beginning episodes of the show
— The art is kind of shaky at times
Studio: Brain’s Base
Director: Ai Yoshimura
Character design: Ponkan8 (original), Yuu Shindou
Music: Kakeru Ishihama, monaca
Original creator: Wataru Watari (light novel)
Original run: April 5, 2013 – June 28, 2013
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