My Teen Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected and apparently so was this anime for me

Lately, I’ve had such an excellent run in quality when it comes choosing “older” anime to watch. Chihayafuru was beyond great for me leaning towards being one of my favorite anime that I’ve ever watched. Key: The Metal Idol was fantastic as well and made me think about some things I haven’t heard in a while. Then there has been Natsume’s Book of Friends that has been blowing my mind everyday for past couple months for how great it is. Believe me when I say that I wasn’t ready for what Natsume’s Book of Friends was offering and I gladly accept it every day. Then we have this show. Well, nothing is perfect. Despite all the good things that I’ve heard about this show from a large amount of people and the internet, nothing about it clicked for me. NOTHING. I think I understood what the series was going for as it was messing with usual school anime clichés, but I don’t think the series achieved it in any sort of believable manner. My Teen Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected was just massive disappointment for me.

(For the rest of this post, I am just going to use the word “SNAFU” as the title when I discuss this series, because the light novel title is too long for this purpose.)

From a plot and character perspective, Snafu is just like your usual teenaged romantic comedy. It’s a high school anime. Quite a few of those exist in the world of anime stuff. We have our supposed main male main character by the name of Hachiman Hikigaya, nicknamed Hiki for short, who is forced to join this club by an abusive teacher whose only member is the ever so smart and beautiful, Yukino Yukinoshita. A bubblier character by the name Yui Yuigahama joins the club ever after to provide some fresh air from the other two sad sacks. The club is called the service club and their purpose is help individual people out with whatever problem they want to solve. It’s a good concept for an anime. A great way for our characters to explore the school, build its cast through special interactions, and even develop our cast by seeing how they solve problems. Fun stuff that I like. Unfortunately, the quality of its execution is something to be desired.

snafu hikigaya

One of the show’s biggest problems is its nature. It’s cynical nature and how it tries to be smarter than anything else. Snafu is drowning in cynicism and actively does it’s best to stomp down on anything positive and sincere as hard as it can. Hikigaya is an example of that. He is the loner of his class that looks down on everything in society because he thinks he’s smarter then everything else. Because of that, he has a negative opinion about everything and feels like it’s his place to comment on everything. It’s like the rest of the cliched character tropes. That’s right, which is not something that I am a fan of at all. Just because an anime uses cliched characters and then makes fun of them doesn’t mean that the anime is smart. It just means that you have a cliched anime that has the thin veneer of being smarter then your usual anime. Then there is also the fact that he solves every problem by taking the most negative route possible and that’s incredibly boring. This wannabe edge lord knows nothing but the edge, which is why I refuse to accept that he has a definable personality.

Let’s talk about those side characters while we are on the topic of them. None of them get any significant development. There is a cast of characters that HIkigaya and the rest of the service club always seem to hang around for some reason, but none of them ever get any development and most of them don’t have any semblance of a personality. Hakayama is one that is given a personality and all he is is the goody goody that plays a little bit of a foil to Hikigaya’s cynicism. Nothing he tries never works, as I would expect. There is also that chick whose name escapes me whose was hyped up as a big threat for Yui at the first place and then just turned out to be a nothing. That seems to be a common thing. There was the girl who worked hard during the night for some reason only to have the simple answer of going for a scholarship instead. The typical otaku characters make a presence to with one being a light novel fan and the other being a Yaoi girl and they aren’t developed either. They just are there to insert the typical otaku things that every anime needs to have for some reason. Should I also talk about the other characters that have a focus but are never developed either? Nah, because they don’t do anything besides make some sort of conflict for everyone else. Conflicts that don’t amount to anything.

snafu teacher

Another problem I have is that nothing ever feels like it progresses in any sort of way. There might be some slight shifts in characterization here and there, but nothing significant or worthy of note as far as I’m concerned. That conflicts appearing out of nowhere is the nature of the show, because people are supposed to give their conflicts to our characters to have a show. The problem is that none of these problems change our characters in anyway. There was a small bit of conflict with Yukino which involved her being more reserved then usual and then eventually returning to normal after a small conflict. Not even reputations centered around our protagonist solving problems in his most negative and foul way sticks. After the school festival, he was supposed to be the most hated person in school for making a girl cry. The episode after centered around a girl not knowing him and nobody else caring about what he did. Maybe that line from Yukino was just a line but seemed to have a lot of relevance behind it. It’s not like Yukino doesn’t say mean things

Some people may think that I’ve missed the point of this show entirely and that’s possible. At the same time this just feels like a show that tried to copy a lot of elements of what made Haruhi Susumiya popular without knowing anything about how that show worked in the first place. Or maybe not, because apparently Snafu is pretty popular in our particular anime realm. The difference between the two shows is the fantastical elements and the charm. Kyon was relatable in Haruhi, because he was responding to Haruhi’s infinitely energetic personality that caused trouble for her S.S. Brigade and literally everything else in existence plus the fantastical characters he was facing. Now those people could be tropes too, as Haruhi called them out on each of them, but there was something special about them that made each character memorable. To me, Snafu doesn’t feel like it has its own personality at all. It’s just playing everything straight and throwing female characters into fanservice and/or appealing costumes because it wants to. Snafu still seems to be pointless to me.

haruhi

I do have to say something positive about this thing, right? Ummmm, it looked nice. From an art and animation stand point, the show was breath taking to watch. The art style clearly defined Hikigaya’s personality and each of the other characters at least have some defining features that made them special. Each of the background settings were unique and interesting to look at too. When characters moved or one reason or another, the animation behind each scene is amazing. Scenes when our characters are doing tennis or having wind blow against people’s clothes for some reason. It’s all good stuff. A higher quality then I ever expected because of a series that is supposed to be a romantic comedy/ slice of life series. I was honestly stunned by all of this.

So I think you know where this is going. I see all these particularly high ratings for this show and I feel like I might be almost alone of this, but I just didn’t like this show. I’m not a huge fan of cynical media in the first place and this show jumped too far for me. It jumped the shark. I say this knowing that Girlish Number was created by the same person and I actually did end up like that show. Girlish Number did have cynical main characters too, but they had much more interesting personalities and a more interesting dynamic between them which makes the whole show work. Here I was so put off by the first season that I refused to watch the second. That leaves me in that not knowing mode of whether the anime improves from here or not. You know what, I don’t want to know. Clearly, this anime was not meant for me. Consider my curiosity about the show to be filled. Time to move onto something else. What could that be? Well, I think you will all know soon.

26 Comments Add yours

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Lol…well…after having read this post, I think it’s safe to say that I will give a pass on erm. Snafu lol 😂😂 This isn’t the type of story that I usually like anyway, and good visuals aside, this is pretty much not what draws me in. Especially not considering the fact that I have much more cool shows waiting for me 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yup, definitely a lot more out there to watch then this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. tanteikid94 says:

    It is Okay. Great Review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Thank you and I’m usually not worried about hype too much. It will at least get me to watch something though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For a lot of people SNAFU is hit or miss with them. I personally liked it as I to as a child was forced to socialise in a manner that Hiki was forced into. Speaking of the anime I always had a problem with the teacher when she talks with Hiki about the paper that he wrote, it was a opinion piece and the teacher wanted him to redo it because she disagreed with his opinion not because of the spelling or grammar just that, it always rubbed me the wrong way whenever I would watch that part even though it was a critique on how the Japanese want everyone to be the same. I think I would have liked the story better if he remained alone like Tomoko, she’s a true loner and just watched the world around him with his inner monologue or if he was writing a light novel going into a little meta territory there because this was based off of a light novel. Speaking of the light novel it is way better than the anime mostly because of all the inner monologues that are occurring from the MC, if you want to find out what writer thinks of the anime adaptation of his work just watch Gir(a)lish Number his true thoughts come out in that, I can’t say if you will enjoy it but the main heroine makes some interesting facial features and the critique on the voice acting industry in Japan is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Strangely enough, I did like Gir(a)lish Number quite a bit when it was airing. It had a lot more interesting things going on in it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, I really wished the anime was a success though, while it would not be true to life it would at least be entertaining to see how big Chitose would have gotten.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Yeah, that would be fantastic stuff for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. tanteikid94 says:

    You Don’t have to follow the hype

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A Library Archivist says:

    SNAFU is a memoir, which is why the essays sound like post-action commentary. That’s also why there’s so much 4th wall jokes and cynical commentary. Hikki is basically talking about how he ruined his high school life. The 2nd season is where it gets best, particularly Haruno the older sister of the ice-cold girl. The thing is, you have to get through the first season to get to the plot and complex character interactions which are so revolutionary for Japan, a country which is incapable of admitting to cynicism in popular media. The only other character who has done that is Akira from Lucky Channel (see YouTube videos). I don’t expect my explanation will cause you to rewatch the show. Its not your thing, clearly. I just thought I’d explain the meta which drove its popularity. It is also unfinished because the ENDING is in the title. He doesn’t get the girls. The publishers rejected his final manuscript and they’re making him re-write it for the last 5 years. He’s done other projects, but they finally threw enough money at him to ruin it forever. A pity, because SNAFU is not supposed to get a happy ending.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Thank you. It’s nice to know the meta behind things.

      Like

      1. A Library Archivist says:

        You are welcome. It won’t make it more enjoyable, but it helps understand. Its using the same trick as Haruhi Suzumiya, with Kyon’s monologues.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. kimchisama says:

    This one has been on my list for awhile but I never had the urge to watch it. I think I was hoping that it would be funny but some characters I can’t stand are those who think they are too smart for this world (unless they show growth) so this one will probably remain unwatched.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      You can give the show a watch still, because I don’t want to be the final opinion on anything, but if it doesn’t sound like your thing then would probably recommend against it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Shokamoka says:

    I’ll have to say that I really did feel the same way about this show as you do…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Have not been hearing that a lot today, so awesome!

      Like

  8. Karandi says:

    I really enjoyed SNAFU. I kind of like Hikigaya’s cynicism and watching characters replay the same roles in crisis after crisis and looking like they’ve learned something but not applying it, is kind of relatable given I see people do this all the time in real life. Admittedly, it isn’t a great narrative given the absence of actually character development that sticks and honestly it does mostly exist to poke fun at most human interaction, but when I’m in a really bad mood, this one definitely does take the edge off and I really enjoy it.
    Comparatively, Girlish Number didn’t work for me. I never clicked with the main character in that one and just found her selfish and unbearable. So I think a lot of the appeal of this show comes from whether or not there is that click between the viewer and Hikigaya.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      That last sentence. I’ve been a loner for my secondary school life too, but I was never like that. I do admit that I’m a bit of a dits sometimes though, but never hated people really. I don’t know, the show just doesn’t click with my point of view of life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Karandi says:

        And that’s probably the deciding factor for most people watching it.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Merlin says:

    In a word: underwhelming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Pretty much, haha. That would have saved a lot of words.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Merlin says:

        Heh, reminds of a quote from a book I recently read, to the effect of, “Never use fewer words when you can use more!” 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  10. All good runs come to an end eventually. Good luck with finding a better show. I personally didn’t dislike this series. Then again I am a cynical person, so I could sort of relate to the main character. Anime is filled with do gooder protagonists so I appreciated having a more negative person in the lead role.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      You and Karandi both agree on that point. I can’t say that I am not a cynical person because I’ve been pessimistic a lot recently (I sound like a try hard with that), but I would rather the things I watch not be so cynical in nature. Maybe that sentence just proved I’m an optimistic person.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Bento says:

    I think it is good to not flow or agree with characters’ thought without thinking about it. I too have somethings I like and dislike in this SNAFU. After I noticed that some character is not like s/he tries to present me, I have no faith in that character. To sum it up, I don’t like that character. But it is my fault 50% because I was the one who believed in that character’s image.

    Each character has her/his different outer appearances/images but what I got from this show is they are not different much. They want similar things and are affected by their surroundings.

    What I want to say is your opinion is interesting and has its value.

    Liked by 1 person

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