Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Drama CD review(and intro to the series)
Well I actually got this a damn long time ago but only managed to do this review due to school and work commitments(and a hell lot of procrastination) but hell was this Drama CD fantastic, with tons of laughs and terrific portrayals of the characters by the seiyuus….
Well before I start talking about the Drama CD, let me just give a ‘brief’ introduction to the series and do some character intros too.
Boku wa Tomodachi Sukunai is a Slice-of-Life Comedy series about the antics of a certain “Neighbor’s Club” in a School. The members of the said club have certain character traits that make them slight social outcasts which lead them to having very few or little friends, which is the translation of the series name. In the club, they perform activities in which they deem to be “Social” and hilarity ensues due to the colorful personalities of each character. The series makes tons of references to Otaku Culture and popular games which add to the humor. The author is amazing as nothing escapes his mind when he spoofs popular series and blatantly references them throughout the story.
The series first started off as a novel before getting a manga and as u can see from the limited edition box, it seems an anime is in the works but more on that later. The novels are illustrated beautifully by Buruki who has illustrated the cover art for another light novel series Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. It seems that Buruki has a penchant for illustrating unique series with eccentric characters and interesting stories.
From left to right:
1. Mikazuki Yozora: The Megalomanical Founder of the Neighbor’s Club with a domineering Haruhi-like personality. Everything that she says, to her, is law and everyone must abide by it and thus the activities of the Neighbor’s Club move in accordance to her whims and fancy, but with a little input from the other members. Eternally at loggerheads with Sena, whom she calls MEAT/Niku. Even though she can be quite demanding, she has a little soft spot for the main character Kodaka and has a small history with him, even though he does not remember it that clearly. Can actually be quite Dere at some points in the story and has quite conservative thinking, blushing and reacting quite severly when “dirty” topics are being discussed.
2 Kashiwazaki Sena: The Ojou-sama and overall spoilt brat/ Elitist of the Neighbor’s Club. Technically the 2nd official member of the club after Kodaka but does not really have any say in matters regarding their activities due to Yozora’s conflict with her. She is so rich and has lived such a sheltered life that she is missing almost all common sense and does not understand certain basic social behavior which lead to tons of laughs in the end. Even though she looks quite normal, she is quite a geek and play’s tons of games either on her PSP or otherwise, and her favorite being Gal-Ges, both for all ages and adult ones too. She also loves cute things and overreacts severely when she see something very cute, eg Kobato, and almost becomes like a perverted old man.
3. Shiguma Rika: The brains of the Neighbor’s club with more eccentricity in her than in all of the other members combined. A technical and scientific genius, she is a master of all sorts of computer science such as programming and even performs experiments in school. Her first encounter with the Neighbor’s Clubs was after a mishap during a chemistry experiment in which Kodaka found her unconscious and brought her to the club room to recuperate. Has an incredible imagination which leads to her ‘misunderstanding’ or over-thinking certain events that happen throughout the series. In addition to being a genius, she is also quite a fujoushi who draws doujinshi in her free time and has a interest in a special genre called Mecha X Mecha. She has taken quite a liking to Kodaka due to his kindness and personality and is academically interested in his foreign looks and his biology. The most assertive of all the members and clings to Kodaka quite a bit, much to the dismay of the other members.
4. Hasegawa Kodaka: The protagonist of the series and one of the two founding members of the Neighbor’s Club. Has blonde hair and a foreign look due to his mixed heritage but everyone that he has met in the past has mistaken him for a yankee due to that but in actual fact he is just a normal guy. Started the Neighbor’s Club with Yozora because he was also interested in making friends as he did not have many due to his looks. He is quite dense at some points which pisses off some of the other members but overall he is quite a nice guy. Has a penchant for very cold jokes which, to date, only Maria has laughed at. He is the only straight man to provide comebacks in the whole Neighbor’s Club as the rest of the other members are all technically Boke’s and he is by far the only ‘sane’ one amongst them.
5. Kusunoki Yukimura: The 3rd member of the Neighbor’s Club and if you judge by appearances, everyone would think that Yukimura is a girl but contrary to it, he is in fact a guy so he is a Trap(LOL). Its just his small size and soft exterior which leads to people thinking that he is a girl and that was what Kodaka thought when he first met him. Due to this view people have of him, Yukimura strives to prove his manliness and idolizes Kodaka as to him, Kodaka is his very definition of it due to his delinquent looks and the rumors going on in the school about him. As his concept of manliness is quite twisted, he does not bat an eyelid when Yozora dresses him up in a maid outfit, which he compliments perfectly, as he thinks that if you are MAN enough, it does not matter what you wear as you would show it regardless. He regards Kodaka as his Aniki and is eternally subservient to him, obeying his orders without question and sometimes serves Kodaka with reference to some historical figures. His behavior and manner of speech puts him in the perfect Uke role in a Yaoi pairing, to the delight of Rika (and some readers i think). Yukimura defers to Kodaka in almost all the activities of the Neighbor’s Club and is willing to let Kodaka do anything to him.
6.Takayama Maria: Even though she look like grade schooler, Maria is a Sister and advisor to the Neighbor’s Club. The school that they are in, Saint Chronica Gakuen, is a Christian school so the presence of Sister’s is quite common. Maria is terribly gullible, so much that she was duped by Yozora into helping to form the Neighbor’s club, being the advisor and providing her room in the chapel to be used for their activities. Yozora manipulates her at every opportunity, making her do stupid stuff on her whims and even makes Maria think that she is indebted to her for the creation of the club but in actual fact it is the reverse. Maria likes Kodaka quite a bit as he is the only one in the club that treats her well and feeds her with proper food, which is much better than the potato chips that Yozora gives her as payment for her services, and tus has led to her calling him Oni-chan. This respect of Kodaka has led to Maria having some rivalry and conflict with Kodaka’s real sister Kobato which causes hilarity to ensue with the absurdness of their fights.
7. Hasegawa Kobato: Kodaka lovable younger sister who has an older brother complex but does not admit it. Her goth-loli dressing style and archaic manner of speech is due to the influence of a certain anime she watched when she was young. Due to the influence, she refers to herself as a centuries old vampire True Ancestor called Leysis Vi Felicity Sumeragi and in that persona she laughs with a haugthy “Ku Ku Ku” and refers to Kodaka as her clansmen instead of older brother. Only at home and at certain moment does her facade fade and her real self shines true and when it does she calls her brother by her own nickname “An-chan”. Eternally at odds with Maria as they are fighting over their Oni-chan and also over ideological reasons as the Church cannot get along with a ‘Vampire’. She joined the Neighbor’s club to protect her ‘clansman’ from the machinations of the church to quote her saying as she was quite fed up and interested in the person called Maria whom her beloved Oni-chan talks about every time he comes back from school.
Whew that it with the character introductions and now to give a quick summary about the drama cd but before I start, just a short warning, If you have not read the novel or the manga, please do either one before you listen to the drama cd or else you would not get half of the jokes in it and it would ruin all the fun.
In this arc of the story, which is not in the manga and the novels, the Neighbor’s Club who are in a dilemma on what activities to do to help them learn how to make friends decide to help Rika do voiceovers for a game that she programmed. The game is a typical fusion of an RPG and visual novel in which the main character can have relationships with the female character erstwhile trying to save the world. As the game does not have any male characters other than the protagonist, Kodaka was relegated to being Rika’s helper throughout the recordings. The ensuing recording is filled with tons of hilarity due to the mix of all the various personas of the Neighbor’s Clubs with Yukimura’s persistence in ending all of his lines with “Aniki” and Sena overreacting severely when Kobato says her lines and getting reprimanded in the process being few of the most memorable scenes. Rika, being the pervert she is, also reveals that this game is meant to be an Adult game which in turn requires them to voice ecchi scenes. As the rest of the club members are quite conservative at first, it takes a while before they open up and become willing to do those scenes but not before banning Kodaka from being in the recording studio. After finishing the recording, Rika gives Kodaka the almost complete version of the game to play, and to the other members relief, she tells them that she gave him the version in which the ecchi scenes are locked. After playing the game for hours on end, Kodaka gets completely sucked into the game, so much so till he even calls the others by their in game names. As he nears the end of the game, Kodaka either through skill or pure luck maxes out all the relationship points with all the characters in the game and unlocks a special Harem ending. Little did they know that due to this glitch, he unlocks all of the characters’ ecchi scenes and all mayhem breaks loose. As he replays those ecchi scenes, Kodaka goes crazy due to his immersement into the game and all the other members try their best to stop him from watching/listening to those scenes. It ends with them knocking him senseless till he does not even remember watch had happened when he was playing the game.
Overall the drama cd was a blast and it was made even more interesting due to the seiyuus casted in it. There were also tons of jokes in it were they referenced other popular series and even parodied some roles that the seiyuus did in other anime, one of which was a very blatant Angel Beats! reference and even a slight To Aru no Majutsu no Index one plus many more.
The cast is as follows:
1. Inoue Marina as Mikazuki Yozora
2. Itou Kanae as Kashiwazaki Sena
3. Fukuen Misato as Shiguma Rika
4. Hanazawa Kana as Hasegawa Kobato
5. Iguchi Yuka as Takayama Maria
6. Yamamoto Nozomi as Kusunoki Yukimura
7. Kimura Ryohei as Hasegawa Kodaka
This cast is insane, everyone really performed their roles perfectly.
Marina Inoue combined her fierce and straight Kitsu Chiri voice with her though yet sweet Alicia Melchoitt voice and a bit of her boyish voice.
Itou Kanae used Sanae’s, from Ika Musume, voice to great effect when she voiced Sena as their characters were quite alike and she combined it with a bit of Railgun’s Saten Ruiko.
Fukuen Misato, with all her years of experience, voiced Rika without a hitch, portraying her cheekiness and eccentricity out perfectly.
Iguchi Yuka was just in her element as Maria was like pre-made for her to use her Index voice, due to the character design and even her mannerisms.
Hanazawa Kana gave her typical high quality imouto performance with a slight twist as Kobato, well she is Hana Kana so there is nothing much to say.
Yukimura’s deadpan and passive was done perfectly by Nozomi, making him one of the most enjoyable characters to listen to. She is quite a new seiyuu which makes her performance even more impressive.
Lastly Kodaka’s zaniness was done quite well by Kiumra Ryohei and the overall portrayal was quite good. He is also quite a new seiyuu so its quite hard to judge him due to that fact.
Overall from the novels and manga chapters I have read so far, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai to me is a great take on the slice-of-life club/harem genre due to the comic genius of the author Hirasaka Yomi and the colorful characters that he has created. Trying to make friends is quite an overused plotline but this series does it with a twist due to the combined eccentricity of the very unique characters in the mix. Moreover, to make it even more hilarious, the author uses quite a lot of dirty jokes and sexual innuendo in the characters conversations. One of those most notable lines/references is whenever Yukimura talks about Kodaka when he is talking or alone with a girl or few, he refers to it as his Aniki’s “rape time” and much much more. This series combines the eccentricity of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko and combines it with tons of otaku culture and the issue of being the odd one out in school to bring out a fantasically hilarious story with just a bit of harsh reality that no one is perfect.
I really cannot wait for the anime to be released in Fall or next month in OAD form as it would be definitely enjoyable to anyone who watches it. My only gripe about the anime is that of the character design as the anime character designer looks like he tried his best to emulate Buruki’s original style but did not do quite well as when compared to what SHAFT did with Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. When I first heard that there was going to be an anime made, my first thought was that SHAFT would be the one to take up this project as this was the type of eccentric series that they love to take up, but sadly it was not to be as in the end AIC production, the one who did Oreimo, took up the project.The manga is a quite good adaptation with a unique art style and is serialized in Gekkan Comic Alive. Hopefully they will not disappoint as their rendition of Oreimo was excellent but I still have very high hopes for this anime.
P.S: Can’t wait for September cause of the Limited edition vol 7 bunko with OAD plus another series limited ed manga, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prism Illya Zwei vol 4, with drama cd and petit nendoroid and a whole lot of new manga…gonna be so broke next month…..>_<