Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
There’s a lot you can do with the harem genre of anime. With the only requirement being one central character pursued by multiple members of the opposite sex, there’s a lot of freedom in setting, situations, and characters.
Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Abbreviated BokuTomo or HaGaNai) is a light novel-based harem anime by AIC. The name literally translates to “I don’t have many friends” and tells the story of Kodaka Hasegawa, a student at St. Chronica’s Academy (a catholic school) who has trouble making friends due to everyone mistaking him for a bully. One day, he happens to observe fellow loner Yozora Mikazuki talking to an imaginary friend. The two form a small bond, both being outcasts, and start a club for people who have trouble making friends.
BokuTomo’s biggest strength lies in its characters. The show brings together an eclectic cast of characters, all brought drawn to the club by their various quirks and oddities. We get characters like Rika, the fujoshi scientist who, spending all day every day alone working in the school’s science lab and reading yaoi, constantly sees things as yaoi fantasies, and Sena, who’s actually the popular girl in school, but doesn’t have any real friends, since most of the girls envy her and she only sees the boys as servants.
The unique characters also come coupled with unique situations. While the “beach episode” and “pool episode” are both present, we also get episodes devoted to playing Monster Hunter on PSP or trying to get girls in eroge. All provide wonderful opportunities for the characters to play off of each other, which they all do quite well.
BokuTomo’s art style, while contemporary, has some unique things going for it. Characters’ lips are given more attention to detail than in most anime, and the show does some nice things with shadows along the girls’ curves. Speaking of curves, BokuTomo also has some very tasteful ecchi to it.
Throughout all the ecchi and harem action, however, BokuTomo operates with a subtle subtext about being a social outcast. Every character has their own reason for being alienated from society, and it plays into how the characters interact with themselves, each other, and other people, and how they view themselves and others. It makes for a very interesting series that goes a bit deeper past just the harem elements.
BokuTomo is definitely a harem series. There are no bones about that. However, it has a lot going for it, and it’s probably one of the best harem series to come out in the past couple years. If you’re looking for a harem series, especially if you’re interested in a harem series with a subtext based around social awkwardness, Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai should definitely be on your radar.
‘Till next time!