Friday, April 19, 2013

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU: Introduction


The Spring 2013 season has been pretty good so far, with a decent variety of titles such that pretty much anyone can find something worth following. And while I’m finding plenty to like this season, one title has stuck out as being particularly enjoyable while having some interesting characters and portrayals of relationships… or lack thereof. It’s not exactly a show that’s been touted to be a Big Thing this season, and reviews have been rather across the board on how good the opening episodes are, but that doesn’t change how it’s a show that I’m just really enjoying now. And that show is…

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
This particular light novel adaptation comes under many names. The Japanese name, やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。(Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru), is, of course exceedingly long; it translates to My youth romantic comedy is wrong as I expected, which can be considered an official English title as it appears (in English) at the beginning of the end credits. As for the English title Crunchyroll uses, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, that is an official English title used by TBS, the show’s production company, probably in order to have an English title that isn’t horribly cumbersome to type out. Finally, like many shows with exceedingly long names, there is a portmanteau name, Oregairu, which is handy for those who want a quick way to refer to this show… like me. So that’s how I’m going to refer to this show from here on (except in the post titles, where I will use My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU).
For various reasons, the Crunchyroll broadcast is delayed one week from the original Japanese broadcast, so while three episodes of the show has aired, I’ve only been able to watch two of them. Those two episodes, though, have been quite interesting.
To start with, we have the male lead, Hachiman Hikigaya, who views every kind of “youthful” experience his fellow classmates pursue as delusions or lies. The show features a lot of his monologues, which reveal the very cynical way he views the world and the people around him; these can be very amusing on their own, though they do sometimes also reveal that he himself has gone through his own hurts in life that have led him to have the cynical view he has now.
His teacher is quite concerned about this, so she directs him towards an empty club room after school, where the extremely popular Yukino Yukinoshita waits. Turns out, she single-handedly runs the school’s Service Club, which supposedly helps people with their problems… not that Hachiman particularly wants any help with his “problem”, mind you.
A large part of the show's appeal to me is the characters. I've already talked about Hachiman; as for Yukino, she's definitely a very sharp-tongued one who is not afraid to say what she thinks even if it's not what the other person wants to hear; despite this, she can be quite caring, as is shown when they help their first real client, an energetic girl named Yui Yuigahama: she says what she thinks will benefit the other person, however harsh those words might be. Yui eventually becomes a regular "member" of the club, and her cheerfulness provides a fun contrast to the other two, who often trade verbal barbs with each other in a sort of Koyomi Araragi/Hitagi Senjyogahara-like way. All of them have trouble making friends to some extent for various reasons, so the show looks like it will document their attempt to have meaningful relationships for once (kind of like Haganai, but more cynical and with much fewer dirty jokes). I also find the characters rather relatable, especially for one who considers a lot of high school life to be, well, a mess.
Over the next week I will comment on each of the first two episodes, and then I will blog on each episode every week after I watch it. Consider this my trial in weekly episodic blogging. Even in these first two episodes there's a lot of things worth talking about, so I'm looking forward to going over them.
This is a pretty easy show for me to at least encourage others to try out, mainly because there is zero fanservice (of the sexually revealing kind) to speak of. There is some language, though, and not just in the subs (the b-word is is actually spoken in English), but that's it.
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My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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